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The Muse's News

Issue 8.11 - February 2006
ISSN 1480-6975

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This issue sponsored by:
The 2006 Great Lakes Songwriting Contest - Enter today!


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I n   T h i s   I s s u e :

-----------------------------------------------------------------
@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Music Reviews - by JJ Biener, Jane Eamon, Gian Fiero, 
                    Chip Withrow, Jon Stewart & Kevin Zarnett
@-- New Artist Spotlight Additions
@-- Songwriting Book Review - by James Linderman
@-- Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
@-- Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - brought
    to you by singer/songwriter & teacher, Irene Jackson.
@-- Featured Article - Song Dynamics: Is Your Song a Roller
                       Coaster or a Freight Train? - Part II 
                       - by Alex Forbes
@-- On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your
    viewing pleasure.
@-- Classifieds & Useful Services
@-- Contact information
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ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998-2006 - Jodi Krangle. 
For more contact information, see end of issue.
=================================================================
MUSE'S MUSE T-SHIRTS, MUGS, MOUSEPADS AND MORE
Black T-shirts are here and they look pretty darned cool. :)
See http://www.cafepress.com/musesmuse for details.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
S p o n s o r   M e s s a g e :
 
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THE 2006 GREAT LAKES SONGWRITING CONTEST

The deadline is March 31 for the 2006 Great Lakes Songwriting
Contest.  Limited to current residents of the eight Great Lakes
states and the Province of Ontario, the Grand Prize is $1000
cash. With 13 winning songs in all, winners receive gift
certificates, discounts on songwriting retreats, and publicity on
the contest website and a national music publication, along with
performance opportunities. The former Michigan Songwriting
Contest is now sponsored by Elderly Instruments and Lamb's
Retreat for Songwriters. Go to http://www.greatlakessongs.com/ for info
on last year's winners and this year's contest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

E d i t o r ' s   M u s i n g s :

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Hello for another month!  I hope you managed to get through your
January intact and without too many New Year's resolutions blown
to you-know-where. ;)  

I'm going to keep this intro pretty short because there's lots of
good stuff in here this month.  Alex Forbes continues her Song
Dynamics series - and as it turns out, her e-book is reviewed
this issue too.  Irene has another Muse's Clues I'm sure you'll
enjoy, and there are lots of new reviews included.  Lots of new
contest and market information listings also!  And check out the
sponsors that help make this newsletter possible.  All of them
are class acts.

In the meantime, here are the raffle winners for this month:

*  Nathaniel S. Hardy, Jr. from Miami, Florida has won a copy of
Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software
(http://www.musesmuse.com/vss-review.html).

* Mark McGraw from Santa Rosa Beach, FL has won a copy of
Indie-Music.com's Musician's Toolkit CD
(http://www.musicianstoolkit.com/muse/)

* Serena Postel from Winnipeg, MB Canada, has won a copy of
Bronson Herrmuth's "100 Miles To A Record Deal"
(http://www.songrepair.com/bookforweb2.htm).

* Jean Glaudť from Burbank, California has won a copy of the book
reviewed last month: the Indie Bible's 7th Edition.
You can find out more information about this highly useful
publication at http://www.bigmeteor.com/muse .

If you're interested in being placed in the queue for a raffle
prize, feel free to email me and let me know (and include your
contact information), ok?  I love to give out prizes to those I
know want them - and you don't get anything in this world if you
don't speak up. ;)  

Wishing you every inspiration,

--Jodi

Back to Menu
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S p o n s o r   M e s s a g e : 

(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AMERICAN IDOL UNDERGROUND (AIU) SEEKING ARTISTS FROM ALL GENRES

SUBMIT - music for guaranteed airplay on our online music network
CREATE - an artist profile webpage and promote your music online
RECEIVE - feedback from fans, music professionals and celebrities
COMPETE - for cash, equipment and major promotional campaigns
ALL STYLES - Rock, Rap, Folk, Country, Pop, R&B, & More

Get Your Music Heard! Submit your music to AIU today.

http://www.idolunderground.com/

=================================================================

M u s i c   R e v i e w s : JJ Biener, Jane Eamon, Gian Fiero, 
                            Chip Withrow, Jon Stewart 
                            & Kevin Zarnett

