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Sunday, July 22, 2012

SpinTunes #5: Round 3 Challenge

What's Opera, Doc? - Write a Mini-Opera: A dramatic story told through dialogue sung by two or more characters.  A couple suggested examples I got are "Come Talk To Me" by Peter Gabriel or "Written In The Stars" by Elton John.  (2 minute minimum) (your submission is due July 29th 11:59PM (Sun)

Defined Opera as: A theatrical presentation in which a dramatic performance is set to music.

- We of course run things by my time...not yours. The link at the top of the blog may be helpful to you when it comes to deadlines throughout this contest.

- The bold part is just the title of the challenge/album. Everything after that is the actual challenge. "What's Opera, Doc?" will be the title of the album.

Submitting Entries:
- Entries must be received by the given deadline. Otherwise it'll be posted as a shadow. Received means that it has to appear in my e-mail inbox by the given deadline. I will be going by the time stamp on the e-mail in my inbox. PLEASE do not wait until the last hour to send me something. If there is a blackout in your area, your computer crashes, or your dog actually eats your thumb drive...I will not care. You are allowed to send in a draft of your song early just in case something horrible happens & you miss the deadline. Then you can add polish to your song & send in a better version closer to the deadline. 1 minute late is still late people.

- Send your file in a format that Bandcamp accepts. (.aiff, .wav or .flac) (at least 16-bit/44.1kHz) You can find the specific requirements for Bandcamp files HERE.

- Name your file the song's title, but without spaces & punctuation.

- Title of the e-mail should be the title of the Challenge & your band's name.

- Include the song lyrics in the body of the e-mail. (If your song doesn't have lyrics...consider yourself eliminated. Instrumentals can be pretty, but SpinTunes does require lyrics.)

- Include information on anyone that needs credited if you collabed with someone.

- If you have a BandCamp account, you can just send me a link to your song on BandCamp if you include all the info I mentioned above. Make sure you have it set as a free download, and have it set so that I don't have to put in an e-mail to download it if you pick this option. THIS IS THE BEST FILE SHARING OPTION!

- Other file sharing options if you need them: YouSendIt, Sound Cloud & Drop Box. Please send an e-mail as I already stated, but with the download link if you need one of these services. Please follow directions so your file doesn't wind up in my spam or trash folder accidentally.

Side Notes:
- Good luck everyone. I don't care who wins, but I hope you all have fun & maybe even learn a little something along the way.

- Remember that Max, Dave & Tom have access to my e-mail now. If I'm not available, it's possible that one of them will respond to you.

- Remember that you are allowed to send in a little background about your song. Some people don't like to do that, and you don't have to, but if you want to write a couple sentences about your song I'll post it on the BandCamp page for people to see. Some judges will look at the lyrics & this extra info, but they aren't required to.

- If you didn't sign-up in time to compete in SpinTunes #5, you can still complete the challenge & send in a song. It'll be uploaded with the other entries as a "Shadow Song". Check the FAQ if you don't know what that means. You can even complete past challenges from previous contests.

- If you didn't sign-up you can also do a song for "Single Rainbow Across The Internet". You're song would be played during the LP as well.

- The only other way to get your music played at the LP is to cover "Today's The Day" by Inverse T. Clown.

- Feel free to leave any questions in the comments.


  1. Now THIS I can get behind! Hell yeah.

  2. Come talk to me is a rubbish example for Gabriel.... "Don't Give up", or "Another Day" are more applicable... or "Something Very Horrible (BlueBeard's Lament)" by some band called Duality237... or something... ;' )

  3. Darn. Zoe shadowed instead of entering because she knew she'd have to sit out round 3. Now we could have done something together. Bah.

    1. Shadows can be REALLY late if that helps. :p

  4. Dear SpinTunes #5 Round Three Entrants:

    If you were, as I was, blithely unaware that Mark Meritt (one of the SpinTunes judges) quietly published a blog post about this round, please go read it now. You can find it at http://potluck.com/2012/07/some-thoughts-to-help-with-the-spintunes-5-mini-opera-challenge/

    (Once you've read it, my comment to it -- that I'll attach below -- will make a lot more sense...)


    Edric Haleen

  5. (Posted in the comments on Mark's blog page.)

    Okay Mark. You know I love you. But I’ve got something to say about this…

    To begin? I think this is crap.

    (Let me explain why…)

    “I’d rather do something now to help entrants get moving on a good track…”

    How? By putting up a blog post where no one can find it? As I type this, it is 10:49 on Tuesday, July 24th. The date on this blog post is two days ago — the same date that the challenge went up on the SpinTunes blog. The only reason I happened to stumble upon it is because I decided to zip over to Dr. Lindyke’s blog to see if there were any more residual comments left over from LAST round. Being secure in my song idea for THIS round (i.e. my idea wasn’t going to be altered, affected, or influenced any longer by hearing other people’s thoughts and ideas), I decided to read Dave’s “What’s Opera, Doc?” post. Followed your link — not even a hyperlink; a TEXT link — to your blog page, and that’s how I happened to stumble upon this.



