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Shad Young's Blog

To School or Not to School

Posted on October 2, 2009 at 1:00pm 9 Comments

That, Dear Horatio, is the Question

Whether 'tis nobler to pursue the lofty heights of Academia

Or, to slug through the maze of streets that is self education

When one hits a wall, when the doors to understanding

are too many to choose, perchance the halls of wisdom

provide opportunities one should not lose.

So, having joined the Composers forum, I realize that I am significantly outclassed. There are some remarkable compositions over here, and the general… Continue

Shad Young's Discussions

Tribes of a Different Nation (talk track update)

Started this discussion. Last reply by Shad Young Oct 3, 2009. 8 Replies

//update- This is a new version with the talk track. The piano is a bit more upfront in this version as well.//updateHi all, I present the first tune here in the forum for dissection. Please feel…Continue

Profile Information

What have you composed for? Or what medium do you work around?
Film, Multimedia, Choir, Orchestra, Small Ensemble, Big Ensemble, Songs
What is your favorite genre or style of music?
Progresive Rock
Is music your main income source?
No - Not Yet
Where do you live?
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
About Me (Must include at least one paragraph of biographical information about you as a composer) - blank or minimal answers on this line will cause your request to be rejected. Include a link to your website if you have one.
I am a struggling (starving) artist, author and composer (and somewhat terrible musician).

Shad Young's Page


  • 1.
    Industrial Noise
  • 2.
  • 3.
    Six Inches From The Mic
  • 4.
    A Gentle Smile
  • 5.
    Rhapsody #1 - The Language of Music
  • 6.
    Rhapsody Part 2 - Concerto for Piano & Guitar
  • 7.
    God Made Me Do It
  • 8.
  • 9.
    The Old Man
  • 10.
    The Young Boy
  • 11.
  • 12.
    Requiem for a Whale
  • 13.
    The Machine
  • 14.
  • 15.
  • 16.
    SISW - Tall Ships
  • 17.
    SISW - Sinbad's Theme
  • 18.
    Surfing In Sinbads Wake - Adventure
  • 19.
    Dreaming Of Flight
  • 20.
    Groove Thang

Song information

1- Industrial Noise - Another song from The Old Man's Machine, this has the drum track that Dragonfly made use of in the error state, but is the way it is supposed to be. This is all played, there are no loops. Even the "modem" noise was played by hand. This song is the fasted I have ever played. Sadly, the project for this song became corrupt (I guess sonar was having issues which is why the drum track became odd as well), so there is nothing much I can do to fix some of the mistakes in the mix at this point (like the ride cymbals being far to loud).

2 - Dragonfly - This song started life as a DAW error on the drum track. For some reason, the DAW decided to play a drum track I was working on at about half speed, and half pitch. It was interesting, if odd. Some Rappers who were in my studio recording a demo track liked it, and I decided to see if it was at all possible to make a song from the strange drum track. It was done in the space of one evening. I like this track a lot (I am rather proud of the walking bassline). I may be the only one who does :-).

3 - Six Inches from The Mic (Tribes of a Different Nation) - A spontaneous combustion. I was playing around with a basic reggae beat pattern and over the course of a couple of hours layered this together. This is an updated version with some spoken word and an outtake from a rap session here in my studio with a rap trio who were recording a demo that I am producing.

4 - A Gentle Smile - Tired of using patterns, I decided to pound out my own "Rocksteady" type Caribbean beat. The piano part is actually a place holder for some vocals that will eventually be recorded. I am still not entirely used to my own voice yet, so the mic intimidates me a bit.

5 - Rhapsody - The Language of Music - This spoken word part was written with the assistance of Sophie. She collects and records a lot of the things I talk about for reasons I can only guess at. She had recorded some of her own thoughts about an idea I had expressed that music was a common language. In her journal she then wrote a short critique of Wittgenstein based on that idea, and this song I wrote based on her critique.

6 - Rhapsody 2 - Realizing that I had introduced 4 themes within the first song that had not been explored or developed, I decided to take each and develop them into a stand alone work. This is a work in progress. I stalled mostly due to my lack of performance skills and I am using a physical piano and an analog recording, not midi.

7 - God Made Me Do It - This is a song that started life as lyrics. It is also my first attempt to sing (I am the low and mid background singer, Sophie is also background and Alan the lead). It is still a bit rough around the edges and like so many others, needs more work.

8 - Prologue - I am writing a novel about a young boy and a mysterious machine. Each chapter will have a song for it, and this is the first (All songs from the album "The Old Man's Machine are part of this series - the chapters can be downloaded from my site).

9 - The Old Man - The second song in the series was actually the song that triggered the idea for the story. For some reason after I finished the song, I decided to write a very short story about a young boy and an old many with a cool piano like machine. It became far more than a short story.

10 - The Young Boy - This is actually one of my favorite pieces. Its stupidly 0simple, mostly scales played in an arpeggio, but I find the transitions to be quite beautiful. This was done in about 1/2 hour. It probably shows hehe.

11 - Bzaxdao'et is a character from the story, like the old man and young boy above. He is a devil, who is also an administrative clerk in the new arrivals processing center on the first level of Hell. Yes, Hell is a bureaucracy.

12 - Requiem For a Whale - (It is part of The Old Man's Machine, however there is no whale in the story.) I think I was feeling sad when I wrote this.

13 - The Machine - also part of TOMM, this song tries to describe the multiple rhythms of the machine. It started as an exercise in Poly Rhythms, became this.

14 - Overdrive - This is a more traditional take on The Machine above. From the basic rhythm I added pads and guitar, and chopped two minutes from it.

