mtm_logo.jpgMagic Touch Melodies

Jump to Song:

Song for Earth (2006)
Dream for Tomorrow (2006)
Island Slow Dance (2006)
Instruments of Healing (2006)
Twenty Years Later (2005)
Infinite Patience (2005)
Whisper That You're Mine (2003)
Liquor on the Linoleum (2001)
Friend of a Friend (1998)
 

Infinite Patience CD Now Available!

Contains all six of the songs written in 2005 and 2006.

To order one for $5, contact Howard at the e-mail address below.


Here's what the judges at the SongDoor 2006 International Songwriting Competition 

had to say about track 6, Song for Earth:

 

"Love this! Made the first cut. Nice instrumentation and mood, takes
you away to somewhere else. Great new-age feel, mysterious and
intriguing. Like the synth, too. Another good effort."


Original Music from Howard Northrup
 
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Taken July 2005 with Washburn nylon string guitar

(click picture to zoom)

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Welcome to my Magic Touch Melodies original music web page.
 
On this page, you'll find MP3 recordings of songs I'm either working on or finished that you can download.
 
All songs on this website are original compositions and are
Copyright 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2006
by Howard Northrup, Satellite Beach, Florida.
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Below are songs that I've uploaded. Click on the song title or the button below it to download and play:

________________________________________ The sixth song in my series of smooth songs is Song for Earth. This is the final song in this series that uses the Washburn nylon string guitar as the main instrument.

The title comes from my understanding of the Earth as a living entity that has been abused by man for many years. I dedicate this song to our home planet with the hope of it being healed in the near future.

This is the first one of my songs to have a saxophone part. I love the sound of the saxophone, but most MIDI/synthesized saxophones (including the one on my Yamaha keyboard) do not sound authentic enough for me to want to include sax in my songs. But in my research for better saxophone sounds, I found positive reviews and recommendations for a software synthesizer named Brass from a company called Arturia. This software uses "physical modeling technology" to model the sax, trumpet, and trombone. According to Arturia, "All of the characteristics of the real instruments have been analyzed and modeled through extensive research at IRCAM, a world-renowned institute based in Paris." So the tenor sax parts you hear in this song were originally played on my Yamaha MIDI keyboard, then synthesized on the computer by Brass for the most realistic sound. (If you want to see what the software looks like on the computer, I have a screen shot of Brass on my Instruments and Equipment web page at http://www.howardnorthrup.com/photos/)

After seeing the amazing smooth jazz percussionist, Steve Reid, in concert with his old band, The Rippingtons, I decided to add more percussion to this song. So I used the Yamaha keyboard's MIDI Standard Drum Kit for a track that has some standard drum kit sounds, along with the percussion sounds of the triangle, bell tree, wood block, guiro, and cabasa.

For the keyboard track, I used the Yamaha MIDI keyboard with KeyRig's Stage Piano synthesizer software to play it as a Rhodes Piano with a Straight Pad (synthesizer pad) that's set to one octave lower than what's played on the piano and is mixed in with the piano sound to give it a deeper, richer sound.

As in the previous two songs, I've added no effects to the Washburn nylon string guitar to hear its natural sound.

Song for Earth 2006

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The fifth song in my series of smooth songs is Dream for Tomorrow. After the last three songs grew in complexity (and length of time it took to finish), I planned for this one to be less complex and more melodic. I decided to have an even slower tempo, so this one is set at 40 beats-per-minute (bpm).

I came up with the title after reading a lot of material lately that talks about how we're now living at the end of a 25,000-year cycle. From what I understand, for those of us who choose to live in the next cycle, which begins in 2012, we will live in a world of peace, harmony, clean air & water, food & shelter for all, and no dependence upon fossil fuels for travel--truly Heaven on Earth. So when you listen to this song, join me in that Dream for Tomorrow!

Before I started the recording process, I contacted one of my favorite smooth jazz guitarists, Ken Navarro (http://www.KenNavarro.com), to ask him which set of nylon strings he uses. He told me the exact ones (D'Addario EJ44C Pro-Arte Composite Extra Hard Acoustic Guitar Strings), so I bought a set of those and restrung the Washburn guitar with them. They seem to have a much brighter sound, which I really like. (Hey, if they can make Ken sound that good... ;-)

This is the first song that I've chosen to use my Epiphone Dot Studio semi-hollowbody electric guitar. I used it to play the rhythm guitar parts--it has a full, warm sound, so it seemed like a good mate for the Washburn nylon string guitar's lead parts. As in the last song, I've added no effects to the Washburn nylon string guitar, so you hear its natural sound.

During the Chorus sections of the song, I used the Yamaha MIDI keyboard with KeyRig's Stage Piano synthesizer software to play it as a Soft Grand Piano with a Syntheiser Pad, which gives it a nice fullness. Also in the Chorus sections, I wanted to try two flutes playing in harmony, which I had heard in one of my favorite new Acoustic Alchemy songs, The Crossing. For a small band like Acoustic Alchemy (or a one-man-band like me!), it's not typical to have two flautists playing--that's more typical in an orchestra. But it sounds so unique in their song that I had to try it in mine--I hope you enjoy it!

