JohnStacy

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About JohnStacy

  • Rank
    Goomba (+100)
  • Birthday 12/09/1992

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Clarendon, Texas

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    www.johnstacy.net

Artist Settings

  • Collaboration Status
    3. Very Interested
  • Software - Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
    Logic
  • Software - Preferred Plugins/Libraries
    Cinesamples, Default Logic Plugins, Fluid GM3
  • Composition & Production Skills
    Arrangement & Orchestration
    Mixing & Mastering
  • Instrumental & Vocal Skills (List)
    French Horn
    Saxophone: Alto
    Saxophone: Baritone
    Saxophone: Tenor
    Trombone
    Trumpet
    Tuba
    Vocals: Male
  • Instrumental & Vocal Skills (Other)
    Jazz Improvization

Converted

  • Real Name
    John Stacy
  • Occupation
    Teacher/Freelance Jazz Performer
  • Facebook ID
    thejohnstacy

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2,216 profile views
  1. JohnStacy

    Do You Still ReMix — Why Or Why Not?

    My last thought, which I'm giving, leaving, and not coming back to: One of my remixes is so far removed from the original that if you take away the original melody, because of the altered harmony and counterpoint, it sounds like a completely different piece. I've actually performed said remix without the original melody as an original composition for a graduate composition recital. An analysis of it shows that without the melody, the style, harmony, and counterpoint are so far removed from the original that it can classify as a completely different piece no matter how you look at it. I mean like...it's now less than 10% the speed of the original, the melody was almost completely reharmonized. The harmony doesn't even classify as tonal anymore at this point. It has a loose key center, so it's key centric, but the function of the chords don't exist in a traditionally tonal sense. If you speed it up 10x, then the groups of measures together suggest a tonal progression, but the actual phrases in the piece are not tonal. Basically I wrote a contrafact of the Underwater theme from Super Mario Bros. I'm a jazz musician, so the idea of taking several tunes with the exact same content and changing the melody is normal. The concept of contrafact is kind of a center point of the genre. Sometimes when people write a tune, the original writers fade into obscurity while the performers of said piece get credited. Donna Lee is credited to Miles Davis, but that is heavily debated. It is a contrafact of the tune Indiana, and is practiced as such. The chord changes to I Got Rhythm are so iconic that we just basically call them rhythm changes. There is no effort at all to hide the fact that it's basically the exact content of the song minus the melody. There are other times where tunes are arranged in DRASTICALLY different styles and although they are the original song, they contributed to the development of the genre, or in some cases multiple genres in a significant way. Many musicians do arrangements literally all the time to develop their compositional and arrangement technique. More times than not, doing an arrangement of a VG tune in the style of a composer helps me learn more about the writing of that composer than if I were writing an original tune in that style. It takes less time, so I can get more out of it really quickly. Brahms wrote Theme and Variations on a Theme by Haydn. But Brahms is credited as the composer, not the arranger. In the classical canon, having a theme and variations form virtually always results in a new piece, even though the melodic content was written by somebody else. Brahms, Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss are some of the major composers in the classical canon, and they all wrote theme and variations on the themes of somebody else, yet are credited as the composers. Theme and Variations on a Theme by Haydn was basically a remix of a piece by Haydn. But Brahms is credited as composer. I mean if by added some seasoning you mean I dumped so many seasonings to it that it's basically a mountain of rainbow powder with no liquid left, then yes. I just added some seasoning of my own. That is a simplification of what goes on and you know it, so please drop the condescending attitude toward the matter, thank you very much. And please for the love of God don't do the thing where you quote each individual sentence of this post and make me defend it line by line, because I have better things to do with my time. People get tired of that REALLY quickly, because more times than not, you simplify what they said in your response, which just adds fuel to the fire rather than continuing the discussion. People waste so much more time correcting your simplifications than actually continuing the discussion because you "don't give a shit."
  2. JohnStacy

    The Best Video Games of This Decade

    The last game I played before this year was in 2008. That said, in this decade, I have played Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild. I liked Super Mario Odyssey better.
  3. JohnStacy