15 - Discovery - This was actually my first attempt at laying sound fonts. It is a singular performance, one take. All sounds were created on the fly during the performance. The sound is rather poor and a bit midi.

16 - Tall Ships - is the final song in a series of songs that are part of Sailing In Sinbad's Wake... sea and adventure type songs.

17 - Sinbad's theme was my attempt at something slow and beautiful, but its bit of a mess timing wise.

18 - Surfing In Sinbad's Wake - Adventure - This is the song that started the series. I was just farting around with my new Z3ta and made this over the course of the evening.

19 - Dreaming Of Flight - This was again, just noodling around with Dimension LE, a synthesizer that came with Sonar.

20 - Groove Thang - my first full on attempt to mix and arrange a song. It turned out OK I think.

Comment Wall (13 comments)

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At 7:43am on January 7, 2010, Martha Maria / Dogwood Daughter said…
Hi, after long time gone. Am listening to your Chasing Emerson. Sounds very much like the 60's to me (which from me, is a complement--I've been lost in the 60's forever.) I noticed in your notes you've got some new equipment. I just bought some too, but haven't unboxed it (Roland v770---a vocal thing.) I'm always intimidated by the manuals and the steep learning curve. What did you decide about school? I'm going back to school myself starting Jan. 14th. Taking Pro Tools and Intro. to MacIntosh. Anticipating being the oldest and slowest student in the class, but I'm not going to sweat that or the grade. I'm just there to learn as much as I can. I loaded some new songs last night. Have been songwriting like crazy, but not recording many of them. The part I like is the writing, not the doing. As soon as I finish one song, I'm restless to move on to the next puzzle. Hope to hear from you. Happy New Year, Martha Maria
At 9:27pm on October 6, 2009, Martha Maria / Dogwood Daughter said…
Thanks for your tutorial on the Open Source Movement. I had never heard of it before. I went to the Jamendo site today. Have you or do you know anyone who has put their music on Jamendo? It seems like it is based on the honor system, if I'm reading it correctly. If you have any personal experience with Jamendo, I'd be interested in hearing more. I'm wondering if Jamendo doesn't function like a music library....for all kinds of commercial projects. Thanks. Martha
At 8:42pm on October 5, 2009, Martha Maria / Dogwood Daughter said…
I read your comment about the Open Source Movement. I'd be interested in knowing more about what you know about that movement. My "Free Tibet" video was a wonderful gift from Lopsang Sherpa in Nepal, because he went to my website and I was giving away the song. I never could have paid to have his wonderful video made, but it was a gift. A classic case of loaves and fishes, kind of. Getting back more than what you give. Anyway, I would like to hear more from you about Open Source.
At 4:10pm on October 5, 2009, Chris Dargay said…
I really enjoyed the Sci-Fi essence of the lead on Old Man. Spacy music !!!
At 3:50pm on October 5, 2009, Martha Maria / Dogwood Daughter said…
Hi, I watched Close Encounter. 100,000 YouTube Viewers! That's impressive. How do you get your name out there and bring viewers to your work on YouTube? Or is that a trade secret? I'd love to know.
Also, I don't know about how remuneration works on YouTube. Do people actually make money doing YouTube or is it strictly for the notoriety? Martha Maria
At 1:37pm on October 5, 2009, Tomislav Rajkovic said…
Hello Shad,big HELLOO from Serbia,from Tomislav,well what can I say about your music.Wonderful really wonderful,hey hope we combined this kind genre of your music wiht some of my Balkan beat?heheSee you
At 6:26am on October 5, 2009, Martha Maria / Dogwood Daughter said…
Hi Shad, My son and I were just watching a couple of your videos....the handdrawn "Escape from Singapore" and the Tramp Steamer. My son just started learning animation this year at his highschool....he's in the Graphic Arts Academy at our local high school. I especially like the black and white and the rain gives it almost a grainy, old newsreel kind of feel. I hope you'll post more explanatory notes about all your videos. Nice work. Martha Maria
At 2:42am on October 3, 2009, Tomislav Rajkovic said…
Hi,I am also new,thanks for the help,I am also started with everthing here so for shure I will let you know.By the way I am from Serbia,I play,compose and write the Balkan music.When I add some music you can hear,hope you will like it.See you
At 5:57pm on October 1, 2009, Martha Maria / Dogwood Daughter said…
Hi Shad, Thanks. I don't know about British, Scottish/Irish. I was raised here in the mountains and grew up playing an Appalachian dulcimer. I just write what I feel...I guess melody is the thing that's most important to me as a composer. I love lyrics too. I'm kind of weak on rhythm. I need to figure out how to use the drum loops on my Roland recorder, but am intimidated by anything techical....I guess I'm too lazy to study too.
About piano technique, have you listented to Fernando Vasquez' page? He plays beautifully. Thanks for adding me as a friend. Listening to your piece yesterday, I thought you had a lot of talent....and some new and quirky ideas. As I think I indicated yesterday, I LIKE quirky and unique. Bye, Martha
At 10:07am on October 1, 2009, Conor McCauley said…
Hi Shad, thanks a lot for the comments, it's great to get such a good welcome from everyone on the site, It really helps especially since I was unsure if this was a place for me since composing is merely hobby to me. Everyone seems very friendly and willing to help each other regardless of their ability which is great.

Your music is of a genre I really enjoy listening to, there's nothing like some relaxing instrumental music to sit back to and enjoy. I'm listening to "The Young Boy" it's very very good, well done. I will have a listen of the rest when I get some time, back to work in the meantime! :D

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