Too close/too far from source material

6 posts in this topic

Example of being too close: Play your favorite video game track, and then after it's done, play it again. Notice how the second time you played it, sounds almost exactly like the first play. This is way too close.


Example of being too far: Play your favorite NES game track, then play a different NES game track that is not your favorite. Observe the difference in melody, and rhythm- not timbre. This is way too far.


If your remix sounds exactly like the original, then it is way to close. If your remix has nothing to do with the original, then it is too far.


Let me know if this was helpful or if you have any questions!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, first timer and you come in with a rather difficult question! First and foremost, understand that there's no hard and fast 'rule' that will DEFINITELY make something too conservative, or DEFINITELY make something too liberal. Some judges have their own heuristic that they follow (like Liontamer's infamous "50% rule - more on that in a second), but there's some wiggle room on both ends where some judges disagree with one another. Keep that in mind.

Now, if you want to understand where that barrier is on both ends, I'd suggest just looking on OCR and its music as your guideline. If something sounds like it's taking a lot of liberties with the source (like a Nostalgiavania track) and it still passes, that's within the bar, while if someone produces something more straightforward that would also remain within the bar, as long as it was a posted remix. That sounds redundant, but it's a great way to figure out roughly where the bar stands. If you want to go further, look at the submission requirements - it lays out a pretty solid guideline you can follow, as well. In particular, on the 'too conservative; front...

  • Modifying the genre, chord progression, instrumentation, rhythms, dynamics, tempo, or overall composition of the source material
  • Adding original solos, transitions, harmonies, counter-melodies, lyrics, or vocals to the source material

A heuristic I personally use is "How many of these are changing?" If a track is changing three or more, it'd PROBABLY be divergent enough for OCR, to me. Alternatively, if the structure changes significantly, or is blending sources in a way other than stacking them next to one another I'd probably give it a pass on that front. Every judge is different - that's just how I personally look at things, as far as 'too conservative' goes. It's trickier than it at first seems to tell whether something is too conservative for OCR.

Too liberal is something of a different animal - there actually ARE ways to quantify how liberal something is (though there is room for play here, too). Liontamer's 50% "rule" is one method some judges employ to figure this out - if the source is clearly recognizable for 50% or more of the track, it's within site parameters. If it's less, it would be grounds to call it 'Too Liberal'. Personally I think it's a great starting point, but in some fringe cases (like DDRKirby's Cartography track) it can create some conflict to what counts as recognizable source and what doesn't (while the source SEEMS to be ever present in that track, Liontamer is TECHNICALLY correct that, excluding silence, the source only accounts for 37.8% of the arrangement). Different people will feel the fringe cases out differently, so if you're looking for the sake of your own music if you follow the 50% rule you'd be in good shape.

We're all human on the panel, which means that there's sometimes some disagreement on the fringe cases, but with a team of judges things tend to balance out pretty consistently. Look at posted music on here as the best guide for what's acceptable, and hopefully some of this insight helps!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

In general, a readily-identifiable "conservative" ReMix sounds like the original, but follows the original too closely, whether in structure, melodies, chord progression, sound design, or all four. There is no hard and fast rule on how close is too close, but some common rules of thumb are:

  • If you can A/B the original with the ReMix and it's note-for-note (but not necessarily in structure), that's a pretty good way to be too conservative. It's not always going to be a rejection in this case however, since creative sound design and textural efforts can offset the conservative nature of the composition.
  • If the sound design reminds you of the original, AND it's really close to being verbatim to the original notes, then it's probably too conservative, but it's still not a guarantee.
  • If it's a MIDI rip with drums, it's an easy rejection because there's zero interpretation other than instrument replacement, which takes like an hour if you know what you're doing.

In essence, it should show interpretation to a significant extent, whether that comes through sound design, composition (melodies, harmonies, structure, etc), or a combination of the two. There may be dissent if something is borderline conservative, and that does happen, but if it is too conservative and rejected, it is often rejected without public sharing of the file, so sometimes it's hard to find an explicit example. I would say that this is pretty conservative in structure and in notes, but I would agree that it's not so much of a detriment that I would personally not like this on the site because of the creative performance tricks.

On the other end of the spectrum, something too "liberal" is simply unidentifiable or too much of a stretched interpretation of the original. In general, some common examples are:

  • The notes are too different in pitch or sequence melodically (or the chord progression, if the original has no identifiable melody). This can happen if the person just totally overinterprets the original and basically writes something... well, original.
  • The notes are too different in rhythm (even if the pitches are the same and in the same order) in such a way that it can be misconstrued or believed to be a completely different track. This can happen, for example, if the original is slowed down significantly, and the rhythm is further altered. This is an example that did pass, but has comments on how much of a stretch (pun intended) it was. Refer to the judging thread for more info.
  • Less than 50% of the ReMix matches up with the original, meaning that less than 50% of the length of the ReMix is identifiable as recognizably similar (sometimes considered a guideline, sometimes a source breakdown helps tremendously for/during evaluation).

Hope that helps!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The way i've always looked at it is this: Just put your own style into it. Say I remixed something like Gusty Garden Galaxy. I do 80s synth rock. If I turn that track into 80s synth rock, but stick as close as I can, half the work is already done for me since the stylistic shift gives the track a completely different flavour. If I did a classical orch version of it, sure, I could, but i'd need to compensate by adding a lot more variation.

That said, you do need to add some variation to the track, maybe change a chord sequence, do a breakdown, maybe an original section halfway through and you're pretty much there. Think of it this way - find ways to expand it without boring the audience. Most of these tracks you're remixing won't pass the 1-2 minute mark and you need roughly 3-4 minutes for a suitable length. Just do a style thats a bit different to the original and add some variation to keep things interesting. 

There is a bit more to it than that but if you really want to delve into it, just analyse some remixes. You can ask all you want but listening to the tracks and figuring out what the differences are and what you can do as a result is imo the best course of action.

Hope this helps man! 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now