I’m Looking Down

This is a popish sort of tune I made up in Sonar 8.5. I know, I know, it would have fit in back in the late 60’s or early 70’s. But that’s the pop music I love. I’m interested to hear opinions on composition, arrangement, melody, and how everything comes through in the mix. It badly needs a vocal. I have the lyrics written, I just don’t have a singer. I tried to get that awesome bari sax sound on The Beatles “Savoy Truffle”, it’s no where close, but it’s the best I could do with the sample libraries I have.

First person to say “It needs more cowbell” wins a brand new shiny car.

EDIT: I've also uploaded the piece without horns or synths because it's more raw and I'm really not all that happy with the horn arrangement.

im looking down.mp3

im looking down-no horns.mp3

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  • Hi Rick, 60s-70s-Beatlish pop, and quite nice sounding. I've heard enough of your music to form an opinion that chord progressions are your strength, and they are here as well. The rest of the tune comes across as somewhat drowned in the mix - I could barely hear the guitar for example, perhaps a little more volume there. BTW, I have recently found an internet service that can record vocals for songs for a fee. I used them on some songs I recently wrote and was happy with the result. If you're interested to know more, PM me, I don't want to clutter up the board. One criticism - it's a bit robotic. Some variation on the rhythm or tempo change, or even a bit of rubato in places might relieve that. 

    Thanks for posting,


  • Gav,

    Thanks for the input! I’m not good at mixing and thought if anything the guitar (mostly at the end) was too loud. It’s really hard for me to get important parts to cut through a mix. All I know to do is pan more to one side and try and isolate something like say a lead guitar. You know how it goes, you know what you want a piece to sound like and just can’t get the technical stuff sorted out. I just like the process of making tunes with parts rattling away in my head day and night. BTW, I don’t know how to PM people. Is that a social media thing? I’m only asking because I don’t do social media. I don’t even have a smart phone. Thanks again.

  • PM sent to Rick

  • Gav,

    I’ve never PM-ed anybody and don’t know how this stuff works. I clicked the PM link you sent me on my iPad and couldn’t figure out how to communicate with you through this method. Two names of which I have no idea who they are appeared in that link. I really have no idea how this stuff works. If you’d like to reach me please do so by email. That’s the only thing I know how to use. Sorry, but this sort of stuff like PM-ing just gives me a headache. In fact, I expected to hit a brick wall when I clicked on the link. I even tried a while back to check the Twitter thing out just to see what that’s all about. I couldn’t even create an account because it wanted my mobile phone number. I don’t have a mobile phone. This is the typical sort of stuff that just makes me avoid these kinds of things.

    Anyway, here’s my email if you should want to reach me. If you don’t want to use email I certainly understand, but like I said, it’s all I know how to use.

    Ricks email:


  • No problem Rick, in case you're interested, the service I hired is called The Happy Choir. Here's a link to one of the songs they sung for me - https://youtu.be/xkhuq148KlY

  • Wow, Rick this is soo enjoyable to listen to  which indeed beautifully takes us back to the glorious Beatles days. Also "Absolutely Sweet Marie" from Bob Dylan  came to my mind ... Thank you!! Do you have more of that?


  • Gerd,

    Thank you kindly. It's a work in progress. I'm still trying to get that gritty Savoy Truffle sax sound. I've been experimenting and found that using 3 saxophones playing in 3 adjoining octaves gets that punchy, raspy sound. I read music like a first grader learning the alphabet, in other words, I can't read music, but I'd sure be interested to learn if that 3 octave sax thing is a standard trick for that fat sound. Harrison also added distortion on the saxes because he thought they sounded too clean. I also listened closely to the record and noticed that he used distortion on the guitar chords behind the saxes which added even more grit. Sorry to bore you with Beatle details but I'm crazy about them. I've talked many ears off about the finest details of the Beatle melodics but I'll stop now.

    Anyway, you asked; "Do you have more of that?" You shouldn't have asked... hehehe. I'm only too happy to share my stuff with fellow Beatle lovers so I've linked some of my Beatle-y tunes below to my Box cloud folder. At least to my ears they're Beatle-y. Don't know if they will appear here as clickable links, if not, just copy and paste. Once at Box, you should be able to just click "play". I've posted some of these here in the forum in the past and kinda don't want to post them again so that's why I've linked you to them. I hope you like them as much as I like making them. :)

    I checked out "Absolutely Sweet Marie" on YouTube and you're right, there is a little similarity so thanks for pointing me to that song, it's very lovely.

    Well anyhow, here are some of my Beatle-y tunes. Sorry about the rather long list but people rarely ask to hear more of my stuff so I didn't want to pass up an opportunity to share.

    Thanks again for your nice words. Yeah, those were the days weren't they?... cue Mary Hopkin!

