Tag Archives: voice over studio

19 Jul

Studying a brass band

What is a brass band?

brass band is a large ensemble made up completely of brass instruments. A brass band often haspercussion. Many brass bands have entered a Sydney recording studio or a Sydney voice over studio in various formats.

The British style brass band

The traditional British brass band consists of 28 players including percussion. Consequently a brass band typically has the following line up:

  • The soprano cornet is in E♭.
  • There are 9 Cornets in B♭. Cornets have separate parts for ‘Solo’, ‘Repiano’, 2nd and 3rd cornets. There are 4 players on the ‘Solo’ part. 1 Repiano, two 2nd, and two 3rd.
  • 1 Flugal horn in B♭ (notated on the same part as the ‘Repiano’ in some older music).
  • 3 Tenor horns in E♭ (called Solo, 1st and 2nd).
  • Baritone Horns are in B♭.
  • 2 Tenor trombones are in Bb.
  • 1 Bass trombone is in concert pitch. The bass trombone is the only brass instrument in the band notated in Concert Pitch (C) on Bass Clef.
  • Euphoniums are in B♭. These instruments usually play the same part with divisi sections.
  • Tubas are in Eb and Bb.
  • Percussion players are in every brass band.  >There are 2 or more timpani, glockenspiel, snare drum, triangle, cymbls, a drum kit and more.

Almost all of the instruments are conical-bore. Above all, this gives the classic British-style brass  bright, yet mellow tone. The two instrument exeptions are Trombone and Baritone. Furthermore, all notation except for Bass Trombone and percussion are written in Treble Clef. Similarly, the alto horn in E♭ is more commonly named the tenor horn in British bands. A good Sydney voice over studio will use the right mics and equipment to capture the mellow tones of a British Brass Band.

Competitions throughout the country

The brass band tradition in Britain has attained a very high standard because it is asscociated with many competitions. These competitions usually revolve around local communities and work groups. In the 1930s brass bands reached a pincale with around 20 000 bands operating in the country. British-style brass bands ar not just restricted to Great Britain. These bands are widespread throughout  Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and many European countries.  They are also found in North America. In all of these countries there are anual competitions, hence keeping the standards quite high. Furthermore, they quite often enter a Sydney recording studio to lay down this traditional style.

Salvation army bands

In Sydney Australia The Salvation Army have various bands throughout the región.  The Salvos have employed brass bands since the 1870,s. Salvos bands continue to be an integral part of that branch of the Church. The most famous Salvation Army brass band is The International Staff Band which is located in London.

Salvation Army bands have different sizes and formats because of the limited and varied availability of members. Some bands only have 5 or 6 members. The bands still have the same basic instrumentation of Cornets, baritones, tenor horns and trombones. Sometimes they have a euphonium.  The style and line up varies depending on the recording studio.

Balkan brass bands

The Balkans have their own distinctive Brand of brass bands that began in the mid 19th century.  Military bands in Turkey would compose and arrange folk music into the brass band format. Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria and Northern Greece all have these types of brass bands. The music is faster and more frantic than the british style. A percussion instrument called the Kolo accompanies Balkan bands. Goran Bregović and Boban Marković Orkestar are two very popular and highly recorded Balkan brass bands.

Fanfare orchestras

Fanfare orchestras opérate in mainland Europe in France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. They differ from the British bands in that they have saxophones in the instrumentation. Fanfare orchestras have their origin in military music. There are also civilian fanfare orchestras.

New Orleans style brass bands

Brass bands are also a central part of New Orleans culture. They stem back to the military bands of the French blending with the sounds of the African workers.

Tuba, trombones, trumpets, clarinet/saxophone, snare drum, and bass drum make up the band. New Orleans brass bands are portable and flexible. This has allowed them to move from the streets and into Ballrooms, concert halls, and various festivals.

Brief History of New Orleans Brass bands:

There were mixed-race Creoles and sometimes coloured people who had freedom. As a result, Brass bands came together naturally. In the first years after Emancipation in 1865, the first black brass bands began entertaining at events. The events were funerals, baseball games, and other festivals. Consequently, by 1900 bands such as Excelsior and Onward were popular.

Furthermore, the New Orleans brass band was mixed with a new musical form that began around the turn of the century. Jazz music was derived from ragtime, blues, spirituals, and marche. It focussed on improvisation,, rhythmic syncopation and repetition.  The brass band was a formative influence on; Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Similarly, jazz bands, including those of Buddy Bolden and Kid Ory, doubled as brass bands. Jazz bands sometimes substituted the rhythm section of piano, bass, and banjo for tuba and drums. As a result, jazz performance styles influenced the New Orleans brass band.

Above all, the Sydney band Hot Potatoe have made the style popular in Australia. Hot Potatoe have recorded various times in a Sydney Recording studio or Sydney Voice over Studio.

 

 

28 May

How much does a voice over artist make?

 

Know your facts and figures.

Budding voice over artists often ask the question:  “how much to voice over actors get paid”. There is a simple answer to this question. The industry standard is quite a good protection mechanism for those working hard in a Sydney Voice over studio. The answer to that question is found in the industry recognised rate card. https://www.meaa.org/download/commercial-voiceover-rates/. This was developed over the years by the communications council of Australia in conjunction with the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance. Annually is really up to the individual. Obviously it is not a salary or wages job and you are paid per performance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, though, radio and television announcers made around  $35,360 in 2017 and voice over actors made roughly $17.50 per hour.

This rate card outlines the minimum rate for Voice over Artists in Australia and covers all uses of studio voice over work including: Television, internet and even phone holding services.

If you have set your heart on becoming a voice over artist and long to enter a Sydney Voice Over studio, these are the rates that you should aim for. Many people have tried to undercut the industry. and there has been some heated debate over the years about how much one should charge. Ultimately it is ethical to stick to the rates outlined in the rate card and better for your bottom dollar! Voice over actors work hard like any other industry professionals. 

Below are some examples of jobs you might have as a voice over artist.

Television / Internet advertisement 

Lets take a keen young voice over enthusiast named Eric for example.

Eric has studied all his favourite voice over actors and has practiced tirelessly.

Furthermore, he advertises his services on Gum Tree and social media. Eric emails various studios around Sydney. He calls certain contacts in the industry and pitches his services to them.

