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How do you write your music?

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ReverendHerby
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How do you write your music? Nov. 11th, 2012 @ 07:05 PM Reply

This is especially aimed at those who produce electronic music, because I'm curious. Do you hear something in your head and then try to create that on the computer? Do you play around with a keyboard? Do you just put notes together in a program until it makes something you like?

Personally, I don't know how to play keyboard whatsoever. I'm a guitarist (well, primarily a bassist and drummer, but I play a bit of guitar as well), and I write almost everything on guitar. I'll play something, put it on the computer, then play over it to find the next part. Sometimes, I'll do the same thing on an electric bass, but for the most part, I write everything on an acoustic guitar. Does anyone else do something similar?

ChimeraNoise
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 11th, 2012 @ 07:09 PM Reply

I do the exact same thing. I, too, am primarily a physical musician. If I knew how to play keyboard it would be a different story. But, alas, I do not.


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Tydusis
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 11th, 2012 @ 11:41 PM Reply

Well, I started out with zero knowledge and zero physical skill. Then I found a "training wheel" program (Audiotool in my case) where I started experimenting and making things without really knowing why they worked. I had only the ear for music back then. Then I started trying to pay closer attention to why the music I was "assembling like legos" worked. Then I took what I learned then and migrated my entire production and operation to Modplug so I could learnn how to make it all from scratch. I recently got a keyboard, which has greatly helped me understand music theory much better, now that I can physically practice what I learned and am still learning.
So for me, I use all three options. Sometimes I start at the computer level; sometimes, the physical level, and sometimes just sheer chaotic combination of the two.


Latest Creation: Wiretapped Wormhole | Website: Tydusis.com | Also, check out this webcomic I like: Inhuman

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bassfiddlejones
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 01:11 AM Reply

Knowing how to play keys is invaluable to me as a composer. I'm also primarily a bassist who plays guitar/drums and some other stuff, but picking up keys was the best decision I've made in regard to composition. If you're going to continue to write using a midi controller, I'd say start practicing on that keyboard!

As for my writing process, a lot of it starts with picking virtual instruments that sound appealing to me from my library, then playing around on my keyboard until I find a theme I like. I build from there. Occasionally I will use theory to map out an entire song, then fill in the blanks. Much less fun, but usually ends up more coherent in the end.

Buoy
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 01:15 AM Reply

I almost always know what I want it to sound like before playing it on the keyboard/guitar or writing it into a sequencer. It wasn't like that before but it is now

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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 02:11 AM Reply

Normally, I'm just messing around in the piano roll. I sort of have a template of what I want most of my melodies to be like, so once I figure out a bassline, I start making a melody using that "template". But sometimes, I'll randomly come out with a cool melody as I'm making the bassline, so it varies on how I make my music.

I'm also a guitarist/bassist, so if I get a nice chord progression by playing those, I'll most likely put it into FL and let the magic work from there using methods mentioned above.

AetherX
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 03:47 AM Reply

There are two different ways a track starts out for me.

The first:

Step 1 - After releasing my previous track I've fallen into a creative rut. How could I come up with an idea as good as my last one? That was just luck, after all.

Step 2 - In desperation to do something musical, I try to make a cool synth sound, or follow a tutorial.

Step 3 - Whilst working on said cool synth sound, I am of course dicking around on my keyboard to see what it sounds like as I go.

Step 4 - In my dicking around, I accidentally play something that sounds really catchy.

Step 5 - I excitedly plug my discovery into the piano roll and do one of two things: get to work right away, or save the project and decide to come back another day when I'm not so tired (because I'm always tired when I get inspiration). If I choose the second course, I end up forgetting about it and it goes nowhere. Thus is the sad life of musical ideas.

The second:

Step 1 - After releasing my previous track I've fallen into a creative rut. How could I come up with an idea as good as my last one? That was just luck, after all.

Step 2 - While listening to one of my favorite songs, I begin to look at it from the view of a producer rather than a listener (not advised, it can make some songs significantly less enjoyable), and realize "hey! I can do that!"

Step 3 - I sit down in my DAW and begin replicating the song that I was listening to. Naturally, I fail miserably.

Step 4 - From the ashes of failure, however, comes something that actually sounds pretty decent (although nothing like the track I was trying to replicate).

Step 5 - Since I've usually put a fair amount of work into these songs already, they usually end up finished rather than forgotten.

But yeah, being able to play keys helps a lot. I'd suggest you at least learn the basics.


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MetalRenard
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 04:37 AM Reply

I find it amazing how often people ask the same question over and over, despite there being a thread about this ON THE SAME PAGE already. Crazy.
http://www.newgrounds.com/bbs/topic/1323739
Here is your answer. :)

My advice is, if you want to make electronic music, then write it as if it's not electronic music or you'll sound the same as a million other people.


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retrobox2
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 06:51 AM Reply

Well it depends on the producer. When I do my stuff most of it is based on good melodies but if you hear other people you will see that their music are based in a amazing synth and not in an amazing melody. For me if something sounds good in piano it will sound good in electronic music but it depends in the genre. Most of the dance music the melody is what gives life to the song. Now in genres like dubstep that you use more effects, and distorted or detuned synths to make it, so is pretty hard to that stuff using a piano. If you listen to some dubstep you can hear that in some of them there is no actual melody besides the tonic of the chord. So it depends on how you want to hook the people to your songs.

