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callitsleep89
03-03-2010, 05:37 PM
I assume this is the correct place to put this, as opposed to the fruityloops forum, if I am incorrect, i apologize.

When I am writing a more orchestral influenced piece within FL Studio, I still tend to get stuck into the pattern-based mindset with which you can approach most contemporary music. The end result is that my pieces, whilst sounding decent (that seems to be the general consensus anyways), tend to sound very blocky, divided, or just plain FL Studio-esque. I was wondering how I could go about breaking out of this?

A bit of background: I do still tend to subdivide a track into sections, (similar to verse-chorus type things), into which I try to build themes and evolve the track. Could this be part of the problem? Should I just go about evolving the music by my ear alone as opposed to using a tool such as dividing into sections?


Any help would be appreciated.

Meteo Xavier
03-03-2010, 05:49 PM
You need to post an example of what you're hearing and thinking is a problem, otherwise its difficult for us to help you.

Export one of your tracks, load it up on ocr.fireslash.net (I think thats the correct URL) and a link to it here.

I'm not an orchestral genius or anything, but I do know thats a much better way for us to help you.

Yoozer
03-03-2010, 06:09 PM
When I am writing a more orchestral influenced piece within FL Studio, I still tend to get stuck into the pattern-based mindset with which you can approach most contemporary music. The end result is that my pieces, whilst sounding decent (that seems to be the general consensus anyways), tend to sound very blocky, divided, or just plain FL Studio-esque. I was wondering how I could go about breaking out of this?
Most importantly - turn off quantization.

I don't know if FL allows you to just record for as long as you want at a single stretch, but turn on the metronome (softly) and switch off the monitor. Then start playing. When you're done, switch on the monitor, rewind, set up so you only have to press one button to record, switch the monitor off again and record.

That way you'll spend more time listening to the piece and memorizing it, and afterwards you can go in there and clean up.

Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGBfgaesP-4

The Vagrance
03-03-2010, 06:10 PM
It sounds like you're overthinking it tbh, everyone has different styles and it may just be that you're getting into a rut. If you typically divide your song into sections or whatever then try doing a song where you do the complete opposite - just to see what happens. Don't force it, but try to let it come as naturally as possible; being in unfamiliar situations often helps with inspiration.

callitsleep89
03-03-2010, 07:34 PM
I'm currently on a different computer than I do music on, so uploading isn't an option at the moment.

I currently program in all the notes by hand, as I do not have a midi controller of any kind. Also, I try to do things to humanize my compositions, (such as automation,slurring of notes, slightly altering timings, slight variations in tempo, etc) to make the sounds seem less robotic.

I think where my issue lies, is that my background is that of a rock guitarist. From a compositional point of view, this means the majority of writing would be using the same tired ver-chor-ver-chor-bridge-chor structure. Works great for rock music, not so much for classical. I guess the base question is, how can I break out of this?

A secondary question which may help to get an answer to this is how do you compose? What is your process (in broad strokes) from idea to completion composition wise?


Thanks in advance.

The Vagrance
03-03-2010, 07:44 PM
I'm currently on a different computer than I do music on, so uploading isn't an option at the moment.

I currently program in all the notes by hand, as I do not have a midi controller of any kind. Also, I try to do things to humanize my compositions, (such as automation,slurring of notes, slightly altering timings, slight variations in tempo, etc) to make the sounds seem less robotic.

I think where my issue lies, is that my background is that of a rock guitarist. From a compositional point of view, this means the majority of writing would be using the same tired ver-chor-ver-chor-bridge-chor structure. Works great for rock music, not so much for classical. I guess the base question is, how can I break out of this?

A secondary question which may help to get an answer to this is how do you compose? What is your process (in broad strokes) from idea to completion composition wise?


Thanks in advance.

If I start with an idea:
1. Get the idea down as quickly as possible so I don't forget it

2a. Expand on it, and if nothing of value comes from it after half-an-hour or so tinkering or something, scrap it.
2b. Expand on it, if an accompanying idea sounds better than the original, then scrap the original and go from the accompaniment.
2c. Expand on it, it sounds good, success.

3. Try as hard as I can to not get stuck on one particular theme. I can't help it sometimes but try to get some movement into the piece, even if it means completely changing the original idea for the song. Yeah it sucks not getting my feelings about my high school prom (or whatever) down on a song but if its better for the piece then go for it, you can always nail that emotional vibe some other time and its not something you want to force.

Cyril the Wolf
03-03-2010, 10:07 PM
I would say try the method of minimalist evolution. It really gets you out of ruts in my opinion.

I have a piece where I just took one motif and just made variations on it, as EXTREME as I could make the variations while still almost being identified as that motif.

With those you can either make the variations come in order of increasing complexity, or mess with tempos and stuff and you may have yourself a piece already. Its one way to get out of the verse chorus verse chorus thing.

Try making a piece that just continuously expands on itself without the sections. Have sections bleed into each other, and maybe have a piece that doesn't really repeat a riff at all.

Some of those may not be publishable, but they will get you feeling good hopefully. :)

EC2151
03-04-2010, 01:31 AM
Well, I never approached making music in FL studio as making beat-based music, etc.

I just wanted to get my musical ideas in a tangible form, in whatever program that was (be it Sibelius, FL, etc.).

I treated the piano roll kinda like staff notation, and I went from there (though the graph is kinda easier), and made up drum patterns on the fly by experimenting.

But yeah, I guess the advice is not to approach the DAW with a singular mindset, that being what you expect the program is 'used for' or whatever.
Just push the musical idea you have into concrete form.

Arcana
03-04-2010, 10:24 PM
I think where my issue lies, is that my background is that of a rock guitarist. From a compositional point of view, this means the majority of writing would be using the same tired ver-chor-ver-chor-bridge-chor structure. Works great for rock music, not so much for classical. I guess the base question is, how can I break out of this?

Sounds like you should look at more Classical and Romantic-inspired pieces and break those pieces down structurally. Grab a bunch of classical and film scores and connect together the macro pieces.

EC2151
03-04-2010, 10:31 PM
Or you can just listen to some more of the experimental rock or something...
See how they do things.

While I love classical, it's by no means the only default musical education device.

The Legendary Zoltan
03-08-2010, 11:10 AM
I agree with people who said that you should just try developing or creating variations on earlier parts. If you find more and more variations, you might arrive at a point where you can think of an entirely new section that it smoothly transitions into.

But I think the most important thing to to keep in mind for staying 'unblocky' is really a simple thing. Just don't repeat stuff. My orchestral remix on this site, called "Destroy Movements", while indeed sectiony, doesn't sound 'blocky' in my opinion just because there aren't any repetitions and thus, you don't come out with anything that sounds like A B Chorus A B Chorus C Chorus. Hope that helps.