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Robots vs. Knights


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@MegaDrive has checked in on Discord. If I don't hear from @Kapden today, @Jorito has offered to fill  his spot.

Once the teams are finalized here's what you need to do:

  • Teams must assign one source from the source list for their team to each team member. There are 11 sources available to assign to 9 people (the 2 extra are to give people more of a choice). The source you're assigned will be your source throughout the duration of the competition.
  • Teams must divide into three 3-man squads.
  • Teams must provide me with a schedule of remixers for the next three rounds. Each squad will have one person remixing each round.

Here's an example:

        | Squad A | Squad B | Squad C |
Round 1 | Rock    | Kalinka | Blues   |
Round 2 | X       | Roll    | Zero    |
Round 3 | Volnutt | Alia    | Chaud   |


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Folks: a lot of the team discussion for this competition is going to happen in the Discord channels. Make sure you're idling and/or making yourself available to your teammates via that service. Discord has very good smartphone clients and custom alert settings. I would suggest using this thread here on the forums to coordinate team meetings on Discord.

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Folks, here's some advice related to combining two sources together that I wrote in a different thread.



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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On an interesting aside, Darkesword is right, first and foremost: if you merge sources, think not about absolute pitch (e.g. What notes are being played), but more about relative pitch (e.g. what scale degrees are being played). I'm glad he pointed that out, as it can help make the intimidating process of merging sources far more manageable.

As someone who wants really great music to come from this, I can give just a few more ideas on how to handle your sources:

Give a precursory thought about form. There's no need to get into too much detail, or give more than a minute of thought on it, but if you have some idea that you're going to make a short ABA track it can help generate ideas when you'll use what source, which alleviates writer's block. A nice trick I personally use, for example, is using sonata form when mixing four or more sources at once (such as my older track 'Magnus Divinicus Chiptunicus'); AB C AB (that's Sonata form: Exposition 'AB', Development 'C', Recapitulation 'AB') gives you a lot of room to use very different ideas while still having a cohesive sounding piece. That's a personal trick of mine, but you can use many more established forms to keep your track from becoming two sources stacked next to each other. For people who are not used to mixing sources together, this will help keep you on track.

Shape ("Contour") is more important than getting the exact intervals correct. Rarely can you get a theme to match with another sources harmonies without changing some of the intervals notably, so don't be afraid to change the size of the intervals for important themes if it helps harmonize it better with whatever music you have underlying it. As long as you don't change the shape of the theme, it will still be recognizable.

Rhythm and beat pattern is a powerful motive in its own right. If a source has an iconic beat pattern (say, MM2 Wily 1's famous '2 gallop + three 8th note' pattern), people will make the connection between the sources no matter what notes or shapes you make with them. As far as submittable material it'll give you a funny look on the panel claiming it as source, but using rhythms as compositional glue to keep it grounded in more original sections can really help make something sound cohesive.

There are all sorts of smaller tricks to the trade, here, but these should help on a more general level. I'm hoping this turns out to be a great compo, with lots of solid music and growth for people here. :)

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Fully agree with DS and Gario on this. Definitely the form; it helps a lot if you just pick A as your first source, B as your second source. And of course you can just use a part of that source's melody, no need to do the full line. My Megaman track "Never Gonna Give (Up The Funk)" is a good example of that; it uses a part of Cyber Maze Core for A in the verse, another part for the bridge, a part of Gravity Beetle for the chorus, and another part of Cyber Maze Core for the solo. You can even get away with playing the 2 leads at the same time frequently.

For me, having a loose idea about form and some 8/16 bar blocks that have the source material in it so I can shove them around in my DAW is a great idea to crystallize that form. Those can be pretty basic blocks, with just some drums, bass and snippets of the leads of both the sources. It's a great way to mix and match the sources and try out ideas because you quickly get a feel for what flows well and what doesn't.

A variation of Gario's rhythm and beat patterns is that you can frequently re-use an arp, a bassline or some short melodic figures quite easily. Especially if you have some of those basic blocks, it can be a quick way to fill our your arrangement more and to include more reference to the source.

Oh, and for the folks that worry about music theory because of all the scales, intervals, tonics mentioned: I don't know a lot of music theory, but I've learned to trust my ears and feeling and my taste. If the theoretical and technical side of things is not your strongest suit, don't forget that you have team mates to bounce your ideas off and get quick feedback. Just trust yourself and let your team mates help you out in the things you're still learning. And yes, how to combine sources can definitely be one of those things. I'm more than happy to help out my team mates with this at least :)

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Folks, I've adjusted the schedule for the competition a little bit. I've added two Breaks to the competition, each occurring after a Boss Battle round. In the last compo I ran, the SFRG, some competitors expressed some fatigue at going full bore for the 9 weeks of the competition. Also, certain mechanics of the competition depend on the outcome of the boss battles, so we can't actually push forward with the competition until voting is complete. During the week-long breaks, I think it would be good for people to revisit tracks from the previous four rounds and do some reviews and give constructive feedback, especially for tracks on from opposing teams.

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