AudiniAudio wrote: ↑
Thu Jul 15, 2021 5:38 pm
for a live set do you think in terms of two fast and one slow, three fast and one slow or something else?
It totally depends what songs I am wanting to do any given time. It's not only about pacing of songs but themes, which ones I consider "the hits" (i.e. ones that either consistently get crowd response or I think are likely to if they're new). I tend to have a lot more ballads than up-tempo songs, and, being a keyboard player, often doing solo piano/vocal, it can be harder to pull off up-tempo songs since you don't have drums or rhythm guitars keeping the beat. (Though I do my best keeping rhythms up on the piano, and doing keyboard bass, there are still songs that are much harder to pull off on piano -- e.g. I have one "ukulele song" that really takes advantage of strumming rhythms, but that is really hard to do on the piano on the rhythmic front, though I have done it live.) Of course, that limitation doesn't come into play when sequencing an album (since I can do whatever sorts of virtual bands I want for any given song on my recordings).
On the (relatively rare) occasions when I making a set list for a band, I will typically do a higher balance of up-tempo and mid-tempo songs. Also, if it is a dancing environment, as opposed to a listening environment, the balance will shift even more into the faster material.
It's easier to give an example off one of my albums from the last two years, though. I'll pick my 2019 album ("The Road That I Must Take" - http://smarturl.it/TheRoadThatIMustTake
) instead of the 2020 one ("Moments of Insanity" - http://smarturl.it/MomentsOfInsanity
) because the latter was kind of a special case due to having a bunch of styles, which had me making 4 mini-sets instead of longer sequences (6-song "sides" in the former case).
I start out with two up-tempo songs before getting to a power ballad. That first up-tempo one was what I used as my highlight cut on the album (e.g. for pitching for Spotify editorial playlists), and is actually the one of my songs that has the most streams at the moment (due solely to Pandora play as it doesn't get all that much on other services). The second one was one I wrote specifically for the album, after I had the theme in mind, so the first two songs are a really strong introduction to the theme of the album, which is about twisty-turny roads through life, crossroads in life, and purpose. The ballad (i.e. track #3) is one I felt really strongly would keep people listening, and it basically treats hindsight and communications in relationships. Song #4 could possibly be called mid-tempo or another power ballad, but is one of the most memorable songs hook-wise (e.g. the first time I every played it live, the audience was singing along in the chorus). It also happens to be the song that gives the album its title (from a line in the song, not the song's title) and talks to purpose. #5 is more or less mid-tempo, and is one of the songs I was less confident in for holding an audience, but I was hoping the first four songs, between the up-tempo start and 3 of the 4 being ones I was pretty confident would keep people listening, felt like I could afford one I was less sure about at this point. Then I finished the first side with another power ballad that is quite on-topic with the album's overall theme. I felt it was a good "finale" song for that first side.
The second side goes more in a romantic relationships direction than the first side did. It starts up-tempo again, but with a blindsided jilting song. The second track on that "side" (track #8 overall) goes very dark, and it is in a style unlike anything I'd ever done before, but it is keeping the "story" of that second side flowing. That's followed up by an up-tempo song that is kind of "safe", and also kind of humorous, though not overtly song (it's basically like a 12-step meeting on love). The next one (#10) gets kind of steamy and starts the recovery from the jilting. I guess it could be called mid-tempo -- it's kind of bluesy. The second to last song is pure up-tempo, and kind of pop-rock. Then the final song is ends on a bittersweet note, and I think is pretty solidly in ballad territory.
The second "side" is more sequenced by story flow, where the first "side" is more sequenced to try to keep people listening once they get started. Of course, in the streaming world, that probably doesn't matter much.
(I actually wrote a "story behind the album" blog -- http://rickpaulmusic.com/story-behind-t ... must-take/
-- when I put the album out that goes more into detail of how the tracks fit the concept, or at least how I rationalized it in addition to giving more on the history of how the album emerged.)