WT_Neptune

How do mixes like the Grand Maverick Remix Battle ones work keywise?

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Were the Mavericks paired by the key of their songs? Also, were the 'matches' between mavericks predetermined, or did people just get to call dibs on whatever two themes they wanted? Analyzing this could be a good way for me to educate myself on composition and arranging. I saw some bizarre mash up of Ke$ha's Tik Tok and Katy Perry's The One That Got Away which the creator cited as "easy because they both were in D minor" and it reminded me of the remix battles, so I'm wondering if there is similarity here.

But more generally as well, how do you all decide if two vgm pieces are compatible for an arrangement or not?

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The various "versus" compos generally work by each participant choosing one source, then the various participants are matched together using a bracket, round-robin, or similar format.  The music itself never determines the pairings.  Sometimes it's easier, sometimes it's harder.  They'll usually be in different keys, and they may even be in different scales or time signatures.  Sometimes the ones that seem hard come out really smoothly, and sometimes combinations that seem obvious just don't work out.  And it's very possible for two people to listen to the same two songs and come to very different conclusions about how or whether they can be combined smoothly.

Because OC ReMixers never use recordings of the original source to create their songs, instead resequencing everything themselves (or, rarely, using a MIDI as a starting point), having the two (or more) sources be in the same key isn't necessary or even particularly helpful.  Different scales or key signatures are harder and require creative reinterpretation, but IMHO no more so than if they have very different pacing or chord progression.

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That is interesting. There is more room to make things simple and straightforward or go at really interesting and complex when it comes to arranging than I realized. Is there like a "at what measure is a mix still an arrangement of the original vgm?" type thread around? I've read plenty of stuff on copyright, but not anything on how far a stretch from the original can be. Do mixers sometimes, for mashed up tunes, give one melody the tonic of the other and then just use similar intervals to the original?

Right now, I'm kind of at a place in music theory where things are starting to make a little more sense, but I don't really have a considerable grasp on anything to really lean on my own instincts or understanding here, so sorry if I'm asking obvious things, or am asking things that don't make sense.

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It really depends on the combination of tracks.

I usually find inspiration by listening to new-ish music and finding a style that could gel with the particular sources I chose/got matched up with. I don't really worry about any difference in key, and I just either transcribe it in my head or repitch a recording of the entire source tune if it's too complicated to transcribe multiple times in my head.

Generally what gives coherence in a track I make is the sound design and the way I modify the motifs in one source to mesh with those of the other. If one track is minor-key and the other is major-key, I either would transition to a new mood and then back to the original mood, or change the mood of one source motif to make one cohesive major-key or minor-key track. A lot of this is practice, really.

-----

As far as "is this too original", just listen back to the source tune, and if you can convince yourself that your interpretation reminds you of the original, then it's probably on the right track.

For instance, I think this is recognizable (i.e. not too original), but it's certainly not a walk in the park to dissect:

Source tune 1 (Cyber Peacock)

Source tune 2 (Final Weapon)

ReMix

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I find musical ideas are open to your interpretation of it. Whenever I was in these compos, I would plan the genre and tempo of all my potential remixes before hand. So for example. Round 1: I'll do a fast paced rock remix. Round 2: a slow synth pop remix. This was regardless of what opponent (and therefore source) I may face. I've never had to change an idea to fit with the opponents source either. I did this for varieties sake cause I didn't want to do the same track twice. In some cases, I purposely chose what parts of my source to tackle for each remix I may do ahead of time too. 

To try and explain it more simply... to me, source tunes are just groups of melodies and rhythms and you can build a track to work around them. You shouldn't think "do these two tracks work together" you should think "how can these two tracks work together" and experiment. Maybe you need a little variation to make a track work at a different tempo but you can get the core of the idea down regardless. I haven't found 2 tracks I can't combine together, and I don't think I ever will because imo, you can combine everything to everything via arrangements, its just how you go about doing it.

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One thing I notice people getting overthinking in the compos is figuring out the keys of the tracks they have to arrange together. In my opinion (as the guy that conceived the source-versus-source style compo), figuring out the actual key is far less important than figuring out the mode, regardless of what the tonic is. It doesn't matter if one of the sources is in Bb Minor and the other is in F Minor. The Bb and the F don't matter. What matters is that the two tracks are in the Aeolian mode (aka natural minor). When the mode is common, it's incredibly easy to make the sources work together with each other, you just transpose the material from the sources (melody, chord progression, etc.) into a common key, like C minor or something.

It gets tougher when you have something like Ionian (aka major scale, e.g. C major) and Aeolian (e.g. D minor) sources being combined. Now you have to think about how you want to push them together. Do you flat the third, sixth, and sevenths of the Ionian source's melody so that it's Aeolian now (i.e. play a C major song in C minor) and then transpose to a common key? Do you keep the Ionian source Ionian (e.g. C major) and shift the tonic of the Aeolian source down to the relative minor (i.e. A minor)? These are options and techniques you can use to push two different sources together and keep them from clashing.

Remember, you can write an arrangement in any key you want. A song can be played with any note as the tonic. Think about the classic Star Wars melody:

G, D, C B A G, D

Except you shouldn't think of it that way. You should think of it as:

1, 5, 4 3 2 8, 5

Where 1 is any of the twelve notes.

C, G, F E D C, G

Bb, F, Eb D C, Bb, F

You see what I'm getting at? Worry less about the tonic and more about the intervals and relationships between the notes and where they fall in the scale. When you start thinking about melodies and chords that way, one of the barriers to doing multi-source arrangements disappears.

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I'm no music theory expert (the explanation from DS above is both helpful and a bit scary to me), but personally I take the same approach as WillRock. I just take the melodic parts from the tracks, combine them in a genre/style I have in mind and play around with that. Or in short: be creative and see where it leads.

So essentially it's mostly just groups of melodies (and rhythms) where you use the parts that you can and ignore the parts you can't. For me, a lot of the recognisability comes from the melodies, and even if you have to change one of the melodies from major to minor or to a different key it's usually still recognisable and enjoyable. Having a goal/general idea of where you want to go is key for me, the bit of music theory I need to reach that goal comes after (in stead of first).

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Neither am I, but Darke's post made a lot of sense to me!

Basically, if two source motifs lie in scales containing different intervals (for instance, 1 2 2# 4 5 5# 6# 8, vs. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8), regardless of their tonic (the note that defines their scale, i.e. the tonic of C major is C), just match the intervals (for the example, shift the 3, 5, and 6 to match 2#, 5#, and 6#, or vice versa). You can decide to match the modes later (in a DAW, literally by shifting a set of notes up and down), which may or may not require matching the tonic (e.g. C major can go with A minor just fine).

So long as the intervals in the scale match, it's much easier to make two motifs work together.

I don't really explicitly talk about that *while* I write these remixes, but I do implicitly go through that process.

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1 hour ago, timaeus222 said:

So long as the intervals in the scale match, it's much easier to make two motifs work together.

Conversely, if one of the two sources you're working with has a lot of accidentals, use its mode and adjust the other source's mode to match it.  Accidentals and mode changes are poor bedfellow.

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yeah, i just change the key of the original to be the same as the other one when i was doing these. no one really cares about the key - you wouldn't really notice that it changed if you heard just the melodies unless it was side-by-side with the original - it's more when people get into shenanigans with the modes and color tones that this becomes a question. a good example of this is my viridian vibe track from the pkmn project.

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