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NEW MUSIC REVIEWS SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE:

JJ Biener:

* ZoŽ Keating
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001028.html
* Troy Lukkarila
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001037.html


Jane Eoman:

* Jess Dunkin
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001047.html
* Lauryn Hottinger
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001039.html
* Erik Balkey
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001053.html
* Marc Douglas Berardo
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001054.html
* Arby DeCamp
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001055.html


Gian Fiero:

* Michael Lloyd Band
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001046.html
* Brodhi
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001042.html
* Broken Stone
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001044.html
* Tia
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001045.html
* Amar Khalil
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001041.html
* LaCedille
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001043.html
* Gooding
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001057.html
* The Attik
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001058.html


Jon Stewart:

* Killa Kat
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001040.html
* Natalise
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001052.html


Chip Withrow:

* Tom Tallitsch and Dave Manley
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001056.html


Kevin Zarnett:

* The Kieran Ridge Band
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001051.html
---------------
                         ******

For bios on each of the reviewers, see
http://www.musesmuse.com/musicreviews.html . If you're considering
sending in your own CD for review, you can also view that page to
find out which reviewer reviews your genre. Thanks!

Back to Menu

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N e w   A r t i s t   S p o t l i g h t   A d d i t i o n s :  

Great music is only a click away!  
Here are just some of the great CDs highlighted in the 
Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse at
http://www.musesmuse.com/artistspotlights.html 

-----------------------------------------------------------------
DateMonthYear - Genre: ROCK

DateMonthYear is not a band, it is a way of doing things - the
composition, production, performance, and marketing of music in
the contemporary environment. DateMonthYear is based in Hamilton,
New Zealand and tends to make music that blends pop melodies,
rock dynamics and movie atmospheres.

http://www.datemonthyear.co.nz/

For more Rock music, visit
http://www.musesmuse.com/artistspotlights-rock.html

------
Priscilla HernŠndez - Genre: NEW AGE

Priscilla is a singer/songwriter and illustrator from the canary
Islands, Spain. From ethereal, haunting, gothic sounds and dark
lyrics, to Celtic pop and new age landscapes, discover the
spellbinding side of fairytales with her bitter lullabies.

http://www.yidneth.com/

For more New Age music, visit
http://www.musesmuse.com/artistspotlights-newage.html

------
Urban Tapestry - Genre: FOLK

This award-winning Toronto-based folk trio has a musical style
running from traditional folk ballads to blues, pop and humor,
with a variety of vocal and acoustic instrumental arrangements.
If you'd enjoy a blend of Barenaked Ladies, They Might Be Giants
and the Indigo Girls, you'll love their unique and quirky sound.

http://www.urbantapestry.org/

For more Folk artists, visit
http://www.musesmuse.com/artistspotlights-folk.html
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S o n g w r i t i n g   B o o k   R e v i e w : by James Linderman

The Songwriters Playbook: 10 Weeks to Better Songs by Alex Forbes
http://www.creativesongwriter.com/
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I liked The Songwriters Playbook before I even read it. 
All I needed to hear was the title and I was sold on the concept
that a playbook would be way more fun than a workbook any day of
the week. 

Not that we don't also need to do the hard work of honing our
craft - and there is some of that too, I found out, in this book.
I just think that dreaming up songs is more an artful recreation
than a loathsome chore, even when it's difficult. I appreciate a
book that celebrates that.

I also liked this book because it is formatted as a 10-Week
Step-by-Step Course that is concise, systematic and well-paced.
The author is Alex Forbes and she is a hit songwriter in her own
right with hit singles including "Don't Rush Me" by Taylor Dayne,
"Nothin' My Love Can't Fix" by Joey Lawrence, "Too Turned On" by
Alisha, and "In a Dream" by Rockell. Her most recent major
release is "You Are Water" on the U.S. debut of Hayley Westenra,
whose first album sold over 2 million copies. She also co-wrote
with Cyndi Lauper for her film, "Off and Running".

Alex's songs have appeared in numerous feature films and on TV,
and her songs are co-published with Universal, Warner/Chappell,
Famous and many other major publishers.

Alex received a Creative Writing degree from Stanford University,
and was mentored in the art and craft of pop songwriting by the
legendary Doc Pomus ("This Magic Moment," "Save The Last Dance
For Me").

