The Sound Of Music: Life In My Eardrums

The Sound Of Music

“The hills are alive with the sound of music, I know I would hear what I’ve heard before, the hills fill my heart with the sound of music and I’d sing once more”

No, this article is not a review of Sound of Music the movie (although that movie is still the best musical yet); however, it is about the technicalities that come with music production and all that actually creates the sound.

Just as food is to the body, music is to the soul. I fell in love with music in 2008, I was in still in secondary school at the time, J.S.S 3 to be specific, and I remember that very day like the back of my hand. It was one afternoon during the summer coaching classes my school usually organizes for Junior WAEC, I was sitting right next to Dorcas (I’d never forget her name), and since school wasn’t exactly in session, we were permitted to bring in our phones, so she happened to be listening to Someone Like You by Adele Adkins, I was sitting right next to her so I could hear bits and pieces of the song and it was the voice that got me.

Music in Sunday Service

Let me back it up a little bit and give you some back story. That wasn’t the first time I was hearing music in my life, my mum is actually a singer with an amazing voice, she has at least an album to her name, and growing up, she used to make us sing with her in church, during Sunday services. Plus my parents were also huge fans of Gospel music, and so, every Sunday morning my Dad would bless us with music while we got ready for church. So I had heard the music before that time, but I had never really listened to music, and that voice caught my attention and gave me goosebumps.

19 Adele Adkins’s Albums I Downloaded

I remember passing a note to her later that day, asking her to write out the name of the song and the artiste, later that night I Google searched for who Adele Adkins was and downloaded her entire 19 albums. It was from that day that I realized that I had a “good ear” for music and I started to pay close attention to the kind of music I listened to.

Over the years, I discovered other great artistes like Sia, Tove Lo, Ed Sheeran, Ella Henderson, and Billie Eillish and so on, but the interesting part about this happened when I also realized that my taste in music went beyond the awesome voice of the artiste, or how hip the beats in the song were, it went as far as the instrumentation in the song, that is, the proper blend of the instruments used in creating the sound that blended into the lyrics and voice of the artiste, and also the quality of the mixing and mastering of the final cut of the song. I soon found out that I was also attracted to Disc Jockeys (DJs) who also create and produce beats, the likes of Zedd, David Guetta, Avicii and so on.

Some Other Things You Need To Know About Music

There’s something about the instrumentation and production of a song that connects the voice of the artiste or artistes with the lyrics of the song and just changes it completely, which is why there would always be a difference between the acoustic version of a song and the originally produced version. The job of a producer is basically to mix and master, that is, to combine parts of the song, layering them in the right amount and putting in certain effects where and when necessary, and also to balance sonic elements of the mix and optimize playback across all systems and media formats.

The producer must be one who has a very sound music ear to be able to know what specific beat or instrumentation that goes perfectly well with a particular vocal range. Although most producers might not be artistes themselves, they usually understand the technicalities that come with making music and the dimensions to it. The mixing and mastering of music are usually done on an audio editing app or well, several audio editing soft-wares or and applications, therefore, it is important that the producer has some in-depth knowledge about these soft-wares and their technicalities.

Being a Producer and The Artist

An artiste can double as a producer; I mean we have the likes of Jon Bellion, Pharell Williams and so on. This makes the production easier, as their knowledge of production would guide their lyrics writing and voice control.

Most music consumers do not understand the intricacies that come with music production to a seemingly large extent, they are more concerned with the voice of the artiste, the beat of the song and sometimes the lyrics as well. Hence, they are thrown in utter confusion and agitation during music award nominations, when some songs are nominated and some are not, e.g. the Grammys, as they are not aware of the fact that the body assigned to make the nominations is more concerned with the sound of music and not just the music itself.

I bless the day Dorcas opened up my ears to music, the life that feeds my soul, the beauty in the sounds that wake up the mountains and give meaning to the hills. There is so much good music out there today, and just as we give credit to the artistes, the producers deserve much more. I hope to seat on the other side of the booth someday bring to life art in its finest form.


Oluwayemi Olukanni.