DarkeSword

Mega Man: The Wily Castle Remix Gauntlet 2013

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Just heard a preview of the round 2 entry from the Rush Riders.

I hope everyone's bringing their A game, because the Rush Riders are.

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Just heard a preview of the round 2 entry from the Rush Riders.

I hope everyone's bringing their A game, because the Rush Riders are.

I'm bringing my AAA game. Your mind will be blown.

P.S. Are we allowed to include short cameos (like a couple of seconds) of other sources?

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I'm looking for magic.

People think I'm insane.

The quest for the magic key was a bodatious journey, with butt all treasure. Clearly we're farming the wrong area (OCR). Oh snap! XD

I think "Flying Dog Platform" should be rated R, given the number of F-bombs that were dropped on Fireballs :-P

Yeah we've already gotten a call from the FCC and probably need to go unrated ;)

Edited by Jivemaster

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ermagherd I saw your sig and decided to steal it cause it has my name in it and it's awesome

also i think we should be NC-17

I hear ya bro. Just wait til round 3. Strader is going uncut yo.

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I'm bringing my AAA game. Your mind will be blown.

P.S. Are we allowed to include short cameos (like a couple of seconds) of other sources?

No rules against it, but I personally am not a fan.

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God Bless America.

Anyway, I want to discuss another thing I'm seeing with novice mixers. A bit of a disclaimer: I'm going to talk now about my own approach to arrangement, and hopefully that will help you. I know that a lot of people can approach arrangement in their own way, and that's fine, but I want to talk about this because I want people to use these competitions as a learning experience. On with the show.

Sometimes when I listen to entries from newbies, there's a sparseness there that really hurts the track. The issue ends up being that what I think of as the four basic elements of a song aren't present. Years ago I wrote an essay called "The Four Man Combo Approach to Arrangement" which explained how to make a full arrangement using the analogy of a four-man jazz combo. Because that analogy is not particularly relevant to everyone here, I'll paraphrase and be a bit more general.

Generally speaking, there are four basic elements to a song: lead, accompaniment, bassline, percussion. When you have these four elements represented, you can achieve a basic fullness in your arrangement. Not coincidentally, basic NES music (like Mega Man songs!) follows this pattern. You've got your two pulse waves (lead and accompaniment), triangle (usually bass), and the noise and sample channels (usually percussion).

The lead is obviously the melody; it's what everything else is built around. It generally sits in the middle or upper register. The bassline works with the percussion to establish the rhythmic "feel," but also lays down a foundation for the chords and harmonics structure of the piece; it generally sits in the lower register (i.e. bass). The percussion is there to establish the tempo and the general rhythmic "feel" of the track. You can do this without percussion, but more often than not this is the easiest way to do it.

I'm talking about accompaniment separately because I feel like this is the one that people often overlook when starting out. Accompaniment can be a lot of things: sustained chords, syncopated chords, arpeggios, etc. The important thing about the accompaniment is that through the chords (and in tandem with the bassline), it gives the melody context. Accompaniment helps to establish the harmonic feel of your song; it lays out your chord progression and establishes key and tonality. These are really important things, especially when arranging melodic music like you find in Mega Man games.

Now, when I talk about having the four basic elements of arrangement, I'm not telling you that you should only have four instruments in your track. You can have as many instruments as you want, but generally speaking, all of those instruments are going to fit into the specific roles. You'll have a couple of lead instruments trading on the melody or playing counter-melodies and embellishments, you'll have some strings or piano or brass or synths laying down your chords as accompaniment, and then you've got your bassline providing a solid foundation for everything to sit on, and then your percussion tracks set up the groove.

So I want you newer guys to think about this when you're writing your track. Are you establishing the chords and using accompaniment effectively? Is your melody clear or is it fighting with the bassline because it's just too damn low? Did you forget about bassline and accompaniment altogether? Play your song back for your teammates and ask them if they can pick out the four elements.

Hopefully you guys will take this to heart and we can start hearing some fuller, more balanced arrangements. Happy mixing.

Edited by DarkeSword

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Is your melody clear or is it fighting with the bassline because it's just too damn low?

I'd like to point this out specifically because I think this particular point is tough for me; at least on my track for this round specifically, I've received some feedback that some of the 4 elements (lead, accompaniment, bass, & percussion) things overlap in frequency range, making it hard to clearly discern all the parts. Production (in terms of EQ) can really help with this, which I actually did a lot of on this track, but the best thing you can do to prevent this problem is to choose patches/samples/what-have-you that don't interfere with each other too much; i.e. like Darke said, don't make your lead so low that it's in the same range as your bass. This overflows to the actual structure of your patches/synths as well; if the notes of your melody occupy the mid-high range but the synth itself exists in the mid-low range (maybe because of harmonics or overtones or resonance or whatever) then it will interfere with whatever else exists in that frequency range. Again, EQ can help with this but it's better to *start* with patches/whatever that you know will have little to no frequency overlap. And actually, this can occur with your drums as well - your kick can have too many low-mids, or your snare too many high-mids, etc. or your other sounds could have too may of those frequencies and it'll all make a big mess.

Again, this is something I often wrestle with so I'm preaching to myself here :P

Edited by KingTiger

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True dat KT. The frequency struggle is a heartless biatch.

