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Meteo Xavier

Book Recommendations for General Sample/MIDI Production?

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One of my New Year's resolutions this year is to stop working on projects and actually sit down and improve my production ability all the way around. I'm going to restructure everything and then sit down and learn how its done right. For this, I have the MIDI GUIDE TO ORCHESTRATION and the DANCE MUSIC MANUAL that intend to teach me the ins and outs of properly producing orchestral and electronica music.

What I'm asking here is, are there such books for very general applications to ALL genres? I want to be able to do reasonably well-sounding Rock/Jazz/Fusion/World, etc, based on whatever project I'm working on and I know there have to be some education that can apply all the way around, without needing to focus on one genre or the other (as proven by the many talented musicians here).

I hope to someday be able to produce something like this:

. Although I would settle for something simpler like:
or
.

Yes, basically I want to be Motoi Sakuraba.

Are there such quality books in the vein of MIDI GUIDE TO ORCHESTRATION for something like this? If so, what do you recommend and/or what did you use to learn how you did it if you had to study it like this?

Thank you!

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A lot of this is learning how real instruments work and how they're orchestrated. Once you have a grasp on that, it's much easier to figure out how to make things sound better/more realistic with your computer. Prior to taking classes from Berklee, I purchased Music Composition for Dummies and I got a lot of mileage out of it. This is probably not the most direct answer to your question but I personally thing it's a good road to start going down.

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A lot of this is learning how real instruments work and how they're orchestrated. Once you have a grasp on that, it's much easier to figure out how to make things sound better/more realistic with your computer.

I understand that, thats why I'm asking here.

That books looks like it largely just covers composition, which, without trying to toot my own horn, is not really what I'm lacking. I'm lacking the production skill and I'd like to find one decent, organized authority on it like MIDI GUIDE TO ORCHESTRATION is for general application and use, if such a thing exists.

Does that book cover production with MIDI samples?

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Does that book cover production with MIDI samples?

No, not in a huge way. I pretty much learned orchestration for a real orchestra and orchestration for a virtual orchestra at the same time. it wasn't until I understood the how to write for a real orchestra did the virtual one start making a lot of sense. Unfortunately, each virtual library has its own quirks and ways of doing certain things. So, it's kind of hard to point at a general book for modern orchestration for sample libraries. Understanding how a real orchestra works really made al the difference in the world for my work.

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I'm not looking for anything specifically on orchestration, I have a book for that. I'm just looking for material that teaches me how to better use MIDI samples for general use - like the VGM composers and producers had to learn to make do with when they were doing SNES, PS1 and N64 soundtracks, the examples I posted, and the knowledge and training OCR artists use for their Ocremixes today.

I'm just looking for any good textbooks or other books I can use to improve my sample-based work all the way around. I know that stuff exists and I know people here have used them - I'm just wanting to know what those recommendations might be.

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I'm just looking for material that teaches me how to better use MIDI samples for general use - like the VGM composers and producers had to learn to make do with when they were doing SNES, PS1 and N64 soundtracks, the examples I posted, and the knowledge and training OCR artists use for their Ocremixes today.

I'm just looking for any good textbooks or other books I can use to improve my sample-based work all the way around.

Uh, doesn't sound like you're looking for a book. Sounds to me like you want to learn how to throw samples into a sampler and construct instruments out of them.

Do what these VGM guys were doing back then. The tools have become more powerful and easier since.

Why read a book when you can create your own imaginary VGM sample set, use it in test tunes and tweak it to perfection accordingly?

I learned loads about smart sample use when i ripped a couple wave sets from SNES ROMs and reconstructed the instruments in Kontakt.

If you want to learn about samples, go lower level on all these sample banks you already got, tweak and mix up stuff, and maybe record your own material.

Not only will you learn a lot, you'll also be mighty proud once you can use your own sampled instruments in your music :)

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Why read a book when you can create your own imaginary VGM sample set, use it in test tunes and tweak it to perfection accordingly?

Because that's really not what I'm asking. Why would I want to create my own? I already have like 5,000 different samples and synth instruments. I already have the sounds themselves, from rock to electronica and so on, and I'm asking if there are recommended textbooks or other published guides on teaching you how to produce professional quality tracks with MIDI samples and synths.

For example, I would like to know how professionals used to make a sampled electric guitar, B3 organ and acoustic drum set sound like a convincing enough prog track, as with the Motoi Sakuraba examples I listed in the first track. I don't know much about "tweaking" samples in the first place and I'm asking what can teach me actually HOW to do that correctly and mix it together right.

I hope I'm not coming off frustrated, but I really don't know why this question is difficult. I'm just asking for textbooks that teach me how to make MIDI samples realistic - that's all.

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You're not going to find any. The people you look up to didn't read books about using samples either. They just practiced. A lot. I don't think the sounds in that first track you linked to are particularly good, but the composition and arrangement is.

Imma be honest, I don't think books in general are a substitution for critical listening and practice. I've read a number of books on composition and arrangement, and they didn't really help much. It's when I listen, dissect, and practice that I've seen the most gains.

