Jump to content

I have devised an algorithm to make music to an arbitrary quality.


Recommended Posts

Some people are geniuses and can just kind of do whatever comes to them first and they come up with good music. But for the rest of us, we need to study and learn tricks and practice to do anything worthwhile. I have come up with an algorithm, that anybody can use, to make awesome music. Really, you get to set how awesome the music will be, and then you will make it that good. The catch is that it might take a lot of time. But what it does do is prevent you from feeling stuck, like you can't go on.

Okay, here is the algorithm.

Given Q, which is the Quality of your song, a.k.a. how awesome it should be:

Step 1. Spend an hour or two and just wing it. Do random things, try effects or instruments you've never used before, go with the flow. Maybe start with a theme and work from there. The best way to do this is to Just Do It. One Hour Compos and SolidComposer Arena are good for getting you off your butt and getting Step 1 done.

Step 1 only has to be done once.

Step 2. Take a break.

Step 3. Think about your song. What's the thing you like least about it? Delete it immediately. If you use something like SolidComposer, you'll have version control so you don't have to get it back later if you're worried about losing it forever. Alternately you can just save it as a new file and then delete it.

Step 4. Add a new section. This is very similar to step 1, except you only have to add a couple measures, or a break, or a chorus, not an entire song. Just do something that is additive in nature.

Step 5. Is your song at least as good as Q? Is it as awesome as you wanted it to be originally? Don't go easy on yourself. Don't settle. Really think if you've met the bar. If not, go to step 2.

If you make it out of the steps without cheating, you have successfully created a song to an arbitrary quality metric. You are a winner!

tl;dr

while (song is not awesome) {

take a break;

delete the worst part of song;

add a new part to song;

}

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gonna try this refining technique, well I usually do delete/change the parts I don't like anyway, but no mercy this time!

I'm interested to hear your results!

When you're done I'd like to know:

1. How do you rate your song compared to your goal before you began?

2. How much time did you spend?

3. Did you ever feel "stuck?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, music is all mind and soul, so record what your mind and soul demand. (from an music teacher and agreed)

Step 4: Don't finish it, stumble upon it a year later and tell yourself you can totally do better

this rule will ensure your music is never heard or realesed lol you would have to finish it, but yes you improve over time and time and can do better orver time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Step 1. Spend an hour or two and just wing it. Do random things, try effects or instruments you've never used before, go with the flow. Maybe start with a theme and work from there. The best way to do this is to Just Do It. One Hour Compos and SolidComposer Arena are good for getting you off your butt and getting Step 1 done.

Step 1 only has to be done once.

Step 2. Take a break.

no!

keep doing compos, and don't take breaks! If you keep participating in competitions, ask for feedback as to why you placed where you did, and if you apply the knowledge you gain to every song you make, you are consistently getting better! Some of the best music I ever wrote was stuff I made in one hour compos, and sometimes I expanded/fixed compotunes and they end up on my albums :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

no!

keep doing compos, and don't take breaks! If you keep participating in competitions, ask for feedback as to why you placed where you did, and if you apply the knowledge you gain to every song you make, you are consistently getting better! Some of the best music I ever wrote was stuff I made in one hour compos, and sometimes I expanded/fixed compotunes and they end up on my albums :)

A creative mind flourishes when it is rested and playful--never take a break if you're "in-the-zone" but do go out and take a break if you're creatively constipated (not too long, just go take a walk, work out, get out of the house, don't watch passive entertainment, just do something different than what you usually do).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the best things is not to judge heavily what you make. It's really hard to do but that's why compos actually help. They force you to finish something, rather than keep thinking about how much it's not good and how you don't think you can make it better.

I find that most of the frustration in making music doesn't come from the fact that you don't know it sucks... most of it comes because I don't know how to make the crappy parts not suck :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a different plan... it is time-consuming but has guaranteed benefit of some sort.

1. Learn how to work your DAWs. Make bad music that you think is actually not that bad but you realize it is after comparing it to accepted ReMixes.

2. (reserved for period of remorse/grief/self-pity)

3. Learn the science behind the music you want to make. There's books and tutorials on synthesis, theory, etc. Also, listen to songs you really like and try to copy them exactly in your programs. Doesn't have to be the whole song, obviously.. sections maybe.

4a. Emerge less stupid. Make some originals. Get praise. Make remixes. Build confidence. Superstar.

4b. Emerge less stupid, but your mixes still aren't too great. Now you realize you lack the talent needed, but on the flipside you can at least make decent music in a formulaic manner. Move on to another passion, keep music as a hobby.

I'm on step 3 of this plan. I asked a lot of people about the natural talent needed to make great music and came to my own conclusion that it is important. Learned skills can't take you all the way, it seems. That's why I keep video as a side hobby so I have something to fall back on that I have gotten praise for in the past.

Did any of this make sense...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the best things is not to judge heavily what you make. It's really hard to do but that's why compos actually help. They force you to finish something, rather than keep thinking about how much it's not good and how you don't think you can make it better.

