Sign in to follow this  
mickomoo

How has your process evolved?

Recommended Posts

I'm just wondering how everyone goes about making music relative to how they use to in the past. I now play covers by ear so I actually layer track by track, where as I use to work on songs section by section for example, at least more so than I do now. Also the last few songs I've made, I wrote in one or two sittings (I'm not too happy about that because they were in 6-12 hour sittings). I'm also using templates, cross-fading samples, and blending samples more. While my project is more efferent, I'm looking for ways others have improved their efficiency.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to pick out sounds before I wrote. Not a good idea necessarily, because it sometimes limits your sound palette and thus, to a smaller extent, your arrangement. For example, if you limit yourself to FM sounds, you've got E. Pianos, dubstep basses, atonal bells, glassy pads, and noise generator percussion at your disposal, and you would then only be able to use those five things plus drums and other things I haven't heard of (it'd be silly to limit yourself to FM without exception). You've got to be missing something in your palette. You see my point.

Now, I pick one sound, internalize it, and see if it inspires me to write out something that inspires the picking out of more sounds to go with it. In essence, I pick sounds as I go. Now what about mixing? I used to write and then go back and mix, but the problem is, mixing depends on more than just what you write. It depends a whole lot on how you write it. i.e. The velocities matter, the sound choices matter, etc. Now, I mix as I go, so I can hear things as they are in context, and that way I can decide whether or not particular instruments truly work or if they just add extra content that people wouldn't really hear anyway (for example, trebly percussive ear candy).

In improving my efficiency, particularly because I use FL Studio, I took advantage of the visual EQ and connected the visual with the auditory aspect. Once I could visualize frequency distributions, I could EQ more quickly and thus quicken my mixing workflow. I also learned as many shortcut commands as I could, but not by reading a manual; rather, by intuition, because intuition is more memorable than reading, IMO. To internalize is to make familiar by actually doing the activity, so that's what I did.

Something else I did to improve how I work was create a bunch of sounds to put into my disposal. If you're filled with a collection of sounds you like, you're bound to find yourself using them a lot, and then once you get used to them, you may start noticing their tonal qualities more, and that's when you start distinguishing which sounds fit better to you in certain situations than others.

Then, of course, the most important thing to improve your efficiency, IMO, is to get feedback. The most effective way to improve your objectivity is to get feedback from other people, so you can grasp their perspective and use that to evaluate yourself objectively. When you can judge your own music, you can nitpick it thoroughly and fix it up yourself, and by the time you're done, people from whom you request feedback will have less crits to give---which can be good or bad, depending on how much you liked their crits before! :P

Edited by timaeus222

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I'm getting better at moving away from sheet music and writing with just the MIDI controller or just recording in guitars without writing it all down first. I've been forcing myself to do it that way now as it makes collaboration much easier and is a faster method if you can get the hang of it. It also eliminates the need for creating MIDI in a program outside the DAW. It's a tough habit to kick though. I also used to compose from the method of starting with harmony and then adding melody, but now I do it the other way around and I think it is by far a better method most of the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I realised i got plugin related OCD and have to keep my setup simple at all costs.

currently counting 14 VSTis, and that already seems too much.

Edited by Nase

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not only how I used to do things changed but also how I see, approach and appreciate music has evolved. The learning process just keeps going. However one thing never changed; I write all my music.

Before, I would normally then just "process" what I write into a small .mid but nowadays I just want to play the parts so that it's not quantized and this is recent since I would just randomize/humanize my stuff with the mouse before; don't want to do that anymore.

Edited by Metal Man

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For example, if you limit yourself to FM sounds, you've got E. Pianos, dubstep basses, atonal bells, glassy pads, and noise generator percussion at your disposal, and you would then only be able to use those five things plus drums (it'd be silly to limit yourself to FM without exception). Where, then, is your lead sound? You see my point.

Speak for yourself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Speak for yourself.

haha, was gonna respond in a similar manner, but i let it slide.