Dream for Tomorrow ©2006

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The fourth song in my series of smooth songs, Island Slow Dance, has a few "firsts" in it:

1) This is my first song to be completely digitally recorded. In my previous songs, one or more tracks were recorded on my 4-track mixer/recorder (analog), so those songs were both analog and digital. But every track on this song was recorded directly into the computer and stored on the hard drive (digital). If you remember when CDs first came out, the recording industry used a "SPARS Code" which was three letters to describe how it was a) recorded, b) mixed, and c) mastered (e.g., "A-A-D" or "D-D-D"). Using that code, my previous songs were "A-D-D" and this one is my first "D-D-D".

2) Rather than playing all the parts myself, I had help with the tracks on this song from my friend, Lisa Weber. She played all the percussion on the song using her bongo drums and the egg shaker.

3) For the lead guitar, I didn't add any effects to alter the sound with the POD, as I had on the first three songs. So the lead guitar on this song is the nylon string guitar with its natural clean sound.

4) After using a pick to strum chords all these years, I finally bought a DVD to teach me how to finger-pick. So this song is the first one that I finger-picked the rhythm chords instead of just strumming them.

As with the last three songs, the Washburn nylon string guitar is used for both the rhythm and lead guitar parts. The bass guitar and percussive organ are from the MIDI (digital output) of the Yamaha keyboard. The wind chime is one that was bought for me by a friend and I always loved its sound, so I recorded it with the microphone. The ocean waves are from two wav files found on the web and the crickets sound is from Freesound.org (February 1, 2006 By RHumphries - http://freesound.iua.upf.edu/usersViewSingle.php?id=1112).

The title of the song comes from a visualization that I created spontaneously while slow dancing with a woman I was dating years ago. As we danced to Gato Barbieri's "Europa", I described to her a scene in which we were on a tropical Caribbean island at night and found a little tiki bar at closing time. The only people still there were the bartender and the island band playing their last song of the night--a slow dance. So I described how we headed to the empty dance floor and danced slowly to the tropical sounds of the band, with the ocean waves and crickets off in the distance. So close your eyes while you listen and let the song take you there, too!

Island Slow Dance ©2006

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My third song in the series of smooth songs, Instruments of Healing, was the most complex song I had written. It's quite a bit more complex than the simple 3-chord songs you hear on the radio (country, blues, or basic rock songs). In the verse sections, it has 16 chords and for the chorus sections, it has another 7 chords--no simple stuff for me!

I came up with the title of the song, then read an article that described certain musical instruments as having healing effects. Studies have shown that three of the most healing instruments are the acoustic guitar, the flute, and the xylophone, so I included those in this song.

As with the last two songs, the Washburn nylon string guitar is used for both the rhythm and lead guitar parts, using the POD for guitar effects. The Rhodes piano, string ensembles, violin, cello, and xylophone are all from the MIDI (digital output) of the Yamaha keyboard. The drums, tambourine, and pan flute are also from the Yamaha keyboard. As with the last song, I actually play the drum parts on the keyboard in real time and also recorded an egg shaker using a microphone.

Instruments of Healing ©2006

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The following song, Twenty Years Later, the second in my series of smooth songs, is a song that I started writing on the piano in September of 1985 for a new love at that time. I always intended to finish it, but never did...until now...Twenty Years Later.

For this song, the Washburn nylon string guitar is used for both the rhythm and lead guitar parts, using the POD for guitar effects. The piano is from the Yamaha keyboard's Grand Piano setting. The drum track, bass guitar, pan flute, and synthesizer pad are also from the Yamaha keyboard, with the pan flute and synthesizer pad being recorded in digital only (MIDI). Along with the drum track, during the chorus parts of the song, I actually play the Ride Cymbal and the Bell Tree on the keyboard in real time (in order to appease the frustrated drummer in me).

Twenty Years Later ©2005

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For my short story that I wrote about the song, click on book:

click on book for short story:
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If you'd like to see what this song looks like on the computer, click the picture below:
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Sonar software 7-track screen shot

 

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The following song, Infinite Patience, began a series of smooth, relaxing instrumental songs. To get that smoothness, I'm using the Washburn nylon string guitar (pictured above) and POD effects device. In these songs, the guitar is accompanied by other instruments from the Yamaha keyboard, using its MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) output to the computer and/or its non-MIDI output.

To learn more about MIDI, go to:

Infinite Patience ©2005

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The following song, Whisper That You're Mine, was intended to be a collaboration project with a friend who writes lyrics and sings beautifully. She has lyrics written for it and her voice sounds great singing it, but we never got far enough to put the music and the vocals together.

It's written using the Ovation steel string guitar. The guitar is accompanied by the Yamaha keyboard for the bass guitar sound and drum track.

Whisper That You're Mine ©2003

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The following song, Liquor on the Linoleum, was written for a girl I knew who loved that old twangy country music (it didn't turn out bad for a musician who doesn't like that style at all--I needed to prove how easy it was to write those type of songs).

It was written using the Ovation steel string guitar. The guitar is accompanied by a drum track from the Yamaha keyboard as well as my questionable vocal track.

Liquor on the Linoleum ©2001

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The following song, Friend of a Friend, was written using the Ovation steel string guitar.

Friend of a Friend ©1998

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To e-mail me with comments or to let me know that you'd like to be notified of new songs added to this website, write to me at this address:
 
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If you'd like to check out the instruments and equipment used to write and record these songs, go to:

Howard's Musical Instruments & Recording Equipment

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