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Imma be honest, I don't think books in general are a substitution for critical listening and practice. I've read a number of books on composition and arrangement, and they didn't really help much. It's when I listen, dissect, and practice that I've seen the most gains.

Well, I've already done 10 years worth of critical listening and practice and I've only gotten so far with that. Yeah, a book is a substitute, because the other method doesn't work that well for everyone.

That "use your ears" advice is ridiculously overused in my opinion. You may as well tell someone wanting to build a deck, "just go look at other decks and you'll figure out how to build one." Maybe everyone else is secretly an audio savant who just doesn't think to do the obvious, but I myself can't learn advanced techniques with beginner advice and philosophy alone.

If there aren't any good books on the subject, that's fine, I'll have to do it the hard way after all, but with college classes and a whole industry that thrives on it, I can't imagine no one actually committed anything to paper.

Again, I don't mean to come off frustrated, that just doesn't make any sense to me.

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The Midi Files by Rob Young

I have this book and it's completely over my head at this point.... but it sounds like this is just the book you're looking for. Nothing about orchestration and all about working with the samples.

Sorry to double post, but I didn't see yours immediately.

I actually did look at that one earlier and I do think its probably the closest of what I'm looking for. I am sort of worried at the age of the books considering how much further MIDI samples have come, but, again, since thats the way they learned to do it in the first place, I can't dismiss it.

Good to see someone else recommends it so far. :)

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Well, I've already done 10 years worth of critical listening and practice and I've only gotten so far with that. Yeah, a book is a substitute, because the other method doesn't work that well for everyone.

That "use your ears" advice is ridiculously overused in my opinion.

No it isn't.

I answered your question, the problem is you don't want the answer.

Go do what your idols did. Don't wait until one of them writes a book about it.

The one thing you have to do with samples is be able to register their individual strengths and weaknesses, timbre and freq spectrum, and use them in an intelligent blend. No book can teach you that ability, it can just give pointers.

It is way more effective to get down and dirty with samples and just understand waveforms better, then understand how to make them work via midi in the most musical way.

If your sample libraries kept you from ever viewing a sampler from the inside, they've done you no good. Shit ain't rocket science.

Don't be worried about coming off as frustrated, i know i'm coming off as arrogant by now :)

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well best of luck in your search. Not sure yurr going to find anything useful, but I hope you do.

Well, there's only one way to find out, isn't there? That's why books like these exist in the first place.

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I love books. I have a huge library of them. Any time I'm into a new topic, I buy a book on it right away. No matter what the topic is. Sometimes ten books. So, what I do is I start reading the book, and start getting inspired and motivated and learning a few things, and about halfway through I put the book down and just start doing. Then I use the book as reference only, but often I don't even need to do that. But the book gives me courage and gets me started. I guess the books are like training wheels for me. Maybe Meteo feels similarly!

I wish you luck Meteo, your music is already so great, can't wait to hear your new stuff. :)

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That's cool. Let's just say some subjects will never get the awesome manual they possibly deserve.

Making an instructional book on midi and mixing/orchestration and making that truly exciting would be such an amazing feat that it'd probably bend space and time as well.

Eye of the beholder. Get your excitement from wherever it might come...

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Making an instructional book on midi and mixing/orchestration and making that truly exciting would be such an amazing feat that it'd probably bend space and time as well.

Awesome comment! ;-)

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A lot of this is learning how real instruments work and how they're orchestrated. Once you have a grasp on that, it's much easier to figure out how to make things sound better/more realistic with your computer. Prior to taking classes from Berklee, I purchased Music Composition for Dummies and I got a lot of mileage out of it. This is probably not the most direct answer to your question but I personally thing it's a good road to start going down.

Truer words have never been spoken. I bought the same book and it helped me more in 1 hour than a friend could help me in 1 year. It's a really informative book. I can't really recommend any other books, but I know of some good websites:

Free Online MIT Music Courses

Making a MIDI Orchestra Sound Real

Music Theory and Classic Jazz Harmony

How to Make 8-Bit Music (very good for learning the way sound waves work)

Teoria - Music Theory Web

Hope that helps. :)

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That's cool. Let's just say some subjects will never get the awesome manual they possibly deserve.

Making an instructional book on midi and mixing/orchestration and making that truly exciting would be such an amazing feat that it'd probably bend space and time as well.

Eye of the beholder. Get your excitement from wherever it might come...

Why would it need to be exciting? It just needs to be understandable and correct.

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Why would it need to be exciting? It just needs to be understandable and correct.

I just wouldn't buy a boring chart-ridden book on the subject.

If there was a book titled "Hiroki Kikuta: My 101 Secrets of Midi Orchestration", i'd buy that.

Either make it exciting or trial & error all the way. I just wouldn't read it. YMMV, peace out XD

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If there was a book titled "Hiroki Kikuta: My 101 Secrets of Midi Orchestration", i'd buy that.

Either make it exciting or trial & error all the way. I just wouldn't read it.

It'd likely be entirely in Japanese, you might not be able to read that.

Still, it's hard to argue with that example.

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