Come to think of it the other thing I noticed distrinctly lacking in people's mixes were vocals. I want to hear those pipes peeps!

Don't you dare make us do a rap battle for the final round. All that Strader can do is growl apparently, so if I can't understand what he says how do I even have a chance in a face-off against him?

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Don't you dare make us do a rap battle for the final round. All that Strader can do is growl apparently, so if I can't understand what he says how do I even have a chance in a face-off against him?

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Come to think of it the other thing I noticed distrinctly lacking in people's mixes were vocals. I want to hear those pipes peeps!

Don't you dare make us do a rap battle for the final round. All that Strader can do is growl apparently, so if I can't understand what he says how do I even have a chance in a face-off against him?

You want vox eh? I'll see what I can do in future rounds, and I'll take you up on that final round rap battle >:D

BTW how does the final round work anyway?

EDIT: I'm keeping a running total of votes in a spreadsheet; I'm assuming that each 1st place vote = 3 points, each 2nd place vote = 2 points, and each 1st place vote = 1 point, right? and then each participant that votes earns one 1st place vote for his/her team?

Edited by KingTiger

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Come to think of it the other thing I noticed distrinctly lacking in people's mixes were vocals. I want to hear those pipes peeps!

Well, I was going to save this for the middle of my mixing week as an intimidation tactic, but since you asked so nicely...

I may be possibly toying with the idea of maybe probably doing an a cappella entry. Following Darke's advice I haven't referenced a MIDI for Wind Man's tune, so I'm studying up on that while I wait for next week's source to be revealed. Tremble at the results (and just consider how much MORE it could be when I get some percussion thrown in).

http://jessedeacon.com/music/acapellatest2.mp3

BTW how does the final round work anyway?

Well, if last year is any indication, your team would select a primary arranger to mix a tune chosen by DS along with all THREE of your team's sources. Of course, if "Unexpected" is going to be a running theme, that may count for nothing. He also hinted at possibly doing something special after each block of 3 rounds, so those may play into the final week plans as well.

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Well, I was going to save this for the middle of my mixing week as an intimidation tactic, but since you asked so nicely...

I may be possibly toying with the idea of maybe probably doing an a cappella entry. Following Darke's advice I haven't referenced a MIDI for Wind Man's tune, so I'm studying up on that while I wait for next week's source to be revealed. Tremble at the results (and just consider how much MORE it could be when I get some percussion thrown in).

http://jessedeacon.com/music/acapellatest2.mp3.

https://soundcloud.com/darkesword/sonic-spinball-toxic

Darke used something called "Loopy" to make this? Don't know what that is, but it may help you in your endeavor (which is sounding pretty decent so far BTW :) ) and just FYI you know all those vocal haters out there, who hate vocal mixes as a general rule? Yeah I'm the opposite :P (assuming it's good vox anyway)

Edited by KingTiger

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KT I can just imagine your epic vocal hook right now, while rocking your keytar. Gimmie.

I may be possibly toying with the idea of maybe probably doing an a cappella entry.

Dude. Respect. This must happen or I will loose excite.

Edited by Jivemaster

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KT I can just imagine your epic vocal hook right now, while rocking your keytar. Gimmie.

Hah, then I assume you've seen the

If that's a challenge then I may have to take my keytar out of its usual "live performance only" role.

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I may be possibly toying with the idea of maybe probably doing an a cappella entry. Following Darke's advice I haven't referenced a MIDI for Wind Man's tune, so I'm studying up on that while I wait for next week's source to be revealed. Tremble at the results (and just consider how much MORE it could be when I get some percussion thrown in).

http://jessedeacon.com/music/acapellatest2.mp3

Amazing, and with one of my favorite MM tunes, no less.

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I may be possibly toying with the idea of maybe probably doing an a cappella entry.

http://jessedeacon.com/music/acapellatest2.mp3

Awesome! I've always wanted to do an a capella arrangement myself since I used to sing barbershop, but every time I try to record myself it goes horribly, horribly wrong.

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https://soundcloud.com/darkesword/sonic-spinball-toxic

Darke used something called "Loopy" to make this? Don't know what that is, but it may help you in your endeavor (which is sounding pretty decent so far BTW :) ) and just FYI you know all those vocal haters out there, who hate vocal mixes as a general rule? Yeah I'm the opposite :P (assuming it's good vox anyway)

Loopy's an iOS application that allows you to set tempo and meter and then record loops of specific lengths. Once those loops are recorded they immediately play back and you can record more loops over top of them. The loops can then be turned on or off, which allows you to arrange the parts you've recorded.

Well, if last year is any indication, your team would select a primary arranger to mix a tune chosen by DS along with all THREE of your team's sources. Of course, if "Unexpected" is going to be a running theme, that may count for nothing. He also hinted at possibly doing something special after each block of 3 rounds, so those may play into the final week plans as well.

There won't be any special rounds between blocks. We are doing 3 blocks, back-to-back-to-back.

The final round will probably be the same as last time: a two-week mixing stage with all team members collaborating, using their three Robot Master tracks and that round's gauntlet theme.

Things can change though; my head is always swimming with ideas.

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