John gives Eric a call to read a 45 second long script for a television advertisement. The advertisement will be aired on Facebook and other social media outlets for 3 weeks. John tells Eric that Fee for this voice over job is around $700. Further more, television pays slightly higher, especially when there are multimedia outlets and different mediums. If it was just a TV voiceover gig it would pay closer to $550. TV differs from Radio in that the rate is based per script rather than per total job. You should bear this in mind when charging and invoicing.

Sydney voice over studios search often for new talent to post on their websites.

One of the most prominent Sydney Voice over studios is Crash Symphony Productions. They regularly record advertisements for television, youtube, facebook and countless other mediums. They are a top Sydney Recording Studio and record everything from Bands to orchestras, dialogue sections for movies, novels and jingles.

Radio advertisement

A local radio station gives Eric a call and asks for 4 x 35 second snippets promoting different ranges of products for a large department store.   Eric gets booked for a voice over at a commercial radio station. The ads will run for 1 month on radio in Sydney and rural NSW. The advertisement is for pesticides and chemicals. Eric has researched the product and is familiar with it. 

The number of scripts can vary for different types of calls and jobs. You might have to read up to 5 scripts or as little as 1. The rate for 1 to 5 scripts for one company is the same. Be aware that the rate can vary slightly depending on what state the advertisements are played in. The rate for a job like this based in Sydney and rural NSW is around $450. Crash Symphony productio

Holding message for a phone loop

You might be called into a voice over studio to record a simple “please hold the line, your call is valuable to us” message. Phone messages pay slightly less than TV and radio but are a simple and short job. You might only require 20 or 30 minutes in the studio if you know what you’re doing! The voice over rate is around $200 for this sort of call out. Be prepared to hear your voice on some random phone cycle many, many times! It may not be very glamorous, but as a voice over artist this is the sort of work you might be asked to do. Crash Symphony productions offer a variety of jobs. 

I’m super keen to follow through so where do I start?

You need to set realistic goals as a voice over artist. In other words a Voice over artist will always progress with persistence and practice. The voice over industry is very competitive. With the right training and listening you can develop your skill and get a good reputation for yourself. Model yourself on other voice over actors.  You create a career for yourself in any major city with hard work. Local radio stations always search for up an coming voice over artists. Some voice over artists get started on local radio for free and get a feel for reading out advertisements and announcements. Similarly this could even lead to you being a full time radio jockey. Crash symphony productions is a great studio. First of all, a voice over artist is a flexible person. 

Above all, you want to be doing a job you love. Don’t expect to be pulling in $50 000 dollars in your first year. Income like that takes years to build up. With patience and practice you can begin to expand your opportunities and get a reputation in various voice over studios. Crash Symphony Productions has a website that is viewed by hundreds of companies and clients who want particular sounding voices. You should record a demo. Clients are searching for new voice over artists constantly. When you have the demo of various styles ready to go, you can approach a Sydney Sound Studio and ask to be put up on their website.

16 May

Big Band Music

What is a Big Band?

Big Band Music is a essentially a jazz derived large ensemble form that has 10 or more members and is divided into four sections: Trumpets, trombones, saxophones and a rhythm section. Rhythm sections are comprised of Bass (usually upright), piano, drums and sometimes guitar.

Early Big Band music appeared soon after 1910 and rose to prominence in the 30’s and 40’s when dance swing bands were akin to popular music. For this reason, the name “Big Band” is often associated with this era. A problem that arises from this definition of course is that Big Bands since that time right up until today play a huge variety of music. Some of it is Avant-Gard and experimental. Other forms are very be-bop and hard bop based with complex harmonies and melody lines.

A main difference between Big Band music and a small jazz ensemble is that they are more focussed and unified around the arrangement. In other words, the individual soloist takes less priority. The leader is usually a conductor and in this way it is similar to classical music. Unification of the band makes it like a large football team and they must all work together to get the job done.

The instrumentation:

Trumpets – 1st lead  – specialises in brilliant high notes and is the most audible voice of the entire band).  2nd Trumpet – usually the primary soloist, 3rd trumpet – plays harmonies. 4th trumpet – often doubles lead trombone or trumpet one octave lower.

Some super bands have been known to have 5 or even 6 trumpets like the Duke Ellington band of various eras.

Saxophones: lead tenor, 2nd tenor, lead alto, 2nd alto and a baritone saxophone. Most of the saxophonists double on clarinet. Earlier Big Band Styles used clarinet quite often.

Trombones: 1st, 2nd, 3rd trombone and bass trombone.

Seating

Seating is usually arranged with 4 trumpets at the back, the trombones in the 2nd row and the saxophones in the front row. Often this will be on a tiered stage with the trumpets highest. The Rhythm section usually sits to the left of the band (stage right). With the conductor of course at the front often moving to the side when a soloist is featured.

Big Band music rhythm sections actually evolved into its current most common line up. In the 20’s and before, it was more common to have a banjo player than a guitarist. It was also more common to have a tuba player instead of a double bass player. The electrification of bass and guitar allowed for the more even balance. In fact, earlier big bands often had less wind instruments just because of the balance issues. Obviously in a Sydney Recording studio the format may vary to accomodate space issues and microphone technique.

An unusual lineup

The Fletcher Henderson orchestra of the 1920’s is an example of the variety of line ups that were in circulation prior to the popular standard line up. 

  • Alto Saxophone 
  • 2nd Alto Saxophone, Clarinet 
  • 3rd Alto Saxophone, Violin 
  • Bass 
  • Clarinet 
  • Drums 
  • Guitar 
  • Piano
  • 1st Tenor Saxophone 
  • 2nd Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet
  • Trombone 
  • Trumpet 
  • Tuba

History[edit]

Dance music

Until 1914, recreational dance in the USA was usually exemplified by European forms like, waltz, polka and square dancing. As jazz moved from the south up to Chicago and eventually New York City, different styles of dance moved with it. The evolution of dance can be followed in tandem with the evolution of the big band styles. Paul Whitman was a typical example of a band leader from a classical background that combined European elements of music an dance with evolving American styles.

Great soloists of jazz often found a home in a Big Band. This was a welcome relief from the lonely hours of practice and touring with small bands. Players like Coleman Hawkins and Louis Armstrong were epically famous as soloists and yet played in 14 piece orchestras quite often. The Count Basie band produced and nurtured such soloists as: Buck Clayton and Lester Young. Fletcher Henderson used Coleman Hawkins. Later on in the 50’s and 60’s, Stan Kenton had an orchestra with much more modern arrangements and soloists. Some of the great names that were associated with Kentons band were: Carl Fontanna, Frank Rosilino and Bill Watrous, Stan Getz, Maynard Fergeson. 

