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Norfair - Work In Progress


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I haven't actually critiqued this piece yet; I've just been throwing theory around.

I'm listening to V6, here. I think you need to bring more energy into the whole thing. I'm not sure what sort of feel you're going for this track, but there's something you really do not make use of in this piece: chords. The melody is all single notes. Play around with different voices going at once.

I noticed that cool little spanish-phrygian sounding bit is gone. I think that, while it could have been cleaned up, it's a nice touch. Around 0:36 is where I think I heard it last time. At 0:34, that last note there is an A, right? Then at 0:36, we hear a Bb. I think it would be a cool touch if that bar right there had Bb, C, Db, Bb (those are quarter notes). And then the next bar resolves to A. It'll sound cool. If you want to variety, play with that sound in your piece.

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Oh crap, I feel a wall of text coming on... I'm putting important stuff in red

Okay, my plan right now is to work out panning and some of the other issues that have been discussed so far in this thread. (well, I actually adjusted the stuff, but I may tackle the big issue before I release an update)

The main thing I sort of want to focus on in this post is related to what smb3as_kuribosshoe.gif Nutritious said

-Development: This is one of the main weaknesses here IMO. The structure you've got going is a bit strange. Drum Kit make a sudden, brief appearance and disappear in the beginnning. Then suddenly it goes to the low bass part, the back to the beat again. Parts kind've come in and out suddenly with no transitions to prepare the listener. IMO this is one of the hardest things to hear and be able to improve on. It's all about getting a bigger picture look between the parts so it sounds like a cohesive song that's telling a progressing story. As is, even though there are several parts going at a time, it still FEELS sparse as a whole.

I'm at a 'now what' place in this, where what I need to decide is what I like, what I don't like, and (mostly) where to go as far as development. If I'm understanding Nutritious right then I'm thinking a very big change is an order, lots of rewriting to fix progression and structure issues. My goal here is to change the structure (beginning/middle/end/breaks) in this so that even when I have to change things, my order of events is basically the same. The next version of this has to have some more togetherness and seems like a complete idea rather than several small ideas with duct tape holding them together. I can't really see an easy way to do that without rewriting most of the thing:puppyeyes:

So, how do I fix the progression?

The way I wrote this version was to get introduction idea out, then do the melody pretty much just like the original and write the drums/bass/chords etc. to go with the melody. Which sounds okay, till I wanted to add breaks and stuff, which is when the song more or less lost it's direction. I guess what I'm wanting to do is to write this to have a better idea where everything belongs. And (hopefully) get 2 birds with one stone when I put my own stuff in there.

These are some of the things I would like to preserve in some form or another. Everything not listed here I'm willing to change.

-ideas wise-

1) General drum beat, half time DnB sort of feel

2) Something in there to create a tense feeling

3) Swelling bass builds.

-sounds/instruments wise-

1) Bassy swells through the song

2) Chord bit with bass.

3) Acid bass lead (first lead sound you hear after my tension style break)

4) Kit sounds good for this style.

5) Echo style lead sounds.

What I've got now with the lengths (in measures)

1) I like the introduction idea and how that works. The silence and swells, then the bass drums. (11m)

2) I want the drums to come in abruptly (8m)

3) Some sort of pause or break before the melody, suspense + transition (4m)

4) Melody (16m)

5) Some sort of pause or break between the instrument switch from first to second melody part, suspense + transition (4m)

6)Melody (16m)

7) The source has a break of its own in the decending patern that happens before the back and forth melody section. This is that section in E rather than the rest of the song that's in G (4m)

8- The back and forth melody has another break and is repeated with slight variations. (12m, 4m, 12m)

9) Song ends, original loops here.

Okay, I put you through all that to ask you this:

What's a good way to decide how much and where to move/rewrite things so that I don't have odd progressions and can add in my own stuff? (after I write some stuff:<) Is the criticism more about adding transitions to what I have, or changing the order of ideas? I mean, right now I'm thinking about writing everything I want out like the list above (maybe not in lengths) And trying to give everything a value or at least a place. Be like 1) intro 2) transition 3) idea one 4) melody etc. I have kinda a hard time knowing what I want ahead of time, I'm much more of an impulse type. I guess I'm asking how you would do it?

PHEW!:tomatoface:

Thanks

-H

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I HAD A EUREKA MOMENT! This hit me when I changed the melody at 1:10 When I copied the melody, it was entirely written in 5th paralells. I kept the paralells in the first bit played by the acid bass, because the synth playing it still sounded good despite the 5th parallel. When I deleted 5th paralells on the second melody part, sometimes I deleted the bottom notes, sometimes I deleted the top notes to change the feel of things.

