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About JohnStacy

  • Rank
    Mudkip (+150)

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Amarillo, Tx

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Artist Settings

  • Collaboration Status
    2. Maybe; Depends on Circumstances
  • Software - Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
  • 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
    Vocals: Male
  • Instrumental & Vocal Skills (Other)
    Jazz Improvization


  • Real Name
    John Stacy
  • Occupation
    Teacher/Freelance Jazz Performer

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  1. Depending on your time scale, I may be willing to take on this project, but it won't be possible until June or July of 2020. At that point I can probably take on the whole soundtrack.
  2. Hello! I'm JohnStacy. You may know me from such places as this website and discord. You may also know me as a session brass player who plays for various video game soundtracks and soundtrack arrange albums. Today I come to you with an album from a group I'm involved in, that will release next week and is available for preorder right now. This album is Brasslevania, a fully licensed arrangement album. This includes music from several Castlevania games, Luigi's Mansion, Deltarune, and others. The description of the album does it justice, so I'll just paste that here: The Game Brass have teamed up again with arranger Thomas Kresge to bring you "Brasslevania: A Tribute to the Video Game Macabre"! Featuring some of the finest ghost, horror, and skeleton-themed music in video games, Brasslevania includes over 20 tracks from such classics as Banjo-Kazooie, Super Mario World, Final Fantasy, Pokémon, Deltarune, Castlevania, Grim Fandango, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Celeste, and more. For this album, the quintet has expanded to a 9-piece brass ensemble and invited an array of special guests, including Mariachi Entertainment System, to the party. Equal parts spine-chilling, terrifying, and cadaverous, Brasslevania brings you the biggest Game Brass sound you've heard yet! I played french horn on this album, and am featured on a few tracks (mainly Voyager, Life is Beautiful, and The Grim Fandango Suite). The other guys who played are all my friends and we had a blast putting this together. On behalf of the Game Brass, I hope you enjoy Brasslevania: A Tribute to the Video Game Macabre!
  3. I do a lot of recording and work with a lot of people who record live, acoustic instruments. I can't really speak for synthesizers, or sampled instruments. For the most part, most of the people I work with are in consensus on this area. Basically, going above 48k for uncompressed audio doesn't carry enough benefits to do it for every project. Generally, since people recording for these projects use 48k, the end project file also ends up being in 48k. I have been asked to record above 48khz (the standard I deal with) twice. Once was at 96, once was at...192? That one was a pain because 192khz wav takes up so much space and transferring that monster took hours. The consensus with people I work with is that 48 is ideal for most purposes, 96 is great for blending remote sessions, and above that doesn't make enough of a difference to justify the increased resource requirements (hard drive space and processor power). One minute of 48k wav is about 15mb. One minute of 192k wav is about 45mb (3 times the size). If I'm recording a multitracked brass section of 4 trumpets, 4 horns, 4 trombones, and a tuba (like I do for some clients), for a track that is 4 minutes long, I'm going to be playing about 2 to 2 and a half minutes for each track. This is 26 to 34 minutes of audio. At 48k wav, this is 390 to 510 mb of audio on the hard drive, and in RAM. For 192k, this is 1170 to 1530 mb of audio on the hard drive, and in RAM. That is much more resource heavy. The difference in sound quality isn't big enough to justify that. If I were doing this for How to Save the World in 20 Minutes or Less (24 minute recording), you can do the math to find out how obnoxiously large that can get. I recorded that in 48k (and requested other performers to do the same) and the end result is definitely to my liking. So that is my take on it. Although higher sample rates are appropriate for some instances, I don't ever really use them because 48-96 is appropriate for almost everything I'm involved in.
