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Composition advice from Prince

Here’s a nifty nugget from an unexpected place.  From Elle Magazine’s cover story comes a quote by Gwen Stefani recalling some advice that Prince gave her:

Prince, who is one of my idols, gave me some advice when I worked with him: “Have you ever just tried writing a hit? Like, don’t just try writing a song, try and write a hit song.”

A worthy goal for any composition endeavor.

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Joined ASCAP

I’ve always thought these performance rights organizations were one step removed from the mob.  Tons o’ money sloshing around, some incredibly powerful legislation and court cases at their back, a near monopoly on the services they provide.

But they also provide great resources and the main way for composers to earn income for performances of their works.

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Upgraded to Sibelius 6

After years and years of using Sibelius 1.4 for my notation software, I finally upgraded it to Sibelius 6. So far, with only a week of using the upgrade, I’m pretty impressed.

Before the Dynamic Parts feature, you would extract parts into separate files and then worry about syncing them back up with the score file if you made any changes in a given part. No more! The Dynamic Parts keeps all your separate parts within the master score file and changes are reflected throughout. Awesome.

Also you can track versions within a single file. I used to save about three or four copies of a file each day I worked on it, just “in case” I wanted to go back to before making a major change. No more!

I will need to spend a lot more time working on it to get fully used to it. They changed some of the keyboard shortcuts, so I make some input mistakes with my old keyboard habits ingrained.

But still, more than 10 years later, I have no regrets about switching from Finale. For most things, I find Sibelius to be vastly easier to work with.

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Argh! Curse of the composer

Anyone steeped in a trade pays attention to certain details that don’t bother most people.

As a composer, I have a hard time getting past when artists ruin an otherwise excellent song by mispronouncing the words. Here’s two current pop songs that drive me nuts:

1. “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. The lyric is “I won’t hesitate.” But he says it as “I. Won’t. Hes-. AH-. Tate.” (over and over and over and over again, first instance around 0:58) Argh!

2. “These Words” by Natasha Bedingfield. Her lyric is “No hyperbole to hide behind.” She says it as “hyper-bowl.” Argh! (At about 2:16).

It’s a shame because they are otherwise incredibly catchy songs.

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