    * Mental Suicide: https://app.box.com/s/5pohfncrhmxa732qzu1l3w6on2zxvwyr

    * Soft the Snow: https://app.box.com/s/ru136r430ad1b0qykko5124w8n3p1fpz

    * I Don't Want to Think: https://app.box.com/s/6uxxwbcp7ga1wcv2e0xdpb4lutp36dc9

    * Where to Begin: https://app.box.com/s/tgn6sksdognxsnqscvi9iagxqay6pt49

    * Life is Like a Flower: https://app.box.com/s/bf79phveo1v5o65b5960bmml42d8tdvd

    * Hop on the Bus: https://app.box.com/s/fe1842nwqwyygaji8bw6xv1k3lknurxo

    * Again Again: https://app.box.com/s/y0vt5b0hatdtrferfw3j1dv0km1j5rm5

    * Meaning of Love: https://app.box.com/s/fd1d4z2mt1q2lo7oxcaliseoef8elyp9

    * Green Machine: https://app.box.com/s/22h9nh5kqa90c3tjh5mmfhh5n69e69ws

    * Sadness: https://app.box.com/s/4tkorjvexaeez05oqog9ciky7mzhqdvy

    * You Know it's True: https://app.box.com/s/u61d2ye95j8sxbd5sc22lbe7r6fgpb1e

    * Goodnight Mr Spock: https://app.box.com/s/37wdu4duldseq71l32hqd9honlg7sauk

    * Never in a Million Years: https://app.box.com/s/b2ckd7sasb6n95hk67zt6c65l6ufngrt

    * What do you know: https://app.box.com/s/gaavrwm7ckphzp5p1gvoyjqt5mbyt7pj

    * I Love You: https://app.box.com/s/yhjdab7h0iai16v6k0tzt3adhv1kapy9

    * Don't Wake That Kitty: https://app.box.com/s/zht58vaw6exrvqzlhslgfkgwlpixdq1z

    * One by One: https://app.box.com/s/df0pueteeqf7kag4hs4wzt2vzvmd82yb

    * Freedom of the Press: https://app.box.com/s/lgjs75stsn4x89pwhaj8cci9uk08rw4n


  • I love these arrangements you make Rick. You asked for opinions so I will give you mine. From a purely technical perspective,

    I believe that the arrangement is excellent I am picking up hints that it's midi. Mainly because of the lack of both dynamics and the almost too perfect timing. Most midi compositions are often "humanized" to some degree. I think adding a vocal could add some dynamics and flavor to it. It isn't the sample libraries. I think it's the sameness of the drum velocity that might be contributing along with the same idea behind the keys. Do you have lyrics for it?

    I hope you know i'm being hyper critical here. I always enjoy what you do. Hey, why not drop drop by the Cakewalk forum and post this in the songs area.You made it in Sonar 8.5. You will be sure to get some comments from others who really dig this genre of music. 



  • Tim,

    Thanks for the feedback. Yes, the "sameness" and "almost too perfect timing" are hard for me to overcome working in the virtual environment. I thought if anything was a dead give away as to it being real as opposed to samples, would be the guitar. The intro guitar part is not what I originally wanted. It's the result of my not being able to get the bends and pull offs I hear in my head to come off sounding right. The intro guitar is a cheap trade off of what's in my head but being I'm stuck with a virtual guitar, I guess I have to live with it.

    The ending guitar, on the other hand, though obviously fake, was a bit of a surprise for me as it developed. I'm actually kind of okay with the way the ending turned out. I just have to accept that no matter what I do it's always going to sound like a robot's doing the playing and then I'm fine with it. But that intro... hmmm, I don't know. Of course the singing would be the standout feature... if it were there, but being a guitar guy I like doing embellishments and being I have no vocal, the ending needed something so I just filled it in with guitar.

    Maybe I'll check out that Sonar forum you mentioned. I didn't know there was such a thing. Thanks again for your valued opinion I take your words as things to be aware of and I will be scrutinizing the dynamics of the drum velocities.

    But let's face it, it's all midi and no matter how hard I try, it's always going to sound kind of mechanical. Just like those so-called deep fake videos everyone's concerned about. Yeah, the technology is very impressive but "real looking"? Nope, just takes a few seconds to know they're fake. But still they are rather unsettling. One thing is for sure in the music realm and that is that virtual composers like me won't be jeopardizing the careers of drummers and guitarists any time soon. Well, that's not strictly true because people far more midi capable than I can fool even the most trained ears. I consider my ears "trained", but my DAW abilities... not so much. Thanks again.


    (why do I say "cheers"?, I'm from the US)


    Later dude,

    (ugggg.. now I know why)


  • Hi Rick, I like your song, it's fun to listen to and it does make me think of music of a certain era which is cool also.  As far as production, as you say there is a lot that you can do with midi so how far you go with that is up to you, what you've given us here makes your ideas clear which is the most important thing really.

    One thing that would sound good to me and would be easy to do would be to include some drum 'fills'  short phrases that punctuate the larger phrases of the song.  Listening to Ringo would explain this better than I can!

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