Theory Thursday | Part 2 | Note Lengths

Welcome back! Today in our newest series we are going to talk about note lengths.

Note Lengths

There are a wide range of note lengths that are used in music. We are only going to cover the most common of note lengths, the whole note to the sixteenth note.

Whole Note

The whole note, the one that looks like a weird O, is worth 4 beats.

5 whole notes on the bass clef

Half Note

You are going to notice a trend when it comes to note names, and their worth A half note is another note that is not filled in, like the whole note, but it has a tail. A half note is worth 2 beats, or, half of a whole note. Two half notes equals one whole note.

Two half notes on the bass clef, one whole note on the treble clef

Quarter Note

The quarter note is worth 1 beat. Two quarter notes equal one half note, four quarter notes equal 1 whole note. The quarter note looks like a filled in half note.

4 quarter notes on the treble clef, two half notes on the bass clef

Eighth Note

The second last note we will cover today is the eighth note. The eighth note is worth half a beat. Two eighth notes equal one quarter note. Four eighth notes equal one half note. Eight eighth notes equal one whole note. The eighth note looks like a quarter note, but with a tail.

Eighth notes on the treble clef.

Sixteenth Note

The final note we will cover today is the sixteenth note. If you’ve noticed the trend so far you can guess that a sixteenth note is worth a quarter of a beat. Two sixteenth notes equals one eighth note. Four sixteenth notes equal one quarter note. Eight sixteenth notes equal one half note. 16 sixteenth notes equal one whole note.


There are more note lengths we could go over, but they follow the exact same pattern as the notes above, once you know all the way up to the sixteenth note, you can basically figure out the rest. Thanks for reading part 2 of Theory Thursdays! Come back next week when we break down what time signatures are. If you like what we’re doing here at The Ottawa Sound, give us a like on Facebook, and if you can, please consider donating to our Patreon. Also if you have any questions about what we’ve covered so far in Theory Thursdays, please feel free to send us a message on Facebook or email us at


A Chat With: Cody Smith

Hello! Today we delve into the mind of the ever so awesome Cody Smith, vocalist of Elementals, resident of your favourite house.

1. How would you describe your sound?

In the early days we were almost constantly compared to Nirvana, but five years down the road our influences have shaped our sound in such a way that I would have to say we will always have an alternative rock foundation, but we’re slowly creeping into folk and country roots.

2. Who are your influences?

This is just a general answer from all the dudes: Deer Tick, Wilco, Motörhead, CCR, Black Crowes, CCR, Nirvana, Elliott Smith, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Head and The Heart, Tony Rice, Leadbelly, Refused

3. What’s on the horizon for your music in 2019/2020?

We are currently in the middle of writing our third record, we have a lot of songs and we’re kinda just polishing them and picking which ones are gonna make the cut. We love being on the road so we hope to tour more as well:

4. What is your creative process?

I usually write the song and then bring it to the band and we hash it out together, that’s kinda just always how it’s been and it works for us, we’re all really open with our ideas so the song can really transform from the original idea once we play it together, or sometimes it just stays the same.

5. Where do you draw inspiration from?

That’s a tough one, I guess right now mostly friends and family and just the oddities of life. I’m 23 and this period of my life is both really fun and really stressful, so any kind of situation I get myself in can be “inspiring”, haha.

6. How do you deal with nerves before a show?

I don’t wanna speak for the other dudes but I think generally we don’t get nervous anymore. I used to be very anxious about it before I really got into the scene but the typical ritual is just to have some beers and a shot or two, have some good hangs before we play.

7. Fave venue in Ottawa?

House of TARG is always a blast, I love the intimacy of not having a stage, the crowd right in front of you within arms reach, I love that shit. Ask a Punk we love to play for that reason too, plus the night’s a lot cheaper, haha.

8. Craziest thing you’ve seen at a show?

The first week I moved into Ask a Punk, I came home while a metal show was still happening, and this girl just bursts through the backdoor covering her face and crying, I thought she was just upset, turns out someone broke her nose in the mosh pit!

