Music Production Services
Whether you need voice-over work, sound tracks, lyrics, or full-fledged songs, Jeff
McCullough can assist you in completing any combination of the following production steps. Click on a step below
for more information about that step, including examples of what you can expect:
Step 1: A song is a built on three basic elements:
Lyrics, Melody and Harmony.
- Lyrics – Lir’ik, n. The words of a song suitable to be set to music or sung.
- Melody – Mel’o-di, n. A succession of tones produced by a single voice or instrument, and
so arranged as to please the ear or to express some kind of sentiment.
- Harmony – Här’mo-ni, n, the study of the structure, progression and relationships of
Step 2: The process of expanding the melody and
harmony of a song to include multiple instruments.
Much of the songs final character will be exposed in this step of the production process. An
arrangement can require writing parts for any type or number of instruments - from a single
acoustic guitar player to a one-hundred and twenty-piece orchestra. In a modern production
environment much, if not all, of song arrangement is done with the aid of computer sequencing
software and good old-fashioned paper and pen.
Note: Arranging a band requires an audio roadmap charting the flow, chord changes and exactly who
plays what in the song.
Step 3: Once the arrangement is complete, rehearsal
begins. This step is critical for bands to assure that all aspects of their arrangement run
smoothly. Additional changes can be made at this point to best suit the tune and
Step 4: Literally means to capture a moment in time.
This process is both static and dynamic at the same time. This step involves the commitment of
arrangement by the musicians and singers to a recording medium. Whether the target is tape or
non-linear media, this process is magical. The result is the content of our audio product ready to
Step 5: The process of adding “tracks” or additional
performances to an existing recording. For example, we have recorded the band already,
incorporating bass, drum keys and rhythm guitar. Our next might be to overdub lead and background
vocals, guitar solos and a string section. Overdubbing is used to add new material or replace weak
elements of a recording.
Overdubbing allows and requires the full attention of the soloist, engineer and producer to be
placed on the part being recorded. This process provides more time for experimenting and polishing
which would otherwise be impractical while a band sits around watching!
Step 6: The process of musically blending the separate
elements of a song to give them maximum quality and emotional impact. Balancing levels,
adjusting equalization, adding effects such as reverb, delay and modulation effects are
extremely important steps in mixing. Each part of the arrangement must be made clear and
distinct while clearly part of a whole. For example, imagine you were to bake a cake. If any
ingredient is out of proportion, the recipe will be ruined. However, when all elements are
balanced perfectly and added in the right order, you have a delicious meal!
After a song is mixed, any single element cannot be removed or changed without affecting all other
elements. This brings us back to the cake analogy: Try removing just the eggs from a baked
Step 7: This step can be as simple as revisiting a
previous mix of a song and, after listening to it on other sound systems, making final
adjustments. Re-mixing can also refer to an artistic re-arrangement of a song that can
include replacing some or all elements of the song to achieve a different emotional impact.
Often re-mix artists (DJ’s, producers and programmers) start with a lead vocal and build a
new song from the melody up.
Step 8: In this step, a song (and album) is polished
to make it sound the best it can. Mastering includes balancing the frequencies, volume and dynamics
of each song to match the others. There is nothing worse than trying to listen to a CD of songs
that get louder and softer from song to song. Worse yet is when one song has ten times more bass
than the song immediately before it! The person listening will adjust the bass much higher for the
first song... then blow out the speakers when the second song plays! Time to shop for a new set of
Step 9: Duplication is the process of making copies of an
album, usually on Compact Disc. The next step is to distribute them!