Competition and contraversey

The major bands considered mostly black of the 1930s included,Ellington’, Hines and Calloway, Chick Webb and Count Basie. “White” bands were Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey. Due to obvious racial and population bias, the latter became more famous for a long period of time and were very lucrative financially. “Black” bands however stood the test of time and to this day are known as the innovators and trail blazers of new styles. Benny Goodman’s early band was mixed and created quite a stir. He made a strong stance agains racial segregation and was a unifying force in big band music

Privileged white teenagers and young adults were the main listeners of the Big Bands in the 30s and 40s. They grooved to recordings on the radio and patronised live concert tours in the many “dance halls” that littered the countryside in almost every town. Often these bands would pause on tour and enter a Recording Studio. Many Big Band in Australia find themselves in a Sydney Recording Studio laying down the magic.

Modern big bands

Although big bands are associated with the 1930s and 40s swing era, they existed long after that period of time. Woody Herman in the 1940’s was already pushing the style envelope and moving the music away from dance to art. In the 50s, Kenton referred to his band as “progressive jazz”. He used his band as a mode for his modern compositions. He moved the boundaries of big bands by implying arrangers whose ideas about music clashed. Modern bands in Sydney include: The Sonic Mayhem Orchestra, the ABC swing era big band and the John Morrison band. All of these from time to time enter a Sydney Recording studio. The most popular forms of Big Band Still have a great voice artist to accompany them. Frank Sinatra is the father of this style. For a classic 1930’s Sydney Voice over studio experience contact Crash Symphony Productions. 

Other leaders utilised  Latin, Afro Cuban music with big band instrumentation, varying to include a lot of percussion. Gil Evans was famous for his use of Big Bands in movie music and used experimental line ups.  Europe adopted the big band line up and created many new sounds in later decades. Examples like the Vienna Art Orchestra started in 1977, and the Italian Instabile which operated in the 90s.

22 Apr

Voice Over Work – How to get started.

An Introduction to Voice Over work

Voice over work is extremely competitive. The recorded spoken word is all around us in the media that we consume. It is so ubiquitous in fact that we, as consumers of audio, take it for granted. As a result, getting a job as a voice over artist is challenging. Candidates mistakenly think that because they can speak they can also easily get into the industry and be good at it. It’s not that easy! In this article we are going to look at what it takes to be good at voice over work and how to get into the business.

Our studio, Crash Symphony Productions, has been recording the voice since 2006. We are uniquely located close to Australia’s two largest CBD’s: Sydney City and North Sydney. As a result recording the spoken word has become our thing! We are going to examine all the important boxes that need to be ticked in order to be successful in this competitive industry. Read on to learn more about how you can get into the voice over industry!

The Voice Over Showreel

The showreel is the most important element needed to get this kind of work. Investing in a good showreel is about 70% of what is required to get the work in the first place. Don’t try doing it yourself at home. It simply doesn’t work. Most clients will only listen to the first ten to twenty seconds of a voice over demo before either moving on to the next.

We always suggest that candidates start their voice over demo with a greeting. Introduce yourself and tell the potential client something about your voice. Make it super brief and then move on to the main produced content. Don’t put any music behind the introduction. Make it honest and clear. They need the opportunity to hear your true voice before getting into the meat of your showreel.

Fine Tuning the Demo

Once you move into the main body of the your showreel choose some ads that vary in style and genre. Business, TV commercials, phone greetings, radio announcements, and general acting scripts are all good examples of the mix that is required on a successful demo. If all the short components are the same you will be limiting your job opportunities. You should demonstrate that you are diverse and capable. Don’t make the mistake of making each element long. Each should be extremely short and they should cross-fade into each other. Maintaining the attention of the listener is the ultimate goal and very hard to do.

Most voice over showreels are a maximum of three minutes. Most clients will not listen to the entire demo so make sure that the best parts are at the beginning of the demo and not at the end. Using a professional studio, like Crash Symphony Productions, to create your demo will make a huge difference to your chances of success.

The quality of the demo is impacted by the recording facility. We are able to record your voice in a very quiet space where there are no intrusive noises that get on to the recording. Our microphones and recording equipment are extremely high-end. This means the audio quality is very good and your vocal will sound its absolute best on the showreel. Our engineers are also very experienced at recording scripts. We can guide you through the process by making sure that you get the best performance for each part of the demo.

The Tone of Your Voice

There’s no question about it – Some people just have the voice. There’s a natural tonal quality that comes with the anatomical geometry of every individual. Some voices just sound amazing. It may be a male with a deep and rich vocal tone or a female with a sweet and sexy tone. There’s no doubting that the natural tonal quality of your voice is going to make a difference to your chances of success. However, this is not as much of a major factor as people may initially anticipate. Other factors play a much more important role in the success of the talent. Read on to learn more!

The Clarity of Your Voice

Clarity of voice is something that needs to be worked on. We refer to this as diction. Making sure that all the t’s and s’s are pronounced properly is really important and very much a learned skill. People who have done extensive training in acting are usually very good at increasing the clarity of their voice through these trained skills.

There’s no doubt that the recording equipment has a significant impact on the clarity of the voice on a recording. It isn’t just the talent’s skill. A condenser microphone in a very quiet, acoustically inactive, and sonically impermeable space is the ideal place to record a voice over. The microphone’s proximity to the voice is critical to getting the clarity right, too. If the mouth is too close to the microphone the bass frequencies will be loud and this makes the voice sound muddy. Conversely, if it is too far away the detail will be lost, also. If the microphone is too low with respect to the oral cavity the harsh sibilant frequencies will be loud and shrill. All these audio engineering factors play a major role in the perceived clarity of the voice on the recording.

Understanding Vocal Inflections

Vocal inflections are an important part of creating tense in a voice over recording. An inflection is an upward or downward movement in the pitch of the voice during the reading of a passage. Upward inflections are an indicating to the listen that the passage or idea will continue. That it is NOT the end of the idea. Conversely, a downward inflection indicates the end of a passage. It is a kind of auditory full stop to the listener. Once a talent is aware of the importance of inflections it is easy to do. It is amazing how few people are aware of inflections. They are really important for creating a good voice over recording.

The overall dynamic and contour of the voice over passage is super important in retaining the attention of the listener and ultimately in selling the idea. Without vocal inflections in the appropriate places the read can sound very monotonous.

