/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/mtm_logo.jpgMagic Touch Melodies

Jump to Song:

Christmas Carols
She Loved Jazz (2013)
Island Slow Dance (2013 Remix)
Out of Time (2011)
Friend of a Friend (2007)
Jazz It Up! (2007)
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)
My Favorite Strings (2013)
Silent Night (2013)
Silver Bells (2013)
O Holy Night (2013)
 

Infinite Patience CD is Available!

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

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

CD CD also available at:

 Mama Jo's Sunshine Herbals, 1800 Pine Tree Drive, Suite 3, Indian Harbour Beach.


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 listen to.
 
All songs on this website are original compositions and are
Copyright 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, and 2013
by Howard Northrup, Satellite Beach, Florida.

If you have any feedback you'd like to share or any questions, you can e-mail me at hnorthrup@yahoo.com

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Below are my original songs that I've uploaded. Click on the song title or the button below it to download and play:

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My latest song is the 10th one that I've written over the past 8 years and is a smooth jazz guitar song like my last two. My hope is for each song to be better than the previous one and I'm happy with how this one turned out!

This is the first song that I've written since I lost my mom in July, 2012, so I wanted to dedicate it to her. She worked in a record store in Hollywood, FL in her early 20s and her album collection had some jazz classics from the 1940s & 1950s in it, such as ones from Les Paul & Mary Ford. In the 1960s, she collected jazz albums from Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and starting in the 1990s, she enjoyed the smooth jazz that I love. In the mid-1990s, shortly after she retired, I took her to see saxophonist
Warren Hill in concert and she got to meet him and get his autograph after the show. So I decided that, to dedicate it to her, I would title this smooth jazz song She Loved Jazz as a tribute to my number one fan who's listening now from heaven.


Virginia Northrup
July 5, 1930 - July 17, 2012

After my last song, Out of Time, was finished, a friend of mine since I was 18 years old, Frank, had some real good feedback for that song. Since it was too late to make changes for that song, I promised him that I'd involve him early in the songwriting & recording process on my next song so he could give me feedback from a second set of ears. As the music lover that he always was, I figured that he could help me make it a better song. So I e-mailed MP3 versions of the song to him in Massachusetts as I was making changes. He'd listen a few times, then reply with some really good constructive criticism that helped me take out the not-so-good parts and replace or rewrite them with better parts. I think the song turned out better with his inputs than if I had worked on it without his feedback. So thank you, Frank, for your valuable help!

Along with the main instrument, the Epiphone Dot Studio jazz guitar, I added a percussive organ for a traditional jazz sound, plus a flute and a piccolo, along with a tambourine and egg shaker for some percussion sounds.


She Loved Jazz 2013

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Island Slow Dance was a song that I wrote in 2006 and planned to use during my massage sessions. But two of the instruments in it, the steel drum and the bongos, were a bit too loud for a relaxing massage session. So I decided recently to take those two instruments and the organ out of the mix and it became a much more soothing song. So this is the 2013 Remix of that song.


Island Slow Dance (2013 Remix) 2006 & 2013

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Out of Time is the 9th song I've written since 2005 and one that I put a LOT of time into! With each song I write, I try to incorporate the things that I've learned during the process of writing previous songs. My previous songs didn't always flow in good time, so this was the first song that I took the time to compose the entire drum track before writing any of the music. That meant that I had to predetermine how long the intro would be, how many verses I'd have, how many chorus sections, and where the bridge would be. Writing a drum track isn't my favorite part of the process, but I think it helped to give the song a stronger foundation for the music I wrote later.


The title, Out of Time, has two meanings: during the bridge section where I was playing Eddie Van Halen style tapped notes and had to fit 96 notes into 8 seconds of music, I realized that if I didn't play that perfectly, I was out of time to fit all the notes in, The other meaning is that a lot of people have been saying lately that time seems to be going by so fast, so I read up on that and learned that time as we know it is definitely getting compressed as we head toward December of 2012. So we're all running out of time to do the things we used to be able to do in the same amount of time.


As in my previous two songs, I'm using the Epiphone electric jazz guitar for the lead melody. I also added a "brass section" synthesizer sound from the Yamaha MIDI keyboard and a "fantasia" keyboard sound from the
Creative Labs ProdiKeys PC-MIDI keyboard. In the bridge section, I used the Epiphone Les Paul for the rhythm and lead guitars.



Out of Time 2011

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Friend of a Friend is a song that I started writing in 1998 but never got around to finishing until now. Back then, the only instruments I had were the Ovation acoustic electric guitar and a Wurlitzer Electric Piano. I sold that Wurlitzer piano in 2005 and bought three new guitars with the proceeds, but I thought it would be neat for this song to "bring back" the unique Wurlie sound by using the Yamaha MIDI keyboard through KeyRig software's Wurlitzer setting to have it as one of the featured instruments in this song, with the Ovation as the background guitar.

As in my previous song, Jazz it Up!, I'm using the Epiphone electric jazz guitar for the lead melody. As I did with the Washburn nylon string guitar, I e-mailed guitarist Ken Navarro and asked him what strings he uses and recommends for the jazz guitar to get a "fatter" sound. He likes the D'Addario Chromes, so I bought a set and used them for the first time on this song. The tone is much more of what I was after! 

