Dr. David Mitchell is a music composer and educator in Atlanta, Georgia. He holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) in Music Composition and Theory; Master of Music Composition and a Bachelor Degree in Guitar Performance, all from the University of Georgia.
“River Run” captures the spirit of a wild, white water rafting trip in the summer of 2017. My family and I took a guided tour down the Ocoee River, specifically a section built for the 1996 Olympic Games, which runs through the Ocoee Gorge in the Chattahoochee National Forest. It features the longest stretch of class III and IV rapids in the country. We had a great time, but the raft overturned throwing us into fast moving rapids with sharp rocks. We came out of it unscathed, but it was a harrowing experience none the less.
Xylophone and marimba create the feeling of swift currents underlying foreboding melodic contours. Splashy percussion sounds like waves crashing on rocks, while three distinct melodic themes represent specific rapids on the Ocoee.
“River Run” features progress tonality meaning it starts in the key of C Phrygian and ends in the key of G minor without returning to the original key. This technique was made popular in the 19th century by romantic composers including Mahler, Schubert, Chopin, Brahms and Mendelssohn.
Click on the photo below or here to watch the video.
My latest pop tune, “Ice Cream”, was inspired by Rick James and Prince. It’s an electro-funk composition with a super catchy beat.
This is my first pop tune available on all major streaming services, see the links below to check it out.
I thought I’d share what I learned about the process.
The publication process:
Have it mixed and mastered professionally. It makes a difference, especially when streaming on different platforms. The mastering engineer will add correct metadata, so it can be tracked and monetized.
Register it with either BMI or ASCAP. I’m a member of ASCAP. They will give you a registration number connected to the metadata in your track.
Publish it through CD Baby or any other publishing company. CD Baby charges a one-time, $35 fee for a single or $50 for an album. They’ll need your registration number from ASCAP or BMI to track downloads and streaming.
Once it’s published, it’ll can take several days or several weeks for your song to first appear on Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Tidal and all the rest. CD Baby will track the streams for you and send a check each quarter.
Next, you got to promote it through paid advertising, digital radio, terrestrial radio and/or social media. That’s where the real work begins. Nobody will find it unless you push it.
I created this PowerPoint for HUM 125: Popular Music in America. It covers Chapter 9 in Michael Campbell’s textbook entitled Popular Music in America: The Beat Goes On. It contains links to listening examples and covers rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s, the search for the first rock ‘n’ roll record.
I created these slides for HUM 125, a humanities course at the Atlanta Institute of Music and Media. It focuses on popular music since 1950 in America. These slides go with the book by Michael Campbell entitled “Popular Music In America: The Beat Goes On”. There are listening links to all examples and much more. This particular set of slides covers chapter 1 in the book, which discusses style elements and active listening using Maybellene by Chuck Berry.
This piece started out as a variation on “Clapping Music” by Steve Reich and quickly became something totally different. It was created using a step sequencer object in MAX filtered using a Lemur app in Ableton. I added percussion and a second synth part in Pro Tools. The open-source video is by Brad Bell. Enjoy!
Here’s an interesting rendition of Steve Reich’s “Clapping Music”. If your unfamiliar with this piece, it’s two identical rhythmic patterns in 12/8 time. They start at the same time, but after eight measures, the second pattern starts an eighth note later putting them “out of phase”. You can see this happening in the matrix object in the video. The phasing process is repeated every eight measures (creating some very interesting rhythmic interplay) until they become “in phase” once again. I plan to create a series of variations using this particular Max patch.
This piece is typically performed with real musicians. I decided to create an electronic patch as an experiment to learn more about MAX and its matrix object. Once the patch has been created, it’s a snap to adjust the matrix and create new rhythmic patterns.
Prince fans, take heart. According to an article on HuffPo, a surprise new EP containing six unreleased tracks recorded between 2006 and 2008 will be released this Friday, April 21, 2017. It will be available on Apple Music, and the title track, “Deliverance” is already available to stream on a number of services.
The producer, Ian Boxill has been working on this music over the last year and planned the release to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Prince’s Death. Paisley Park and Prince’s estate have filed a lawsuit claiming the producer is “trying to exploit one or more songs for his personal gain”.
We’ll see what happens. I’m just glad we have some new tunes from The Purple One!
I wanted to share an arrangement of “When You Wish Upon A Star”. I did this particular arrangement in roughly 2008, while working on my masters degree in music composition and theory at The University of Georgia.
It’s a tremolo arrangement, which seems to work nicely with this piece.
Since it’s still under copy write with Disney, I can’t sell copies, but feel free to download it and enjoy!
If you work it up and perform it somewhere in the future, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Composing a melody by singing is a method that has been used by many of the greatest melodists. The reasons are obvious:
By singing it’s more likely that your melody will be generated from the deepest and most personal well of creativity within you. If you simply work out a melody with your fingers at the piano, you are less likely to be connecting with that innermost musical place.
Singing your melody helps you to better understand its structure (contour, climax etc.) in terms of the primal melodic instrument: the human voice.
Singing engages your body, and the body is the primal rhythm instrument. As a result, your melody is likely to be more rhythmically effective and interesting.
Melodies and even simple figures or motives that can be easily sung are more likely to be accessible to the average Joe and Jane. (This may be one reason why vocal forms are ubiquitous in both folk and popular music.) It’s especially useful to sing when composing a vocal melody.
Many (if not most) of the great composers did not write at an instrument. We may not know whether they sang their melodies as they composed, but it’s a good bet that they were “virtually” singing them by mentally hearing them.
The same is also true of many if not most of the great popular songwriters. For example, musical theater composer Richard Rodgers, one of the greatest melodists of the 20th century, wrote his songs by singing the melody while playing chords on the piano. John Lennon and Paul McCartney composed their tunes by singing them while playing their guitars.
Many of the greatest jazz pianists, such as Bud Powell and Keith Jarrett, vocalize while improvising (same principle).
Convinced it’s worth a try? Follow these steps, one at a time, to engage your virtual or actual voice when composing a melody:
First try hearing your melody inside your head (without actually singing it) and notate it without playing it on your instrument, if you can. This requires a pretty good musical ear, but that is easy enough to develop. By the way, don’t worry about the chords at first. It’s generally better – at least from a melodic perspective – to let the melody dictate the harmony rather than allowing harmonic demands to interfere with the organic nature of the melody.
If the above feels too challenging, sing your melody out loud and notate it without playing it on your instrument.
Finally, easiest – but last, because it’s tempting to get lost in your established compositional habits – sing your melody, then learn to play it on your instrument, then notate it.
I was honored last week to have the opportunity to present my music marketing research at the 2016 College Music Society National Conference in Santa Fe. My wife, Jennifer Jones-Mitchell, President of Brandware PR, and I participated in the poster presentation format in the main exhibition hall. We met some amazing, talented professors and musicians representing colleges from across the USA. My wife was able to share her immense expertise and inspire attendees to take advantage of social media resources to reach a global audience.
Our research features case studies of creative marketing campaigns, streaming services, music licensing data and much more. Have a look at the SlideShare below and don’t hesitate to reach out to me or my wife with questions or comments. Feel free to share as well.
For expert PR advice, contact Jennifer Jones-Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org