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mickomoo

How do you (personally) remix?

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This isn't specifically meant to be a help topic (but I do 2 questions), but out of curiosity what process do you use to decide what to remix and how to approach the song. Do you use existing midi or play by ear? Do you by hand plan all the transitions, wing it, or something in between?

Though I've just started writing I had mostly just used midi to learn parts, but today I tried something different... well I had to, one of my favorite songs (from the first game I've ever owned) was never touched by anyone as far as I know. Though I played it by ear I had to slow parts of the song to get the best rhythm and note accuracy. Though I in no way know the time signature of the song nor anything else for that matter, are these things necessary to make a good remix? Is it bad to use a midi to more quickly familiarize yourself with a song? ...and other than those two questions how do you yourself remix?

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Do you use existing midi or play by ear? Do you by hand plan all the transitions, wing it, or something in between?

Everything depends on the result you're after, the source you've got, the time you've got, the tools you've got...

If you're going for a vastly different arrangement, going by ear is usually better. Not only does this limit you to the parts you can make out, but any mistakes you make will add to the personalization of it.

I've heard notes 6 and 7 in the lead melody of ALttP's Dark World in two common variations. I don't remember which is correct, and I'm not gonna check right now. They both sound like the same song, but the choice of those notes affect how the remix feels.

I used to use midi a lot, but these days I'm either remixing stuff that there's a lot of midi of, or I just find it faster to get to the parts I need by figuring it out myself. As for transitions, I usually wing it, which... kind'a makes my tracks meandering. Case in point, one of my AOCC mixes for this year. Transcribed by ear (with keyboard), originally written as three distinct parts and probably transitioning poorly between them.

If you have all the source stuff just sitting there, next to the awkward chords and clunky rhythms you've written, you'll likely be tempted to just use stuff from source. While there's nothing inherently wrong with that, you probably won't be experimenting as much, and not end up with cool odd-time intros/outros, new chord sequences, more interesting remixes... and you might not learn why the originals were written as they were.

Then again, if you're pressed for time or are dealing with a long source, several sources, or a complicated source, ripping parts from midis gets you to the adapting and arranging sooner as you'll have the parts you need in midi form without spending lots of time trying to figure out the notes.

In other words, it depends on stuff.

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I hate sheet music, tabs, or any other kind of notation in general - I feel it dampens my creativity. I do know how to read music, tabs, and various other notation. I just hate using them. They're incredibly beneficial for some people though.

The only time I'll reference a midi is if I trust the author/creator. Even then I'll usually solo the track I'm trying to learn and just let the notes swirl in my head for a few hours.

That said, my melodies aren't always 100% accurate, but I like it that way.

Most of my stuff is improvised at the beginning of the writing process. I'll usually have the melody playing on loop and just grab my guitar, hit record, and start playing with chords to try and find something unique. When that isn't the case, it's usually that I'm playing around with a chord progression and my brain starts developing a melody that sounds similar to a vg tune.

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Probably 80%+ of the time I do everything by ear which, as Rozo said, can lead to a more personal arrangement. I do, however, know some remixers who tend to use MIDIs pretty liberally but still manage to produce completely original-sounding arrangements.

For me, the decision to use a MIDI or not is mostly motivated by laziness, but sometimes, the source is a bitch and I'd just rather not figure it out on my own.

As far as transitions go, I do a little planning, but only once I decide I need one. I'll write new parts leading into the transition, and I'll try to work the music into the transition. Making the transition itself is one of those things I pretty much always wing because I love making crazy transitions. Whatever comes to me is what I'll do, and it's usually like 823478 automation clips deep.

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The first thing I do is ask myself whether I feel the song needs a remix or not! Some songs are so awesome I feel that anything I do will just spoil it. That doesn't mean that someone else won't come along and do an amazing remix of it - my point is that you have to be confident that you can do something with the song first.

I always play the song by ear, I find that I can get a much better feel of the original song that way. It also means that as I am figuring out the main parts, I will begin to see where I can add my own original parts/style. When it comes to transitions, indeed most of the rest of the arrangement, I usually hum/beatbox it and then go from there.

I always ask myself, what do I want to do with this song? Do I want to emphasise the original feel, or so I want to put a different spin on it? Am I trying to tell a story or set a scene? Do I want to surprise the listener or give them a unique experience?

The thing about remixing is that if you listen to the original and there is the odd thing that you can't work out, it doesn't matter. You will be doing your own interpretation anyway - play it in a way that you understand it and you will have already remixed that element.

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I've noticed that when I play by ear my remixes or attempts anyway, tend to be more conservative. Anyone else encounter that?

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Nope, not having that. I do everything by ear (but I usually know how to play a song after hearing it by practising it on the piano for 10 minutes or so). That said, I can't really plan on how the mix is going to be before I start playing. I sometimes have a very good idea what feeling I want to convey, what vibe and emotion it needs to have, but other than that I just sit down and begin to play.

After I have the "skeleton" of the mix in piano form, I start adding extra instrument, redo sections, tweak stuff, etc

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I have the bad habit of when I try to remix I start at the beginning of the song...

I should try to learn how to start with sections that you know how you want them to sound, and then work on transitions between the different parts.

