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PixelPanic

How do YOU guys get your source material?

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I've been wondering this for a while, in regards to remixes of more obscure songs. I usually look for sheet music, or, god help me, a tab, and recently I have taken up converting midi's, but that has it's flaws. So I wanted to know (I felt this could be more of a conversation topic than a 'help me' topic), how do YOU guys find YOUR music?

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I look up a video of the source track on YouTube and play it by ear. Then, I make my remix. After learning the source by ear.

Screw tabs. Haven't used those in years.

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I listen to the music while I play the game, then wait twelve or so years until it randomly pops into my head and I go 'oh man, that was a sweet tune.'

But usually, I doodle on my keyboard until I get a cool idea that reminds me of something, and then I go from there. When I do chiptune stuff I usually make it up as I go, since I don't really work on the keyboard as much.

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Most of the time i start by paying homage to the source. I do that by playing as much as I am able to across a couple of instruments.

Then i try to think of a concept that's related to the game or to the source tune and go from there.

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I'll usually import a midi just cause it's the fastest and easiest way for me to figure out the key sig and just the overall structure of the song. Or listen to a youtube video for reference. But then I'll go through and tweak from there, and usually end up rewriting all the midi parts. It's just a good way for me to get started though. Sometimes I'll play around on my keyboard too, especially when I'm figuring out original parts that I want to add.

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MIDI's a crutch. I only use it to transcribe solo's when I'm too lazy.

But I don't really remix lazily unless it's for a competition. So yeah, only every half year in the Mega Man compo's do I do it.

The rest of the time? All ears. Been doing it for years, I didn't even know you could read MIDI's until a couple years after I started.

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50% of the time it's off the top of my head, 40% of the time, I load an mp3 into the project file and do it by ear, and 10% of the time I use a MIDI. For some people, I know they do their best work with MIDIs, but for whatever reason, things turn out the best for me when I just kinda wing it based upon how I remember the source sounding.

In case anyone's been keeping track of my Wily Remix Thing music, I did Electric Sleep and Groove, Swing, March off the top of my head, and I used a MIDI for Current Events which, ironically, was by far the simplest of the 3 Wily sources.

And to whoever says MIDI is a crutch: it is only if you let it be one. I know for a fact that a few prominent remixers here use MIDIs in just about every remix they have done, yet they don't struggle to write interesting, musically complex originals. So what's so crutch-y about it if it saves time and doesn't hold back your musical development?

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Some of the games I play are less well-known to gamers (Atlus niche games, old 16bit games), and I am always on the lookout (or... hear-out?) for new, good tunes.

Matt Furniss, Jeroen Tul, Hulsbeck, Hubbard, Follin, anything by the old PC masters is fair game. And worthy of recognition and remix.

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Some of us just don't have it to learn it by ear. It's not a shame. I use a MIDI every time I try a remix.

Yeah I usually just use a MIDI cause I too impatient to figure it all out and write by hand. I can and I have written all my hand, it just takes way longer for me. I end up re-writing everything anyway, but having the MIDI there to start just helps.

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My ears are terrible at picking up notes. Thus, I use midis.

I find a midi of the song and put it in Finale so I can read the notes, then I usually transcribe by mouse into whatever my DAW is.

No midi?... well then I just cry and ignore it :/

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Never use midi's. Ever. I transcribe everything by ear.

I do this too. For me, it makes interpretation a little easier, cause I inevitably get the rhythm/note wrong in certain spots, and it sounds better than the original. :)

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I'm pretty good at figuring it out by ear so usually do that. People who say, "I can't do it" just aren't trying hard enough.

I didn't even know wtf a MIDI file was till just last year believe it or not. I was learning to play a street fighter song by ear and I couldn't figure out a specific part. This guy was like, "Is there a MIDI for this song?"

So then I learned that MIDI isn't just a kind of keyboard that controls computers and that I could actually plug said keyboard into things like FL Studio and that the notes I could draw in with a mouse also counted as midi.

Damn teenagers and their technology.

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I haven't figured out what exactly to do in terms of making something worthy of submitting to OC Remix, but when it came to me really wanting to mix something I like (Fight With Monsters, SMRPG), I resorted to ripping samples from the spc file. :whatevaa:

Even though I think it turned out good, I know I have to do allot better (as in using original arrangements/instrumentation instead of running "spc channel 2" through the O-Zone mastering plug-in) to manage to "go pro" along with the other OC remixers.

Fortunately for me, my other remixes were made with the source files of the original song (the Nine Inch Nails free multi-track releases, a song my friend made, even Beatmania key sounds).

When I actually give it a go, I will definitely do it by ear.

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if you sequence it yourself you're likely to understand it better. apart from the theory part, starting with a midi just isn't the best way to build up a personal connection to the track you're making.

if it doesn't matter to you it doesn't matter.

personally, i hate opening something that is seemingly finished and reworking it in some kind of way.

i sometimes like to look at midis, i also like to cut out bits and fool around with them a bit.

what it comes down to: i enjoy making music more when i really get the different parts, how they're constructed, how they work off each other.

you can do that with a midi. thing is you probably won't. midis are a convenience in this context, and as such they are mostly going to be used.

if you're dedicated about it, i really recommend mixing by ear because in the end, there are LESS things you can do wrong. as far as didactics go.

i mean, apart from all the happy accidents and musical tangents created 'by mistake', you're only training your relative pitch, pattern and rhythm recognition. that sucks right?

painting is about really seeing, music is about really listening, blahdiblah.

true cliche is true.

that said, midis are fun and educational too. use both.

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MIDI as a timesaver (that unfortunately comes back to bite me in the ass sometimes) for covers; otherwise ear (also used to thoroughly check and usually correct said MIDIs anyway).

Nothing wrong with MIDIs, but "personal development" aside I honestly think it's plain more fun to figure stuff out alone a lot of the time. Not super motivated to be the billionth person to figure f.e. the MM2 Wily 1 lead out though.

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I use a midi for most of my remixes. it saves me a metric shit-ton of time and is a good part of the reason why I am able to finish a track in a single day or less. the parts still end up sounding the way I want them. melodies are one thing, but I don't have the time to sit around trying to figure out chords. which I really, really just suck at doing.

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