I use the octaves technique quite a bit throughout the song. In fact, all the notes I play in the chorus sections are 100% octaves. I also added a saxophone from the Yamaha keyboard through Brass software. The high hat rhythm track was created using Kinetic software, but I added the other drum kit sounds by playing them manually (i.e., drumming) on the Yamaha keyboard for the ride cymbal, tambourine, and tom drums.


Friend of a Friend 2007

(Friend of a Friend (unplugged) 2007)

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Jazz It Up! is the first song in my series of more upbeat songs that feature the Epiphone Dot Studio electric jazz guitar. This song sets the stage for the direction that I plan to take my songs (which also explains how I came up with the title). The Dot Studio is a semi-hollowbody electric guitar that's a pretty respectable copy of Gibson's ES-335 guitar (for about 1/10th the price!), manufactured in Asia by Gibson's Epiphone Division. 

In addition to being my first song to feature the jazz guitar, this is the first one that I'm using Cakewalk Kinetic software for the drum tracks. Kinetic is called a "Groove Sequencer" and the software makes it easy to set up loops of patterns using many different instruments. I chose its Jazz Acoustic Drum Set at 90 beats-per-minute to come up with the drum patterns in the song. 

This is also the first song that I'm using a guitar technique called "octaves," which is not new, but it's a new technique for me. This technique was made popular by jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery in the early sixties and can still be heard by today's guitarists in the majority of smooth jazz songs. Octaves is a two-note technique played two strings away from each other to get the same musical note one octave apart (e.g., a middle C and the next higher C played simultaneously). It takes some practice to sound good because there is an extra string in between the two strings being played that needs to be muted (quiet) so only the other two strings are heard...which means that one of the two fingers holding a string also has to "lean against" the middle string so it doesn't make any sound.

For backing instruments, I used the Yamaha keyboard for the bass guitar, the tenor saxophone (through Brass software), the percussion (bongos, congas, cabasa, triangle, vibraslap, splash cymbal, and tambourine), the Rhodes Piano (through KeyRig software), and the Fantasia keyboard (sent through a flanger plug-in effect).



Jazz It Up! 2007

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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 (1998), was written using the Ovation steel string guitar.

Friend of a Friend ©1998

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Christmas Carols:

The fourth song and final addition for 2013 for my project 18 of My Favorite Strings for Christmas is My Favorite Strings. This is the original music for the song, My Favorite Things, but with a slight modification in the lyrics. This song was made popular in The Sound of Music in 1965, but over the years, it has become a Christmas carol.

If you'd like to sing along, here are my modified lyrics:


Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are eighteen of my favorite strings

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are eighteen of my favorite strings

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite strings
And then I don't feel so bad

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are eighteen of my favorite strings

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite strings
And then I don't feel so bad

My Favorite Strings 2013

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The third song for my project 18 of My Favorite Strings for Christmas is the song, Silent Night. This has always been one of my favorites.

If you'd like to sing along, here are the lyrics:


Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
'Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant so, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, Holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born!

Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

Silent Night 2013

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The second song for my project 18 of My Favorite Strings for Christmas is the song, Silver Bells. This song is my sister Rainy's favorite, so I'm dedicating it to her because she works hard to preserve the traditions of Christmas that our mom started for our family and she always loved.



Our mom on Christmas morning 2010 with her tree

In case you'd like to sing along, here are the lyrics:

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks.
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there's a feeling of Christmas
Children laughing, people passing
Meeting smile after smile
and on every street corner you'll hear

Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas day

Strings of street lights, even stop lights
Blink a bright red and green
As the shoppers rush home with their treasures
Hear the snow crunch, see the kids bunch
This is Santa's big scene
And above all this bustle you'll hear

Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas day 

Silver Bells 2013

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Since I've been writing and recording original guitar songs, I had never thought much about recording any Christmas carols. However, that changed when a Titusville massage client of mine, Laura, mentioned her Yamaha 12-string acoustic guitar that she was considering selling. I had always loved the sound of a 12-string guitar, ever since playing my friend Andy's Yamaha back in the early 80s. But with 5 guitars already, I wasn't planning to buy one any time soon. Well, since she was generous enough to trade her guitar for a massage session, it's now my 6th guitar! :-)

Because of its full sound, I asked her what her favorite Christmas carols are, so I could record one on the 12-string for her, and she said O Holy Night was one. I had been playing that song each Christmastime on my 6-string guitars and it always sounded nice on those, so it was a great choice to record with the 12-string. I decided to strum the song's chords with the full sound of the 12-string and pick the melody notes with my Washburn nylon string acoustic/electric guitar. I thought a simple arrangement would bring out the best of the two guitars, so that's all that I recorded--two guitars on two tracks. And because it's just those two guitars, I'm calling this project 18 of My Favorite Strings for Christmas. :-)

In case you'd like to sing along, here are the lyrics from the version that I recorded:

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night! O holy night! O night divine!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother.
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Oh praise His name forever!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

O Holy Night 2013

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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:
 

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