Rapidkirby3k

Music and remixes constantly sounds repetitive.

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Hey folks, while I'm slowly climbing back into not just art, but primarily music here, I have this problem with this large hurdle I've been meaning to cross.

Recently, I wanted my music and remixes to sound less repetitive and/or cover-like, but I constantly keep falling into the trappings of these major flaws when it comes to composing.

As I understand that it takes practice trying to avoid doing so, any further ideas of what to do in this kind of situation? Thanks in advance!

Edited by Rapidkirby3k

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A few things that work very well for me:

  1. I only take the lead stuff (melodies) from the source track and forget about the rest (e.g. chord progressions, basslines, etc.). 
  2. Up-front I usually already have an idea for the genre/style I want to do, and I usually try to push myself to try new things and make the genre different from what the source track uses (e.g. make an orchestral Megaman track in stead of a more stereotypical rock arrangement)
  3. Arrangement structure is flexible; why stick with the exact structure that the source uses? No problem in turning the B section into a verse section, the C version into a chorus and use the A section as a solo, for example. In general, I write like 8-16 bars and then think "okay, I can either go more intense or less intense from here", make a judgement call based on that, and just run with it. Try to make it an organic part of your process and just treat it as an original, I guess (there's a reason I call my remixes "originals with stolen melodies").

Hope this helps some.

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Same as Jorito on point 1, although I won't just take the lead melody, but other elements in isolation. A cool bassline can be a lead melody. Or vice versa.

I'll then iterate on whatever elements I want to use, over original backing, or in isolation. It helps to be able to play an instrument here, even if you're not very good at it, as it's much faster to iterate on the parts you're using that way. Just improvise, jam, mess around, and you'll come up with a lot of cool ideas that you'll want to incorporate into an arrangement. This is why my arrangements end up a bit loooong.

Then it's just a matter of tying them together in a way that makes sense. Sometimes I do that well. Sometimes... not.

Making "originals with stolen melodies" (great phrase) is a good way to break away from the structure of the sources. You can start from a rhythm not found in the original and add elements from the original to it, and adapt them as needed, or write new material to support them. A new rhythm goes a long way to preventing a remix form being too much like the original, even if chords and melodies are the same.

Edited by Rozovian

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In case you’re not perfect at transcribing tunes to midi already: I’ve always had the best results relying purely on ear, trying to transcribe parts of any given tune that I really fancied, but once I get something I like I just more or less roll with it.
It’s good exercise: rewarding on the one hand to nail a difficult part verbatim once in a while, but it’s also possible to turn a couple mistakes into a happy accident combo and get something derivative but highly original, if you’re lucky.

there’s many many ways to tackle creative arranging, but this is probably the best short balanced advice I can think of for someone learning the ropes: don’t use midi, train your ear, but don’t aim for perfection unless you really want to, instead see if whatever mistakes you might make can be turned into a virtue.

 

it’s sort of a jazz staple, only not in real time. Poor man’s Jazz if ya will!

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On 3/29/2020 at 5:56 AM, Nase said:

In case you’re not perfect at transcribing tunes to midi already: I’ve always had the best results relying purely on ear, trying to transcribe parts of any given tune that I really fancied, but once I get something I like I just more or less roll with it.
It’s good exercise: rewarding on the one hand to nail a difficult part verbatim once in a while, but it’s also possible to turn a couple mistakes into a happy accident combo and get something derivative but highly original, if you’re lucky.

there’s many many ways to tackle creative arranging, but this is probably the best short balanced advice I can think of for someone learning the ropes: don’t use midi, train your ear, but don’t aim for perfection unless you really want to, instead see if whatever mistakes you might make can be turned into a virtue.

 

it’s sort of a jazz staple, only not in real time. Poor man’s Jazz if ya will!

As a music person who listens by ear, I usually rely on that anyways. ;) And thank you so much for the advice, everyone!

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