In the book, you study a particular aspect of songcraft in each
chapter and progress week by week (or at your own pace) with
awesome descriptions of the concepts and activities. 

One of the main themes in the book is to get you writing on a
regular basis and to keep you writing long after the 10 weeks is
up. 

Week 1 is titled "Inspiration Strikes Those Who Prepare for it"
and it starts out with a real morale builder about how close
great songs are to being written by regular people armed with
little more than having something to say in song form and a bit
of an understanding of how to musically say it. 

Week 2 is called "Anatomy of a Song: How Form Follows Function"
and it begins to offer up the structures that our song ideas can
fit into and not only covers the 3 classic song forms but also
help choose a form that will be right for the kind of song you
are writing. Cool! 

The chapters that follow cover such topics as, Creating
Compelling Lyrics, Making Melodies that Matter (note the
alliterations in the chapter titles proving you can't take the
songwriter out of the author).

Other chapters are on Harmony and Rhythm, Hooks & Hits,
Songwriting in Genres, The Essential Art of Collaboration, Kinds
of Song Demos and Creating Relationships in the Music World.
This book would certainly make a great resource for songwriters
who are just starting out or for more seasoned writers who would
like to make their writing a bit more reliable, purpose driven
and deliberate. 

The author offers a course with this book as the text, which I
assume would enhance the experience of going through the book in
terms of offering guidance and community and really bring the
elements of the book to life. The book is, however, a very good
"stand alone" text as well.

Alex will also have "made from paper" copies of the book
available for purchase soon, so stay tuned to your website for
availability forecasts.
 
The Songwriters Playbook is currently available as an e-book at
http://www.creativesongwriter.com/ in a downloadable and printable PDF
format. 

                           ******
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
James Linderman lives and works at theharmonyhouse, a music
lesson, songwriting and recording pre-production facility in
Newmarket, Ontario.  James writes songwriting articles and music
book reviews for The Muse's News, Canadian Musician Magazine,
Songwriters Magazine, and Professional Musician Magazine. His
writing is also featured in the James Linderman Wing of the
library at www.songu.com.  James has a Canadian University and
American College education in music theory and composition and is
also pretty good at making up songs and playing the guitar. 

Contact James at: theharmonyhouse@rogers.com  

Back to Menu
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             S p o n s o r   M e s s a g e : 

(Purchasing this service will help support both the newsletter
and your own music projects.  Plus, you also get a great
discount! :-) )

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

LYRICIST VERSION 3: THE SONGWRITER'S BEST FRIEND

Lyricist is the first-of-its-kind word processor designed
specifically for musicians, songwriters, and poets.  The software
includes a Rhyming Dictionary, Thesaurus, Album Categorization,
Chord Charting, Chord Generator, Song Arrangement, and On-Line
Copyright Link.  

The new version 3 release adds support for "Piano Style" chord
symbols, Nashville Number System, and Transposition features -
all in one easy-to-use package - and all for only $44.95! (That's
$5.00 off to all Muse's News readers who purchase from the review
link at www.musesmuse.com/vss-review.html!)

This tool will revolutionize the way you write and organize your
writing.  Be the best songwriter you can be and purchase Lyricist
today!     http://www.musesmuse.com/vss-review.html 

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M u s i c a l   N o t e s : Songwriting Contests & Market Info.

In the interest of conserving space, I will only be including
changes to this listing in this newsletter.  All other contests
and market information that have already been listed here, are
displayed at http://www.musesmuse.com/contests.html &
http://www.musesmuse.com/markets.html . Please check there
regularly for updates!
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YOU'VE WORKED HARD FOR YOUR MONEY, NOW LEARN HOW TO KEEP IT!

On March 4-5, 2006 in Los Angeles, multi platinum record
producer, music industry insider and artist's activist, Moses
Avalon, author of the runaway hit book, Confessions of a Record
Producer: How To Survive the Scams and Shams of the Music
Business will deliver his coveted two-day workshop that reveals
tricks of the trade and techniques to help musicians and artists
protect their money. 