  4. I have read the comments on the youtube, and one comment really stuck out to me that I think explains why it is so divisive, mainly relating to the philosophy of creating new arrangements of video game music. The comment, let me find it: So this is probably the largest difference in the way I process game music vs how I think others do, mainly in the general public who do not produce music actively (casual listeners). This isn't a right vs. wrong issue, this is really more of a perception and philosophy difference/disagreement. This is healthy and should happen in any community that isn't toxic. For the most part, game music for me is divorced from the game it comes from. I have been told on some of my previous work (back before I had an internet presence) that "this doesn't sound like a battle theme" or similar comments. At one point I did a stripper tempo swing version of Megalovania from Undertale. It went really slow, just to play up the sleaze. For the most part, it was *destroyed* by people who heard it, almost like I committed blasphemy. OCR is full of creative arrangements, but the whole line is accessibility. For the most part, if you did a calm, ending theme as an upbeat 80s synthwave track, nobody would really complain about it because they can relate to the style. Something much more classically oriented that's out of left field like this doesn't really give much to relate to (unless you listen to a lot of music in this style). It is kind of like listening to some avant-garde jazz and not enjoying it because you don't really listen to a lot of it and don't really "get" its nuance (I am like this with most of the more distant subgenres of metal, for example). When I do arrangements of game music, almost always I'm trying to do one of two things, and you can hear this from the things posted on this site. 1. Have some fun with a tune I really enjoy or remember fondly, combined with writing some fun stuff to play (Cazador, Journey Never Ends, unrelated but everything I do for Materia Collective falls under this category). This usually ends up being very relatable for most people. 2. Experiment and really push myself in something I'm not familiar with, or explore a style of music I enjoy (Protoman, Reflecting Pool, As Blew the Winds). These are mainly used to develop my skills, and I really don't give much consideration to the audience or making it an way that it means anything outside of itself. This is where the disagreement lies. So in the most sincere way possible, I REALLY don't care that the Mario fanbase wouldn't listen to this and be reminded of Mario. That wasn't the point. That wasn't even close to the point.
  5. You're right. Maybe I should just do it myself. I actually came to realize some things since I originally posted. When Unreal 4 was released for free I played around in it a bit, and watched some speed level design videos. I thought I wanted to make a game, got overwhelmed with how little I knew about game development and quit. I did like messing around with environments. Even before this, I was working on a game (got an hour of gameplay done) in RPG maker VX. Before that I finished a quest in Zelda Classic, but the gameplay was rather boring. People enjoyed exploring the world I created (there were single areas that were the size of the whole overworld from Zelda 1). I had much more fun doing level design than anything else. Essentially, every time I wanted to sit down and make a game, I got swept away in the visual aspect and designing the world. The end result was basically a playable movie with a good soundtrack (music composition being the other area I would focus on). Yesterday, I came to the realization that I never actually wanted to make a game. I just wanted to tell a story. I'm going to embrace this now. Do you have any tips of how to start?
  6. It was mentioned in the discord that there were people who worked in both animation or CGI. I am working on a large musical project, as part of my master's thesis in composition. I wrote this piece in sync with a speed run, using more of a soundtrack mentality. A thing that a few people involved with the project have expressed concern about is copyright - using game footage of a first party nintendo title is not a good way to prevent issues down the line. Somebody asked me "What if it were like Fantasia?" The Disney movie from the 1940s that created animations to sync to recordings of classical music. The main issue is expense. I have found 3 animation studios and 2 independent artists to scope out costs for traditional animation. The budget requirements have varied from 24-60k for the whole project. I was expecting around 30-50, so it is within my expectation range, but that is not possible. I don't know anything about CGI. I don't even know where to start with that. What kind of project would this be? Basically creating a new video in sync with the audio, somewhat in the same genre as Zelda, but using none of that IP. I have some preliminary ideas for a script, but if it turns out that this production is possible I will get on writing that. I am open to ideas and suggestions. What are your thoughts?
  7. This is a dummy comment so I will remember to respond. Will analyze later today probably.
  8. The answer to this question changes a bit depending on the genre. However, a thing I've found that simplifies the whole thing to a good starting point is to emphasize chord tones on strong beats, and you can really do whatever you want otherwise. For example, if you have a C chord, you could play chord tones on the downbeats like: C E G C G E C Then on the upbeats add some notes a step or so away: C F E Ab G B C D E Db C F is a half step above E, Ab is a half step above G, B is a half step below C, D is a whole step below E, and Db is a half step above C. By just thinking about where you put your chord tones in the lines relative to strong beats, the scale choice doesn't matter as much. I practice this by playing a solo of only chord tones on downbeats to get familiar with the progression, then practice adding other notes between to fill in the gaps. I hope this helps!
  9. You missed my point, but I definitely see how you could. I was giving the example of *a* song. This is to contrast the idea that a song that is just chorus chorus chorus chorus chorus chorus verse chorus chorus chorus chorus chorus intro wouldn't work as well. Makes sense means that it is logical and follows a system that is consistent with both itself and other songs in the same style. I just threw an example and maybe wasn't as clear with what I meant as I could be. You nailed it, actually.