9. If you could tour/play a show with any line up who would it be?

At this very moment, I think if we could tag along with Deer Tick anywhere that would be frickin’ sweet.

10.Advice for new musicians/band

Play a lot at first, get your name out there, especially if you’re brand new and don’t really no anyone. Go out and see other bands, make friends with the people in the different scenes. Ottawa is very diverse musically, obviously there are more popular genres at the moment but you need to place yourself everywhere to meet everyone you can. It makes it a lot easier to play when you have a variety of paths to follow. ALSO, hit me up if you’re new and wanna play at Ask A Punk! We see a lot of amazing acts come through here and it’s a very fun and friendly community.

11. Any shout outs you want to make?

Shout out to you, Stumpo. Thanks for the interview bahd. To Ottawa Sound too, helping showcase bands all over Ottawa.

And shout out to my roommates at Ask A Punk.

And mom.
Hi mom.

12. Social media links/music links



Apple Music:



Instagram: @elementalsband

Twitter: @elementalsband

Album Review | All The Hope We Hold | Skybound

Local band Skybound released its debut full-length album almost one year ago, so we decided to re-release our review so that all you beautiful readers can consider purchasing or streaming it.

Originally Released June 12th 2018

The album features 10 songs including Void and Bipolar Bear. The Album will be coming out on June 15th. Tiago was kind enough to give us here at The Ottawa Sound an early look at the album. The album is a concept album that follows a young fighter pilot that has crashed his plane during the second world war and finds a mysterious island. Each song is a journal entry from the perspective of the pilot. I’m willing to admit that before I listened to this album I was not a huge fan of instrumental music, but this album has thoroughly changed my mind.

Song 1: Void

This song is about the pilot crashing his plane and how he feels hopeless. The song starts with a lamenting vocal line that brings across the despair and hopelessness that the pilot must feel. Then the music erupts and you start to sense his determination to survive. Skybound is a seriously talented group of musicians and this song goes to show it.

Song 2: The Peach Arbor

This song follows the pilot as he discovers a bunch of fruit trees. When the song starts you can really sense the feeling of wonder and excitement the pilot has at discovering the fruit. This song has one of my favourite guitar riffs on the album and the drums and guitar just mesh perfectly together. The bass line that comes in around halfway also meshes beautifully with instrumentation of the guitar and drums. The build-up and fall at the end is an amazing way to end the song and flows perfectly into the next song, Moonflower.

Song 3: Moonflower

Moonflower follows the pilot as his first day on the island ends. Mysterious flowers start glowing at his feet. The song starts with instrumentation that brings across the sense of wonder, confusion and amazement at the flowers. When I listen to the song I can picture the pilot running through a field of these glowing flowers with the sense of wonder and abandon of a child. Again a song with a perfectly paired guitar riff and drum pattern. The transitions from part to part are perfectly executed and the tapping riff about halfway through is simply amazing. This song also has an amazing buildup and fall that is a great transition from one song to the next. The drumming in this song is absolutely amazing.

Song 4: Please Come Home

This song follows the pilot as he meets a group of people and starts to feel a sense of belonging. The opening guitar riff is so good and is a great gateway to the near perfection that follows it up. The main riff of the song is seriously good and gets stuck in my head every time I listen to it, a hallmark of an amazing riff. Also, the transition from fast to slow, with a perfectly executed fade out and fade in really adds to the song, with another sick tapping riff.

Song 5: Time Tessellates

This song starts with a wonderfully beautiful guitar riff mixed in with some light strings faded into the background. It follows the pilot about a week after he lands on the island. The use of harmonics on the guitar right before the build-up made me smile as that technique is not often heard being used by younger guitarists as it can be difficult to execute. Also, the riffs in this song are absolutely mind-boggling and the drumming seriously adds a layer to the song that is hard to describe. This is probably my favourite song on the album and I love the synths that were added as they seriously change the feel of the song for the better, they add a feeling of fun to the song. Time Tessellates feels like it would be in the soundtrack to a movie.

Song 6: Nova

This song is about a girl the pilot starts falling in love with, named Nova. Its one of the shortest songs on the album and it features a nice synth line, and once again everything meshes perfectly. The ending riff is so so so good too.