Registration is limited to 100 attendees.
For registration and more information, go to:
http://www.mosesavalon.com/registerfin.htm

Mention that you heard about the workshop through The Muse's Muse
(there's a pull-down menu option to do that when you register)
and receive a 15% discount!
 
"I was never quite able to decode  the terms and cash flow of a
record deal until I did the Confessions Workshop."
--Geza X, Producer, Meredith Brooks, Los Angeles  CA
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WILDFLOWER! ARTS & MUSIC FESTIVAL AND PERFORMING SONGWRITER
CONTEST:

The 14th annual Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival is now
accepting entries for its Performing Songwriter Contest. Recorded
entries must be postmarked by March 21, 2006. Ten finalists will
be selected to perform their entry songs at the Wildflower!
Festival in Richardson, Texas, on May 20, 2006, and compete for
the three $500 cash awards. Entry fee is $20 per entry. For
complete contest rules and an entry application, tap on
"Performing Songwriter Contest" at
http://www.wildflowerfestival.com/ 
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THE JOHN LENNON SONGWRITING CONTEST IS NOW OPEN!

Session-I is now accepting entries and we've added an amazing NEW
prize. One winner will be chosen as the Maxell Song of the Year
and not only win $20,000 but will also win an Apple Power Mac G5
with Cinema Display and Logic Pro software. With 24 Grand Prize
Winners, 72 Finalists, 12 Lennon Award Winners, and 1 Maxell Song
of the Year, this opportunity is not to be missed.
For more information and for your chance to WIN, please visit:
http://www.jlsc.com/ 
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WHAT THE DIDGERIDOO ARE THE ETERNAL QUALITY AWARDS?

Monthly art, music and writing contests focused on timeless
values. We invite all to share their experiences with the
e-qualities (such as abundance, beauty, compassion, playfulness,
strength....) Didgeridoos, drums, art and writing supplies, cash
and other gifts of appreciation are awarded for originality,
authenticity and relevance to the theme. Visit
http://www.eternalquality.net/ to see how you feel about weaving
your thread into this universal tapestry.
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MUSE'S NEWS READERS -- TAKE a FREE SongU.com COURSE!

SongU.com is pleased to make this special offer of a free
SongU.com course available to all Muse's News Readers (a $40
value).  Come see for yourself why ASCAP says that the courses
offered by SongU.com "will undoubtedly help prepare songwriters
for any market no matter their place of residence" and NSAI says
we're the "next important evolution for serious songwriters."
To take your FREE SONGWRITING COURSE, simply go to the following
link:  http://www.songu.com/suSponsor/musesmuse/ .  

You can learn more about SongU.com courses, co-writing hookups,
industry connections and pitching by going to
http://www.songu.com/?sa=3 .  
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SIZZLEFIZZLE.COM LAUNCHES ONLINE MUSIC CONTESTS FOR ARTISTS,
BANDS, SONGWRITERS AND MORE

MakeaStar.com has launched its long-awaited multi-genre music
contest platform on its sister site, www.SizzleFizzle.com. On
SizzleFizzle.com Artists, Bands, and songwriters can test the
popularity and marketability of their music in a variety of Free
and Cash contests. FREE contests are judged by the public and
Artists are paid to upload their music. CASH contests are judged
by a panel of MakeaStar.com music experts and provide an
opportunity for Artists to win cash prizes generally within a
week. SizzleFizzle Cash contests also provide Artists with
real-time demographic data of the fans who enjoy and vote for
their music. Visit http://www.sizzlefizzle.com/.
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10TH ANNUAL USA SONGWRITING COMPETITION WINNERS ANNOUNCED, 11TH
COMPETITION BEGINS

Hakim Young (New Jersey) won the Overall Grand Prize as well as
the first prize in the R&B category. Overall Second prize winner
went to Randy Klein (New York). Overall Third prize went Nial
Djuliarso (Jakarta, INDONESIA), who also won the first prize in
the instrumental category. He is also the first indonesian to
ever win first prize and the only winner from Asia this year.
Other winners this year came from Scotland, Serbia & Montenegro,
Denmark, Canada, England, Australia, Belgium and Spain. Entries
for the 11th Annual USA Songwriting Competition are currently
being accepted.
For more information on past winners and the 2006 Competition,
please go to: http://www.songwriting.net/ 
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DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE COPYRIGHT KIT

Download Indie-Music.com's free and easy Copyright Kit. Print
Copyright forms, Copyright submission process, handy tips &
tricks, choosing the right form, and more.

http://www.indie-music.com/freemuse.php 
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FREE SUBMISSIONS FOR FILM, TV AND VIDEO GAMES AT
MUSICGORILLA.COM!