I find that most of the frustration in making music doesn't come from the fact that you don't know it sucks... most of it comes because I don't know how to make the crappy parts not suck :)

According to the Superjoe Method, the way to make the crappy parts not suck is... delete them! Then add a new part. Then take a break. Then delete the crappiest part. Then add a new part. Then take a break. Repeat!

I have a different plan... it is time-consuming but has guaranteed benefit of some sort.

1. Learn how to work your DAWs. Make bad music that you think is actually not that bad but you realize it is after comparing it to accepted ReMixes.

2. (reserved for period of remorse/grief/self-pity)

3. Learn the science behind the music you want to make. There's books and tutorials on synthesis, theory, etc. Also, listen to songs you really like and try to copy them exactly in your programs. Doesn't have to be the whole song, obviously.. sections maybe.

4a. Emerge less stupid. Make some originals. Get praise. Make remixes. Build confidence. Superstar.

4b. Emerge less stupid, but your mixes still aren't too great. Now you realize you lack the talent needed, but on the flipside you can at least make decent music in a formulaic manner. Move on to another passion, keep music as a hobby.

I'm on step 3 of this plan. I asked a lot of people about the natural talent needed to make great music and came to my own conclusion that it is important. Learned skills can't take you all the way, it seems. That's why I keep video as a side hobby so I have something to fall back on that I have gotten praise for in the past.

Did any of this make sense...

I think we can merge our methods. #1 in yours can be done at the same time as #1 in mine. #2 and #3 can be mapped to Take a Break in mine. #4a maps to the entire Superjoe Method, and #4b is giving up in the Superjoe Method.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to the Superjoe Method, the way to make the crappy parts not suck is... delete them! Then add a new part. Then take a break. Then delete the crappiest part. Then add a new part. Then take a break. Repeat!

I think we can merge our methods. #1 in yours can be done at the same time as #1 in mine. #2 and #3 can be mapped to Take a Break in mine. #4a maps to the entire Superjoe Method, and #4b is giving up in the Superjoe Method.

Sounds about right. I'm languishing in Modus's #3 right now, but I haven't reached my first plateau yet, which I would define as Modus's #4. Hopefully that's waaaaay the hell down the road, but being that everyone in my family is a musical gimp except for me, I have a feeling I'm not going to get much further. I'm at least to the point where I can impress my friends... cool, I guess?

Mkay, bye. Time to bury myself in this book chapter about limiters. Fuck yeah????

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Make an original song that sounds like crap.

Get drunk.

Look for VGM to mix into the original crappy song.

Combine them and post it in the WIP section.

Get feedback, then redo the song while sober.

Submit it and get it posted!

Maybe that only works for a fool like me...

But, you'll be surprised how creative you really are when you mind is in a slightly dazed state.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mkay, bye. Time to bury myself in this book chapter about limiters. Fuck yeah????

Absolutely! Hone in those production skills!

My algorithm:

Step 1: Realize approaching music systematically will never get you anywhere.

Step 2: Blow brain open to let creativity flow.

Step 3: Make cool stuff.

:twisted::twisted:

I understand why you would say this. Art is more of a left-brain activity where you just kind of try this and that. However, at the same time, it is a science. It's the science of using music to get people to react subconsciously to what they hear. You can't deny that while it may seem like it at times, not all art and music is a magical black box that we can't understand through science and study!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My algorithm:

Step 1: Realize approaching music systematically will never get you anywhere.

Step 2: Blow brain open to let creativity flow.

Step 3: Make cool stuff.

:twisted::twisted:

This totally works...

... once you've honed your chops to the point where it isn't hard to translate what's in your mind to the sequencer/staff paper/keyboard/whatever.

A lot of us aren't there yet. I'm at the point where I can hear a melody or chord progression and play it and improvise over it literally for hours on the piano. This took me quite a while to develop, and I can apply those 3 steps to it NOW, but a year or more ago, it was more like superjoe's method. Not surprisingly being that this particular skill is confined to playing a piano, this barely helps at all when arranging or remixing or using a DAW or understanding how in the living fuck all you ReMixers managed to create such awesome synths and soundscapes... and so forth. So I'm back to square one in a sense with music, yet again. Honestly, I'm finding this DAW and arranging business WAY harder to do than learn an instrument and the fundamentals of music.

Anyone else sort of share my experience?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But, you'll be surprised how creative you really are when you mind is in a slightly dazed state.