Reading Tempo

Tempo, or read-speed, is another aspect of voice over recording that gets easily over looked by the talent. Many inexperienced voice over artists will tend to read very fast. They get nervous when they begin to record and, as a result, begin to race through the script. This is not good for the listener as it makes it hard for them to understand the message. An experienced voice talent will be able to adjust their reading tempo to what is required for the script. Maintaining the tempo is also critically important. When the producer asks the talent to slow the tempo down some inexperienced artists will slow down initially only to accelerate back up to their initial hyped tempo. Being flexible and controlled with the tempo is the sign of a strong voice over artist.

Reading Skills during a voice over

Reading skill is arguably the make or break of a good voice over artist. Truly professional voice over artists can walk into a studio, be handed a script that they have never seen before, and read it so fluently that you would think that they were saying it naturally off-the-cuff. This is akin to a violinist who can sight-read sheet music in an orchestra. Of course, it is not common for a talent to be thrown into such a situation but many times the script can be changed during the recording session. The strength of the artist’s sight-reading skills is a telling sign of who is a true professional and who is not. 

Getting on a Voice Over Site

Now that you have your voice over showreel recorded and have honed the craft of being the talent the final step is to get the demo on a site. There are three most common sites that a prospective client might find their voice. A voice agency’s website, a studio website, or if the talent has their own webpage. Let’s examine each of these in some more detail.

Voice Agencies

Voice agencies are by far the most common places that a prospective client will find their talent. The agents will be able to liaise with the client and fast-track their search by communicating with them and identifying what specifically they need. These companies are usually very well established and have great visibility on search engines like Google. As a result a lot of traffic is captured and directed to the agencies. Getting signed to an agent is great but difficult. You need to have an incredible demo, be a proven performer, and it means you can’t have your demo on any other sites. It also means that a large chunk of the earnings will go to pay the agent.Voice over

Studio Webpages

Studios have taken to creating pages where they show off some of the freelance artists that they work with and think are good. The main benefit of this is that if a client contacts the studio first regarding a project the task of locking in the talent is hastened. These artists are freelance and are not signed to another agent. They also have more flexibility with the payment in dealing directly with the talent rather than the agent.This has certainly proven much more practical for CSP.

Talent Pages

Highly ambitious and organised artists will completely manage their own dealings and their website is central to getting new clients. They will need to compete with the SEO power of large talent agencies. If they succeed the financial rewards are enormous.

Reliability for Appointments and Return Business

Being a reliable business operator is the final point to having a successful career in the voice over industry. Some of the points listed here are so obvious but not everyone follows them. These are things like turning up to scheduled appointments on time and making sure that scripts are well rehearsed before the session.

Conclusion

As you can see there are some very specific boxes that need to be ticked in order to have a successful career as a voice over artist. Some of these points are within the control of the talent like reliability, getting a good demo made, and having visibility on the search engines. Other factors are more difficult to acquire like the skills that professional actors spend years training for and a natural tone.

Hopefully this article will help aspiring voice over artists get there careers off the ground. For further questions please feel welcome to contact us here at [email protected] Alternatively, give us a call on 0408 300 402. Best of luck!

13 Mar

Understanding music theory

Bursting the bubble

Music theory is important. You would be surprised how many people there are who can make a guitar do almost anything. Yet those same people have very little idea about music theory or how to relate what they are doing to other musicians. I call it “the guitar bubble”. Often such people walk into a Sydney recording studio or voice over studio under prepared to communicate with those around them.

Learning piano helps with this a little but in the same way, pianists have their own way of thinking that often relies on notes on a page. Often in a Sydney Sound Studio there will be a pianist on hand to baby sit other musicians. But why rely on this!?

As far as song writing and communicating with other musicians goes, there is no substitute for sitting down and simply learning “how music theory works”. Its not merely necessary, its fun!  It will unlock many pathways to writing and composing that previously you were ignorant of.

An introduction to scales.

The variance of pitch in an organised fashion ascending and descending is basically what gives us scales. There are different ways of organising these pitches or “notes”. One stand out feature across almost all cultures is that note that seems to “repeat itself” and sound “the same” but higher. We call this the octave. It is between this octave that various scale patterns occur.

Modern Western culture recognises 12 tones per octave, arranged in semitones (what we call the “chromatic scale”). This is all the useable notes squeezed into one octave consecutively and essentially it is not organised into music theory yet.

The major scale.

To come up with organised scales we apply patterns to each of these notes and arrange them in ascending order. The most friendly to the western ear  and used in most recording studios and voice over studios is the major scale which is comprised of the pattern of intervals: Tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone (TTSTTTS). This was popularised by the solfege names given it (as used in the movie “The Sound of Music” ) DO,REI, MI, FA, SOL, LA, TI, DO. In C major (C, D, E, F, G, A, B , C ). Most songs you hear on the radio are created using this formula with different starting notes, rearranging the notes into a melody.  Becoming familiar with this scale on the Piano and your specialist instrument (guitar or otherwise) is one of the first steps to conquering theory.

The minor scale

An important off shoot or “cousin” of the major scale is the minor scale. This comes in several different forms. A form popular in classical music and heavy metal is the Harmonic Minor scale which looks like this: TSTTSm3S

With m3 representing minor 3rd jump in the middle of the scale. Its somewhat exotic and lends itself well to some genre. A more commonly used and easier on the ears minor scale in pop is the natural minor which is: TSTTSTT. This is actually the 6th mode of the major scale. In other words if you were to start and finish on the 6th note of any major scale you would have this scale. E.G. Derived from C major:  A. B. C. D. E. F. G. A. Known as A natural minor or the Aoelian mode. We will discuss modes a little later in the blog.

Triads and chords

The next important foundational concept in music theory is chords and triads. A triad is 3 notes separated usually by thirds that make up the foundation of a chord. For example, derived from the key of C major, the C major triad is simply. C, E AND G. When played together they are harmonically compatible.

Another type of triad is a minor triad. For example C Minor would read: C, Eb, G. Notice only the 3rd is altered to differentiate major from minor. An invaluable exercise is to sit at a keyboard or piano and play through the C major scale forming triads of each of the notes. For example, from the second note of the C major scale we derive a D minor triad: D, F, A. From the 3rd note and E minor triad: E, G, B and so on. This alone is a great start to writing chord progressions for songs. Try using triads/chords built from the 1st, 4th, 5th and 6th notes of the major scale (any key is fine) and notice that they lend themselves nicely to progressions. This is kind of a “tool box” for the song writer in any Sydney Recording Studio.