    Zelda OoT has still the infamous chanting

    I thought I dreamed the chanting at first. The neighbor girls had the game in a 1.0 cart, and we went through the game together, but didn't make it all the way through. I got a 1.2 cart later on when I got an n64 for Christmas and entered the fire temple again on my own, and thought something was missing, but just thought I dreamed the chanting. Through the power of the internet, you can find out that you weren't dreaming. Magic Technology from the future!
  4. My skills leading ensembles transfer to using samples, in the times where I use samples. More times than not, I write in a very realistic way, then try to make the samples conform to this. For example, the piano sound I use in virtually everything I do is very mediocre. It's not great, but it's small and sounds consistent. I record all my piano stuff in manually, even if I have to do it at slower tempo and speed it up. Because of the recording everything manually, the velocity data is recorded from the keyboard, so it adopts my performance style. The result? With a little bit of EQ it actually sounds like a pretty good performance. I also have to apply humanization in Logic to it because my midi keyboard sends velocity somewhat uneven. A gradual crescendo sometimes turns into something that suddenly gets much bigger. Same for drums. I record all my own drums now on a free drum sound. Sennheiser released a drum library called Drum Mic A (Drumica) that was designed as an advertisement for their microphones. Their microphones are great, and the library sounds great. Record those sounds on a midi kit and you can have some REALLY good drum tracks. That said, if you do this for all instruments, it helps. Mediocre sounds, if you just punch in the notes as all the same velocity, perfectly identical note lengths, etc, will sound bad not only because the sample quality is low, but also because the actual music data the samples are applied to is dull, inhuman, and static. Even the worst samples sound better if you apply musicality to them, and include the little inconsistencies and imperfections that come with it. Going further than that, quantization is a pretty bad thing to do when you have lower quality samples. Many samples, when played exactly on top of each other will sound very unusual, which can be a neat effect but otherwise is not what you want. Most of the time, depending on the tempo, I will quantize to the 32nd, or for really fast tempos, the 16th note. This makes everything line up, but allows for some variety that comes across as performance rather than sloppy rhythm. Doing a lot to balance the samples you use in context also works wonders. Applying reverb, predelay, and other basic audio techniques can create a space and a field that can be believable. You mention orchestral samples, so thinking about writing orchestral music is a really solid idea. In an orchestra, you probably aren't going to have a flute that sounds louder than the entire orchestra. In an orchestra, especially one of good players, sounds will blend and come out when needed, back off when not. Filter automation can assist with this, lowering the cutoff for softer dynamics, and raising it for louder dynamics. Having a trumpet section playing with a soft tone (darker, less brassiness, lower filter cutoff) but being heard loudest in the mix just sounds off, in a very extreme way. Having a trumpet section playing with a loud tone (brighter, more brassiness, higher filter cutoff) but buried in the mix also sounds off. Balancing the sounds with your writing is a big way to continue. On that note, a thing I stick by is that if your orchestration/arrangement sounds badly balanced, and muddy in general midi sounds, there is going to be an extreme amount of mixing gymnastics you will have to do to fix those balance and transparency problems. If the general midi sounds applied to the arrangement sound balanced, just with bad sound, then applying any better sounds will improve the sound of the mix. This is only if the orchestration is good to begin with. TL;DR - Focus on audio production and orchestration, then apply the samples to what you have done.
  5. Really, I do this intuitively as imagining how to make a band of bad players sound good. Have to make the samples blend together and balance well, and also match style. You'll be surprised how far that goes. Really just work on production techniques and write in a way to take advantage of what you have. I can elaborate more, but won't be able to until tomorrow.
  6. JohnStacy

    Do You Still ReMix — Why Or Why Not?