FM doesn't work that well in an example about limitations. try VA :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For example, if you limit yourself to FM sounds, you've got E. Pianos, dubstep basses, atonal bells, glassy pads, and noise generator percussion at your disposal, and you would then only be able to use those five things plus drums (it'd be silly to limit yourself to FM without exception). Where, then, is your lead sound? You see my point.

Just want to reiterate that this mode of thought on FM is so completely wrong. While it excels in these areas, FM is capable of almost any sound. But is damn hard to learn it to that extent. Hence why most people stick with the afore mentioned sounds.

For example FM is excellent at creating chiptune leads. (2:22)

https://soundcloud.com/sonic-elements/rob-papens-blue-sapphire-i-1

Read up on Brian Eno a bit. There is a story, can't find a damn so take it with a grain of salt, where he used a DX7 to recreate several sounds from other popular synthesizers. And no one could tell the difference.

Also if you want to get really nerdy: (from the creator of FM, Chowning)

http://www.spoogeworld.com/music/instruments/yamaha/fm_theory_and_applications.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Speak for yourself.

Yeaaaaaaaahh, that's what I was thinking. Someone's never played a Genesis. Timaeus, you've gotta speak less authoritatively when you're giving your opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just learned a lot of new writing techniques, as well as more production techniques (like mixing-wise) and used them in my already existing techniques, if that makes any sense.

An example would be when I figured out that snares sound bigger and fatter when adding a lot of low-end to the EQ of the snare, and then adding in other high rim shots or claps that aren't perfectly on time with the main low-end snare gives it more funk and groove. Just an example of what I've learned and basically how I end up using it in everything of mine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My mixing process has (d)evolved from:

Get inspiration, work on remix for a week or two, getting feedback from my friends like Zircon and Willrock

To:

Get assigned to do remix for [x] project directed by DarkeSword

Procrastinate for months

Stay up until 5AM doing mix before due date

???

Done!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeaaaaaaaahh, that's what I was thinking. Someone's never played a Genesis. Timaeus, you've gotta speak less authoritatively when you're giving your opinion.

Those are the only sounds I've created with FM. I've never needed to do anything more with it. I just use other methods of synthesis to accomplish those gaps. I've also certainly delved into FM synthesis to recreate DX7 material like the DX7 bass from Castlevania x68000. Not foreign to me, just slipped my mind. I'm not suddenly saying "ecto, you must never have seen a string quartet perform, because I've never seen you use strings in your music!", am I, because for all I know, that could be completely wrong (imagine a balding enthusiastic philosopher saying that). I don't remember clearly whether or not you have a strings library you like to use, so I don't say that. Perspective is everything, so please consider that next time. (Believe me, I'm not trying to mock you)

And uh... try not to do an ad hominem circumstantial, as a friendly personal request from me. Doesn't make you look good when you attack someone else. Besides, it's not like I had the money to buy a Genesis (which is completely irrelevant to me hearing of Genesis-style synths), or really, anything other than a DS or N64 (and this is not an appeal to pity, but a clarification of this circumstantial assumption). I could have heard a game soundtrack using those sounds, or other Genesis sounds, without playing any Genesis games at all (which is actually true; my first encounter with the Genesis was Gunstar Heroes which I played AFTER I heard the music), and felt the desire to recreate them.

(Yes, people can draw that much implication from five 'and a half' words.)

Edited by timaeus222

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, the biggest jump start for my process was being willing to move away from a "do it right" mindset. Everything I tried to do, from writing melody to programming a synth, I'd watch a billion videos or read a hundred articles to find the "right" way of doing that particular task. Going to the experts or learning from these resources is really valid, but it wasn't until I was willing to just give it a shot and do it myself (and make horrible mistakes) that I was able to really internalize a lot of what I was doing. Once I knew what I didn't understand, it became easier to focus my self-teaching/research on that one element of my process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For me, the biggest jump start for my process was being willing to move away from a "do it right" mindset. Everything I tried to do, from writing melody to programming a synth, I'd watch a billion videos or read a hundred articles to find the "right" way of doing that particular task. Going to the experts or learning from these resources is really valid, but it wasn't until I was willing to just give it a shot and do it myself (and make horrible mistakes) that I was able to really internalize a lot of what I was doing. Once I knew what I didn't understand, it became easier to focus my self-teaching/research on that one element of my process.