This I agree with, but I don't use alcohol. Maybe a little of that plant stuff... condemn me if you wish, but I swear it awakens some sort of oasis of creativity that is otherwise latent.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

polishing/endlessly rewriting stuff is just hella boring and more often than not makes me feel sick of the track.

if i'm doing something just for my own enjoyment, i usually prefer to start a new tune instead.

what can i say, i believe in edutainment. i feel like i learn more when i'm not obsessing over some project until it's perfect.

i've also listened to older stuff that kinda grew on me because of its roughness.

i think one of the most prevalent problems of amateur artists is that they're so set on achieving their predetermined goals that they will not recognise how powerful those happy accidents can be.

learning to turn weird musical flubs into something that makes a tune memorable (and possibly evolves into a stylistic element of the artist) is just as important as any analytical ability imo. possibly more important.

it's the same in any field really. just like the holy grail of figurative drawing...as the typical teenager, you either draw something that you deem realistic, or your drawing sucks plain and simple.

it's not hard to see that this leaves less room for experimentation.

of course the craft aspect of art is important, but i dunno...i see it getting enough love. we live in a decidedly left-brained society. (the left hemisphere is the sequential one fyi ;))

keep refining your procedure, if it feels right it probably is for you.

for me it is not and never was.

that doesn't mean i never made or make shitty music, because i definitely have :y i just decided to accept and leave it. good stuff comes around eventually.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i think one of the most prevalent problems of amateur artists is that they're so set on achieving their predetermined goals that they will not recognise how powerful those happy accidents can be.

learning to turn weird musical flubs into something that makes a tune memorable (and possibly evolves into a stylistic element of the artist) is just as important as any analytical ability imo. possibly more important.

That makes sense. I think I take that into account though. When I say, "add a new section," this is the part where you open up your mind and let the creativity flow. Do something crazy, allow musical accidents to flourish.

I think one of the killers of great music is when the artist settles with something amateur. So the process is about not settling with something that is just O.K. (delete the worst part) as well as generating these cool musical accidents and experiments, AND having the self-discipline to stick with a project until it is truly professional.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think one of the killers of great music is when the artist settles with something amateur. So the process is about not settling with something that is just O.K. (delete the worst part) as well as generating these cool musical accidents and experiments, AND having the self-discipline to stick with a project until it is truly professional.

the thing is, musical parts are very codependent. the part you perceive as the worst one has a chance to become great once you mess around with the other parts or add new ones that build around it.

if you're talking about a whole section of a song that doesn't really work out, then i agree; sometimes it's better to start fresh than endlessly fixing something that wasn't very good to begin with.

once the parts are getting smaller though, i'm having more trouble simply declaring stuff as bad. if i kept the part in the project file, it usually had some aspect i liked about it to begin with, and the question really is: will i be able to fit it into the track? or will i be able to build the track around it?

personally, i get a lot of fun and reward out of making unlikely connections between stuff that doesn't seem like much of a match initially.

so yeah, i do think that 'delete worst part' kind of oversimplifies things when you put it in a musical context. for me, it's more like 'shape your pool of existing parts into something that sounds cool and deliberate'.

dunno, maybe you'll find that distinction less important than i do.

basically, my opinion on any kind of system is that it means compromise. that's ok, because utter freedom is confusing.

in this case, your goal is to maintain a steady output of solid quality, but you will probably sacrifice some opportunities to do something really crazy you didn't know you could do.

your brain will inevitably grow attached to the system and declare it as its zone of comfort.

but you know, that'll always be better than just randomly dicking around without any results. that can always happen if you're giving yourself more freedom than you can handle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can't really think of music like a SYSTEM because there aren't really any rules. :???:

I disagree with this. Here's a simple example. As a general rule, if you stay in key, your song sounds better. Of course, you can break the rule sometimes, but it sure helps to know about it in the first place.

the thing is, musical parts are very codependent. the part you perceive as the worst one has a chance to become great once you mess around with the other parts or add new ones that build around it.

if you're talking about a whole section of a song that doesn't really work out, then i agree; sometimes it's better to start fresh than endlessly fixing something that wasn't very good to begin with.

once the parts are getting smaller though, i'm having more trouble simply declaring stuff as bad. if i kept the part in the project file, it usually had some aspect i liked about it to begin with, and the question really is: will i be able to fit it into the track? or will i be able to build the track around it?

personally, i get a lot of fun and reward out of making unlikely connections between stuff that doesn't seem like much of a match initially.

so yeah, i do think that 'delete worst part' kind of oversimplifies things when you put it in a musical context. for me, it's more like 'shape your pool of existing parts into something that sounds cool and deliberate'.

dunno, maybe you'll find that distinction less important than i do.

basically, my opinion on any kind of system is that it means compromise. that's ok, because utter freedom is confusing.

in this case, your goal is to maintain a steady output of solid quality, but you will probably sacrifice some opportunities to do something really crazy you didn't know you could do.

your brain will inevitably grow attached to the system and declare it as its zone of comfort.

but you know, that'll always be better than just randomly dicking around without any results. that can always happen if you're giving yourself more freedom than you can handle.

I think you have some really good points here. I think you've hit it right on the nose when you mention more freedom than you can handle. To further illustrate your own point (and for anyone else reading) try this: close your eyes and try to list every English word that you know.

You probably know about 20,000 words, but you probably can list maybe 50? Now think about song lyrics that you remember, or a nursery rhyme, or a recent phone conversation with your friend. All the sudden you're using words that you couldn't think of a moment ago.

I think what I'm getting at is that, as an amateur, or even as a professional who is trying to be forcibly creative, we need techniques to get by the shear vastness of possibilities to actually get something going.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...