  10. Preface: I am a formally trained musician. Went through public school band from 6th grade through high school, got 3 undergrad degrees in music (education, horn performance, and classical composition), and am almost finished with a master's degree (classical and jazz composition). I finished my undergrad with 214 credit hours and am currently 23/31 hours through the master's degree. I am a professional performer (classical and jazz), and a high school band director, but have taught theory and private lessons and classes on guitar, bass and piano. I have performed in almost every genre that uses live performances, on many different instruments. I see many discussions about the importance of music theory, and honestly most of these discussions disappoint me, but not in the way you would think by the preface above. All musicians fall into one of two categories - Music theory is necessary, or Music Theory is unnecessary. There are no other categories, although there are subgroups. I'm going to start off by saying, that by far, modern music theory is one of the worst taught classes in the history of classes. I put it below most high school Spanish classes. If you compare the standard expected of music theory students to that of a standard biology or English class, it is almost laughably low. I don't know many classes where it is not only normal, but understood by the *teachers* of a class that half or more of your students are going to not learn the material. This is absolutely absurd. Further than this, I don't know of any creative art other than music where the system of organization used to understand it is emphasized so heavily as rules. Let's give an analogy to help this sink in. You're in an English class, studying Shakespeare. You're learning about the plays of Shakespeare, but it's communicated that the traits that were used in Shakespeare's style of writing are the rules that dictate how books are written, and if you don't follow them, you're wrong. Right off the bat, you should see some red flags with this. "But what about Earnest Hemingway? He breaks the rules here, does that mean he's not a real author?" "Yes. He broke the rules, so he doesn't write real books." This is about how music theory is approached by many teachers. If you see this, and understand that this is not what music theory is supposed to be, you'll see why almost all arguments against it fall apart really hard. So what is music theory? Music theory IS a form of analysis. It is a way to listen and analyze music and understand what's going on. It's a way to learn music, and a way to communicate music. Music theory IS NOT a bunch of "rules" that tell you how to write music. It IS NOT a way for classical musicians to point at things they don't like and say "this is worthless." If it is used that way, it's used very wrong. Music theory IS a way to compare styles of music to see what is similar and different, and be able to understand what makes an unfamiliar style of music relatable to styles you are familiar with. Music theory IS NOT tied to or directly related to sheet music. If you don't read sheet music, you are no less of a musician. Theory actually doesn't have much to do with notation on a fundamental level. You know how I mentioned I used to teach guitar classes to high school kids? When I taught guitar classes, I taught theory. But I didn't say "we're learning music theory today, here are the rules." It really was more like this: Let's listen to this Johnny Cash song. Let's learn it, do this now. Alright, how is it similar to <song we learned last week>? These chords here, are they the same as <other song>? Yes. This is called a 12-bar blues progression. Let's look at it. The class learned 25 songs in the next week. Because we had the framework of what a 12-bar blues progression was, and the theory behind it, we went from learning one song a week, chord by chord to 25. We learned 25 songs that used the 12-bar blues progression. This was music theory applied directly to understand music better. We then did a quick lesson on lyric form (the rhyme scheme and whatnot) of most 12-bar blue songs, and I had them write one. There was no lack of creativity here. They could write a song then teach it REALLY easily because everybody had the common language and framework. Further than this, in similar ways, my students could play in all 12 major AND minor keys. They could figure out how to finger chords they didn't know. For example, this chord is an Ab major 7th chord. How do you finger it without looking at a chord chart? They knew what notes were in that chord, and what do do with the strings to get that chord to happen, and then they remembered the fingering. This is what music theory is If you're looking at my description and saying "But you didn't teach music theory." You're wrong. I gave them the same written test that I gave the students I was just teaching theory to. They did just as fine as guitar students as the ones who were specifically theory students. Test scores showed very little deviation when compared. This is how music theory is supposed to be. Music theory is the inner workings of music, and why things sound the way they do. Music theory is the reason I can hear a song I've never heard before, and learn it in a short period of time. Any time you hear a song and go "That's the same chord progression as <different song>" you're using theory. If you write music AT ALL, you're using music theory. You may not think that's what you're doing, but that's what you're doing. If you know that *this chord* followed by *this chord* sounds good, but don't know what those chords are called, you're still using theory. If you know that writing a song using the form "Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, chorus" makes your song make sense, you're using theory. All musicians who produce music are using theory whether they know it or not. The advantage of knowing theory is that you can talk about music in a consistent way and help others understand either the music you write, or the music you like. If you hear something I write, and really like it, I can tell you EXACTLY