Unusual triads

Other types of less common triads are: The diminished triad which is simply a stack of minor third intervals (very suspenseful sounding) try the notes: C, Eb, Gb. Diminished triads are often a passing triad. A great example of their use is to move from the 5th to the 6th chord in a progression. Eg: in G major: D triad, followed by Eb Diminished and ending on Eminor. Another type of triad is the Augmented, which is a stack of major third intervals and holds it’s own unique kind of tension. Eg: C, E, G#. This is just one aspect of music theory.

Adding the 7th

7th Chords are just an extension of the concept of a triad. For example the chord Cmajor7 is simply a C triad: C, E, G,  with a B on top (the 7th note of the C major scale) creating a “jazzier” sound. An Aminor 7th Chord contains A, C, E, G. Adding further extensions and intervals like the 9th  above the root note will result in a chord like A minor 9: A, C, E, G, B which is even richer and lusher on the ear than a 7th Chord. Often these sorts of chords will sound inappropriate and over done in pop writing. They are certainly worth experimenting with in any Sydney Voice Over studio.

The Cycle of fifths

Moving beyond pop and basic folk music with their simple combinations of common chord progressions we begin to look at using the Circle of Fifths. This concept rightly needs its own dedicated blog but they nuts and bolts of its revolve around what we call a “cadence” in classical music. An example of a cadence is one chord moving to “rest” onto another chord very satisfactorily. One of the most common is the perfect cadence where the “5” chord of a key moves to the “1” chord. For example a G chord (more specifically moving (or “resolving”) to a C chord. The interval downwards of this motion is a 5th and it is the strongest movement in music, often at the end of a progression or even the end of an entire song. Try playing a G7 chord (G, B, D, F) and resolving it to a C chord.

Following through

To take this idea in music theory and follow it on from the C chord would see us landing a 5th below very satisfactorily onto an F chord. The F would fall to a Bb, the Bb to an Eb and so on and so on all the way back to a G chord. This in a nutshell is the “cycle” or “circle” of fifths. It creates a great too for song writing and can see a song move in different directions to what is expected. Elton John’s writing reflects some of this. (See the chord progression for “Your Song”).

 

Elvis singing

Singing technique and ideas

If you are worried about your singing technique and a bit down in the dumps this blog will hopefully get you up and running with a few simple exercises and tips. Sining is so central to any culture and to peoples personal lives. You want your voice in tip top shape every time you enter a Sydney Recording Studio. Even if you are not a professional singer, it is well worth your time to learn to utilise this most valuable instrument. After all, you take it with you everywhere you go and in any Sydney voice over studio!

Stay hydrated!



Before anything else, we really need to understand that the vocal chords are a sensitive, functioning part of your body. They are your instrument and you have to look after them in every aspect of your singing technique. A very simple tip is to drink lots of water. This will keep your vocal cords moist so they can easily operate. You can also drink any other water beverage other than alcohol. It is advisable that they are unsweetened also. A warm tea is fantastic. Cold drinks are a bad idea and can tighten up your throat. The best temperature is luke-warm.

Breathing

Equally important and simple as far as singing technique goes is breathing habits. The best way to breath is from your diaphragm. Breathing from the diaphragm will give you far more control and force when you need it. Its better for dynamic range and consistency. It can take a while to get used to using your diaphragm. You should try lying on your back on the floor and place a hand over your abdomen just below your rib cage. When you breath in you should expand from here. Push your hand up as you breath in. Try singing a long note or a scale when you breath out and use this area of your abdomen to support the note. Do this a few times in a row and vary the strength and volume of the note. Experiment with this and become comfortable with this area of the body. It will pay dividends for all your singing habits. Another useful idea is to place a book on your diaphragm and aim to push it out when you breath in. This affects voice artists as well. If you enter a Sydney Voice over studio you want to understand these points.

Posture

One of the more overlooked and simple aspects of singing technique is posture. Maintaining a good posture will do wonders for your projection and strength. Try not to slouch or lean in odd directions when you sing. In order to really maximise your breathing and have a clear passage of air flow you want your back to be straight. A good way of training yourself into this habit is to stand with your back against a wall upright. Try singing in that position. Equally, lying flat on the floor will have the same affect.


Opening up your vowels and mouth cavity. Creating space in your mouth provides room for resonance. Ideally you want to practice keeping your tongue on the bottom of your jaw and away from the soft palette. The best way to do this is to open up your vowels and in particular sing the sounds “ah” and “uh”. This will automatically give you the goal of opening your vowels.

Once you have become accustomed to the feeling of an open jaw, try singing A-E-I-O-U with your jaw open in the same way. This singing technique will certainly feel odd at first but you will discover that it gives you much more flow and clarity when you begin to sing with this in mind. Of course there are exceptions in certain phrases and styles of music but generally and open jaw will give you more projection.  No matter how fancy the microphone, without correct projection no Sydney Sound Studio can help you.

The position of your chin



One of the more challenging aspect of control is keeping your chin parallel to the floor while singing. Odd as it may sound, we do have a tendency to raise the angle of our chin when we are reaching for higher notes. This unfortunately restricts the vocal chords and does the opposite of what we actually want. While it takes practice, it is certainly worth while and helps your over all control and strength.


Extending your vocal range

Once you have initiated all the above steps you can begin to think about extending your vocal range. Don’t rush this part of your singing technique! Firstly, find you range and know your limits. Don’t push out new notes and strain yourself. It is important to be comfortable with the range you already have and sing the highest and lowest notes with smoothness and clarity. When you have eliminated any airy-tone, you can begin to expand the range. Any new note should come gradually (most likely in semi-tones). Don’t add a new note until you have mastered all the notes in your range. There are safe ways to expand your range with a teacher. Get all the advice you can in this area and remember to proceed slowly with adequate warm ups. Make sure you warm up before entering a recording studio. There is nothing worse than pressing the record button and realising your vocal chords  are tense, un-lubricated and strained.


Different areas of your voice


Transition between the different voice areas. Your voice is made up different areas.

