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Ronald Poe

Beginner remix melodies and DnB basics

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They call me Ronald Poe. I'm a bassist, guitarist, and Electronic Musician (I use FL Studio and Audacity). I'm a fan of Metal Gear Solid, Pokemon, Shin Magami Tensei (particularly Persona 3 and 4), and especially Kingdom Hearts. I was also a regular at the "Musicians Talk" section on Ultimate Guitar and possibly the most polarizing member there. I also use Musescore for the notation process and use multiple soundfonts (mostly the KH one) and samples with FL Studio. I have a unique style.

 

Anyway I have two questions. First what are some VG pieces with simple, easy, and somewhat repetitive melodies. I'm trying to write better remixes (my first 3 were denied) and want to try something simple. 

 

Second, what are some basics of DnB music and remixing. I've researched it quite a bit and still don't get it. I want to do a remix in DnB style but I'm not sure where to start. I've got some decent drum samples.

 

Sorry about how personal this post was (I'm trying to make a better impression here). My questions are easy VG pieces with simple melody and basics of DnB.

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Well, most of the VGM that has simple and repetitive melodies suitable for EDM types of music are soundtracks from older games. Unfortunately, a lot of games now use orchestral scores highly dependent on texture rather than melody. Not saying you can't find anything recent, but I'd look at platform, fighting and action games from the PS2 era and before.

 

As far as DnB music goes, composition is pretty simple. Like most EDM, it tends to be based on repetitive riffs and adds in layers every phrase or so until it breaks down and starts again. Use fast, 170-175bpm breakbeats and the bass is usually a sine mixed with a saw or square, heavily distorted in the upper frequencies and the rhythm is created by automating the cutoff filter giving you that "wub". Also, the bass tends to have a bit more sub frequencies in it than other genres. Really, beyond that, it's all up to you.

 

 

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Thanks AngelCityOutlaw, you tips are very helpful. However which games would you suggest for beginners. I'm trying to do an DnB remix with a mysterious feel to it. I'll try to experiment for the drums.

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I would highly recommend the BHK Rough Connections ($50 each) and Bladerunner Dread Drum & Bass ($39) sample packs. That's what I use, anyway. I used some of those in here:

http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03060

 

and:

https://app.box.com/s/d7wsat6dt4dlx8ul9yjzqij3xdh3vkd9

 

Some basics about Drum & Bass:

 

- 150~180 BPM

- A detailed bass should act as the foundation for the soundscape and work with the drums to create a beat-driven, usually high-energy track, but not always (the drums could be non-aggressive but still fast)

- Keep the drum patterns relatively varied, but still maintain a generally consistent drive

 

Some examples of my favorite Drum & Bass:

http://zirconstudios.bandcamp.com/track/the-end - cyberpunk / Drum & Bass

https://soundcloud.com/zircon-1/rise-of-pharaoh-remix-of-lara-croft-and-the-temple-of-osiris - World Music / Drum & Bass

https://zirconstudios.bandcamp.com/track/drum-and-bossa - Bossa Nova / Drum & Bass

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Thank you, timaeus222. I thought your Pokemon remix was very dynamic and sounded great. I personally am too cheap to spend money on samples or loops (I don't make much money). Anyway, does anyone got any suggestions on pieces that would be good to remix. I'm open to games I haven't played. 

 

Also I hope TheGuitahHeroe stops by (he's really good at the style and a Pokemon fan too). 

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Yeah, Jamison's DnB is something I'm also a fan of. I've been trying to hit that style myself, but I can't make it as good. Besides suggesting you have a look at my remixing guide (it's in my sig) for more general remixing advice, I've got little to say about the production side of DnB. So let's talk sources instead.

 

The most versatile sources tend to be the rather simple ones. Koji Kondo's music is often this, and NES- and SNES-era music is often this. Ironically, the Super Mario Bros theme is _not_. I got started on Super Metroid, Red Brinstar in particular, and I've got a DnB mix of it I'm working on (and failing to be satisfied with the mix). It's a source with a simple backing pattern that can be used in different ways, and a few lead melodies that play over it. Another commonly remixed track with similar qualities is Corridors of Time from Chrono Trigger, also with a simple backing pattern and a lead on top.

 

The benefit of using sources like this is that the backing pattern is often distinct enough to use to build the rhythm of the track with, along with the drums, but simple enough that you can do a lot with the bass things underneath (Ekaj's take on Red Brinstar, for example, has a great bass sequence).

 

The melody of course has to fit the mood of the genre, or be malleable enough to work there. Sometimes that means taking a melody and putting it in a different mode or scale. Breaking the rhythm of a melody and adapting it to a different rhythm means you have to figure out what the important notes of it are, and how to time those to the new rhythm. This is more art than science, and one of those "I know it when I hear it" things. I encourage you to experiment with this. For a take on melodies, I suggest you look at what WillRock did with an upbeat, major key Pokémon track. Both Will and I have a tendency to mess with melodies; my approach tends to be to cut them into tiny pieces and put those pieces to new uses, while Will tends to jump around chords and modes to adapt the melody to new things. Either approach could work for DnB.

 

I suggest you download the chiptune archives from ocr or other sources and listen for interesting sources. What you're looking for are tracks that have elements that could be adapted to DnB. Naturally, there's nothing magical about chiptunes that makes them better suited for this than any other kind of music, but the melodies are a lot more accessible than in non-chiptune compositions, and there's insane amounts of chiptunes to examine. If you're less inclined to look for music yourself, go on YouTube and search for people's favorite VGM lists, and listen for elements that you can use. Once you find something, have a closer look at that game's soundtrack and see what you find.

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