I keep seeing comments about Spanish Phrygian and wondering how I'd managed to do that. That 5th parallel or true transposition (one of the two) is doing it. Except the bass part which was dumb luck and then I kept it! :<

Just thought I'd share:tomatoface:

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I HAD A EUREKA MOMENT! This hit me when I changed the melody at 1:10 When I copied the melody, it was entirely written in 5th paralells. I kept the paralells in the first bit played by the acid bass, because the synth playing it still sounded good despite the 5th parallel. When I deleted 5th paralells on the second melody part, sometimes I deleted the bottom notes, sometimes I deleted the top notes to change the feel of things.

I keep seeing comments about Spanish Phrygian and wondering how I'd managed to do that. That 5th parallel or true transposition (one of the two) is doing it. Except the bass part which was dumb luck and then I kept it! :<

Just thought I'd share:tomatoface:

By removing sides of the parallel fifths, generally you'll end up staying within the key signature, so you are going to end up adding original material that stays in the key. I personally think there should be a more organized method to adding the notes (I actually hear the notes in my head before even thinking about where they are on the keyboard. Knowing the key helps to pinpoint the correct value for the tone I'm hearing.) But anyway, it sounds like you've found a way to change it up. What you won't achieve using this method is counterpoint. I'm serious, just chuck some notes in with the melody that remain in the key, and see how it sounds.

Compose while you're intoxicated if you find that you can't think of anything good. Ideas will flow in faster than you can test them. Try to get your head into whatever feel you're going for. One of my pieces is a waltz (I want to record it live before I show anyone), and I wanted a sexy, erotic sound. So I was constantly imagining myself dancing with a partner. Most of the people I've shown the midi to agree that I was successful.

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I'm an odd composer myself Slygen...I actually don't hear the notes beforehand, I just experiment till I find a rhythm or melody that I like, then I go with it. Either that or I start off with chords and improvise from there...I guess everyone composes a bit differently eh.

In regards to Hewo's work here, I must say that Hewo is similar to me lol

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I actually hear the notes in my head before even thinking about where they are on the keyboard.

Hey, try singing parts to yourself before writing (or even while your writing). That's how I get my ideas. I'm no singer, really, but it really helps when you sing vs imagining the notes. It's also more fun :)

I'm at a 'now what' place in this, where what I need to decide is what I like, what I don't like, and (mostly) where to go as far as development.

I'm noticing that this is your biggest hurdle right now. Personally, if it's really difficult for you to move on, then I say move on. I mean to another piece, here. I've been in this rut before, and sometimes it's best to move to something else. Often, ideas about your old music will generate from new mixes, or when your skill develops. Don't give up on something, just give it a break.

Compose while you're intoxicated if you find that you can't think of anything good.

Statistically speaking, here, you won't. Seriously, it comes out to around 99% junk and 1% sweetness... or so I hear, anyway. I can't tell from experience. I'm sure that composing while drunk is fun, though, so if you'd like try it and tell me how it goes :)

BTW, I've got a quick question, here. What is a Spanish Phrygian chord/scale? I've heard a long time ago in passing that it was something like a open 5th with a 7b and 9b above, but when it comes to chord labels like that, I'm terrible. Thx.

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SLyGeN - Ah, yes, here at 1:10. The bass plays Bb, C, Db, C correct? But the Bb sounds like an augmented A, and then the C, and then the C# which would be in A Spanish-Phrygian. You want a new route to go with this piece? Throw that extra exotic flair in there. Wherever your third interval is, try augmenting that. It'll sound like you're in Arabia or Egypt. Cool shit.

Spanish scale can be found in wiki here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrygian_mode

Phrygian dominant is also known as the Spanish gypsy scale,

E Phrygian dominant

Mode: E F G A B C D E

Major: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1

Minor: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1

If I knew what all those words in the wiki meant, I'd be on a roll! Getting there slowly. :oops:

I do have this bottle of rum... Me and the Cap'n are good friends. It's not so much that it's hard to come up with ideas, it's getting them to do what I want that's the trick... I hear things in my head first, then I write them out, and they're never what I hear in my head. Pretty sure it' s a lack of experience thing. And I pretty much trial and error onto what I'm doing. I'm getting to where I can stumble faster and with more correct notes though:-P I toyed with the idea of getting this thing that caught my eye: http://www.zzounds.com/item--KORNANOKEYB 50 bucks, does kinda what I want. No one's said anything about my post in the 'what keyboard should I buy?' thread. I also may hit e-bay or some pawn shops or something...