    We’re now more than 30% of the way through the songwriting window. Ideas are starting to set and jell. (If the past is any indicator, there may even be a song or two that’s already been submitted at this point!) What the hell kind of good does this blog post do anyone if they haven’t seen it yet — or don’t EVER see it?!?

    I’m already kind of dismayed at the lack of definition that this challenge seems to have been given. The original challenge was already vague enough that a secondary definition of “opera” had to follow the primary definition of a “mini-opera.” So basically, in WORDS the participants were instructed to create something that was…

    1) Dramatic
    2) A story delivered “conversationally” through song
    3) Populated by at least two people who address each other

    This might have been somewhat workable. But then Travis posted two exemplars that provided nearly as much confusion as guidance. Indeed — in your blog post, you proclaimed that the two exemplars Travis posted, were they submitted, WOULDN’T MEET THE CHALLENGE!!!!! (In your own humble, non-publicized opinion.) You wrote, “None of these songs tell a story. I think a mini-opera, like a full opera, should tell a story…”

  6. (Sorry -- these comments only allow 4,096 characters at a time. Here's the rest of the post...)


    Later — after pontificating for a while about YOUR understanding of the nature of the challenge and the essential qualities of a mini-opera — you wrote, “In light of all this, here are some examples that I think would best serve entrants to consider,” and then listed four songs/works. So again, I have to ask…


    As I said at the top — you know I love you. I know you mean well. But I think that a great injustice will have been done to the entrants if the judges don’t give a GREAT deal of latitude this round on how the letter/spirit of the challenge was or was not met. I know you like to give voice to your opinions, and I’m not telling you to refrain from COMMENTING on how “mini-operatic” you think an entry is or isn’t. But I’d frankly be rather pissed if I saw judges adding (or withholding!) POINTS to (or from!) competitors based on this particular aspect. (And please tell them I said that…)

    After all — by posting a link to “Come Talk To Me,” Travis basically told the participants that it was okay to submit a song in which one person is talking to another person WHO BASICALLY NEVER SPEAKS IN RETURN, as long as there’s another voice in the recording doubling the protagonists lyrics. I agree with you whole-heartedly that this wouldn’t satisfy MY take on what a “mini-opera” should be, but Travis all but gave his blessing. And by posting a link to “Written In The Stars,” Travis basically told the participants that it was okay to submit a song about a “moment” — a moment that isn’t necessarily an entire STORY with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Again — would I say this would qualify as a “mini-opera”? Probably not. But THIS IS WHAT THE PARTICIPANTS WERE GIVEN ON SUNDAY!

    (Your blog post, on the other hand? Was never GIVEN to ANYBODY!)

    Fulminatingly, yet respectfully yours…

    Edric Haleen

  7. Okay -- my fulminating was somewhat excessive. Apparently, the world of Facebook houses SpinTunes "media outlets" of which I was completely unaware -- and apparently lots of people who ARE aware of said Faceboook annexes have already seen Mark's blog post. (And Mark DID make a concerted effort to disseminate his thoughts last Sunday.)

    So, for those of you who were already in the know -- sorry about the ranting and raving.

    However -- for any other Luddites like me who DON'T dance with Mark Zuckerberg -- Mark had some thoughts on the challenge that you might want to read. (Or might have wanted to read last Sunday...)


  8. As a new guy hereabouts, I hadn't really sussed out all the Spintunes-related hangouts yet. So now I need to decide whether to dump the concept I'm working on and start from scratch, or carry on with something that probably won't entirely fly.

    Oh well, it IS supposed to be a challenge...

    1. If you like what you've written, and you wrote to the challenge as posted. I would keep what you have. The judges SHOULD be very understanding based on the confusion with the examples.

    2. Edric's suggestion that judges be more lenient about the challenge this time around, in light of what happened with the examples, may be good advice.

      I'm not sure whether this applies to any of the current judges, or at least any of the regular ones, but the biggest danger would come from judges who think more black and white about challenges and then let that have a very significant impact on their ratings. I've heard some judges at times say that blowing a challenge would cause them to push an entry way to the bottom of their rankings, independent of the quality of everything else about an entry. That kind of thinking would need the most leniency added in for the current situation.

      My scoring system ensures that whatever thoughts I have about how an entry meets a challenge can only have so much impact on my overall scoring. Like I said to Edric in the comments at my blog post, it's ironic that I may be among the most vocal opponents of the challenge’s examples and yet in the end my scoring might end up among the most kind to those who follow them. That could end up true even if I decided not to be particularly lenient.

      I'm thinking that I'll wait to see the pool of entries before deciding about how I'll judge the meeting of the challenge. If there's decent enough effort at story across the board, there may be no issue at all. If enough entries follow the examples enough, then one way or other I may try to add some leniency about the challenge even into my scoring system that already minimizes the impact of what I think about the challenges.