  • The male voice has 2 different areas: The middle voice and also Falsetto. The middle voice is the lower, deep chesty voice and the falsetto is a thinner higher range.
  • The female voice however has 3 segments: the chest register, the head register, and the middle register. These refer to the area from which the notes come in the body. The areas they resonate most
  • Head voice is where you sing high notes, they will literally resonate in your head. Try placing your hand on the top of your head as you sing these notes and notice the vibrations up there.  Likewise, the chest voice is where you sing lower notes, they resonate in your chest. The middle voice – other wise known as the mixed voice – is the area between your chest and head. It is the cross over area and requires work in order to create smooth transitions.
  • As you move from high notes to lower notes, you need change from head to chest voice. You will actually feel the notes moving up towards your head or down to your chest as you sing. Do not strain or try to keep notes in the same place as you ascend or descend, you want them to move through the different areas as this will create less strain.

 

Persisting with what you have learned

Save the above pointers on singing technique to your hard drive, sing daily and in a matter of weeks you will actually see progress. You will soon have the confidence to enter any Sydney Recording Studio ready to record a hit song.

 

voice over Sydney

12 Mar

Voice Over plugin chain

“Voice Over plugin chain” describes the order and types of plugins used on a voice channel. In this article we will describe the specific order that we choose to use. Furthermore, we will describe why we have chosen these specific plugins. This article assumes that the voice has already been recorded. What we are looking at, therefore, is the raw edited audio file. These plugins will sit on the channel strip within your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Read on to learn more about the audio plugins we use on our voice over chain.

Voice Over Plugin Chain

Low Cut Equalisation

The first plugin that we use is an EQ that will take out any unwanted low end rumble that exists. This is extremely important. This low cut filter will immediately improve the clarity of the vocal. I use the channel EQ in Logic Pro X very often. It’s easy to access and have a great visual analyser so you can see what’s going on.

Voice Over Plugin Chain

Broadband Compressor

The next on the voice over plugin chain is the broadband compressor. This is simply a compressor that compresses the entire vocal. I learn towards the UAD Teletronix LA2A because I know it well. It’s an emulation of the famous UA unit that has a slow attack optical attenuator. This has earned a name as being great for the compression of a vocal. It was originally used as a broadcast compressor and works perfectly for the spoken word. This helps control the vocal and stop the volume from jumping around.

RX 7 Spectral De-Noise

The RX Spectral Repair plugin is a real game changer for getting good clean voice overs. It is the noise reduction stage of the voice chain. You’ll need to find a clean piece of room tone on the audio file. Once found let the plugin run over that section while on the ‘learn’ mode. Once it analyses the room it takes a grab of it and can then easily remove the hiss and room sound of the audio. This is a must have, in opinion, to achieving great voice over recordings.

Voice Over Plugin Chain

RX 7 Mouth De-Click

By now you can see that izotopes RX advanced is a very useful suite to own for getting good voice overs. The RX Mouth De-Click is a new addition to the RX Advanced 7 suite. It looks at the audio and removes annoying mouth clicking that is all too common on voice over recordings. We can’t recommend this plugin in highly enough. Another serious game changer.

Voice Over Plugin Chain

Noise Gating

Now that we have a good clean voice over recording we look to reduce the noise between lines. You need a good noise gate. We use the UAD API Vision channel strip. We can adjust the settings so that the breaths and noise between vocal lines is completely removed. You’ll only be left with the spoken words. It’s important to listen through the voice over recording to make sure that there are no words that cut off. This is the downside of setting a noise gate as opposed to manual cutting the audio in between the lines. Most of the time the noise gate handles the audio very well.

Voice Over Plugin Chain

De-Essing

Harsh sibilant frequencies are common on voice recordings. This is where the ‘s’, ‘t’. and ‘ch’ sounds can be too loud. The de-esser plugin removes these ferocious sibilant frequencies. We use the Sonnox De-esser. This is a precision de-esser that is effectively a compressor for sibilant sounds. it was recommended to me by Michael Brauer himself when he was mixing one of my client’s tracks in New York. Ever since getting it I’ve been extremely happy with the results. You can see when the frequencies are and visually place the compressor component in the right place.

Voice Over Plugin Chain

Limiter

The Limiter is the final plugin that we use on our voice over channel strip. This simply boosts the overall volume of the vocal to the required level. The UAD Precision Limiter is a very reliable limiter and hasn’t failed us yet.

Voice Over Plugin Chain

Voice Over Plugin Chain Complete!

And so you have it! Our voice over plugin chain. This particular iteration of the voice over plugin chain has been about fifteen years in the making. It has developed in conjunction with technological advancements in the audio industry. This is particularly true for the plugins by Izotope. Their plugins are really making big improvements to our audio voice over capability. For that we thank them warmly.

10 Mar

Getting started performing live

Why perform live?

Its gritty, its real, you connect with people at every gig and you are under the knife of public opinion constantly performing live! This is why it is valuable. Being a working covers musician in a city like Sydney is a grind, but it is also a learning curve. Countless bands and solo performers throughout history have forged their path forward from this point. The Beatles themselves were a house band in a humble German establishment for many years before producing the act that would change music history!

Week after week when you play covers you learn from the great song writers. Every time you add a new song from the radio into your repertoire you grow a little, musically and vocally. It’s the shear repetition of this that makes you polished and sharp. Weather you end up in a Sydney pub or in a Sydney Voice Over Studio, it’s time to start thinking about making serious cash from your craft!

Where to start?

So how does one begin? Well first and always foremost is the craft itself. Don’t compromise on your guitar or piano skills. (I refer here of course to the solo musician). Learn from a professional teacher weekly and keep yourself challenged and accountable. Don’t get into stagnant habits where you play the same few songs and licks over and over. Keep pushing the envelope and don’t neglect all the chord shapes and scales that come your way. Once you have a good set of skills to accompany yourself you can be sure the foundation is set for being a strong performer.

Vocals are the most important and for every piece of education and work you put into your instrument you should really double it for your vocal production. Again, get lessons and learn the proper, sound techniques for taking your voice to the next level. I say that your singing is more important than you playing because that is the first thing that people listen to and hear.

The playing is important too, to create context and feeling around your voice, but the average punter really has no idea what is going on with your instrument. He or she “senses” skill and will feel comfortable or not, but with your voice, its right out there for everyone to hear and understand. A strong voice will always get you the call back in a band or in a Voice over Studio Sydney!

 

Other professional tips:

Be punctual. Turning up with plenty of time to set up and spare is important both in pubs, at weddings and in a Sydney Voice over studio. Not only for your own sanity and comfort, but it also looks good to a manager and gives them the confidence to know you are a person of your word and reliable.