    Man I ain't read That's a lot of text Anyway, side conversation. How far do you have to go to manipulate source material to make it something that could be considered new? Ives wrote a piece that is literally just a hymn slowed down beyond recognition. He is credited as composer, although he didn't actually alter anything else beyond the speed of the music. There is also another that stretches a recording of Beethoven 9 to be 24 hours long. Again, credited as a new composition. I am no stranger to this, Reflecting pool slows down the Underwater theme from Super Mario Bros to 12.5% speed. The melody is the only thing, and it goes so slow that most people don't catch it at first. If I were to remove the first part (melody), the other 6 parts would be heard as a new piece entirely, but with the melody, it could be seen as a very liberal arrangement. The law can only be so clear due to the subjective nature of it. For the people in this discussion, what are your thoughts on this? There is a point where you can move far enough away from the source for it to be considered a new work. Where does this happen?
  7. JohnStacy

    Do You Still ReMix — Why Or Why Not?

    Not to sound patronizing, but duh (starting a sentence with that can carry more connotations than you think) I'm sure a lot of people don't look at is they hold creative ownership over what they create. Almost always, when discussing remixes or arrangements, they are always remixes OF <game> by <composer> remixed/arranged by <arranger>. Tribute would be a more accurate term. That said, the creative work that happens to it really does reflect on the person remixing. Listen to Aquatic Ambience, now pick 50 remixes of it (as good as the track is, I think it has been done to death), and tell me how many of them sound like the same person doing the same thing over and over. Many will sound different, although the source material is the same. Some may sound very similar (there are a few EDM versions that sound too close) but for the most part, it will be 50 different interpretations of that track, influenced by 50 different peoples' musical experiences. Generally, yes, the work is not yours and remains property of the original composer, or in a lot of cases, the company that owns the game property (a lot of composers forfeit rights as part of contract). But then again, what is fan media but not just a community that loves to commit copyright infringement? Tales of Symphonia fanart of varying degrees of disturbing? Copyright infringement. That beautiful picture of Link, Bowser, Samus, and the digdug guy playing leapfrog while Sonic and crew watch in amazement? Copyright infringement. A lot of people do these things and understand this. But they're doing it because of a love of the source material. This gets into an area of understanding copyright law that a lot of people just don't get. Legally you have no protection and you are in fact committing a misdemeanor/felony depending on the extent of infringement, but for the most part, a lot of companies look the other way until it catches their attention. OCR is a testament to that, and has been for quite a few years. The instant OCR gets a strike and is taken down completely will be a dark day for copyright enforcement. I don't think most people who do remixes are claiming complete creative ownership, and I also don't think people are going into the mindset of "change one note and it's yours." Instead, it is what it is, a fan tribute to a form of media many people hold dear, leaving the copyright legality at the door under the good faith that rights holders will continue to look the other way, as a lot of them do. In my experience, attempting to carve out a market for video game marching band arrangements (both halftime shows and stand tunes), Nintendo will, with one or so exception that comes only on February 33 every 10000 years, decline all rights requests for first party property. This doesn't count mechanical licenses, which is how most legal game covers happen. Still working on that. Going to work through indie companies first.
  8. JohnStacy

    Do You Still ReMix — Why Or Why Not?

    I answered this on the facebook page, but now I have my laptop, but that laptop doesn't have access to facebook at work, and I have an hour before school starts, so I'll reword it here. OCR is my video game music home. Growing up it was this place where these great musicians were, and although I have done video game arrangements as far back as 2007, it wasn't until 2015 that I registered for an account on the forums (DarkFlameWolf recruited me for an album from Facebook), and it wasn't until 2016 that I had a remix posted (a big band arrangement of the Metroid Title Theme). I was at the end of my degrees, had just graduated in music composition, education, and performance. It was the first video game music community I was a part of, and has been one of the biggest sources of personal musical growth. I have learned about audio production from the community. I have had 3 remixes posted, I have 2 in the queue right now, and probably I will continue to submit occasionally. But I am slowing down. I am wanting to branch out and build my own career as a composer/performer, but in the mean time, I'm just going to grow in any way possible. Posting remixes to OCR serves two main purposes: 1. A testing ground for new techniques, things I've studied recently in music theory, and production techniques I've learned. 2. An outlet for said things. I'm not a very popular remixer, generally I get some comments on what is posted for about a month after it is posted, then not much after that. But I really don't care about that. I have a place I can point to and say, my work is there. I find a musician I want to play with, and they ask, "Can I listen to your stuff?" and I can point to what has been posted on OCR (and more limited to Materia Collective now) and say, this is what I do. I do still remix, although not as much. My time is spent right now on an original album project. In the future, I want to do things that aren't normally done. I want to make a full, Mahler style video game symphony, or a Mozart concerto style thing, really trying to just nail those styles. A lot of orchestral video game arrangements are in the cinematic/modern orchestral style, which is great, and I love those. But there is a lack of legit classical style things, and I want to contribute to that.
  9. Good news! I learned how to embed. The piece is largely more complete than it was. At this point it is much more full in textures and feels a lot less like a bunch of individual segments. Things to do: Finalize the thematic ideas Do more with video sync (making sounds represent actions on screen). Making things more consistent throughout, articulations mainly. Clean up the notation and check for practicality (it is playable as it is, but are there places that could be simplified for the same effect). Write a piano and guitar part of some significance that contributes to the piece as a whole.
  10. JohnStacy

