Northern Summer  

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Gavin
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11/07/2019 5:20 pm  

This needs work, and I'm not entirely sure that it's worth the effort . What do you think?

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NEIL COTTON
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12/07/2019 8:32 am  

Totally just an opinion...the music doesn't feel right ... hesitant, harsh...hard to explain sorry. Try an light acoustic guitar treatment , no piano....?????


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Gavin
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12/07/2019 8:41 am  

I think you are probably right, Neil. I played around with various musical settings and wasn't really happy with any of them ūüôĀ

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JAPOV
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13/07/2019 2:20 pm  

I think if you delete your current harmonica track and just try playing little "accents" between lines/verses it would make a huge difference ¬†ūüôā¬†

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Jenny Stokes
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13/07/2019 6:57 pm  

Love the waves. Reminds me of home. The way the harmonica comes in at 1:30 is great. I think you could cut back on the harmonica and, as Tony says, use it in the open places of the song (like at 1:30). It's competing with your vocal in other places so look for that. Then, with a parred back arrangement you'll need to add something to the chorus to make it stand out from the rest of the arrangement. You ask is it worth pursuing? Yes, absolutely. It's potentially gorgeous, Gavin. Can you post the lyrics?

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NEIL COTTON
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13/07/2019 8:06 pm  

yes I would like to see the lyrics...I think you have with the right instrumentation and mix a potentially good song.


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Gavin
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13/07/2019 8:53 pm  

Your wish is my command...

NORTHERN SUMMER
(Words & Music by Gavin Sinclair)

The night when we ran naked into the sea
In the lingering light of a northern summer God made just for you and for me
We lay on a rock and I felt you breathing
As the water ran down in little streams
Over your shivering skin and into my dreams

Do you remember how it was?
Just kids and just because
We were in love, I was in awe
Of how beautiful you were

Now here I stand, with the waves kissing the sand
In the dying light of that long-ago summer, where I reach out and touch your hand
I sit on the rock and I feel you breathing
Where the water ran down in little streams
Over your shivering skin and into my dreams

I remember how it was?
Just kids and just because
We were in love, I was in awe
Of how beautiful you were

I may or may not be an enigma
http://mysteriousbeings.com


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NEIL COTTON
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14/07/2019 10:44 am  

Re the lyrics
We lay on a rock and I felt you breathing... respectfully, this doesn't sound too romantic to me

Then lying next to you I saw you breathing 

As the water streams over your shivering skin

Into my dreams

 Given that the title it is only said once

Now here I stand, with the waves kissing the sand
In recall the night of that NORTHERN summer, where I reach out and touch your hand
Now I  sit where we lay still seeing you breathing 

As the water streams over your shivering skin

Into my dreams

This post was modified 4 months ago by NEIL COTTON

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NEIL COTTON
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14/07/2019 10:57 am  

I also think the title should be in a more prominent place.

In the dying light of that Northern Summer
We ran naked to the sea God meant for you and me

Recalling  that night of that Northern Summer
Those same waves kiss the sand where I reached out touching your hand

This post was modified 4 months ago 3 times by NEIL COTTON

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Gavin
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14/07/2019 11:09 am  

Thanks Neil. The line was originally "We lay on a rock and I watched you breathing" and then, in the second verse " I sat on that rock and I felt you breathing," the idea being that he can no longer see her, of course, but he can feel her presence. Maybe I should go back to that.

I see what you are getting at with your other suggestions too, but don't you think spelling it out with "I recall the night..." and "Now I sit where we lay still seeing you breathing" makes it a little too obvious. I don't go for obscurity, but I think the implied shift from past to present is pretty easy to follow, especially with the words "long-ago," and adds to the enjoyment. I could be wrong about that, of course.

I was going more for sensual than romantic. Is the rock the problem? In my mind, I saw one of those big flat rocks at the edge of the sea that are exposed at low tide. This might not be obvious. I agree that it would not be romantic or sensual if the listener were to imagine a jagged rock. 

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NEIL COTTON
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14/07/2019 2:57 pm  

i edited my last post...repetition of title or creating the hook is basic to a writing a solid song.

 


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Gavin
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14/07/2019 3:27 pm  
Posted by: NEIL COTTON

i edited my last post...repetition of title or creating the hook is basic to a writing a solid song.

