Tracking and Demoscene discussion.

What's your method

Postby Harmony » Tue May 16, 2006 5:18 pm

Sleep is important. I find I need to sleep on music. I have a much better objective take on it and my subconcious has time to process it and come up with new ideas.

Same. I think taking a step back from your work is essential to getting the best out of it. If I have any doubts about a tune I also try and take a week off from it and then listen to it again, and usually in that time my brain's become objective enough to figure out what's bugging me about it. Peer review can be really valuable too.
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Postby MickRip » Tue May 16, 2006 9:00 pm

Interesting discussion this!

I find that if the sound is right, the music flows automatically; my instincts kick-in. So I spend probably 90% of the time working on my sound. I find myself rarely thinking about the melody/chords/harmony full on. I wouldn't know what key I'm in, what chord I'm using (I could always tell you if asked, but I try to turn that part of my brain off). I could rationalise until the cows come home, but it only serves ruin the point as to why we love music in the first place.

Our appreciation of music is based on a natural love, so the compositional process should be largely the same.

I find my biggest weakness is, as a result of overfamiliarisation, I tend to be too complicated. As a result I never try to tweak. I "just do" as people "just listen". If I ever tweak, it's always subtractive; muting or simplifying tracks. I will also shorten sections to keep the flow happening - I have the belief that if someone really loves something I wrote, they will listen to it twice - no need to make it twice as long!

My tweaking principles are a lot like EQing principals; use subtraction to improve, use addition to change. Even if I feel like changing something, I tend to leave it alone, because if I didn't hate it straight away, you won't either.

I always look to "lay my idea out on a platter". It'll be rare I'll have more than 2 primary melodic ideas. I could use 10 ideas if I wanted to, I don't think I've EVER run out of inspiration, but I am paranoid I'm being too complicated. I write music like I am trying to make a point, too many points and the true point gets lost.

So perhaps contrary to the babbling of this post :P, I tend to not think too much. If it sounds right, the music will flow. I listen to my instincts nearly ALWAYS. I accept that my natural ability is probably stronger than my rational brain. I will rarely get it wrong the first time.

From a technical point of view, the biggest tip I could give is to learn the concepts behind harmonic balancing. Harmonic-balancing/mixing is something I regard as the most objective part of electronic composition. Get a frequency analyser like Voxengo SPAN, and try thinking in frequencies rather than in musical notes. Our natural ears tend to think that way anyway.
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Postby Sonicade » Wed May 17, 2006 1:01 am

Many interesting points Mick. You have some deep insights into music composition. :)
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Postby dilvie » Wed May 17, 2006 4:14 am

I'm with Mick on much of that post. When I'm not actually laying down music, my brain reverts into analysis mode... always looking for things to change, but I'm not thinking about notes when I'm listening and trying to improve the sound -- I'm thinking about frequency balance.

When I'm writing the notes, I don't think -- I channel. I hear stuff in my head, and just play it. Typically, I'll hit record and just let my fingers land where they want to on my keyboard (I use a MIDI keyboard for note entry).

I've been playing piano all my life, so I don't have to think about what notes sound good together. My fingers just know how to make the sounds I hear in my head.. it's automatic, and while I am forced to believe in natural talent by certain prodigies, I assert that anybody can learn to do the same if they're willing to put in the required practice time.

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