As far as moving on, I'm doing okay to not burn out on this; but I really don't know what to do next as far as fixing the progression. I can change things, re-arrange things, put in breaks and transitions. But I'd like to have a format to fit the ideas into, rather than guess and check. And If I'm going to be doing guess and check, using the mouse to guess is tedious. Mouse takes forever to hear and check ideas as far as original stuff. Even stuff like 'what does this synth sound like'

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I don't mean shit-face drunk; I mean just enough to let your subconcious ride shot-gun and start chucking out ideas.

The scale stuff is easiest to learn with a keyboard in front of you. You should have one in your software. The simplest Spanish-Phrygian scale would be built on E, where you can play all of the white keys with the exception of G, which you need to augment to the black key above it. Those are the intervals. If you want to mess with it, use those same intervals in whatever key I said Norfair was in (it's just raising the third, that's it).

Most of the stuff I've written has been written with the help of The Green Faerie. Sprout Procession was, for sure. Again, I really need to get live players/better samples on that one.

I hear things in my head first, then I write them out, and they're never what I hear in my head. Pretty sure it' s a lack of experience thing.

Like I said, knowledge of the key will allow you to pick out the correct note on paper. For example, when you're working with the beginning in C Phrygian, I can tell you that if you select Gb in your melody, it's probably not going to be what you want. It'll sound weird. (There are always exceptions.)

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Thanks for clearing up the scale issue. Actually, it sounds like the Hungarian scale, except I think that has a raised 7th, as well :P

I don't mean shit-face drunk; I mean just enough to let your subconcious ride shot-gun and start chucking out ideas.

lol, I guess we heard you wrong, there. I've heard that it works for some people to do things like that, but I'm sadly not one of em'. If I'm not fully aware of myself when writing, I create trash. Not saying that's true for everyone, however.

I hear things in my head first, then I write them out, and they're never what I hear in my head.
I'm dead serious about singing what's in your head to yourself. It's a 'middle man' approach that almost completely gets rid of the 'guess and check' process, if done well. Think of what you want, hear it in your head, then sing it to yourself out loud. This gives your ear an auditory memory of what you want and it'll make inputting it into your music much easier. Also, while inputting the music into sonar, sing what your putting into the program to yourself. You'd be surprised at how often you catch yourself putting in the wrong notes, saving you some listening time. With practice, it'll become second nature. I must also emphasize that anyone can do this with practice; it's not about the type of voice you have or being pretty, it's about actually hearing the tunes without needing a keyboard or other instrument.

Don't be surprised when you start singing to yourself in public and people stare at you like a madman; it's addicting and when you start, you can't stop :)

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I listened to V6. I heard that bit I liked again at 1:09. I'm not sure if it was always there or not. Part of me wants to hear that in the beginning break, too. Another part of me likes that they're a little different.

Still, I want more volume dynamics. Add more instruments, add some chords, throw some variation in there. I'd like to hear some more bass while the melody is going. Draw those notes out, emphasize some of them or something. Force my subs to do some work.

The ending feels a bit anticlimactic. You might work your way back down to a quiet ending, but I still think the middle should become louder and fuller. The ending doesn't have to die off, either. You can end with a leading tone or dominant chord moving back to the tonic, and make it loud. I don't hear a lot of powerful endings these days.

That one lead you're using, that staccato wave.. it feels weak to me. (You can tell I'm craving energy here, right? Have some Jager bombs and see what you come up with. :-))

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Well, HoboKa, Jager would be liver that'd be hurting:tomatoface:

At the moment, I have this torn into pieces and am changing orders and amounts. The first break has been cut out entirley in favor of something else that doesn't disrupt things quite so much. The second break is twice as long and the second 4 measures is slid up the same amount as the first and second leads. I'm playing with ideas that I want to add to the end and transitions now. But this will for sure be the slowest bit for me. I'm shooting for a 4-5 min song, so there's lots I still want to add.

Actually, I'm playing with different synths trying to decide what to add to the sound as a whole to sort of fill it in. (yes chords, chords :?) That and there's some effects that I want to add that I don't know how to. Some of the time my track envelopes work, sometimes they don't, which is frusterating. That and I've all but taken a break from this over the past few days. I'll try to hammer something out by the weekend at least.

