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A lot of the time, the student has no particular goal beyond “do this assignment.” So then the critique needs to get creative. I like to ask: If this track is a film or game score, what’s happening in the scene? Students have a lot of implicit knowledge in this area from their own media consumption, so I get wonderfully specific and unexpected answers to this, i.e., “It’s a bar fight in a domed underwater city.” Then we can figure out, how could the track more strongly convey the feeling of a bar fight in a domed underwater city?
In essence, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is an example of this structure. It’s the same melody again and again, but with different lyrics. Another famous example might be “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan.
Contrary to the beliefs of most musicians who are inexperienced in recording, extra noise isn’t always easily fixed during the mixing process. Besides, wouldn’t you want your mixing engineer to be more focused on improving your song rather than trying to fix it?
We see this all the time in genres like heavy metal for instance, which is often characterized by lots of jagged edges, sharp corners, and bold, aggressive lettering to reflect that shock element, and the loud, distorted, screeching aspects of the music. In the punk tradition as well, there’s a long history of using found lettering such as newspaper headings, stencil style design, and typewriter font, to convey the DIY ethos of the music; rough, fast, borrowed, or stolen. This has been the case since The Sex Pistols and Rancid and continues through to this day.
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