Yeah, it does take a lot to sift through what's "supposed to be right" and find what's "right" for you. Being able to put what you learn to the test is what really helps you to evaluate the arbitrary "rightness" or "wrongness" of any concept from your perspective. For example, sometimes when people speak in music theory, it doesn't really completely register until I actually try it out. When they're right, then they are, but without trying it out, I don't fully get the context. I wish you good luck. :)

Edited by timaeus222

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

timaeus: ectogemia's reply was a bit too snarky, but to consider 'someone's never played a genesis' an ad hominem is pretty funny. game music forums, heh :)

the part of your post i actually found too authoritative wasn't the FM bit, but calling it 'silly' to limit yourself to one synth/synth type. there are good reasons to do just that sometimes, most of them to do with not limiting, but expanding your horizons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
timaeus: ectogemia's reply was a bit too snarky, but to consider 'someone's never played a genesis' an ad hominem is pretty funny. game music forums, heh :)

the part of your post i actually found too authoritative wasn't the FM bit, but calling it 'silly' to limit yourself to one synth/synth type. there are good reasons to do just that sometimes, most of them to do with not limiting, but expanding your horizons.

Haha, yeah, I was recalling something from last year. Looked it up, and if I remembered the specific term I would have tacked on the word "circumstantial". Probably wasn't as drastic as that extent, but similar. Although, I'm not trying to insult you, ecto, just making sure you remember to consider perspectives. It's very important.

I can certainly see why the opposite is true with "limiting" yourself to FM or other singular types of sounds, sure. It adds to how creative you have to be with a particular set of finite sounds. The point is just that when you have just FM, you don't have resources to do absolutely everything out there, and you really have to rely on your arrangement abilities and pool from this set of sounds. But yeah, just my opinion, from my own perspective. In particular though, I used the word "silly" to keep that opinion playful ("silly" sounds to me like it has that sort of connotation). =)

Edited by timaeus222

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I realised i got plugin related OCD and have to keep my setup simple at all costs.

currently counting 14 VSTis, and that already seems too much.

Decadence! Sheer decadence. :-P No, I probably use, like, 10 virtual instruments regularly. Something I've found over the years, it doesn't pay to buy every synth plugin that goes on sale. That's how you end up with a lot of NFR plugs that you never use. *cough* Now, in your search for the instruments that work for you you'll prolly buy things you shouldn't have. I guess my point is, best to find a cheaper hobby.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I realised i got plugin related OCD and have to keep my setup simple at all costs.

currently counting 14 VSTis, and that already seems too much.

Hehe, I just went for the "find one do-it-all synth" approach. Got close, but close is good enough for me. Zebra, 'nuff said about it. =)

I think I have like 6 (not including the VSTs, which are of course separate from VSTi's) and use about 2 of them regularly. xD

Edited by timaeus222

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How you figured that FM can't do leads is beyond me.

I've tried before, it turned out tinny. I've probably accidentally created a lead sound that could otherwise be made with FM, but I just never heard of FM doing leads before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've tried before, it turned out tinny. I've probably accidentally created a lead sound that could otherwise be made with FM, but I just never heard of FM doing leads before.

dood, FM is what makes the world go round.

just kidding. it's what makes the world of synths go round.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just because you couldn't figure out FM leads doesn't mean that the synth industry didn't. FM has the most interesting synth leads I've ever heard. Just browse an FM synth "leads" preset library.

Saying that FM can't do leads is just... plain incorrect. You basically just insulted the last 40 years of FM synthesizers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this