Feel free to troll the thread, but I won't be updating quite as diligently as I was, at least untill I know more about what I'm doing.

-H

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:| Okay, I am convinced that it sounds different. I am not convinced that it sounds any better.

This'll be the last update for this for a while, this is going up on the shelf for use at a later time.

http://www.mediafire.com/?jmynymzthyy

Did stuff:

1) Panning toned down

2) Added synth at the beginning

3) Re-worked bass during longer notes

4) Changed lead synth

5) Added new synth at the opening drum intro with the start of the swells

6) Fixed compression issues (I hope)

7) Changed break and second break

eight) Minor transition and volume fixes

Broke stuff:

1) God awful clash/death sound in the main synth when it tries to echo while it's playing something new. It sounds okay the other 80% of the time, and I can't figure out how to make it not do that. Got sick of working with it.

2) Synth at the beginning I'm hit or miss on, I kinda liked it the old way better, but got sick of playing with it.

3) I miss my acid bass lead, even though it never fit, it was still fun. But when I tried to work it into the new break, it fell apart. It's actually a sequence that's supposed to be played on a note for 2 measures. Groove clip style.

4) No ending. The echo is built into the new lead synth. I didn't do any origional stuff at the end, because I can't get the rest to do what I want.

The time I'm putting in isn't giving me the results I want. So I'm taking a break and hopefully learning some more for next time. Thanks again for all the help.

-H

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It sounds better. Now that we got that out of the way, lets see what we've got going on here...

Why, oh why, does the volume go up and down periodically? Did you insert it or is it an artifact? Try to get rid of this.

I like the added percussive effects in the beginning, as well as the synth. It ties to the source better, now :).

Eesh, perhaps the new lead is a bit harsh (although I like it when you play with the EQ on it...). I think there is a place and time for that lead, and one for your old lead. Why not use both?

I'm not that familiar with DnB, but I don't nkow if it's sounding like that genre anymore... It's starting to sound like Electronica. I don't think that's bad, but I don't know if that's what you want.

The shifty melody is still there (Ack, in even more places, too!) I've talked about it before, so you know what I'm saying, there :-x...

Ok, the 'ending' with the echo sounds like it's actually gonna echo, then go into an 'Oh SHIT' double time part. Well, do what your gonna do, there, but I suggest letting the echo play for about a measure, then moving into double time and beating the crap uot of the listener.

We're still here, so keep postin'!

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The shifty melody is still there (Ack, in even more places, too!) I've talked about it before, so you know what I'm saying, there :-x...

We're still here, so keep postin'!

:< Okay, whatever it is that we're talking about that you keep bringing up. I don't know what it is that we're talking about, and I'm looking through this thread and not finding stuff. I mean, the main lead part does go up that 5th parallel now, just like the second echo part because the new synth is not playing in paralells, but other than that, I don't know what we're talking about...

The volume wasn't like that on the preview, but I didn't listen to the completed MP3. I just wanted to get the damn thing done so I could leave it alone. I did try doing something with the volume of the bass part only, and I think it's ending up messing with the compressor when it's all said and done, but doesn't sound like that in the project, just the export. I'll have to look at that.

As far as the new lead goes, I'd like to see what I can change about it. I (mostly) changed the part because when I tried to do some writing other than the melody with it. (when I was working on the break bit) I could not get it to cooperate.

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I'm not too fond of the new synth that was added, as well as something else that has always bugged me. The very beginning is out of the time signature. It feels like it's in 5/4 or 6/4 or something. Those little statements are too far apart, although if you feel that it's better that way, leave it. My ear just kinda feels choked when it expects to hear the next statement, and it comes a few bars late.

HOWEVER, you mixed up the main theme quite a bit. It's much better. It changes key in places I don't expect, and it fits well. The ending definitely needs work, but I think we ought to add some more material at the end of those 2 minutes and 33 seconds. Don't be afraid to throw extra notes in where you feel it's appropriate. 0:57 - 1:10 in particular is a vast improvement upon your previous work. 1:09 - 1:10 is particularly colorful, and I like it. I think you should throw some of your own work in before you try to end the piece. Immerse yourself in the original material or in your own piece, and see what your head throws at you. Chuck some notes in, and see if it works. Have your hand crawl up and down those white keys, and come back to E, B, and A a lot. E is your tonic- very strong and you want to accent it (you'll notice Norfair does a lot of coming back to E, right?). B and A are your Dominant and Subdominant, respectively. Also strong. Not as strong as the tonic, but good for variety. The other notes in the middle are like a road to get to E, A, and B (for this piece, in this section. When it moves to C, then C is your tonic, and your dominant and subdominant will be different. I'll let you figure those out!)