Song 7: The Tempest

This one starts with a bang. Energetic, bouncing and fun. Beautiful transitions again and more beautiful guitar riffs. This song is about the pilot surviving a storm that blew the camp apart. You can definitely feel the ferociousness of the storm in the music, and the sense of being lost while the pilot struggles to find his way back to his new friends.

Song 8: Bipolar Bear

This song follows the pilot as he struggles to get across the island. You can definitely feel his sense of longing and determination to get to where he needs to go. More epic riffs and perfection in meshing of instrumental elements. Skybound strikes again with the mind boggling transitions and time changes. Also, the random sax solo in the middle of the song took me by surprise at first but it adds a nice layer to the music.

Song 9: Lemon Lime

The pilot is almost at his destination, he takes a break and can feel the grass between his toes. Lemon Lime had me bobbing my head and tapping my foot the whole time I was listening. Executed perfection. More perfect transitions, time changes, tempo changes, great use of dynamics, a great bass line that doesn’t overpower the guitar but at the same time doesn’t get buried either. Very well mixed.

Song 10: The Secret Life Of Birds

The final song on the album. Over a month has passed since the storm destroyed the camp. The pilot finally arrives at the other side of the island. The song starts with birds, and a nice string part, that gives me a sense of foreboding but at the same time relief. The piano comes in and builds on the relief. I feel at ease listening to the start of the song. The guitar kicks in, a nice fingerpicking acoustic guitar part. Synth just lightly in the back. Then, boom. Another perfectly executed transition. The song features a well-rounded mix of acoustic and electric guitar parts, clean and distorted guitar and then an epic transition part way through with a sick drum fill. The last part of the song has a beautiful ukulele and piano part, with what sounds like a harp and some nice soothing strings. A perfect finish for a near perfect album.

  1. Void: 9/10
  2. The Peach Arbor: 9/10
  3. Moonflower: 9.5/10
  4. Please Come Home: 9.5/10
  5. Time Tessellates: 10/10
  6. Nova: 9.5/10
  7. The Tempest: 9/10
  8. Bipolar bear: 9/10
  9. Lemon Lime: 10/10
  10. The Secret Life Of Birds: 10
  11. Overall: 94.5/100

Basic Music Theory | Part 1 | Treble & Bass Clefs

Hey guys, welcome to our newest series, where we will be breaking down basic music theory for you in a way that is easy to understand. In part one we will talk about how to actually read sheet music. This will be broken into a few parts as there are different clefs and each clef will change the order of how the notes are laid out on the page. We will include pictures and videos as well as audio segments for those who need them.

What is a clef?

The first question you’re probably asking after reading the introduction is, what is a clef? A basic way to look at it is this:

A clef is a musical symbol used to indicate the pitch of written notes. Placed on a stave, it indicates the name and pitch of the notes on one of the lines. This line serves as a reference point by which the names of the notes on any other line or space of the stave may be determined.

Basically a clef is a symbol that tells you how high, or low, the notes you are playing are going to be, but they also change how the notes are laid out on the sheet music.

Treble Clef

The treble clef is the one that looks like a fancy S. It is the most common of the clefs used. The notes are laid out like this:

On The Line:

The notes directly on the lines are E G B D F. They are always read from the bottom of the lines to the top. The easy way to remember this is:

  • Every
  • Good
  • Boy
  • Deserves
  • Fudge
From left to right E G B D F

Between The Lines

The notes between the lines are F A C E. This is easy to remember because it spells out the word Face.

From left to right: F A C E

Bass Clef

The bass clef is the second most common of the clefs. It is the one that look like a weird 9 with a : beside. Some also say it looks like a backwards C with a : beside it. This clef is used for instruments that are very low in intonation. Instruments like the tuba, bass guitar, cello, bass clarinet, among others, use the bass clef.

On the line:

The notes on the line of the bass clef are G B D F A. A good way to remember this is Good Boys Deserve Fudge Always.

