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So, I need a little bit of a push, and a lot of tips and advice.


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So, as some of you guys may know. I haven't been entering compos much in the past few months. School will continue to hinder that, atleast until the summer. Something happened though, I got all into loving all this elctronic music. But I've always felt that everytime I asked for help, it only went so far.

I kinda just, gave up. Thats not me, I get pissed when I lose a game of Madden football. None the less give up at something.

What I have as far as equipment and software:

Shitty midi keyboard

FL Studio 9

Money to get new stuff - $0

I have a ton of great drum samples and some other odd ones. What I have noticed though. I don't like KORE Player at all. I can't stand it anymore.

I do use Harmless a synth plugin for FL Studio.

What I'm looking for is some guidance.

Where can I find some tutorials that will benefit me? Some helpful articles? When I say tutorials, I've done most of zircons and such.

I just want to LEARN.

The main reason I quit compoing, is most of my tracks have no structure. I want to learn what makes a song a song. How to peice it together, time things. I failed to learn these things before.

I kinda know what makes a song a song, but when it comes to writing it in FL. There really is no structure when I try to compose.

So basicly I'm saying, where can I find good tutorials? Good Articles to read up on to help with whatever.

Anything that will help a noob. I've been around the community long enough. Time to stop dicking around.

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Something that always helped me improve is to try and emulate others. Pick a song or artist you like and try to recreate that song piece by piece and figure out how it works. This is a lot harder than it sounds, and what you end up with will probably sound relatively different, but it's a lot of fun!

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Forgive my ignorance, but what genre do you typically produce/listen to? Whatever the answer is, my suggestion is to listen to something else. Whether it be rock, rap, country, R&B (new and old), whatever, expand your musical boundaries to the point where you want to write those types of songs.

Listen to old R&B and pop songs and figure out how their structure is laid out, in a sense all modern music is based off of that time period. Basically anything that came out on Stax or Motown applies like Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Stevie Wonder (this man released 5 brilliant albums in a row in 6 years, what a legend), Booker T & the MGs, Marvin Gaye, etc. as well as The Beatles, The Zombies, The Rolling Stones, and any other big name band that your parents listened to. A lot of modern music has some interesting arrangements as well, specifically the mathcore genre as well as a lot of other rock stuff and even some rap artists (Daedalus being a recent fav).

The whole point of this post is to say that there's not going to be a tutorial that will magically make everything better. There are definitely useful techniques but ultimately the best thing you can do is to listen to as much music as possible and experiment as much as possible.

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Forgive my ignorance, but what genre do you typically produce/listen to? Whatever the answer is, my suggestion is to listen to something else. Whether it be rock, rap, country, R&B (new and old), whatever, expand your musical boundaries to the point where you want to write those types of songs.

Listen to old R&B and pop songs and figure out how their structure is laid out, in a sense all modern music is based off of that time period. Basically anything that came out on Stax or Motown applies like Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Stevie Wonder (this man released 5 brilliant albums in a row in 6 years, what a legend), Booker T & the MGs, Marvin Gaye, etc. as well as The Beatles, The Zombies, The Rolling Stones, and any other big name band that your parents listened to. A lot of modern music has some interesting arrangements as well, specifically the mathcore genre as well as a lot of other rock stuff and even some rap artists (Daedalus being a recent fav).

The whole point of this post is to say that there's not going to be a tutorial that will magically make everything better. There are definitely useful techniques but ultimately the best thing you can do is to listen to as much music as possible and experiment as much as possible.

Alright. I used to listen to a lot of electronica, whether it be OC ReMixes, The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Propellerheads. I listen, to Pop, Punk, Rock, Hard rock, Death metal, Metal, Nu Metal, Punk Rock, oldies rock. I listen to a little bit of everything. Depends on the mood I'm in which will have me choose what I'll listen to. I really have gotten into Deadmau5 and Morgan Page, DJ Dan.

I like House and Dance a lot. I was going to start doing what you said, when I get some time. Figuring out how songs work and such. Experimenting etc. Was going to start with some of Morgan pages laid back songs.

But starting with older music, would that be a better idea? I'd personally want to start with Morgan Pages Electropop Its fun, catchy. and then go into Deadmau5 later and some others.

But yeah, starting out with older music figuring out how they did what they did, you think that would be a better option? I ask because I don't think I'd be as into doing as much as I would with some house and dance music.

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But yeah, starting out with older music figuring out how they did what they did, you think that would be a better option? I ask because I don't think I'd be as into doing as much as I would with some house and dance music.