what I did to create that sound and where I got that chord progression/texture from, so you can learn more about it. You know how I mentioned that I have degrees in composition? I have a degree in composition, and am almost done with another one. I took 14 theory classes in my undergrad. The same 4 intro classes, and 10 specialized classes (such as jazz theory, 20th century analysis, 18th century counterpoint, and electronic music). In all of these classes, the professor (a composer) would ALWAYS have us listen to the piece before doing any theoretical analysis on it. It didn't matter if it were by Bach from 1730, or if it were by Charlie Parker in 1950. We listened to it and thought about how it was similar and different to what we knew. The analysis ALWAYS fit what the music was doing. If we were analyzing a Bach chorale, we looked at it using the style tendencies and traits that defined that style. If we were analyzing a Charlie Parker tune, we looked at it using the style tendencies and traits that defined that style. We didn't do this with one set of rules and traits for both styles, unless they were similar enough where we could do that and actually make sense of that. As a composition student in lessons, if I wrote a piece in the style of Glenn Miller and his big band, we would look through Glenn Miller sheet music and listen to the charts to find out "Why does it sound the way it does, and what can you do to get that kind of sound in your pieces?" If I wrote a piece in the style of modern, 20th century classical music, we would analyze pieces of classical music from the 20th century and find out why they worked. Then, when writing a piece, I could express myself in that style. The argument that music theory destroys your creativity is valid only if you're viewing music theory as a set of rules that you have to follow. If you view any creative adventure like that, your creativity will be stifled. However, if you view it as a series of tendencies and style traits that make music sound the way it does, it frees you to write in any style you want, authentically, and express yourself. As a composer, I write a lot of music that blends jazz, fusion, and classical. I write things I'm proud of and think are pretty creative. But they are that way because I know how to look at music I like and take things from it and use them to express myself. THIS IS THE WAY MUSIC THEORY SHOULD BE TAUGHT AND USED. THIS IS WHAT MUSIC THEORY IS AND WHAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE USED FOR. One little side note If you're using your knowledge of theory to say that somebody else is not a real musician, or they don't know what they're doing, or that music has rules, shame on you. You're giving formally trained musicians a bad name. Alternatively, if you are one of those people who brags about not knowing theory and tries to flex on the people who say you need to know theory, you're as big of an ass as they are. I hope that my little essay here has helped you understand a new perspective on music theory and why I feel the argument against it is not particularly valid in most cases.
  11. SO For the most part, find out what you like. Go on a soul searching adventure to find out what you like, and why. A friend of mine was active at OCR, and several other communities as a metal guitarist. More recently, he learned that while he was okay with metal, he really loved and wanted to do other things - jazz, gospel, blues, classical, etc, but felt before this point that he had to play FOR other people. Find out what kind of music you like and why you like it so you can put yourself into what you produce. If you are making something because you think other people will like it, it will be hard to put yourself into it and the result may not be something you're proud of. Once you have an idea what you want to do, really dig into what makes that thing sound the way it does. If it's rock, is it a certain guitar tone? Is it a type of drum groove? If it's classical, is it a type of orchestration, is it a type of chord voicing? Etc. Once you find out what you like, really dig into it and find out what makes it tick so you can create things in that style authentically and effectively. Create, A LOT. Start a remix, and challenge yourself to finish it regardless of whether it's good or not. If you produce a finished thing, and it's bad, you can quickly find out what is good or bad about it, then start a new one. Use what you learned, avoid some mistakes, etc. Create as much as you can. You really won't make the same mistakes over and over again, right? Experiment with new things, find out if they speak to you. An important thing to note about that last point, it's easy to get caught in this insecurity of thinking that what you produce isn't good or people won't like it, then hide it, or not finish anything. Nothing will ever get better that way. Join the community. The forums are nice, but a lot of conversation and activity happens on the discord server, link at the top of the page. This is what I have off the top of my head.
  12. Well Since I do literally everything in notation first, THEN record, I actually should have sheets for everything I've ever done. Just looking through old files, I have these scores: Metroid Title Screen is Cazador De Recompensas Underwater is Reflecting Pool (to be posted soon) As Blew the Winds So Forward Marched Time - Full Score.pdf Metroid Title Screen - Full Score.pdf Underwater (Horns) Double - Full Score.pdf
  13. I saw it on a date with my wife a few days ago. I thought it was very good. Enjoyed it from start to finish and would highly recommend to people.
  14. I have a lot of music I need to write over the next few months. None of it is NDA (most of it is for my entry portfolio for a doctorate program), so I can be completely open with it. If I were to livestream composition on twitch, what kind of format would you enjoy to watch? Just dry composition, or what?
  15. Wait, so Renaissance modes are basically quite similar to modern modes, just following counterpoint rules from the period? I thought they were more similar to the ancient Greek modes.