 

Totally agree with you in most cases, Neil. Not so much with the title thing - in my opinion, that's a rule made to be broken, not for its own sake, but if it gets in the way of the song - but about the hook. I have a tendency to pick the most evocative line or image from the song as the title, rather than a hook, which probably suggests I don't have a good enough hook.

This song is dreamy, kind of a musical poem, I suppose, and my view is that songs like that don't need such a strong hook. That may just be an excuse I am feeding myself, of course.

Thanks for all your input, Neil. I has given me something to think about. I appreciate it.

I may or may not be an enigma
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Gavin
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31/07/2019 1:05 pm  

I took everyone's advice about paring back the harmonica and made one or two other changes. An improvement?

I might try following Neil's advice about the overall arrangement, but for now I've left the piano in there. 

I may or may not be an enigma
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Gary E. Andrews
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01/08/2019 7:30 am  

I read somewhere that one of the most common rejection reasons given by publishers and other industry consumers is, "Not enough contrast between Verse and Chorus."
"Northern Summer" may have that flaw. 
The function of a Verse is to do 'Exposition', telling the story, setting the scene, setting up for the more cogent point to be delivered in the Lyric of the Chorus. 
The Chorus, to be effective, generally rises in pitch, sounding more emotionally urgent, as the Lyric delivers the 'punchline' of the joke, the gist of the Singer-Character's 'complaint' or feeling about the situation 'Exposed' in the Verse or Verses leading up to it.

You use a lengthy Instrumental Bridge (45 seconds?) after the first Verse/Chorus, but it doesn't emphasize Melody from Verse or Chorus, or stand out much on its own merits. Enjoyable, but not outstandingly distinctive. Overall time 3:35.

The repeat of Verse/Chorus, again, both in that lower 'Register' of pitch and emotion, don't have much 'Hook-Factor' to keep listeners tuned in. 

The last Line of the Verse seems to intuit a 'lift' a bit toward the more emotional Register of the Chorus. 

But the Chorus Lyric seems like 'Expositional' content more than THE point of the Song/story. 

THE Hook generally is in the Chorus, a Line that sums up, succinctly, the point of the Song, making it the obvious title. You've selected "Northern Summer" from the Verses as the title. It doesn't stand out in the Melody or the Lyric as being the point, although reading it I can see it is summary of the Lyric. 

A brief Vocal Bridge moving up into that more emotional Register could help, emphasizing "Northern Summer" as the main idea. 
If THE Hook were sung brightly at the end of each giving of the Chorus, repeated two or three times that too might suffice. Ideally though, I think the whole of the Chorus needs to move up into more urgent emotion, if the Lyric can be perceived as meriting more urgency in the Singer-Character.

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Gavin
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01/08/2019 12:24 pm  

Thanks for your detailed comments, Gary. I always really appreciate the time and care that you take when offering your suggestions.

I'm not sure how much some of your remarks apply to this particular song. What I set out to do was to paint a picture and create a kind of dreamy atmosphere - no exposition. In fact, I made a conscious decision to avoid any storyline, character development or anything that could distract from the image of the sea and the young couple. The pleasure, if there is any to be gained in listening to it, is meant to come from these pictures, maybe the listener's own memories or just a feeling that it would be nice to be there, experiencing what the singer is experiencing. A kind of sensuous wistfulness. I'm afraid that if I injected a sense of urgency into the chorus, I might break that mood. I'm not saying it works or doesn't work, just explaining why I did it the way that I did, leaving the chorus a bit understated.

I think you make a good point about the length of the musical interlude (I'm not sure I'd call it a bridge). It is meant to develop the mood with the wistful harmonica, but it could be half the length. A vocal bridge is something that I had thought of too, but haven't yet come up with something I am happy with. I could also do a spoken word thing over the music. What I want to avoid is explaining too much. I don't want to explain what happened to the girl, what the singer has been through in the intervening years or fill in details. I want the song just to be about that image of the two of them lying side by side, sharing his memory at that moment.

I've used this structure once before - verse, chorus, extended musical interlude, verse (slightly modified), chorus (slightly modified). I did it in a song called Carolina Nights, where my aim was also just to create an atmosphere and share the singer's feelings, in this case just a sense of wonder at the beauty around him. Maybe I'll share that as a new topic and broaden the discussion to different or unusual song structures.

I may or may not be an enigma
http://mysteriousbeings.com


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