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ReMix Songs without MIDI


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Just out of curiosity, if there was a new game that came out with an awesome track that you just HAVE to remix right away.. Without the MIDI to help you find what all the notes are, what are your guys' general process to starting a remix? and how do you find what notes to use? (or are you all THAT musically gifted to do it by ear? cause that would be amazing)

I mean, logically, it would be to recreate the song in piano or something and work from there, but last I tried doing that, recreating the song alone took forever! Just wondering what the pros do! Thanks.

Edit: Wow thread title was supposed to be ReMix Songs WITHOUT MIDI... Fail.

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Transcribing by ear isn't such a superhuman feat you're making it sound like. Like everything else it takes practice, but not as much practice for becoming a good composer or producer or whatever. For remixing purposes you might not even need to get the whole song, just the essentials and you can substitute the rest with your own stuff.

If you're having trouble picking out chords, try to imagine them as arpeggios first.

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Harmonies are really hard for me but I don't even really try to transcribe melodies, I'll frequently be playing around on my keyboard and suddenly be playing something familiar without realizing it, I don't think it's that difficult

For things that do take more work I'll usually just load the song in question into FL and try to play alongside it with a sine wave, it's pretty easy to tell when you have the right notes that way

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Gecko's right, ear training can do wonders.

Before I could hear and identify pitch pretty well, it was literally a trial and error method. I'd sit at the piano and literally start at C and play it, go "nope, that's not it", then move to the next note until I finally had it figured out. Took FOREVER.

After a while though, with training, you start being able to say "Oh, yeah, that sounds like C minor" or something like that and it gets exponentially easier. It's like training your eyes to see colors, you look at red and it doesn't take long for your brain to say "Hey, that's red."

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Learning some very basic theory also helps in transcription. When you can listen to a song and understand it's in a major key, that immediately narrows note choices down, and harmony is easier to figure out because harmony is generally written diatonically. When you understand what intervals are and are able to identify them, it's easier to figure out a melody. You can go note by note pretty efficiently when you know your intervals.

Same with rhythms; if you know about time signatures and understand how meter can be broken up and organized, it becomes easier to figure out syncopated lines.

Unless you're absolutely tone-deaf, transcription by ear is a skill you can easily hone with practice and honestly, it's less about super-mega-talent and more about having the tools to be more efficient with your "guesses."

I do everything by ear.

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I would agree: transcribing by ear takes a lot of time and patience, but it's a skill that any good composer should develop. Doing some simple songs (with a lot of step-wise motion and straight-forward rhythms) first might help you feel more confident before taking on more complicated pieces.

I always start off by transcribing the melody, and then the bassline, as those are the essence of most music melodically and harmonically. Then I try to fill it in, and there is some guess work involved at times.

But even so, if you've got the melody and bassline, you've usually got something solid to work off of.

If you're REALLY having trouble with a part, you can always ask someone else on OCR to help you out by providing what you have and pointing out what you can't just "hear". I'd be willing to help out if you need it, and I'm sure many others would too.

My advice to you would be: don't rely on MIDIs or other people's transcriptions all the time. Try transcribing music, even if you take the "is this it? nope" approach that Darangen started with. It'll make a HUGE different in your compositions, because you'll become unconsciously more familiar with theory along the way. (I say unconsciously because you might not know WHY something works, but you'll just know that it does because you've heard it so many times).

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Even for games in which MIDIs are really hard to find, I'd have a go at transcribing some key parts to use later, or to just learn to play it on the piano based on what I can hear and what techniques I am most comfortable with. Developing an ear for just writing music takes years to learn, and over time you will be able to identify notation in these songs that you might not have noticed without this training.

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Recently, I was watching an episode of Family Guy where Peter is a great piano player when he's wasted.

And there's this moment where Stewie is like, "now play the sad walking away theme from The Hulk," and Peter plays this melancholy little piano thing, simple, but pretty.

They used that gag for the ending credits of that episode as well, and when it finished, I went over to my keyboard, and hit a note, then another, and found the starting note, and then played the rest of the theme with only one mistake.

I was pretty satisfied, even though it was simple, that I could just sit down and figure it out pretty quick.

Ear training, it's awesomeness sneaks up on you.

Kind of like working out, all of a sudden you can run the whole distance and you don't even break a sweat, and you're like, whoa, I didn't know I could do that.

You couldn't suddenly do that, it's just something you didn't notice before, but you worked up to it without even realizing it.

Eat your damned vegetables, they're good for you--lots of vitamins and iron and stuff.

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With everyone else talking about ear training and that, lemme talk arrangement. Failing to transcribe everything correctly, or leaving stuff out can lead to more interesting remixes. Usually, listeners recognize the lead voice of a song before anything else, so the rest can be switched up. While it's nice to have everything in midi to pick and choose from, starting from just the melody and writing your own chords, your own rhythms, your own stuff to go with it typically leads to a more personalized remix. While ocr likes to have the source in there, nothing says you have to use the parts the same way as the original did. if allusions to the melody work better as a bassline while something along the lines of the source's bass might work better as a lead melody.

Transcribe what you can and what you need. For all the good practice is, practice just ain't fun when you just wanna work on a mix. While I'm not saying you shouldn't practice (yes, it's helped me too), just focus on getting the melodies and rhythms you need, and use those. Over time, this'll be easier because it _is_ practice.

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Failing to transcribe everything correctly, or leaving stuff out can lead to more interesting remixes.

I use this approach 99% of the time actually. I find it very effective at keeping the creativity flowing to allow a remix to retain it's originality while still letting itself be molded into your own emotions.

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Without a MIDI??

....I transcribe 99.99% of my music by ear. Either directly into a sequencer, to sheet music or on to an instrument.

:<:<

Learn to use your ear folks!

It comes in so much more handy than just being able to transcribe music. It helps oodles with mixing and production on audio/music.

But most importantly, how you arrange a song depends on the feeling/mood and style you are going for.

Always though, ALWAYS keep the melody relatively conservative (not always during a song, just long enough for people to recognize what the song is) IMHO.

Some amazing arrangements completely change everything but the melody and end up sounding totally unique.

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Not transcribing by ear and using a MIDI file will hinder your ability to properly interpret the note sequences.

It will force you to start with the original and then you'll have to change it from there.

Doing it by ear (especially after not having to listen to it for a long time) will make you transcribe it the way your brain wants you to. Changing the MIDI for interpretation is harder.

This is all my experience, anyway. :nicework:

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I used to put itunes on shuffle, sit at my keyboard and just attempt to play along constantly. When i had nothing to do i'd just do that and it really worked wonders. Mostly I would work out the chords but also you find that you kind of automatically get a feel for what the intervals of melodies are too.

It wasn't a huge effort to sit at my keyboard and play along, it was fun but i did it so much that it really really helped me out with ear training. So i'd say DO THAT!

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