Its up to you entirely, I'm just basing this off of personal experience and artist interviews (Everyone is influenced by Miles Davs) but at the very least its reinvigorated my producing as of late. It can also be some older electronic music as well, but something that gives you a new perspective on things. There's no better time than to do this than now. It may not necessarily seem like the type of music you'll want to listen to initially but once you start broadening your views you'll find yourself surprised at how much great stuff there is that you like.

Personally my iTunes library ranges from Dieselboy to 5th Dimension (these guys are fucking incredible at points) to Dillinger Escape Plan to Flying Lotus and it all has at the very least made me think about different approaches to making music and conveying emotion and there are things worth picking up from all of those artists. The whole point is to not get bogged down in one sound, you're only as good as your influences and if you want to make a Zircon-styled song and you listen to is Zircon, then chances are its going to sound like an uninspired Zircon rip-off, at which point I'll just listen to the real thing.

I'll end this by saying that my advice may not necessarily be true for everyone and keep in mind that the most I've accomplished in making music is a couple of OCR-posted songs and a mound of unfinished pieces so I know for a fact I'm not the best resource to go to. Try reading some artist interviews with artists you really like, artists that you think have really made it and see what they have to say about their techniques in songwriting, influences, etc.. Its often an enlightening experience.

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Its up to you entirely, I'm just basing this off of personal experience and artist interviews (Everyone is influenced by Miles Davs) but at the very least its reinvigorated my producing as of late. It can also be some older electronic music as well, but something that gives you a new perspective on things. There's no better time than to do this than now. It may not necessarily seem like the type of music you'll want to listen to initially but once you start broadening your views you'll find yourself surprised at how much great stuff there is that you like.

Personally my iTunes library ranges from Dieselboy to 5th Dimension (these guys are fucking incredible at points) to Dillinger Escape Plan to Flying Lotus and it all has at the very least made me think about different approaches to making music and conveying emotion and there are things worth picking up from all of those artists. The whole point is to not get bogged down in one sound, you're only as good as your influences and if you want to make a Zircon-styled song and you listen to is Zircon, then chances are its going to sound like an uninspired Zircon rip-off, at which point I'll just listen to the real thing.

I'll end this by saying that my advice may not necessarily be true for everyone and keep in mind that the most I've accomplished in making music is a couple of OCR-posted songs and a mound of unfinished pieces so I know for a fact I'm not the best resource to go to. Try reading some artist interviews with artists you really like, artists that you think have really made it and see what they have to say about their techniques in songwriting, influences, etc.. Its often an enlightening experience.

I get the whole widening my music listening, but listening to things outside the genre confuses me? I like House/Electro Pop stuffs. What could I learn from someone like, The Who for example? I mean they use guitars, I might or might not. Thats what confuses me.

What can bands and artists from other genres help with the music I'm interested in writing?

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I get the whole widening my music listening, but listening to things outside the genre confuses me? I like House/Electro Pop stuffs. What could I learn from someone like, The Who for example? I mean they use guitars, I might or might not. Thats what confuses me.

Song structure, melody ideas, incorporating some general techniques as far as mixing and processing go, but ultimately its all about making sure your music is well rounded. Its easy to go "I want to sound like Deadmau5", listen to every Deadmau5 track and then rip off a Deadmau5 track, but ultimately all you're going to be is a poor man's Deadmau5. I'm not trying to specifically help you learn a specific technique or anything, I'm just giving general advice: Get off of the forum, listen to music you normally wouldn't, and experiment, you may be surprised by the result. Music is music is music.

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I get the whole widening my music listening, but listening to things outside the genre confuses me? I like House/Electro Pop stuffs. What could I learn from someone like, The Who for example? I mean they use guitars, I might or might not. Thats what confuses me.

What can bands and artists from other genres help with the music I'm interested in writing?

Inspiration. Everybody uses melodies and rhythms. You can get inspired by the weirdest stuff. I almost got a rhythm from a paper copier, I've gotten sound design ideas from batroom water pipes, an idea of melodic soundscaping from a ventilation system...

Listening to, say, bluegrass might get you some idea of how you can handle melodies in fast-paced tracks. Listening to a lead woodwind in an orchestral track might get you ideas for a monophonic lead. Listening to jazz can easily give you bassline ideas. That's just three genres, two of which are really wide.

Besides, expanding your range of genres you kind'a understand means you can use those styles more. If you need something to be more groovy, more majestic, more quirky, whstever, you can draw on your other influences instead of trying to mimic what ppl already have done in your style/genre. You'll develop listening and writing skills you might not otherwise have, and can utilize them in the styles you work in.