When I say stuff like accent E, B, and A, I mean do stuff like sustain the note. Or just come back to it a lot. E, F, E, D, E, B, F, E. Go ahead and plunk some of those out. All white keys. It should sound okay. Try your own combinations. Ideas will start to flow in.

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I'm not too fond of the new synth that was added, as well as something else that has always bugged me. The very beginning is out of the time signature. It feels like it's in 5/4 or 6/4 or something. Those little statements are too far apart, although if you feel that it's better that way, leave it. My ear just kinda feels choked when it expects to hear the next statement, and it comes a few bars late.

This, my friend, is called tension. I think it helps create a certain feel for the song that suits it well. I'm not sure if hewhoisiam meant for it to be that, but that's what I'm getting from it. Another possible suggestion would be using some real instruments for harmony of some sort... or if you still don't want it quite as real and raw, try an electric piano or something. I just think it might help if you beefed up the end with harmonies :|

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This, my friend, is called tension. I think it helps create a certain feel for the song that suits it well. I'm not sure if hewhoisiam meant for it to be that, but that's what I'm getting from it. Another possible suggestion would be using some real instruments for harmony of some sort... or if you still don't want it quite as real and raw, try an electric piano or something. I just think it might help if you beefed up the end with harmonies :|

Tension can be created in a variety of ways, including omitting a beat, or even leaving the beat alone and using certain notes. There's an elegance to it.

I didn't feel any tension, though. I stick with my comparison of my ears feeling choked.

Perhaps your ears feel differently? Tension should still be, for the most part, pleasant to hear.

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Okay, whatever it is that we're talking about that you keep bringing up. I don't know what it is that we're talking about, and I'm looking through this thread and not finding stuff. I mean, the main lead part does go up that 5th parallel now, just like the second echo part because the new synth is not playing in paralells, but other than that, I don't know what we're talking about...

Right, right. I think you nailed it... I can understand if you want to keep the leaping melodic lines at 0:30 - 0:40 and 1:09 - 1:20, etc., but it doesn't sound right to me. I notice that most people aren't having a fit over it like I am, so maybe it's just me, in this case :P

I'm just saying, like I did earlier in the thread (and I did find the post that says this; it's just buried in the midst of the monster thread, here) that leaping around with the melody when the harmonies are static isn't a good idea. If you need variety, I'd suggest using timbre, texture or rhythm to achieve that. If no one else hears what I'm talking about... well, again, maybe it's me, here :P

As for the 'missed beats', I hear what that's about... Are you starting the song with 2 beats of silence? If you are, then I'd recommend moving the whole thing back those two beats and looking at how the measures line up then... SlyGeN is hearing the missing 'two beats' that makes everything look shifted when you move the start of the song to there. I don't have a problem with it, personally, but if you want to play around with adding some stuff to make everything line up properly, then that's the place to start.

Sorry for not being clear about my statements earlier, BTW...

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XD No worries. As far as the beginning goes, that's the left over lazy from moving things around. Envelopes and stuff don't move with the tracks, so when I took out the 4 measures, it added 5 bars of silence at the beginning. When I export the audio, I just select what I want to export. It's actually sort of written in 3 bar chunks. 1 on, 2 off. But I've just been exporting the whole thing. I'll clear that up when I work on this again; which may be soon.

I'm playing with something for the competition, and it's giving me a headache trying to have a very loose interpretation of the Syreen theme, and making it very, double bass metal.

As far as changing that melody ways other than the notes, I'm looking into track automations (know more about them then I did when I started this piece) So I may try that.

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Listening to V7...

Okay let's see what we've got :<

oh wow that is a very impressive intro. Nice transition for the drums. The key is muuuch closer to sounding perfect :-P I can actually enjoy this a LOT now. Awesome work. Feels very ambient and DnB-y.

I think that I only heard 3-4 wrong notes throughout the entire piece - I could be wrong - but in either case, I dig V7 a lot.

I'm assuming it's not done yet, right? Cuz the "ending" if that's what it is needs an epic build up, or at least a decent, elongated cadence. For instance, you could make the drums get extra crazy at the last phrase, then make it end on a loud (but not clipping) crash, then have the final chord (and or) low key root note finish off the song for about half a bar or so.

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