Is that more or less how the rest of you gents do it?

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I don't think it's BAD to start at the beginning. That's to say, I don't think it's any better to start from the middle, end, or beginning.

For me, it's usually a certain part of the theme that really reaches out and shakes my core. I start there and keep building until I'm satisfied with the result, adding as much of the original theme that fits, often leaving out entire segments and phrases or interpreting them to an extent that I have to spell out to people how it's actually an interpretation of the source (I've had several submissions declined because they were way too liberal).

I guess the most important thing is to find the part of the song that you want to be your center, your climax, and build everything around that. Doesn't matter if it's the beginning, middle, or end of the source.

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I too prefer to do it by ear, whether using guitar or clicking with the mouse. I find (depending on the song) it saves time searching for the MIDI files, and it helps you to develop your own personal listening skills too. Sometimes if you struggle to work something out, it may be a good idea to go to YouTube and search for videos of other people playing the song so you can see where you've gone wrong.

As for the actual remixing of it, I think that (for me) depends on the song. For example, if there's a theme from a game that's already got all the parts added and is a full mix, then I find you have a lot of options, a lot to play around with. Something like that, I find, is easy to turn into a metal rendition (for example), whereas something with a simple melody and not much variation in the original track is more difficult for me to add to and change because I find it trickier to keep with the original style and feel, but for others I'm sure it's more liberating.

Usually, I choose which song to remix based on how it sounds in the first place, how I think I can make it sound, and its complexity. If it's something I want to play on guitar, usually I don't have many problems with anything, but when it comes to orchestrating and MIDI programming (because I'm still pretty new to it), I look for simpler tunes :P

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I too prefer to do it by ear, whether using guitar or clicking with the mouse. I find (depending on the song) it saves time searching for the MIDI files, and it helps you to develop your own personal listening skills too. Sometimes if you struggle to work something out, it may be a good idea to go to YouTube and search for videos of other people playing the song so you can see where you've gone wrong.

As for the actual remixing of it, I think that (for me) depends on the song. For example, if there's a theme from a game that's already got all the parts added and is a full mix, then I find you have a lot of options, a lot to play around with. Something like that, I find, is easy to turn into a metal rendition (for example), whereas something with a simple melody and not much variation in the original track is more difficult for me to add to and change because I find it trickier to keep with the original style and feel, but for others I'm sure it's more liberating.

Usually, I choose which song to remix based on how it sounds in the first place, how I think I can make it sound, and its complexity. If it's something I want to play on guitar, usually I don't have many problems with anything, but when it comes to orchestrating and MIDI programming (because I'm still pretty new to it), I look for simpler tunes :P

I know how you feel about keeping the original feel. :? I just publicized a remix I made for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, and frankly, I feel it doesn't sound melodically faithful to the original. But then, how it does sound (melancholic) is one of my strengths.

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The first thing I do is ask myself whether I feel the song needs a remix or not! Some songs are so awesome I feel that anything I do will just spoil it. That doesn't mean that someone else won't come along and do an amazing remix of it - my point is that you have to be confident that you can do something with the song first.

That actually helps me out a little bit; my current attempts of remixes fall under that problem: I either like it so much that I can't think of a way to rearrange it while still sounding good, or I just wasn't confident in it. :?

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Very carefully. I use MIDIs frequently when I do remix(haven't been doing that recently, I should do so soon) but liberally, often changing up quite a bit when it comes to actually writing things. Really, for me, it's about finding parts that I liked, and then seeing if I can do anything with them. There's no point in remixing something that I don't like, and there's no point in remixing something that I can't do anything with(for example, I like

a lot, but since it is really close to my own style anyway I wouldn't end up changing enough).

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I do everything starting with vgmusic.com. I find a source midi there (if they have a remix midi uploaded I just use that as it's pre-remixed for me), I load it into Cubase, load up some presets and export.

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For the most part, it's very inspiration-based. If I hear a source, or remember one, I may one day get an idea in my head of how I'd want a remix of it to sound. It happens kind of randomly.

Once I got that down, I don't work on the remix right away. I learn the song first. I pop it up on YouTube, or from my collection, plug in my guitar, and learn all of it. Then, I start experimenting while the song is played. This leads to even more ideas for interpretation.

After that, I start making the actual remix. I pop open FL Studio and start moving through the track, section by section, until I have the entire thing written. I never focus on production quality and fine-tuning until the entire composition is done.

After that, I work on mixing and mastering, maybe change a few things here or there to make the song good, and call it.

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I do everything starting with vgmusic.com. I find a source midi there (if they have a remix midi uploaded I just use that as it's pre-remixed for me), I load it into Cubase, load up some presets and export.

That's a good start, but you should add some drum loops to spice it up!!!

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I eat some captain crunch, listen to a nicki minaj song for impiration, then I listen to source I want to remix, then I listen and headbang to the music Im thinking of, grab a tape recorder then record so I dont forget my ideas, open ableton then realise how im to lazy to grab my midi keyboard so I head to Vgmusic, then I find the song I want to remix, replace the instruments,decide to make a rock song instead of a electronica song, post on ocr, mod review,????, success8-)

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