I think jazz is cool but don't listen much to it. Yet I find myself drawing on what little I do know. I once tried writing an electronic waltz. I wrote a song with a non-stop 16th notes rhythm on snare. Just snare, with different velocities. I wrote a three-part semi-monophonic synth thing using the same synth patch with subtle changes between the parts. I wrote some kind of prog synth metal thing that's currently on the boss themes project. I'm drawing on so many things and have been experimenting with all kinds of weird styles and ideas. That's how I've learned.

edit: vagrant ninja beat me to it by 10 minutes

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Well I'm gonna get to work on some stuff. Thanks for the advice.

I'll start grabbing some different styles of music more often, and play with some songs and such more often. Now that I think about it though, in high school, like my boring history and english classes. I would either sleep, or zone out and make silly rhythms in my head of sounds and movements from around the room. Like the clock ticking, people tapping their fingers, papers shuffling.

Off to do some work though. thanks ^^

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I like House and Dance a lot. I was going to start doing what you said, when I get some time. Figuring out how songs work and such. Experimenting etc. Was going to start with some of Morgan pages laid back songs.

I tell everyone this, but you learn a ton by trying to recreate songs. It's not even that important to make things sound exactly the same (although that helps hone production skill), but as you try it, you'll notice that this instrument fills this frequency range, this other instrument adds percussiveness, etc. And heck, since you're a deadmau5 fan, you've got the perfect opportunity to see how he makes songs since he's got a demo in FL! :razz: I'd strongly recommend opening that track up, soloing every track to hear what it sounds like on its own, and try to trace the path of the sound's creation in whatever plug-in was used. Mess with the parameters on the plug-ins to see how the sound changes. Turn off the effects one at a time to see how that changes things. I've learned some pretty neat tricks from the FL demo songs, it's great way to see how songs are put together.

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I tell everyone this, but you learn a ton by trying to recreate songs. It's not even that important to make things sound exactly the same (although that helps hone production skill), but as you try it, you'll notice that this instrument fills this frequency range, this other instrument adds percussiveness, etc. And heck, since you're a deadmau5 fan, you've got the perfect opportunity to see how he makes songs since he's got a demo in FL! :razz: I'd strongly recommend opening that track up, soloing every track to hear what it sounds like on its own, and try to trace the path of the sound's creation in whatever plug-in was used. Mess with the parameters on the plug-ins to see how the sound changes. Turn off the effects one at a time to see how that changes things. I've learned some pretty neat tricks from the FL demo songs, it's great way to see how songs are put together.

I will def, look into this. Never knew he had a demo out. Hah, thanks for the advice and the tip on that demo ^^

If you're that into electronica check out Groove Armada (if you haven't already). They do many kinds of electronic styles and always come out with unique sounding pieces. They are great for pulling ideas from. One song I recommend:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqHdm0TIbvo

This is awesome as well! Thank you. Most of my time won't be spent watching NCIS anymore haha. Appreciated guys, [:

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As someone who started compo at the same time as you, I have a few things to recommend...

First, I think compo is a good idea, it forces you to come up with ideas. The fact that you cannot create what you hear in your head shouldn't deter you, since that takes practice. Not time, it takes practice.

So do it often and try to ignore the fact that it's not what you had in your head when you sat down.

Vinnie and Rozovian and The Vagrance touched on it - listen to music. Lots of it. Try to re-create what you hear. I think that even doing this in the small will work really well - that is, take one small, tiny element of a song and recreate that only. Whether it be a hi-hat shuffle, a catchy bass line, a soulful melody. Create just that and get used to how the creation of that works. It's much less discouraging to recreate one or two instrument parts than it is to try to recreate the entirety of a deadmau5 song.

As for structure, it helps to map things out into different structures. Many modern songs have the following structure:

Intro, Verse, Chorus, Verse, (Chorus), Bridge, (Chorus), Outro

or some variation of. If you follow this kind of structure, you'll pretty much have a decent song layout. This is a great thing to fall back to if you just want to finish something that sounds pretty traditional.

Try to listen in the songs you like how these parts build up. Do they use the verse-chorus-bridge? Do they use A B A? Do they just take a single theme and develop around it? Do they repeat the same 8-bar melody for pretty much the entire song and build on it?

hmmm I don't know what else to say. Mostly, I think you should try to suspend disbelief and disappointment in being unable to create what you hear in your head in its entirety, and instead concentrate on really small elements instead. And from there, work up.

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Try to make a track for fun, doesn't matter if it sounds silly, doesn't have any proper structure to it nor accurate techniques/theory. This works for me at least. In the past I tried to do proper tracks that would sound at least decent, or just passably listenable and I always ended up frustrated. After you complete that silly track you can decide where to go from then. For example, tweaking the track or something :razz:

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As someone who started compo at the same time as you, I have a few things to recommend...

First, I think compo is a good idea, it forces you to come up with ideas. The fact that you cannot create what you hear in your head shouldn't deter you, since that takes practice. Not time, it takes practice.

