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YogX

Bastion Soundtrack using Logic Pro

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That's arranging. That's not writing. There's talent in that, but I'm referring to writing a song. That's more of arranging something.

Er... no? Taking a loop and using it as the centerpiece of a song isn't "arranging" the loop. You're still writing everything else in the track from scratch. Harmonies, countermelodies, rhythms, etc. Now, if the entire track were composed of nothing BUT loops, yes, I would agree that is more 'arranging' than anything else.

Can you use loops in an uncreative way? Yes, of course! And can you write unoriginal music from scratch? Also yes! Great musicians and composers will always stand apart from everyone else as a result. Again, that's why even though tons of people have Logic Pro, there's still only one Bastion soundtrack.

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This is quite an interesting topic.

When I first started making tracks in high school back in '05 (and then stopped for years b/c of college), I always made it a point to NOT use loops that were pre-made. Not because I was being picky or facetious (I mean, I was just a newb at the time) but because I imagined the scenario where I'd make this song that sounded great using mostly loops. People would congratulate me on it, say how great it sounded, and I'd be like,

"Yea... thanks... it took a lot of... hard work."

Now, I'm not opposing those who use loops at all. I can definitely see how they can get you out of a jam if your work is for hire with an overly demanding employer.

But my personal feelings in the above scenario would drive me crazy. I'd always feel like I don't deserve the praise for the music and probably get depressed later. Can't help that feeling.

Now, using loops to get you started... is fine to me, provided you change it up a bit at least.

Do I find it disappointing to find out that music I like or respect is actually heavily sourced from stock loops? Honestly, yes. Every time. This was my initial gut reaction. I read every single post on this thread to see what everyone else thought and there are compelling arguments. This feeling I felt is limited to musicians and composers who are familiar with all the sources, so we can't help but take it apart and notice these things. So, I also realize that it's not about the loops, it's about how you use them to build the soundscape you need to take the target audience to this fantasy.

I personally never, ever use loops now. Not for drumming, not for synths, not for anything. All original stuff made from scratch (compositionally for drums & physically and compositionally for synths). Samples are another matter, which I use a lot in drumming and orchestral parts, and have absolutely no qualms with them. I mean, why not use them? There are amazing samples out there, that with proper skill sound as good as the real thing, and that's awesome.

Now to tie these loosely related paragraphs together:

There is only so much music that can be created, mathematically. 12 set frequencies per octave, assuming a chromatic scale. 8 per octave on a normal major/minor scale. If you run permutations/combinations on those notes, the number is pretty large. But if you run P/C's on the number that sound good to the human ear, the number drastically drops. I think it will not be long before we have no choice but to recycle previous stuff and freshen it up (we're already doing it a lot) because we are simply exhausting the musical possibilities at this point. So what then? We add dimensions to the music to make it different. That dimension is delivery, execution. One person can play Beethoven's Fur Elise and it would sound totally different from how someone else plays it, even though they are the exact same notes with perhaps their own spin on it. Using loops is perhaps on a similar vein. Even though I don't use them, I can see their potential for those who do use them.

Basically, I'm keeping an open mind. The only thing I advise against is falling into the rut of mediocrity because we end up conforming to the idea that we really have exhausted all musical permutations that sound good. We have to always look for that one extra combination that will blow people away.

Hope this all made sense to everyone. I'd be glad to clarify if not.

My two cents.

Edited by djgalvanization

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I know there are even some OCReMixes with prefab instrumental loops in them that are still quite good and are by perfectly able composers. Its entirely silly to say what sample or loop is cheating. If something inspires you, then by all means use it.

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I'm disappointed. I consider the composer to be the the source of the melodies used. Sure, there are times when you can appropriate other melodies, expand on them, borrow, reference, and otherwise take from source where they fit. But you're not the composer of that bit. You may be an arranger, a remixer, but you're not its composer.

Most of us here aren't composers, we're remixers. We don't claim to have made up every melody in our remixes, we just build our music on someone else's melody. And that's what I'm starting to consider Darren Korb in light of this: less of a composer, more of a remixer. When the central melody of your work isn't your own, I'm not sure you should be called a composer. Producer, remixer, arranger, sure; but not composer.

If I thought the Zelda theme was so good and inspiring, and sampled that as the central melody (and audio) of music that I claim to be the composer of, people would freak. They know I didn't make that part of it. If I said it was as remix, where I wasn't the composer but certainly the producer and arranger, people would probably be fine with it (legal issues aside). I really don't see how royalty-free stuff is any different when it comes to composing.

Supporting elements are fine, hence why people rarely react this way to drum loops and similar elements. Being arranger or producer of something based on melodic loops is fine. Altering those loops you use, even as a central melody, is probably fine. When the lead instrument is practically just dropped into the track with no alternation, it just seems lazy, and it breaks our idea of the composer who creatures his melodies from scratch. Whatever the reality of composing for games, I don't think composer means, or should mean, the same as remixer or arranger.

Maybe we should assign any remixes using those same loops to Bastion? It's not just a similar melody or a vague reference, it's the same source audio.

And maybe Apple should count as a fellow composer of Bastion?

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Think if you were an author, and you managed to get ahold of someone else's story treatment, complete with the main story arc, central themes, major characters, etc. You fill in the side characters, flesh out the scenes in detail, and work out the dialog. Would you consider yourself the sole author? Would you be comfortable accepting accolades and telling people in interviews that it was your work alone?

Using instrumental loops for the main melody is the same thing. You're building harmonies and rhythms around the core attraction which is not yours to begin with. Do you deserve credit? Sure. But like the author above would normally be relegated to co-author, a composer who uses loops in such a way should be credited as a remixer or co-composer at best.

Is it cheating? Only if you're trying to get away with being credited as the sole composer, which is what Darren Korb apparently did. If he was credited as a co-composer, I would have no objections whatsoever.

Cheating aside, in my opinion, any loop a composer uses that is not their own degrades the merit they deserve by some degree. You use someone else's drum loop, well, that might be just a little bit. A melodic loop as the main melody; that's more. Regular sampled instruments don't count, because you still have to write every note yourself; unless, of course, you copied someone else's writing.

Edited by Neifion

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I see using loops as taking a photograph. Does it take skill to take a good photograph? Yes. Could just any Joe-Schmoe take photos like Ansel Adams? No.

I see composing from scratch like painting. It takes more skill to paint a beautiful painting of, say, a mountain landscape, IMHO, than to take a beautiful photograph of a mountain landscape. But both take skill.

Maybe a better analogy is a collage artist. They take a bunch of preexisting stuff and make a new piece of art. Just like someone who uses loops. That takes creativity and skill, no doubt. But again, I think it's harder to paint something from scratch, or to create all of the assets for the collage yourself, then to simply use other people's.

You put it very well and I completely agree :-)

and I'd be like,

"Yea... thanks... it took a lot of... hard work."

I'm disappointed.

And maybe Apple should count as a fellow composer of Bastion?

you guys too

I knew I wasn't the only one who felt this way. There's a lot of people who share my opinion on this divisive issue.

t6wvmap.jpg

Edited by Brandon Strader

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That's a very interesting topic.

I, for one, have always restrained as much as I could from using loops. Even loops that I've previously made for other tracks of mine. I think it removes value from the new track that's being made. This is all very subjective of course though, no definite lines can be drawn here.

My point is that even if nobody notices it in the end result, I can't help but believe that using loops either profusely or as the main interest of the final track is, to some extent, a lazy and uncreative approach. I believe that, when composing original music, it is important to create everything that's in the track in a custom-made manner. This is just my opinion though, and I understand and respect the other points of view that have been shared here. :)

Edited by DaMonz

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