What I like to do first is to prepare a chord chart for the song so that everyone can follow along. This is as simple as using any old word processing program to type in the lyrics and the chords. Once I do that, I'll print it out though and write in the measure numbers by hand.
|I try to make it fit on one page, but|
if it doesn't, no big deal
I think it's a good idea to prepare a chord chart rather than just wing it from memory. And it certainly pays off if you go through the chord chart several times to make sure it's correct. I don't know how many times I've been lazy and not taken the time to proof it and ended up writing down the measure number wrong, or done something like count the measures incorrectly.
Here are the lyrics and chords:
Makeinu by Megumi Matsumae Intro A B x2 Verse 1 A B I don't wanna be your girlfriend A B I don't wanna be your maid A B My life has reached dead end A B And you just wanna get laid A E I'm more than just a womb A E It might as well be a tomb A B What's the point of education? A B when you're tuned out by a nation B Bb A Chorus C#m A E Nihon, you have failed your daughters Nihon, you have broken all your promises Are you happy with what you've taught her? You will pay with all your accomplices C#m A x3 I'd rather be I'd rather be E A ~ B ~ A (slide into it) x4 Makeinu Makeinu Makeinu Verse 2 A B I don't wanna make your dinner A B I don't wanna clean your home A B I won't be holding your slippers A B and waiting here while you roam A E My job should be more lofty A E than bringing you your goddamn coffee A B What's the point of education? A B when you're tuned out by a nation B Bb A Chorus Solo Verse 3 A B I'll make a speech in the Diet A B You can shower me with jeers A B You can try to keep me quiet A B I swear you'll be the one in tears A E I'm more than just a womb A E It might as well be a tomb A B What's the point of education? A B when you're tuned out by a nation B Bb A Chorus
The reason why it's so important to me to make sure there are no mistakes in the chord chart and that all the measures are numbered correctly is because I use that to lay down the drum part. So the actual recording is done in another program, not the Vocaloid 3 editor. I use a program called Sonar X1. I've been using Sonar (by Cakewalk) for a long time. I used to use this program called Digital Orchestrator Pro, which I really loved, but it was a 16 bit program, and when Microsoft moved on to Windows 95, they did not further develop it into a 32 bit program, so I knew it was basically dead. So I migrated to Cakewalk. They upgrade the program every year, but I don't think it's necessary to constantly buy a new version.
There are many multi-track recording software out there. You don't need to spend $300+ if you're just getting into it. Entry level programs are usually around $50 or less, which I think it pretty reasonable. Cakewalk has an entry level program called Music Creator if you want to go with Cakewalk but don't want to spend a lot of money on their Sonar line.
Whatever program you choose, I strongly recommend that you pick one that can display the time in measures/bars. Songs are structured that way, and it makes it so much easier to be able to go to, say, bar 32 where the chorus starts. There are some programs out there (geared more towards audio recording and not necessarily song recording) that keep track using mm:ss, which to me seems more useful if you were working on a soundtrack for a film or something. Just something to think about.
For this song, the tempo is 136 bpm. Remember, when it comes time to create the vocals in Vocaloid, you will need to set the tempo in the Vocaloid editor to match this!
To build the drum track, I like to use drum loops--specifically, Acidized drum loops. Acid loops contain extra information to make it easy to do things like change the tempo and repeat the loop. My go to drum loops are by Drums on Demand. When I create the drum track, I like the have a crash cymbal at the start of a new section (like the verse or chorus) and I like to have a drum fill at the end of every section. I will sometimes also do this if the chorus is really made up of multiple sections, like with a pre-chorus or post-chorus. Megumi likes to hear the changes so she knows when a section change is coming up!
Once the drum part is built, Megumi will record a scratch track for the guitar. For this, I pulled out the old Guitar Port to record the guitar. It is not necessary to make this perfect at this point. No audio processing is done at this point, either. I just want a rudimentary backing track to lay down vocals to. Further down the road, Megumi might want to change guitars if she wants a different sound.
Yasuko doesn't like to record her bass yet until after the vocals are done because she likes to play off of the vocals. Of course, Megumi, after hearing the bass, sometimes will want to change her guitar part or her vocals, and then Yasuko will want to re-record her bass, and then I have to put a stop to it, otherwise it never ends! See, that's the thing--the song you first come up with may be really, really different in the end. That's because what you add to it is based on what was added previously. So if you're recording a track to a certain drum and bass part, what you record is specific to what you are hearing. If the drum and bass part changes, I guarantee you, your track will change in response to that. That's what makes creating music so exciting I think. Because it's always fluid, always changing in response to a specific environment.
So, with a basic scratch track done for drums and backing guitars, I can now export the audio so I can import that into the Vocaloid 3 editor and have Megumi lay down her vocals, which I will leave for next time!
Until then, keep rocking!