Music Gorilla works with Bands, Musicians, Artists and
Songwriters to get their original material into the eyes and ears
of industry members who have the ability to take their careers to
the next level. We work with Reps from Major Labels, Indie Labels
and Film Studios. Our artists get access to free submissions for
film, TV and video games, they are eligible for free live label
showcases, digital distribution with MSN and Loudeye and more. We
donít take any piece of any deals made on our site, and have had
many successes including placement, songwriting and publishing
deals.

Muse's Muse artists get 10% off of memberships!
Just enter the promotional code "muse" during registration.
http://www.musicgorilla.com/
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THE HOME MADE HIT SHOW, PLAYING SONGS BY HOME RECORDING ARTISTS

Tony Butterworth, a home musician and advocate for home based
music, has released his new internet based program, The Home Made
Hit Show, featuring exciting and original rock, acoustic, blues
and pop music made by home based artists. The Home Made Hit Show
strives to deliver top quality, original, home based rock, pop,
blues and acoustic music to its listeners. "After years of being
disillusioned with popular music, I was ready for a change", said
Butterworth, "After taking up guitar and making a few of my own
songs, I discovered a huge online community of amateur musicians,
many of them producing songs of a quality that simply astounded
me."
Please listen in and http://www.homemadehitshow.com/ and send songs and
comments to homemadehitshow@gmail.com 
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SONGWRITING CONSULTATION SPECIAL OFFER: 

Pete & Pat Luboff will pay for the phone call for Muse's Muse
songwriters who use the Luboffs' songwriting consultation
service. The service provides detailed, constructive song
analysis, answers to all your creative and business questions and
references to contacts when appropriate. Visit
http://www.writesongs.com/consults.htm for more information.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
INTRODUCING A SPECIAL WEBSITE PROMOTION PACKAGE ESPECIALLY FOR
MUSICIANS/SONGWRITERS

It's important for your website to be found once it's created. We
all know this. But who can afford the promotion a website needs
to truly make its mark on the web? Now YOU can. This package is
offered exclusively to Muse's Muse visitors only - and now
includes an Artist Spotlight listing! Do you have a website that
no one knows about? Do you want it to stand out from the crowd?
Now you can get it promoted for a fraction of the price most
search engine optimization packages would cost you.  Visit
http://www.internet-marketing-mm.com/musicianpackage.html
for more details.

Back to Menu
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M u s e ' s    C l u e s :  by Irene Jackson

©1998-2006 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved. 
Used By Permission

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Music theory - ugh.  Why even bother?  Some experts will tell you
that you need to understand theory in order to write songs.
Well, technically, every time you come up with a melody, you are
using music theory, though not necessarily in a conscious manner.
Do you say to yourself, "I'm going to sing the root and then a
fourth up, and then sing the octave", or do you just tell
yourself "Hmmm...this sounds nice"?  Let me guess.

As much as you might want to avoid the subject of theory
altogether, you may come to a point in your writing, in your
playing, or even just when you're standing in the studio trying
to tell a musician what you want him/her to play, when you might
need a little theoretical vocabulary to explain things.

I've covered music theory websites before, but recently I came
across one I think you'll really get something out of.  In fact
I'm surprised I haven't seen it until now (or maybe I've been
avoiding theory myself!) because it really is a great tool, and
so simple to use.  It's called Ricci Adam's Musictheory.net
(http://www.musictheory.net/index.html), and I can't say that
I've come across any other so far that has been so APPROACHABLE,
instead of so intimidating!

There are many lessons here, from a real beginner's point of
view to an advanced one.  You can train your ear to hear
intervals, learn what an interval actually IS, or figure out
formulas used to create chords.  Why is an Fm6 called an Fm6?
What on earth is a "half-step"?  The website uses Flash and
suggests that you use Macromedia Flash Player 6 or higher in
order to view the lessons.  One of the best features is a
download page where you can download all of the contents of the
site to view offline!  The website utilizes a keyboard and audio
to demonstrate each lesson, and you can advance each step in the
lesson as quickly as you like, even going backwards if you need
to refresh.