Equipment

Whether you are performing live in pubs or a voice over studio artist, you need the right tools for your trade. Make sure you have a clear, lite weight P/A that can get your voice and instrument across clearly. No matter how much work you put into your skills on the instrument or voice, it is all wasted if you go through a muddy sound system! You shouldn’t need to spend more than $250 on a mic to get started (in fact, Senheiser have changed the game with a base level professional mic for $120 that will do just fine).

What you don’t’ want is a $50 mic from JB Hi-Fi or Tandy.  Next, get yourself some powered speakers. QSC’s seem to be an industry standard and are very reliable sound wise. Yamaha’s have similar quality speakers for slightly less, but it is worth doing your homework.

If you are only beginning and don’t have much to invest, some second hand JBL Eons will do the trick for under $1200 a pair. Mackie also have very good priced “thumps” for DJ’s and solo artists performing live. Thought they don’t’ have the clarity of the QSC’s they can certainly get your voice across loud and clear for any basic pub solo gig.  A mixing desk is quite easy. A small Beringher will suffice if you are on a budget.

The more recent phenomenon of digital mixing on an iPad is also a great option. Pre-Sonus can sort you out with a great mixing app, a stage box/router for less than $700 if you are iPad equipped performing live. And lets face it, most people need an iPad for lyrics anyway! Don’t be ashamed of using an iPad, even in popular voice over studios these are used as prompts.

Setting up your music and repertoire

On that topic, lets talk about iPads and their use. With an iPad holder and a mic stand, an iPad can be your best friend. While I don’t recommend cold reading of songs for the first time at a gig, you can certainly expand your repertoire by the dozens by having a solid collection of classic hits in a lyric and chord app.

Ultimate Guitar Tabs is free and enables playlists. Beware of the versions you use in Guitar Tabs and make sure they have plenty of user rated stars. There are some flat out wrong chords in there! But with good ears and a couple of listens you will be able to sort out the sheep from the goats as far as chord progressions go!

A preferable app in my opinion is OnSong. This costs a little but is far better organised and reliable than UG. You have to upload your own songs onto OnSong, but once this is done they are accessible and far more readable than UG when performing live. The auto-scroll function is very user friendly and the format just seems to jump off the page for easy readability. Like UG it also has good transpose options You can take songs from E-Chords online and automatically import them to OnSong to save you writing and uploading a whole lot of Word Documents.

07 Feb
Recording studio

Buying a drum kit and understanding construction

The importance of Drums

Drums are vital in a band context. No doubt about it. They are the engine room for rhythm and create the atmosphere and the “groove” from which all the instruments int he band draw their “time and feel”. James Brown was a huge supporter of the idea that the drummer is the most crucial element for feel in a band. Not only the rhythmic feel but the style and “era” of the song are captured with drums. Different drum kits have different sounds. In fact, different drum kits with different tunings have different sounds! As a drummer in a Sydney Recording Studio you are a time keeper – yes, but you are also an artist with a palette of paints and colours to choose from. From where you place the stick to how hard you hit and which tom or cymbal you choose in any given moment, you have a heck of a lot of power to affect the mix in a Sydney Sound Studio and the feel of any song or band.

The importance of the style of kit

Lets be real. You can’t create a brilliant power ballad 80’s drum sound, or a funky mid 90’s RnB shuffle with a piece of trash drum kit. The last thing you want in any mix is to hear “pots and pans” sounding kits, or the thud of cardboard sounds because you tried to save money on a kit from China! Having said that, you do not need to spend a fortune. Its more about the type of wood and the basic construction than the price tag. With a little research you can find yourself a drum kit to record in a Sydney Recording Studio like Crash Symphony Productions. 

   If you’re learning drums and thinking about buying a new drum kit, its time to think about the gear you will use. Lets talk about finding the right hardware. It doesn’t matter if you play heavy metal, R&B, country, pop, reggae, rockabilly, jazz,  blues, or 50’s old rock ‘n’ roll, this blog will help you find a kit from which you can craft your trade in any recording studio.

Beginners and those snooping around for a new kit

When Buying a new drum kit, a full kit will usually contain all pieces of hardware that you require. For those who already have some hardware, purchasing a shell pack can save you a lot of cash. A shell pack contains the drums with no extra hardware except tom mounts and rims. If you already own a kit but want to add to it, an add on pack is a great way to go because the cost is often less than buying each drum on its own.

Of course if you are a total beginner and own nothing you can purchase a beginner drum set. These contain all the drums, hardware and cymbals you need in one hit. Remember you can upgrade later and add as you go. Let’s face it, in 6 months you might change your mind and decide to be a guitarist!! If you’re shopping for your child, make sure you go for a “junior drum kit” NOT a toy. Yes there is a big difference in quality but not in price. You will want to ask a music professional and stay away from the internet and large department stores. Head to a local music shop and chat about a small scale drum kit that is properly designed. A toy will only give your child a discomforting start and create bad habits and posture.

The type of music you play

Generally its a great idea to choose drum sets that fits the style of music you mostly play. Are you into Metallica or Ed Sheehan? Do you idolise Steve Gadd or Connie Kay? A basic rule is that kits with less and smaller drums are a good choice for jazz, traditional blues, and other acoustic styles, while drum kits with bigger drums are better for heavy metal, rock, and other louder styles like punk or even fusion.

Types of Woods and builds: Three main types

When buying a new drum kit, a crucial element that you should consider is the type of wood used in constructing your drums. Different types of woods are used for drum construction, and all have unique sound qualities.

  • Maple is the most common wood used for drum making. It has a warm tone.
  • If you are going for a harder and brighter sound that you want to cut through the mix in a Sydney Sound Studio, Birch is a great choice. Its tough, with a harder, crisper sound.  Its loud, bright tone makes it fantastic for recording, as it easily cuts through the mix. Birch has less muddy mid range and clear highs and lows.
  • Mahogany  is the wood you want if you are going for a vintage sound. Drummers who dwell in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s eras love this wood. Its got less crispness and harshness than both Maple and Birch and is especially great for music like The Beatles, James Brown old school funk, early Cream and even old rock like early 70’s Pink Floyd. Beware however that it is a very specific sound. Lovely and warm but don’t expect it to cut through the mix on a heavy metal track or a modern Nashville country band! It just won’t work for that!