From left to right: G B D F A

Between The Lines

The notes between the lines on the bass clef are A C E G. The best way to remember this is All Cows Eat Grass.

From left to right: A C E G

A Chat With: Dick Cooper

Today in A Chat With we talk with the RPM award winning songwriter and guitarist for The Cooper Brothers, Dick Cooper. Dick is also a professor at Algonquin College teaching songwriting and performance for the Introduction To Music Industry Arts program.

1. How would you describe your sound?

I would say Country Rock, but some have described us as Southern Rock.

2. Who are your influences?

As a band, our influences are Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Gram Parsons, early Eagles. As a song writer, my influences range from the Beatles to Carlos Jobim.

3. What’s on the horizon for your music in 2019/2020?

Just contemplating another album. Which would be our 9th.

4. What is your creative process?

As a song writer, I keep a daily journal and when I get ideas, I make entries. Then when I get a chunk of time off I will go back to the journal and that usually inspires a bunch of songs.

5. Where do you draw inspiration from?

Everywhere. Everybody. What I read, what movies I watch. Whatever is going on in my personal life.

6. How do you deal with nerves before a show?

Stay in the moment. Don’t get ahead of yourself. And remember, the audience wants you to succeed, not fail.

7. Fave venue you’ve ever played at?

Don’t recall a favorite venue per se, but I have a few favorite shows that come to mind. Opening for Atlanta Rhythm Section in Tampa, Florida in front of 60 thousand people. Opening for James Taylor at Bluesfest a few years back. Sharing the stage with Little Feat in Toronto.

8. Craziest thing you’ve seen at any show you’ve been at? Doesn’t matter if you were in the crowd or playing.

Halloween in Vancouver. Commodore Ballroom. Early 80’s. First song and a bunch of girls flash their boobs at us. I think alcohol may have been involved. ☺

9. If you could tour/play a show with any line up who would it be?

Steely Dan, Jason Isbell, Larry Carleton and Linda Rostadt.

10.Any advice for new musicians/bands that you’d like to share?

Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule. Put in the time. And don’t lose the passion.

11. Any shout outs you want to make?

Shout out to the guys and gals in the Cooper Brothers band who make me and my bro look good.

12. Do you have any links you would like people to visit?

Drop by our Facebook page

or the website

A Chat With: Yarns

In this edition of A Chat With we talk to local instrumental sensation Yarns.

1. How would you describe your sound?
For now, Yarns is a solo act that intertwines both instrumental pieces and prose serving as a connection between each musical movement, a little bit like a thread (… or a string of yarn). The main concept of Yarns is to have only one person performing each song, and to mix that with some stories.

2. Who are your influences?

On a musical level, Yarns is influenced by movie soundtracks (composers like Jonny Greenwood, Max Richter or Gustavo Santaolalla), but also by lots of other artists of different genres (Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, Elliott Smith, Nine Inch Nails, The Chariot, Daughters, Meshuggah, Gojira, Sage Francis, Arvo Part, etc.).

3. What’s on the horizon for your music in 2019/2020?

The release of Winter – Spring –, the next part of Yarns’ first album, Summer – Fall –, with a release show. I am also planning on putting together a theatrical set with the actor Megan Carty, who is the voice behind the vocal tracks, as well the co-writer of some proses on both albums.

4. What is your creative process?

Almost every time, I will start with picking a theme, and then I will try to create a piece of music where every aspect evokes that precise concept. Also, I rarely start creating out of a computer. Rather, I spend hours using my hands on an instrument/pedals until I finally find the sound/riff/progression that expresses that idea in the most accurate way. Once I have a sketch of a song, I switch to the computer – or I go to a studio – where I edit, produce and amplify the demo I created. When this is done, I go back to my pedalboard and my instruments, and I try to find a way to perform the song live and to incorporate it to my set. Usually, the live version of a Yarns’ song is a mix of the studio track, and the demo version. On parallel with all that, I work on a prose that I edit with Megan.
It usually is a long process that involves a lot of introspection and, often, self-loathing.