There is a Guitar Trainer, a Keyboard Trainer and a Brass
Trainer...all set up to help you learn to identify where the
notes are on your instrument. You'll also find a Chord
Calculator, although this is NOT like the guitar chord
calculators you sometimes find on the net, but one that is meant
for piano.  And also included in the "Utilities" section is a
Staff Paper Generator.

It's a pretty complete website with just about everything you
need to teach yourself a little theory.  I learned a few things
almost immediately, and certainly appreciated the simplicity of
it.  No stuffy, theoretical baloney here!  Ricci Adam's designed
everything himself and did an excellent job. C'mon, a little
theory won't hurt you. 

                         ******
						 
Irene Jackson is a performing songwriter from Victoria, BC in
Canada. Aside from writing, recording and performing, she also
maintains a website for songwriters that includes tips, articles
and a songwriter's messageboard.

Songwriting Tips: http://www.irenejackson.com/tips.html
Homepage:         http://www.irenejackson.com/
Songs:            http://www.soundclick.com/irenejackson
Back to Menu
=================================================================

F e a t u r e d   A r t i c l e : 

- Song Dynamics: Is Your Song a Roller Coaster or a Freight
Train? Part II - © 2006 by Alex Forbes / CreativeSongwriter.com
All Rights Reserved.  Used By Permission
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Part II: Creating Melodic Dynamics

If the purpose of your song is to sear your message into the
hearts and souls of your listeners, a killer melody has the power
to really make it stick. Whereas your lyrical lines hit people
mostly above the neck, the right lyric married up with the right
melody hits 'em more in the gut. It's this one-two punch that
gives songwriting the potential to move others to laugh, cry,
dance, act and feel.

For my money, the best melodies, like the best lyrics, are the
most manipulative ones - and I mean that in the most positive
sense of the word. A successful melody unfolds like a great short
story, packing a lot of action into a brief span of time, veering
in unexpected directions, and delivering a valuable realization
by the end. So the question becomes this: how can you "suck 'em
in, build 'em up and pay 'em off" most effectively with your
melody?

For the sake of simplicity, let's imagine that you have a
near-completed lyric in Verse/Chorus form, and are experimenting
with putting a melody to it. First, dive deeply into your lyric,
letting it permeate the very fiber of your being. Then turn on
your recording device, quick!

*	Let the lyric tell you what it wants. Is it begging to be a
soaring ballad, an edgy rock track, or maybe a groove-oriented
dance or R&B song? Every spark of inspiration has, at its core, a
strong identity, and your job as a songwriter is to honor and
serve that unique expression.

*	Speak the lyrics out loud. I know it feels silly, but it's a
great way to notice where the natural accents, pauses and
internal rhythms occur. Try underlining words, circling rhymes,
and adding accent marks to indicate strong pulses or rhythmic
patterns. Which lines bear repeating?

*	Which comes first, the Chorus or the Verse? Either... just
start somewhere! Quantity leads to quality, and the more risks
you take, the more likely you are to hit upon melodic phrases
that best express your lyric. So try 10 or 100 ideas on for size,
knowing you'll narrow it down later. Don't settle for the first
idea that pops out, unless it really rings true.

*	Establish "home base" right off the bat. Use your first few
notes to carve out some melodic territory, i.e. what key you're
in, and what scale you're choosing from, and what mood you're
setting initially. Let the lyrics point you in the right
direction, but don't be afraid to play against expectations by
putting a "happy" lyrical line against notes in a minor scale,
for example.

*	Soak your lyrics for all they're worth. It was no accident
when Holland/Dozier/Holland put that glorious pause in "Stop...
In the Name of Love." And check out the yearning implied by that
daring octave leap in "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." What
unexplored opportunities is your lyric giving you?

Once you've found a melody that suits the meaning, meter and
rhyme scheme of your first few lines, the question becomes this:
How can you keep the ride exciting, unpredictable and yet still
accessible? How can you build on what you've started, eventually
bringing your song to a climactic payoff?