Woods for those on a budget

  • For those on a budget when buying a new drum kit, consider Poplar. It has very similar sounds to Birch but is not a hard to come by and therefore much cheaper.
  • A really great tip for those on a budget or just starting out is to know that Falkata is often used as a substitute for maple. It costs less yet has very similar sound qualities and acoustic results to Maple
  • Basswood is another cheaper option that can be a good replacement for Maple or Birch. Basswood has a smooth grain that takes look great with lacquer.
  • Lauan wood is another replacement quite specifically for those searching for the Birch sound. Again its cheaper but can get surprisingly similar results.
  • Oak is very similar to maple but slightly brighter. Though a whisker cheaper, many drummers actually prefer Oak over Maple. This is more about taste than anything else, and if you are just starting out, either will be fine.

Drum shells consist of several layers of wood know as “plies”. Generally speaking, drums with more layers of wood have a brighter sound and higher “fundamental pitch”. Drums made with less layers of ply mostly are fatter and warmer with a lower fundamental pitch.

Other nuances with drum building

Buying a new drum kit takes in to account an understanding of construction. Drum making, just like drumming is an art form in itself. Though this blog doesn’t go in depth, if you are a more experienced drummer and want to know more about the construction of drums its worth checking out other sites. (A list is provided at the bottom of this blog.) Things as simple as the angle at which a drum shell’s edge is cut makes a big difference in the sound. A steeper or sharper edge angle will give a bright sound with more cutting highs, while a more rounded edge gives a deeper, more mellow sound. It really is a science all its own and at Crash Symphony Productions we understand that science in its relationship to recording.

Drums have a number of different finishes and its good to understand this when buying a new drum kit. The most common is a vinyl finish which protects the kit and gives it longevity. However many people prefer a lacquered finish for the exposure of the beautiful wood grain. These things are aesthetics but lets face it, when you are not in a Sydney Recording studio, you need to be on your A-game as far as appearance on a stage is concerned. The drum kit is by far the largest instrument and visually it is the centre of the bands image whether in a Sydney Recording Studio or on a giant arena stage.

Sydney Recording Studio Cuica

16 Jan
recording studio

Jazz Harmony concepts for beginners

Understanding Jazz Harmony

Jazz harmony can be intimidating for many musicians. Looking at a jazz standard on a piece of sheet music can be quite baffling. Chords sometimes seem unrelated and with all the alterations they have it is often easier just to say “this is not my bag”. So many people walk away from Jazz because they are intimidated by jazz harmony. You need not be! There are foundational principles that can get you through any well known jazz standard when tracking in a Sydney recording studio. 

Simplify the voicings. 

First of all, for chordal and accompaniment instruments in a sound studio it is rarely necessary to add alterations such as b9, #9, 13 or #5. These are colours that are often expressed in the melody itself. In fact sometime adding the alterations can clash with the melody if it is there as a passing note. Yes, ideally we want to use them to give the standard its colour. However if you are struggling with a first reading of jazz harmony, it is totally acceptable to play the basic foundational chord. These reduce the amount of shapes and voicing you need to grapple with. Here is a chart of 5 basic chord qualities without alterations:

Dominant 7th.     1.   3.   5.  b7

Major 7th            1.   3.   5.   7           

Minor 7th.           1.   b3.   5.  b7

Half diminished.  1.   b3.   b5.  b7

Diminished          1.   b3.   b5.  6

 

Simpler than it looks

Quite seriously that is all you need to find your way through a jazz standard. Also it is worth bearing in mind that you rarely even need to add the 5th of the chord. The 3rd and the 7th are what gives a chord its unique character. Even in a Half Diminished chord where the b5 is unique, a beginner jazz student can still play 1,  b3,  b7 (the same 3 note voicing as a minor 7th chord) without interfering with the harmony or the rest of the band in a Sydney recording studio.

There is just no need to avoid jazz any longer. However start with what you know and add to it slowly. Just playing through the tonic, 3rd and 7th of every chord in a standard will give you a beautiful insight into the “harmonic flow” of the song. 

Other useful approaches can be applied step by step once the above method is conquered. For example if you are comfortable with simple 1 3 7 voicing’s (or better still ONLY 3 and 7 voicing with out tonic. Yes that’s right 2 notes are more effective than 3 when there is a bass player in the band!) Having said that, we can now begin to approach the extensions in a non intimidating way. 

Simplifying extensions

Approaching the b9 in jazz harmony is easier than we think. When you see a dominant 7th b9 chord you can simply choose to play ANY diminished triad off the b9 itself, the 3rd, 5th and 7th. This is because the entire chord is a diminished chord with a different bass note. Remember the bass note/tonic is not your responsibility when there is a bass player in the band when jamming in a music studio in Sydney. For example: 

C7b9 you can quite safely play any of the following:

Edim. (Built off the 3rd)

Gdim. (Built off the 5th)

Bbdim (Built off the 7th)

Dbdim (Built off the b9th)

Most importantly the aim of this article is to make life easier for intermediate/beginner players when reading or recording a jazz standard. So when you see a progression like this:  Dm9.   G7b9.  Cma9#11

Your options can be very simple and very tasteful. 

A D minor 7th chord with no 5th will suffice – though the 5th is ok also if its easier (try 5th fret root note voicing from the A string)

for the G7c9 Just play a D diminished from the same position!

Landing on the Cmajor is a simple 3 note voicing going downwards from the 5th fret, voicing: G B E

All the above is accomplished with hardly any movement and can be applied time and again in any key for any II V I progression.

The next step

Let’s use the same example and try a different position and add perhaps 1 more extension.

Try from the 10th fret:

Dm7 3 note voicing (E string root note on 10th fret)

G7b9 –  Ab diminished (from the Ab on the A string)

Cma9#11 – Similarly, the simple major 7 shape (3 note voicing) with C root note on the 8th fret. If you are ready, you can leave off the root note: C and play the upper 2 notes B and E (9th fret D and G strings) and simply add a D on top (10th fret high E string). You could simply play a G major 7 triad (this contains G, B, D and F#). This is particularly allowable if the there is a pianist in the group that will cover the 3rd of the harmony. Another option is to simply play an Em9 chord or Em7. This covers the upper harmony of a Cma9#11chord quite comprehensively. However, that is slightly more advanced and will be covered in another blog about recording in a Sydney sound studio.

Beginning to think in full triads and chords that start on the 3rd and the 5th of the chord you are comping will give you a head start for playing extensions!

Some other useful shapes and ideas are located here at Learn Jazz Standards.

Various 3 note voicing positions: