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Darren Schwinghamer

wip Elektronovic - Techno

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I pretty much spent the day working on this original track. I think it falls under Drum n' Bass, but to be honest I'm not too familiar with that genre so I could be completely wrong. If anyone knows what genre it really is, please do tell.

Would love some feedback on this one! :)

img.php?fid=1240

Edit: it's techno apparently lol.

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Okay, thanks a lot :)

Also, what do you think about it, does anything stand out as needing to be fixed or changed?

Well, it's kind of repetitive, but that's techno:-D Personally I would change the arp (not because it's bad, just because it's repetitive) at 0:25 and add an extra melody.

PS: It's not Dn'B. (Dn'B has deeper, lower pitch bass and more spaztic breakbeat drums, and overall a darker atmosphere.)

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The vanilla triads throughout are.. vanilla. Maybe it was intentional, and it can certainly be good, but perhaps it would sound more interesting with some inversions or some more dissonant intervals thrown in the mix.

I like the breathy synth fairly close to the beginning, but the high end is a little piercing

The bit starting around 0:40 has a nice ethnic vibe whether you like it or not!! Good contrast between this and the intro.

The harmony around 0:55 is interesting and another good bit of contrast and surprise.

The filter enveloped bass is tiring and repetitive, but this is probably a function of its lack of effects processing to make it more interesting.

DnB typically has a much faster drum part, lots of 16th note hats with a powerful, syncopated snare that dominates the feel of the rhythm. I think that would work much better than the sort of plodding rock drum part you have here.

Around ~2:00 the rhythm of the kick works fine, but the frequency doesn't jive with me. It's a little heavy and I kind of found myself paying attention to that more than I probably should have. In fact, the only part of the ending I can remember well is the kick. Is that what you were going for?

Overall, the piece is very well arranged with instruments being introduced and dropped out and reintroduced quite well, and I like the chord progression (not so much the triad chords themselves), and it has its moments with very interesting harmonies.

Foremost, though, among all my critiques, is that you must process this with effects and EQing because it sounds like 80s techno, and this is 2011 :tomatoface: In the 80s, really would have sounded like it belonged as far as the mixing aspect goes, but you have the technology to make it better, stronger, and faster, so pop open that mixer, route your MIDI channels, and get processing with some reverb, delay, filters, chorus, phasers, and flangers.

And yes, erineclipse is right. This is a typical techno song. DnB is much darker and more driving. Techno is sort of quirky sounding with sorta dry, lightly processed instruments because it was so big in the late 70s and 80s when the technology to process heavily just wasn't around.

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Edit: Just tried a flanger effect on the bass-ish synth. Woah. Effects here I come (not going to go overboard though!)

Well, it's kind of repetitive, but that's techno:-D Personally I would change the arp (not because it's bad, just because it's repetitive) at 0:25 and add an extra melody.

PS: It's not Dn'B. (Dn'B has deeper, lower pitch bass and more spaztic breakbeat drums, and overall a darker atmosphere.)

I will work on the arp, perhaps I'll try to change it up a bit so it's not so repetitive. As for an extra melody, I was thinking of doing a variation on the melody that starts at the very beginning for the first seven seconds or so.

DnB Starts at 159-174 bpm this song i solid techno song.

Gotcha thanks.

The vanilla triads throughout are.. vanilla. Maybe it was intentional, and it can certainly be good, but perhaps it would sound more interesting with some inversions or some more dissonant intervals thrown in the mix.

I like the breathy synth fairly close to the beginning, but the high end is a little piercing

The bit starting around 0:40 has a nice ethnic vibe whether you like it or not!! Good contrast between this and the intro.

The harmony around 0:55 is interesting and another good bit of contrast and surprise.

The filter enveloped bass is tiring and repetitive, but this is probably a function of its lack of effects processing to make it more interesting.

DnB typically has a much faster drum part, lots of 16th note hats with a powerful, syncopated snare that dominates the feel of the rhythm. I think that would work much better than the sort of plodding rock drum part you have here.

Around ~2:00 the rhythm of the kick works fine, but the frequency doesn't jive with me. It's a little heavy and I kind of found myself paying attention to that more than I probably should have. In fact, the only part of the ending I can remember well is the kick. Is that what you were going for?

Overall, the piece is very well arranged with instruments being introduced and dropped out and reintroduced quite well, and I like the chord progression (not so much the triad chords themselves), and it has its moments with very interesting harmonies.

Foremost, though, among all my critiques, is that you must process this with effects and EQing because it sounds like 80s techno, and this is 2011 :tomatoface: In the 80s, really would have sounded like it belonged as far as the mixing aspect goes, but you have the technology to make it better, stronger, and faster, so pop open that mixer, route your MIDI channels, and get processing with some reverb, delay, filters, chorus, phasers, and flangers.

And yes, erineclipse is right. This is a typical techno song. DnB is much darker and more driving. Techno is sort of quirky sounding with sorta dry, lightly processed instruments because it was so big in the late 70s and 80s when the technology to process heavily just wasn't around.

First off, thanks for the detailed response :)

I will do my best to vary the triads as best I can without getting rid of the whole vibe thing this has going for it.

The piercing synth thing will definitely be addressed so that it doesn't distract from the enjoyment.

As for the filter-envelopped bass (erm what? o.0), I understand how it can be repetitive, obviously it's pretty catchy though lol. I was planning on adding a whole other section before closing it off, and I probably will, but it got really late (3 AM :tomatoface: ) and I wanted to upload it on here before hitting the sack, so the ending is pretty much out of nowhere and definitely needs to be worked on. That means the kick, the rhythm the whole thing...

For the effects and all that, I literally have never touched those before, and I don't even know if my Fruity edition of FL even has access to them :shock: Also I did not understand any of what you said about them except that I can make it better by using them XD

But thanks for the great response!

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Processing just means taking a "dry" MIDI signal, converting to digital audio data which is done automatically in the mixer (because MIDI data itself can't be processed, it's just a timestamped note-on, note-off matrix with velocities... but I digress!) and altering the waveform in some way before it is output to your speakers. The simpler version: processing is adding effects to vary the instrument in limitless ways. This is, to me, the most difficult part of mixing. Coming up with ideas isn't that hard, at least in my opinion, but getting the right sound is just about impossible and requires knowing the theory behind each effect AND a lot of experimentation with every knob to figure out what each does (the FL studio manual is excellent for this, as is a book I bought called "Dance Music Manual").

When you listen to electronic music, try to identify how the instruments have been processed. You'll notice delays, reverb, and chorusing in EVERY professional piece. Things like that are essential to the modern electronic music sound, along with additional proper mixing and mastering... both of which are still a little foreign to me.

And a filter enveloped bass... well, how to explain... Every sound is composed of a bunch of overlapping sine waves of different amplitudes and frequencies. All these waves interfere to create a unique waveform for every unique sound, but each waveform has a "fundamental" frequency that is the pitch at which we perceive it. So an A at 440Hz on a piano and a guitar have the same fundamental frequency of 440Hz, but different "harmonics" or "overtones" that the unique constructions of the instruments produce. The different harmonics distinguish the timbres of the two instruments while the same fundamental allows their pitches to be perceived as the same.

All that is going to be necessary to understand what a filter does. Basically, it allows some frequencies above (high pass) or below (low pass) a cut-off frequency you select through to the audio output. As you move the frequency cutoff, your removing harmonics while keeping the fundamental the same, so the timbre of the instrument changes but the pitch remains. The resonance (aka, Q) knob will emphasize (add "gain" to, or just make louder) the frequencies near the cutoff. Turn it up too high, and the high pitched overtones will be amped up so high, you can't hear the lower harmonics and you just get an annoying chirp... that can actually be used for interesting musical ideas. It's what I did in Press Start to GROOVE right before the second solo.

Filters are VERY VERY VERY commonly used in electronic music, especially low-pass filters, and should be your introduction to automation which also would serve your piece well:-D. A filter envelope is basically a timed "filter sweep" (which is a real-time movement of a filter cutoff -- that is, a real-time change of the instrument's timbre) that triggers every time you hit a note. If you don't know much about envelopes in general, that's another absolutely fundamental thing you have to learn about.

Isn't mixing fun :tomatoface:

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Processing just means taking a "dry" MIDI signal, converting to digital audio data which is done automatically in the mixer (because MIDI data itself can't be processed, it's just a timestamped note-on, note-off matrix with velocities... but I digress!) and altering the waveform in some way before it is output to your speakers. The simpler version: processing is adding effects to vary the instrument in limitless ways. This is, to me, the most difficult part of mixing. Coming up with ideas isn't that hard, at least in my opinion, but getting the right sound is just about impossible and requires knowing the theory behind each effect AND a lot of experimentation with every knob to figure out what each does (the FL studio manual is excellent for this, as is a book I bought called "Dance Music Manual").

When you listen to electronic music, try to identify how the instruments have been processed. You'll notice delays, reverb, and chorusing in EVERY professional piece. Things like that are essential to the modern electronic music sound, along with additional proper mixing and mastering... both of which are still a little foreign to me.

And a filter enveloped bass... well, how to explain... Every sound is composed of a bunch of overlapping sine waves of different amplitudes and frequencies. All these waves interfere to create a unique waveform for every unique sound, but each waveform has a "fundamental" frequency that is the pitch at which we perceive it. So an A at 440Hz on a piano and a guitar have the same fundamental frequency of 440Hz, but different "harmonics" or "overtones" that the unique constructions of the instruments produce. The different harmonics distinguish the timbres of the two instruments while the same fundamental allows their pitches to be perceived as the same.

All that is going to be necessary to understand what a filter does. Basically, it allows some frequencies above (high pass) or below (low pass) a cut-off frequency you select through to the audio output. As you move the frequency cutoff, your removing harmonics while keeping the fundamental the same, so the timbre of the instrument changes but the pitch remains. The resonance (aka, Q) knob will emphasize (add "gain" to, or just make louder) the frequencies near the cutoff. Turn it up too high, and the high pitched overtones will be amped up so high, you can't hear the lower harmonics and you just get an annoying chirp... that can actually be used for interesting musical ideas. It's what I did in Press Start to GROOVE right before the second solo.

Filters are VERY VERY VERY commonly used in electronic music, especially low-pass filters, and should be your introduction to automation which also would serve your piece well:-D. A filter envelope is basically a timed "filter sweep" (which is a real-time movement of a filter cutoff -- that is, a real-time change of the instrument's timbre) that triggers every time you hit a note. If you don't know much about envelopes in general, that's another absolutely fundamental thing you have to learn about.

Isn't mixing fun :tomatoface:

Thank you so much for this insightful information. Unfortunately, the fruity version does not support automation (this I know), so I'll have to find a way to get around that. But I really like how you're helping me understand the fundamentals of modern electronic music. It's completely different from the classical stuff I have to do for school! :P

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Automation becomes second nature once you learn how to streamline it into both your compositional ideas and into your FL workflow. It's such an important part of making modern electronic music that you'll really struggle to thrive without it. You'd just be limiting yourself creatively by putting off learning how to implement it well.

Hm, you don't have automation, you say? My opinion: get it, even though you may have to shell out a decent amount of cash for a better version of FL (or pirate it... your prerogative). It's worth its weight in gold. I'm not even sure a mix without automation (unless its purely acoustic audio clips or sampled acoustic, like orchestral, but even then, there is often volume fader automation for real-time dynamics changes) would ever pass the judge's forum. Hell, even ancient trackers used to make chiptunes have sort of a built in automation in the effects column. Even the lowest of fi-s seems to rely to some degree on automation.

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Automation becomes second nature once you learn how to streamline it into both your compositional ideas and into your FL workflow. It's such an important part of making modern electronic music that you'll really struggle to thrive without it. You'd just be limiting yourself creatively by putting off learning how to implement it well.

Hm, you don't have automation, you say? My opinion: get it, even though you may have to shell out a decent amount of cash for a better version of FL (or pirate it... your prerogative). It's worth its weight in gold. I'm not even sure a mix without automation (unless its purely acoustic audio clips or sampled acoustic, like orchestral, but even then, there is often volume fader automation for real-time dynamics changes) would ever pass the judge's forum. Hell, even ancient trackers used to make chiptunes have sort of a built in automation in the effects column. Even the lowest of fi-s seems to rely to some degree on automation.

It's not that I don't know how to do it, it's just an inane amount of scrolling.

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I'll have to look into it. See if I can dish out the extra 100$ for it. :/ Better start saving up lol. For now I'll have to live without it though.

And erineclipse, I don't know if I'll be able to show them, everything is hand-written on scores... Actually there is one score that's already in a PDF and it's my favourite... Short but sweet. I'll look into it. MAybe I can send by PM?

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I'll have to look into it. See if I can dish out the extra 100$ for it. :/ Better start saving up lol. For now I'll have to live without it though.

And erineclipse, I don't know if I'll be able to show them, everything is hand-written on scores... Actually there is one score that's already in a PDF and it's my favourite... Short but sweet. I'll look into it. MAybe I can send by PM?

sure but if you won't transpose it it's unlikely I will either :tomatoface:

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sure but if you won't transpose it it's unlikely I will either :tomatoface:

Rofl, good point. I'll get onto it now. Just listen to it musically speaking... Not from a production standpoint lol

Edit: Here it is. Realized I had "recorded" it in finale when I made it.

img.php?fid=1242

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It's not that I don't know how to do it, it's just an inane amount of scrolling.

Scrolling? You sure you're doing it right? The only way I can think there'd be a lot of scrolling is if you did it by using "Edit Events" rather than "Create Automation Clip" and you only had one pattern per song.

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scrolling.jpg

tryed to ignore the fact that my ears were bleeding from that reed thingy, but finally gave up on it. i thought music school was supposed to teach you how to compose good music...i might as well stick with my lack of theory for now...lol

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Interesting organization you've got there :/ Check out some of the included FL project files. They utilize the playlist and patterns very efficiently and effectively. Adopting their styles myself has DRAMATICALLY sped up my workflow and allowed me to customize my music FAR better than when I relied solely on the pattern block editor. A decent number of people work well with pattern blocks, but it seems like most ignore it or use it for drum loops only and instead use the clip editor for all their automation and arrangement.

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tryed to ignore the fact that my ears were bleeding from that reed thingy, but finally gave up on it. i thought music school was supposed to teach you how to compose good music...i might as well stick with my lack of theory for now...lol

like I said quality is crap, :/. I only just finished my first year of cegep (same as finishing grade 12 in the states). Also so far, we've only been taught how to compose in a baroque style (because it came before the rest of contemporary western music) and well to be honest I don't like much baroque (except Bach, he's a genius).

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Sorry for the double post, but here's my updated version of Elektronovic.

img.php?fid=1244

Still needs work, I find the drums feel weak now, so I have some balancing to do I think. I'm aware I haven't changed the arp, I'll get there eventually lol. Used multiple effects with the mixer (first time ever understanding it in the slightest) :tomatoface:

Would love some more thoughts on this! Responses motivate me to make it better and to not give up! So thank you :)

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it just sounds so fake in general. use some more convincing instruments. perhaps put reverb on whatever that lead instrument your using is, and the drums suck dank, add some variety, fills, etc.

plus if you are doing a 1-2 electro beat that bass kicks got to have some balls and the snare should have a harder snap to it.

just some suggestions.

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it just sounds so fake in general. use some more convincing instruments. perhaps put reverb on whatever that lead instrument your using is, and the drums suck dank, add some variety, fills, etc.

plus if you are doing a 1-2 electro beat that bass kicks got to have some balls and the snare should have a harder snap to it.

just some suggestions.

I completely agree with you about the drums, it's on my to do list, don't worry (or do worry, maybe I still won't get it right). I'll see what the reverb does to the lead, if it does in fact sound better, it'll probably be a keeper.

Now what do you mean by fake sounding? Low quality (as in the sounds of the synths)? Do you think it needs to be humanized a lot more? I'll play around with the synth I used for most of this to try and get the perfect sound which I hadn't done before, as I understand it more and more.

When you say harder snap to the snare, do you mean it needs a sharper attack? Higher overall velocity?

Thanks a lot for the feedback :)

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Interesting organization you've got there :/ Check out some of the included FL project files. They utilize the playlist and patterns very efficiently and effectively. Adopting their styles myself has DRAMATICALLY sped up my workflow and allowed me to customize my music FAR better than when I relied solely on the pattern block editor. A decent number of people work well with pattern blocks, but it seems like most ignore it or use it for drum loops only and instead use the clip editor for all their automation and arrangement.

yeah but the blocks on the automation clips are 4 times bigger so that's 4 times more scrolling. Also with the patterns you don't have to manually change it every time you want to place a different pattern. Also its a good way to organize effects vs. music.

Also, I think it's a good techno song, if that's what you want it to be. If you don't want it to be a techno song, then it's pretty bad then. Though, the melodies aren't the best, they dont really flow well with each other. Also, try something like __-__-"""-___ instead of _--_--""--_ where all the notes are the same length.

PS: Are there any music classes that would help with contemporary videogame music?

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yeah but the blocks on the automation clips are 4 times bigger so that's 4 times more scrolling. Also with the patterns you don't have to manually change it every time you want to place a different pattern. Also its a good way to organize effects vs. music.

Also, I think it's a good techno song, if that's what you want it to be. If you don't want it to be a techno song, then it's pretty bad then. Though, the melodies aren't the best, they dont really flow well with each other. Also, try something like __-__-"""-___ instead of _--_--""--_ where all the notes are the same length.

PS: Are there any music classes that would help with contemporary videogame music?

For the whole -_____- part (lol I love that face) I get what you mean and I'm going to try to vary it. You do mean in general right? Not just the melodies right?

Eesh, for contemporary video game music. I know that some universities are doing it.. straight from wikipedia:

Video game music education

Video game music has become part of the curriculum of traditional schools and universities.[16] Berklee College of Music, Yale University, New York University and the New England Conservatory all feature or are adding game music to their curricula. Game sound & music design has also been part of the curriculum since 2003 at the Utrecht School of the Arts (Faculty of Art, Media and Technology). Training seminars such as GameSoundCon also feature classes in how to compose video game music.[17]

Extracurricular organizations devoted to the performance of video game music are being established in tandem to these additions to the curriculum. The University of Maryland Gamer Symphony Orchestra performs self-arranged video game music and the Video Game Orchestra is a semiprofessional outgrowth of students from the Berklee College of Music and other Boston-area schools. The establishment of these groups is also occurring at the secondary level.[18]

The school I go to leads me straight into McGill University, I don't know if there are any videogame related classes though. I did tell my music literature (basically history of music) teacher about video game music and how it's important in today's society, so I convinced her (by making her listen to a live performance of One-Winged Angel) to give at least one class on it probably at the end of my fourth semester.

Correct me if I am wrong, video game music really depends on the game. Whatever vision the audio director has for the game's audio is what matters. If you can't work with that vision and make it come true, I don't think you have a job. That's why going through the basics of music composition is really advantageous when it comes to proper composition. You'll just have greater knowledge of what can be done and what has worked, that you hopefully won't run out of tricks to keep your music fresh.

Hopefully that all made sense lol.

P.S. It's techno :tomatoface:

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For the whole -_____- part (lol I love that face) I get what you mean and I'm going to try to vary it. You do mean in general right? Not just the melodies right?

Eesh, for contemporary video game music. I know that some universities are doing it.. straight from wikipedia:

Video game music education

Video game music has become part of the curriculum of traditional schools and universities.[16] Berklee College of Music, Yale University, New York University and the New England Conservatory all feature or are adding game music to their curricula. Game sound & music design has also been part of the curriculum since 2003 at the Utrecht School of the Arts (Faculty of Art, Media and Technology). Training seminars such as GameSoundCon also feature classes in how to compose video game music.[17]

Extracurricular organizations devoted to the performance of video game music are being established in tandem to these additions to the curriculum. The University of Maryland Gamer Symphony Orchestra performs self-arranged video game music and the Video Game Orchestra is a semiprofessional outgrowth of students from the Berklee College of Music and other Boston-area schools. The establishment of these groups is also occurring at the secondary level.[18]

The school I go to leads me straight into McGill University, I don't know if there are any videogame related classes though. I did tell my music literature (basically history of music) teacher about video game music and how it's important in today's society, so I convinced her (by making her listen to a live performance of One-Winged Angel) to give at least one class on it probably at the end of my fourth semester.

Correct me if I am wrong, video game music really depends on the game. Whatever vision the audio director has for the game's audio is what matters. If you can't work with that vision and make it come true, I don't think you have a job. That's why going through the basics of music composition is really advantageous when it comes to proper composition. You'll just have greater knowledge of what can be done and what has worked, that you hopefully won't run out of tricks to keep your music fresh.

Hopefully that all made sense lol.

P.S. It's techno :tomatoface:

Well yes, that's the thing, videogame music is really unique, so if you learn a class about baroque music it may not help you with certain games. also, the -__- thing...basically melodies with purely quarter notes get boring and don't really have any structure. you might want to add 3/8 notes and 1/8 notes to make it more interesting. variation is also good throughout the song, changing the drum beats and arps here and there too.

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