The trick is to use enough repetition to make your melody catchy,
while gradually adding enough "new information" to keep it from
becoming boring. If there's too much new information, listeners
will just tune out, overwhelmed. So it becomes a balancing act,
and your instincts really come into play. Both the mind and the
body love repetitive patterns, so it's a matter of making up
stimulating, fresh patterns and putting them in the most
satisfying order. Work to structure a clear, exciting dramatic
arc.

Generally, less is more when it comes to both melodies and
lyrics. A few brilliant ideas trump a whole lot of
yada-yada-yada. Your basic human being has a short attention
span, so "don't bore us, get to the chorus," as they say. Here
are some ways to juice up your melody:

*	Remember, contrast is king. Make each section of your song
melodically distinct, or people will feel that they're treading
water. Don't be afraid to make a radical shift.

*	Seek out the best melodic marriage for each lyric. Plumb
every line's meaning, sound and "vibe" for melodic possibilities
until you have "a match made in heaven." Strive to create such
complete unity that you can't hear the words without conjuring up
the melody, and vice versa. 

*	Decide what's most important, and emphasize it. Use every
trick in the book to drive home your main points. Accentuate a
pivotal moment, a brilliant line or your hook with a killer high
note, a rhythmic jolt, a surge of repetition, an unexpected
melodic twist, or all of the above!

*	Create drama using tension, release and resolution. Once
you've established your "home base," use your verse melody to
depart from it, ratcheting up the tension, so that you can
finally release that tension in your chorus. Never let your
listeners slide into boredom caused by predictability or an
abundance of repetition.

*	Use melodic range for effect. A commonly used convention is
to place your verses lower in the singer's register, saving the
"money note" for the chorus. Or try using smaller melodic
intervals in one section, distinguishing it from the larger jumps
in another.

*	Vary your note lengths and rests. Don't get into a rut by
overusing the same note lengths or rhythmic patterns. And give
listeners ample time to absorb new information by inserting
frequent pauses. (These are also great spots for instrumental
riffs and hooks.) Keep listeners on the edge of their seats
wondering what will happen next.

*	Vary your melodic lines in relation to the downbeat. Making
every line start after the downbeat, for example, can get
tiresome. Try mixing it up: make some lines hit before the
downbeat ("Hey Jude"), some on it ("Everybody Dance Now") and
some after ("You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling"). 

*	All roads lead to your hook. Make sure that your hook answers
the melodic question or problem posed by your verses.
Metaphorically speaking, think of the verses as "laying out your
case," and the hook as the peak moment of your summation before
the jury. Or picture thousands singing along to your chorus in a
concert hall, swaying in unision, lighters held aloft. Hey,
whatever works!

Remember this: great songwriters aren't afraid to take a strong
stand. Your passion, fully expressed, is what people are longing
to hear. Happy writing!

                              *****

Hit songwriter Alex Forbes, founder of CreativeSongwriter.com
(http://creativesongwriter.com/), coaches groups and individuals
in the art and craft of songwriting via songwriting classes,
one-on-one coaching and song critiques. Her new Ebook, "The
Songwriter's PlayBook: 10 Weeks to Better Songs" is now available
to download at http://creativesongwriter.com/register-info.htm .

Alex has taught at the Gotham Writers Workshop and the
Songwriters Hall of Fame, and has spoken on panels at ASCAP, BMI,
The Recording Academy, The Connecticut Songwriters Association,
Add Joy To Learning, and The Austin Songwriters Group.

As a songwriter, Alex has had over 65 songs released, as well as
numerous placements in feature films and TV. Her hit singles in
the U.S. include "Don't Rush Me" (Taylor Dayne, #2 Pop, ASCAP Pop
Award), "Nothin' My Love Can't Fix" (Joey Lawrence #19 Pop), "Too
Turned On" (Alisha, #6 Dance) and "In a Dream" (Rockell, #72
Pop). Alex's most recent major release is "You Are Water" on the
U.S. debut of Hayley Westenra, whose first album sold over 2
million copies. Numerous others were hits in the US, Europe, Asia
and Australia. Alex co-wrote with Cyndi Lauper for her film,
"Off and Running," and co-produced songs of hers recorded by
Martha Wash and Joey Lawrence.