So do it often and try to ignore the fact that it's not what you had in your head when you sat down.

Vinnie and Rozovian and The Vagrance touched on it - listen to music. Lots of it. Try to re-create what you hear. I think that even doing this in the small will work really well - that is, take one small, tiny element of a song and recreate that only. Whether it be a hi-hat shuffle, a catchy bass line, a soulful melody. Create just that and get used to how the creation of that works. It's much less discouraging to recreate one or two instrument parts than it is to try to recreate the entirety of a deadmau5 song.

As for structure, it helps to map things out into different structures. Many modern songs have the following structure:

Intro, Verse, Chorus, Verse, (Chorus), Bridge, (Chorus), Outro

or some variation of. If you follow this kind of structure, you'll pretty much have a decent song layout. This is a great thing to fall back to if you just want to finish something that sounds pretty traditional.

Try to listen in the songs you like how these parts build up. Do they use the verse-chorus-bridge? Do they use A B A? Do they just take a single theme and develop around it? Do they repeat the same 8-bar melody for pretty much the entire song and build on it?

hmmm I don't know what else to say. Mostly, I think you should try to suspend disbelief and disappointment in being unable to create what you hear in your head in its entirety, and instead concentrate on really small elements instead. And from there, work up.

Well. I know WHAT makes up structure, its just applying it. Which is something I wanted to learn before I came back, but obviously as you can tell, school wasn't the only thing that got into my way.

I'm gonna work a little bit experiment, and then come back to compos after school is out.

And I'd have these idease in my head, but thats the problem they had no structure. Thats what I'm working towards. To get a little bit of a "Oh yeah, this is how I put this together and make it work" Because I mean, making a song out of thin air is fun for OHCs. But I atleast want a bit of something to work off of, you know?

Its like riding a bike with one training wheel. You know somethings missing, and its pretty difficult just to ride with one training wheel and learn to ride a bike. I needed to find that other training wheel so I could figure out some of the simple things.

I kinda just wanted to learn outside of the OHC. since I only did music on OHC. I wasn't learning anything, just wasnt working for me. I sat down every thursday and wrote stuff that popped into my head.

When I took a listen to all my old tracks, I decided I want to leave ohc and go work on some things, structure mainly. Just to get a grasp. [: Thats what I'm doing. I mean last night I transcribed a part to Morgan Page - Call My Name. after the first couple of chords came in, the drum and bass came in. I sat there for a few minutes trying to figure how how Page got that to fit in, I figured it out, but I don't have a sample to fit it :P

I'll come back to OHC, but after I pick up on some of the things I think I should.

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I kinda just wanted to learn outside of the OHC. since I only did music on OHC. I wasn't learning anything, just wasnt working for me. I sat down every thursday and wrote stuff that popped into my head.

I think that's up to you though - are you motivated enough to do OHC, but also to do music outside of that time slot as well?

If you can afford only one hour a week to do music, OHC probably isn't the best way to learn, but if you can devote three hours, no matter what you do, it will be better than doing only one.

Well. I know WHAT makes up structure, its just applying it.

If you know what makes up structure... then really it's just a matter of laying down those Fruity Loops :) Good luck. If you want any specific advice feel free to talk to me.

Oh yeah, and watch tutorial videos online for your program of choice. There's thousands of FL Studio tutorials out there. Many of them are bad, but some of them are good and you might learn something. Also watch things like screencasts made by talented people and you'll see how their songs are put together.

Edit: Actually I just sat down and watched the entirety of Rayza's screencast. If you want to do the House/electronic stuff, WATCH IT because there's so much good stuff in it that you'll learn from.

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If you know what makes up structure... then really it's just a matter of laying down those Fruity Loops :) Good luck. If you want any specific advice feel free to talk to me.

Oh yeah, and watch tutorial videos online for your program of choice. There's thousands of FL Studio tutorials out there. Many of them are bad, but some of them are good and you might learn something. Also watch things like screencasts made by talented people and you'll see how their songs are put together.

Edit: Actually I just sat down and watched the entirety of Rayza's screencast. If you want to do the House/electronic stuff, WATCH IT because there's so much good stuff in it that you'll learn from.

I will be sure to watch that, thanks ^^. Well, I guess part of it is laying it down in FL. I know how FL works pretty well. Its just applying it. Like I work better seeing how shit it done. If you tell me to go do this and that. Yeah I will probably get confused. It helps seeing it done, or what some people have said in this thread. They're straight forward about what I should do, and can do.

Over the last 2 semesters of schooling. I don't see my self fixing computer networks for the rest of my life. I just wouldn't be happy. I like music a lot. But hey, I'm already pretty good with computers, compared to music ;P.

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