5. Where do you draw inspiration from?

The songs of Yarns were influenced by my relocation to Canada, almost four years ago. Each city, town or suburb I stopped in served as a background for creating each Yarns song and prose.

6. How do you deal with nerves before a show?

The few hours before a show are, usually, quite nerve-wracking for me. I always get really nervous until I get on stage and start performing. That being said, I never saw this as a handicap, as the stress helps me focus more, as well as it gives me some drive on stage.
Before every show, I have a precise ritual. I blast a hip-hop playlist in my car on the way to the show, and I sing along as loud as I can. After I load my gear into the venue, I eat one orange and one granola bar, and I drink two bottles of water. I warm up on my guitar wherever I can (usually, a toilet or a broom closet), and then I try not to think too much about the show, or whatever is going to happen on stage (I most often fail at that part).

7. Fave venue in Ottawa?

Hands down, it is the Ask a Punk house. It is one of the most welcoming and open-minded spots I’ve ever played at, and I just love the DIY / Rock’n’Roll vibe of that place. No matter what genre you play, the people there will be encouraging and open ears. There’s room for everyone on that stage, with nobody to judge you. Therefore, it’s also an amazing live space to experiment some new songs and see what sticks or not.

8.Craziest thing you’ve seen at a show?

With Yarns, the craziest thing that happened to me was to have, a few times, some people telling me that I made them cry during my set. I started this project with a simple purpose of introspection and self-searching, and I never intended to please anyone with it. The fact that it resonates with some people is the greatest reward I can get.

9. If you could tour/play a show with any line up who would it be?

Well, I’d say it would be a super cool noisy concert night where I would open for Daughters, followed by The Chariot (if they’d still exist), and with Nine Inch Nails as a headliner. One can dream.
Going on a tour with Arcade Fire would be pretty rad, too.

10. Advice for new musicians/band

Be humble. Be on time. Say please and thank you.
Do not try to please anyone but yourself with your music.
Be curious all the time, listen to some stuff out of your comfort zone, and find how a new musical genre can influence you.

11. Any shout outs you want to make?

A shout out to Cody, James, Mattie and Zack from the Punk house. A shout out to Alex, from Avant-Garde, for giving me my first gig with Yarns a year ago, when all the other venues said “No” to me.
A shout out to you, Kyle, for this interview.
Thanks a lot for that.

12. Social media links/music links

A Chat With: Held In Secret

Here is the newest edition of A Chat With, the thrice weekly interview series where you get to learn a little bit about the background and creative processes of different bands from around town. This time we had a little chat with Ottawa’s dankest group of Djenty Bois, Held In Secret.

1. How would you describe your sound?

We like to describe our sound as Djent/Metalcore

2. Who influences your music?

Lyrically speaking we’re heavily inspired by Silent Planet from California, musically we like to say we’re pretty unique but we’re influenced by many notable bands like Northlane, In Hearts Wake, Erra, Veil of Maya Etc..

3. Anything exciting happening for 2019/2020? What’s on the horizon for Held In Secret?

A new EP, a few festivals, a LOT of shows, and a couple 3 day tours

4. How do you come up with those insane songs? What is your creative process?

Our vocalist is the one writing the barebones of almost every one of the tracks, then the guitarists jump in and make it into something amazing!

5. Where do you draw the inspiration for your music from? What inspires you as a songwriter?

All aspects of life, although we try to focus a little bit more on serious issues like mental illness and suicide.

6. How do you deal with nerves before a show?

We usually all hang out together and talk, it may seem stupid but we think that the band relationship is very important.

7. What venue do you love to play at the most? What’s your favourite venue?


8. What is the craziest thing you have ever witnessed at a show?

We saw someone lose a tooth in one of our moshpits once!

9. If you could tour with any line up, who would you tour with?

Sleep Waker headlining, Salem Trials, Us and Abrade the Earth

10. Advice time! What would you like to tell a new artist that’s just starting their career?

Never EVER let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do!

11. Would you like to give a shout out to anyone?

Of course! Darkmoon Productions and Hate My Design! These guys worked so hard to turn our music into a professional record with amazing album art!

12. The most important part of the interview! Show me the links!