ReverendHerby
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 08:35 AM Reply

At 11/12/12 01:11 AM, bassfiddlejones wrote: Knowing how to play keys is invaluable to me as a composer. I'm also primarily a bassist who plays guitar/drums and some other stuff, but picking up keys was the best decision I've made in regard to composition. If you're going to continue to write using a midi controller, I'd say start practicing on that keyboard!

I know where all the notes on a keyboard are, I'm just not very familiar with it, so I have to think about where each note is. I don't read sheet music though; would you consider that necessary? I understand how it works, I just never use it, so it takes me minutes to read a few measures.

dem0lecule
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 10:30 AM Reply

With the piano roll on the sequencer, I need no musical theory at all. Same goes for using a tracker. Although recently I play all my ideas on keyboard before inputting to the program.


What comes around goes around...

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Ectohelix
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 11:24 AM Reply

Up until recently I've just been doing 'what sounds good' on the piano roll. Lately though I'm learning a bit of music theory (piano teacher), and using a maestro app on my media player (android) to compose melodies, then transferring them to the piano roll via midi. This way it sets the rules in place for music theory, however if I want to bend them, I still can.

It's not perfect, but it works OK I guess...


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sweet21
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 11:41 AM Reply

I cant play a single instrument in real life. I dibble dabble on the keyboard for abit, nothing sounds right though. The idea in my head never translates to the keyboard.

Whats worse is I cant write down my ideas. Im changing that though. I've been looking up music theory lessons on the internet and 'how to write sheet music' lessons as well.

To answer your question, it used to be try to translate the idea in my head on the keyboard, but thats grossly ineffective so im trying to learn how to read music.


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GFRetro
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 01:59 PM Reply

I'm basically the same. I don't really write music because I can't. I'll hear random melodies in my head and try to make them. That's basically it lol


-GF Retro

Braiton
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 02:00 PM Reply

I usually have an idea in my head. I try to replicate and iron that idea in a real instrument (keyboard,guitar,etc). When I'm happy with what I'e got I write that down. Then I record.

Lich
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 02:12 PM Reply

I think of something in my head and note it down in exactly what key I think of it as and then I guesstimate the note lengths and dump the result straight into FL's Piano Roll where I can then either Design the sound required or use a preset.
Repeating the above process, I finally finish off the composing part and then deal with the nightmare of trying to master without Monitoring speakers.


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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 02:47 PM Reply

At 11/12/12 01:59 PM, GFRetro wrote: I'm basically the same. I don't really write music because I can't. I'll hear random melodies in my head and try to make them. That's basically it lol

Yeah, this basically. Probably for a lot of us. :)


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Atlas
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 03:18 PM Reply

For me I just open FL, get some vst's I like, start making little loops using my keyboard and then usually say good job me and don't save.


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Thief1337
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 05:10 PM Reply

At 11/11/12 07:05 PM, ReverendHerby wrote: Do you hear something in your head and then try to create that on the computer?

Yes, at first.

After that, it's all about creativity and how can I come up with a good 'follow-up'. It's like writing a story. Things happen on their own, you have to let the story work on yourself.

It all comes down to plain musical creativity. It's an inner talent, not just physical/technical. You 'have it' or you don't.


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midimachine
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 12th, 2012 @ 08:20 PM Reply

with my dick


p.s. i am gay

dragon-teenager
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 14th, 2012 @ 04:47 PM Reply

I literally just dick around until something halfway decent comes out, and then I whack at it until it sounds good.

This is not a science.

Seismoz
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 14th, 2012 @ 07:45 PM Reply

At 11/11/12 07:05 PM, ReverendHerby wrote: [...] Do you hear something in your head and then try to create that on the computer? Do you play around with a keyboard? Do you just put notes together in a program until it makes something you like? [...]

I mostly do a combination of all three :P most of the time i have a rough idea of what style i wanna make (and i fail every time). Then i set the basic things up in renoise and once thats done i try to find some melodies that might fit via playing random stuff on the keyboard. And not on a cool midi keyboard but on my computer keyboard.

Mkay :)

la-yinn
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 15th, 2012 @ 05:10 AM Reply

I don't write music, I click music. And when I say click, I do mean I smash the left mouse button with the force of a hundred raging berzerkermen.


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Quarl
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 15th, 2012 @ 05:29 AM Reply

At 11/11/12 10:35 PM, Corbetto wrote: Yeah i just play random crap on my keyboard until i hear something cool
At 11/12/12 08:20 PM, midimachine wrote: with my dick

When juxtaposed correctly, I use both of these tactics simultaneously.


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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 16th, 2012 @ 04:16 AM Reply

well it depends on what kind of genre I wanted to make. if i'm making trance then i mostley start with the chords or the pads on an easy scale and try to make them more complex. with Techno i mostley start with the bass and build a melody around it. I tried to make melo's whitch are in my head but they always fail in FL. I need a keyboard to do that but i don't have one.


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Sundans
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 16th, 2012 @ 05:07 AM Reply

Both of us have had background in musical instruments, but we generally produce everything by ear.


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Tanadrine-Studios
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Response to How do you write your music? Nov. 16th, 2012 @ 07:05 AM Reply

I'm not a music artist but i've had to make music for my content.

Usually, it just starts with a series of notes I form up in my head. I go through dozens; dismissing ones I don't like and refining those I do. When my brain finally decides on something that might work, I open up FL studio and just start placing notes on the timeline. I don't worry about instruments at first, and if the notes sound as good "on paper" as they do in my mind then I'll put down a chunk of notes, play around with instruments, experiment, etc until I get something that resembles my imagining.

There are probably far better, more efficient ways to approach this, but as I said music production is not my specialty; I only learned it out of necessity.