#1
I've been listening to a lot of Creature Feature lately and was wondering how you'd get that circus feel in a rock context. It sounds so interesting, deranged, and unique. What kind of techniques are they using to get that sound. I know this sounds stupid but I'm curious. Also don't just tell me something like," Go learn their songs ..." and stuff like that. I'm not the best at analyzing songs.

An example would be "Such Horrible Things".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E57VEktqhaw

Or maybe "Greatest Show Unearthed"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KWvVO7Kp0k

Both are AMVs but you get the point. In case you're wondering, I'm a huge fan of the anime, "Soul Eater" and that's why both AMVs feature said anime. Help would be appreciated.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
Last edited by RonaldPoe at Mar 11, 2014,
#3
Thanks for the quick response but What's an "off-beat". I know asking that is embarrassing especially since I research theory a little too much and have heard the term countless times. I never knew what it means.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#4
Quote by RonaldPoe
Thanks for the quick response but What's an "off-beat". I know asking that is embarrassing especially since I research theory a little too much and have heard the term countless times. I never knew what it means.

Well if you listen to the song you can easily count the beats like 1 - 2 - 3 - 4....... The offbeats (or "weak beats" or whatever. Not entirely sure what to call them either ) are 2 and 4.

Or I guess the proper way count is like One-and-two-and-three-and-four-and......etc. In that case the offbeats are the "and"

But one thing I've often heard in this type of music is using 3/4. This track is 4/4, though.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Mar 11, 2014,
#5
Thanks for clearing that up. Do you have any other tips to get that Circus sound and feel?
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#6
Just analyze tons of similar music. That's the best way to learn any style.

But generally they all pretty much seem to be in harmonic minor. V - i and vii° - i cadences play a big role. Also the rhythm is kinda important.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YfrNzAW050

This one is also an awesome track in pretty much the same style. Quite a bit of blues scale here as well.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Mar 11, 2014,
#7
Quote by RonaldPoe
Thanks for clearing that up. Do you have any other tips to get that Circus sound and feel?


Ronald,

I don't see how additional advice on what to look for, or do is going to help you.

If you don't know what an upbeat is, and if people are going to have to explain every single thing because you cant be bothered to learn (as you said you don't want anyone to tell you to learn the songs), you're dead in the water. Sorry, but I'm being straight with you. This isn't a place where you can come in knowing nothing and pick and choose anything and like magic all is explained and understandable to you.

They were right on the first song. It's syncopated "Reggae" like upbeats. For the scale you'd have to know the tonal center and intervals and be able to analyze individual notes and intervals against it. You seemingly cannot do that. I am afraid, as a result, that understanding this level of music is out of reach for you until you decide that learning things like theory (I saw that you said you study theory way too much, but I didn't catch any sense of that here) are important and worth investing in, in terms of your own commitment to do so. That's what we are really here to do, is assist those who are trying and may be stuck somewhere.

As for how the "sound" is made, I'm hearing a clean guitar, with reggae upbeats and a keyboard playing chord stabs on the beat, and what sounds like an overdriven guitar with a lower octave harmonizer effect, and another keyboard patch playing higher harmony against the melody.

Till then, enjoy it, and keep playing.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Mar 12, 2014,
#8
Sean, my real problem isn't knowing theory but applying it. Don't worry, I'm not offended in the slightest (you're being honest and polite so there's no reason to be mad) and at least you explained something. Have a nice day.

Edit: Does anyone know places with free lessons that would help me apply music theory?
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
Last edited by RonaldPoe at Mar 12, 2014,
#9
Quote by RonaldPoe
Sean, my real problem isn't knowing theory but applying it. Don't worry, I'm not offended in the slightest (you're being honest and polite so there's no reason to be mad) and at least you explained something. Have a nice day.

Edit: Does anyone know places with free lessons that would help me apply music theory?


You could try musictheory.net.

Also Google Mike Dodge and see if he still has his free theory website.

Why don't you do this then, since you want to apply theory. Transcribe the first song. Decide the tonal center as a musical note like "E" or "Bb"or whatever you determine the central pitch is. And then transcribe the basic melody, a few bars. Figure out the notes against the Central Note. And then analyze their intervals, and decide what their function suggests. For example is there a b2 3, and b7? If so...perhaps the signature for these intervals, suggest a particular scale (answer in my example, yes...Phrygian Dominant).

This stuff is really easy once you manage to isolate your central tone, identify your intervals and then see how they all line up. What kind of 3rds, for example. What are the "weird" sounding notes, etc. This can be very useful when it comes down to determining what scales may be suggested in the melody, and also, what notes may simply be embellishments and color notes.

Good luck to you as you move forward. You have me respect for trying to understand theory and apply it. I do also mentor for free so if you get lost or stuck, hit me up!

Best,

Sean
#10
So is that Circus rock feel just a mixture of accented off-beats and Minor Scales (particularly Harmonic Minor)? There seems to be more to it than that. Something about Creature Feature's phrasing is very intriguing (it's something I could mix into my own style). Got any other tips.

"Bad Blood" (Creature Feature)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7BeJRF4HWA
I just had to post another Creature Feature song to get more of an impression.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#11
IMO the circus sound comes from the rhythm (notice how the bass note is on the beat and the higher chord tones are on the offbeat). You can play circus music in major or minor - the key doesn't really matter (but if you want this kind of more "creepy" or "freak show" sounding stuff, I think minor fits it better). The instrumentation also matters. They use that kind of strange sounding organ and stuff like that. Also in the Final Fantasy piece there's a piano (that is a bit harsh sounding). The instrumentation, rhythm and articulation is what creates the "funny" feeling the songs have. Also I think the songs try to be a bit creepy but in a more funny way.
Quote by AlanHB
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