Alex received a Creative Writing degree from Stanford University,
and was mentored in the art and craft of pop songwriting by the
legendary Doc Pomus ("This Magic Moment," "Save The Last Dance
For Me").

Back to Menu

=================================================================

    " O N   S I T E "   F E A T U R E D   A R T I C L E :

-----------------------------------------------------------------
MP3s in the Car (© 2006) - By Jerry Flattum
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001038.html

Digital technology is increasingly going mobile. Sales of iPods
and other portable digital audio players--most using the MP3
format--are soaring, with digital downloads nearly tripling in
2005 over 2004. Going mobile means far more than listening to
music while jogging or standing in line at the bank. Going mobile
means playing MP3s (and other audio formats) in the car, van,
truck, RV and even a boat.

-------

Protecting Your Rights In the Digital Age - Part 2 (© 2006)
By Guy Betar
http://musesmuse.com/columnistsgreylogs/archives/00001050.html

This is the second article in the series that looks at helping
you, as an artist and/or performer, understand your rights, and
how to protect them, particularly in agreements. 
================================================================= C l a s s i f i e d s & U s e f u l S e r v i c e s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- BUILD A BUZZ AT INDIE-MUSIC.COM FOR ONLY $5/MONTH Artists: Why join Indie-Music.com? I-M has been spotlighting the best in independent music since 1996, featuring Articles, Interviews, Reviews, Charts, & Streaming Audio in all musical styles. Member Artists receive generous promotion on the I-M website (2.5 million+ hits per month) plus access to our famous original DIY resources, which have helped numerous musicians book thousands of dollars worth of work over the years. For a limited time, new annual Members receive free Lyricist and TrackNotes software value $69.95). There's never been a better time to join I-M! http://www.indie-music.com/join2.php ----------------------------------------------------------------- THE 7th EDITION OF THE INDIE BIBLE IS NOW AVAILABLE! The Indie Bible shows you where to get your music reviewed, your songs played, and your CDs sold. Now in its Seventh Edition, The Indie Bible has 330 pages of valuable contacts and music-related articles. The 7th Edition of the Indie Bible contains: 4200 publications around the world that will REVIEW your CD! 3400 radio stations around the world that will PLAY your songs! 500 vendors and services that will help you to SELL your music! 200 sites where you can UPLOAD your band's MP3 files! 500 helpful resources and sites where you can PROMOTE your band! 52 articles that will help your career to MOVE forward rapidly! Listings include web, e-mail and physical address, as well as phone and fax numbers. For details and to order online visit: http://www.bigmeteor.com/muse ----------------------------------------------------------------- REAL ANSWERS TO REAL QUESTIONS, An eBook About Copyright & Publishing If you want to know how to protect yourself as a songwriter in this digital age, you need this book - EXCLUSIVELY offered through The Muse's Muse. And it's now on sale for half price! Visit http://www.musesmuse.com/realarealq.html to learn more! ================================================================= ADVERTISING RATES: For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 8 lines, where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. Write to: editor@musesmuse.com For Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising opportunities, please see http://www.musesmuse.com/media.html . Back to Menu
================================================================= C o n t a c t I n f o & C r e d i t s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Jodi Krangle ............................................. EDITOR Kathryn Obenshain ...........................GRACIOUS PROOFREADER ----------------------------------------------------------------- The Muse's News is a free monthly newsletter for and about songwriters. Subscribers are welcome to recirculate or reprint The Muse's News for nonprofit use as long as the appropriate credit is given and the ENTIRE text of the newsletter is included (including credits and information at the end of each issue). Others should contact me at editor@musesmuse.com. All articles copyrighted by their authors. Back issues and other information will be available at: http://www.musesmuse.com/musenews.html The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters: http://www.musesmuse.com/ For further information, send your e-mail to: ----------------------------------------------------------------- adinfo@musesmuse.com - How to place a classified ad, pass on market information or sponsor The Muse's News. info@musesmuse.com - How to subscribe, unsubscribe, etc. editor@musesmuse.com - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc. SNAILMAIL: Please contact me first at editor@musesmuse.com ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Back issues of the newsletter can be read at the National
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