    What is the ideal length of a musical album to you?

    I thank you for your responses. For a little context: I am planning to release an album, and for the most part I have most of the writing done. As of now it sits at just under an hour, with 9 tracks. Really it's just under an hour with 6 tracks, but one of them is 24 minutes long and will most likely be split into 4 smaller tracks, although I am not sure about that. That particular track is a long form, soundtrack style piece. Depending on what the answers to my question I would add or subtract tracks. There is a pool of things that could go as high as 120 minutes, or I could always cut content. I think the final duration is at 55 minutes, but there is one track that made the final cut that I may get rid of because of indifference to that one track. I wanted to ask this question around several communities mainly to see what the perception of value in an album was. I am in no way insecure about what I do, but it never hurts to gauge public opinions before release of a project.
  11. JohnStacy

    How Significant Is Forum Feedback In Improvement?

    Outsider opinion: I see a mentor as somebody you talk to regularly. You have an open line of communication and they help you grow in depth. I see feedback like throwing spaghetti at a wall and seeing who asks about it. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of people will look at the spaghetti, but move on without saying much. Some comment on it, but it's not a regular thing if they don't really know about the type of spaghetti you threw at the wall. A mentor eats the spaghetti with you, and also helps you learn how to cook better spaghetti. (Sorry I've had a craptastic day and want to have some fun here.)
  12. JohnStacy

    How Significant Is Forum Feedback In Improvement?

    I kind of stopped asking for feedback because so many people would just pass over it. There were a lot of people who would just label what I did as too niche and not touch it. I would ask for production advice, and largely get ignored because of this reason. Asking for feedback is almost exclusively for production value. Very rarely for composition/arranging. When I went into the more common area, big band, etc, I would get more advice. But that wasn't what I was trying to grow with. I haven't really asked for much feedback, but submit stuff mainly for the judge panel, and to gauge what I can "get away with" in regards to out there/liberal interpretations of tunes. It's been wonderful because when something gets accepted, I can use those techniques in other arrangements and compositions. I also do this with my original compositions, but generally, nothing original I've done has gotten any significant feedback, so I don't post them.
  13. Let's say there's an album to be released that you're excited for. You're excited to pay $9.99 or right around there for this album, or even a pay what you want setup. Barring absurd things like three 5 second tracks or a 9 hour mega production, what do you think a good amount of content is for this format? Share your opinion in this thread and go.
  14. Here's an updated link I have continued to work, this is actually from July 29, but it was a significant update. I'm hoping to finish this by September, and progress to recording over the course of the next few months.
  15. I use a pink noise generator. I set it to -12db, then mix relative to that. One track at a time I level them so that they can barely be heard over the pink noise. This makes the levels consistent, and most of the time it ends up putting the mix at between -9 and -6 depending on the project. 9/10 times that is actually a decent volume that isn't obnoxiously loud, but it also leaves a lot of headroom if for whatever reason the mix needs to be made louder.