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Tips for a newbie

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Ghostbishop
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Tips for a newbie 2013-01-02 19:54:25 Reply

I just started making music just about 4 weeks ago. I play four different instruments, so the issues of key signature and rhythm don't really bother me. However I seem to be having problems making good chord progressions, and my songs in general sound really dissolute and crappy. How can I make my music better? Are there any tips NG could give me? Also I'm not gonna spend 70-200$ on fl studio. So please don't even suggest that. Also I use LMMS (Linux multimedia studio), if that is any help. So yea, any tips are much appreciated. -Bacteriophage


Checkmate bitch, get used to hearing it.....

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WizMystery
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-02 21:38:38 Reply

At 1/2/13 07:54 PM, Ghostbishop wrote: -Bacteriophage

That's not your name >:O

dissolute

I've always had issues with this but within the last month or so I finally discovered why this happens.

Nine times out of ten it's the drums. For music with a single beat (EDM), removing the drums for a measure and putting them back in makes a transition easier. For music where you're going from one drum pattern to another, you probably need a drum fill.

The other one out of ten times is because of bad form. The "busy-ness" of each section is somewhat of a non sequitur, maybe you're going from something too simple to something too complex.

I don't know how good LMMS is, but you're going to want to invest in the right tools at some point. EQing, mixing, and mastering are all vital to the perception of your track regardless of whether you or your audience are consciously looking for those qualities.

LemonCrush
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-03 00:18:07 Reply

At 1/2/13 07:54 PM, Ghostbishop wrote: I just started making music just about 4 weeks ago. I play four different instruments, so the issues of key signature and rhythm don't really bother me. However I seem to be having problems making good chord progressions, and my songs in general sound really dissolute and crappy. How can I make my music better? Are there any tips NG could give me? Also I'm not gonna spend 70-200$ on fl studio. So please don't even suggest that. Also I use LMMS (Linux multimedia studio), if that is any help. So yea, any tips are much appreciated. -Bacteriophage

When I hit a road block with chord progressions, I listen to Jazz, or classical.

As for the dissolution and crappiness....mix better?

WizMystery
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-03 00:23:15 Reply

At 1/3/13 12:18 AM, LemonCrush wrote: dissolution.... mix better?

Wait a minute...

dis·so·lute
adj.
Lacking moral restraint; indulging in sensual pleasures or vices.

Ectohelix
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-03 10:01:05 Reply

At 1/2/13 07:54 PM, Ghostbishop wrote: and my songs in general sound really dissolute and crappy. How can I make my music better?

Could be a number of things. Frequencies overlapping, bad instruments (VSTs), bad samples, no track based mastering...

My advice is to keep it simple until learning what causes your problems.


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Jernemies
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-03 10:56:30 Reply

One thing that comes in mind is volume. I've told about that to LMMS newbies so many times I can't help but think about that D:
The other thing is that their songs generally barely evolve. In fact I think that might be one of your problems (can't tell, you haven't published any audio) :3. Yet another thing is that the newbies tend to use only crappy stock samples that come with LMMS, not trying to make them sound different (pitch shifting and reverb are simple tricks). The last thing I can think of is using only one drum beat without using fills or variations (which might play during the whole song), boring the listener to death.

As the last tip, I'd learn to use that ZynAddSubFX if I were you. :3 It's capable of great sounds, despite it being a bit clumsy with LMMS

stratkat
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-03 13:37:34 Reply

At 1/2/13 07:54 PM, Ghostbishop wrote: I just started making music just about 4 weeks ago. I play four different instruments, so the issues of key signature and rhythm don't really bother me. However I seem to be having problems making good chord progressions, and my songs in general sound really dissolute and crappy. How can I make my music better? Are there any tips NG could give me? Also I'm not gonna spend 70-200$ on fl studio. So please don't even suggest that. Also I use LMMS (Linux multimedia studio), if that is any help. So yea, any tips are much appreciated. -Bacteriophage

Download a pack of royalty free chord progressions, rearrange and add to them to sound different.

It's a pretty cheap thing to do to be honest, but it's a fast way to get a base for a full song set up, and no one will really be able to tell, since those parks are free, and meant to either be continued and/or edited.

Also tips on making your sound better, you're already on the right track just being able to hear the flaws in your music. Just practice, but not only practice, practice really doing the things you want to get better at. Experiment, and watch youtube videos to see how other people do it, try what they do. There seems to be so many ways to tackle things, some are easier to/for others.

DivoFST
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-03 14:33:48 Reply

You should try to see what are your options with the VSTi and Soundfonts, you can find some nice sounds on both for free and that will improve your sound quality.
About Chord progression try to emulate your favorite artists and then change some things, it is a good start.


No mather how good you are sometime, somewhere, somehow...
Someone will blow your mind and make feel a beginner again..

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jaysummers759885
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-04 09:52:13 Reply

I think that most important thing about any musical piece is the foundation. The progression should be simple, and honest. Once you have the chord progression figured out, then I would add all the bells and whistles.

I am still learning production myself, but as far as composition I have been doing it since I was 7 years old. Ironically, it is the recording technology that is limiting my writing style. It is because I keep forgetting to get down to basics first. It doesn't matter how fancy your VST's are, if you don't have a good foundation, it is going to sound like gibberish imo.

What has helped me in the past to write more versatile chord progressions are what they call modes. If you have studied music theory and such, you might have a grasp on what they are, but a basic break down is this:

Each chord you are playing has a basic structure via formula. For the Major chord ie.. C Major, the formula is 1,3,5. The notes are as follows C,E,G. This I am sure you know already, but by using a mode we are going to sharp one of the notes in the chord. The new chord formula is as such : 1,3,#5 This is an Augmented chord. C+ or C Augmented. This is an example of how modes can effectively change the chords that you are using in a key signature. By changing the scale by just one note, you have so many more chords you can use. For instance: 3, #5, 7. In the key signature of C Major, 3, #5, 7 is the E Major Chord. Making a change to that chord and mode in a song may present a change that you find pleasing, and willing to express. However, there are several other modes that you can work with, and I encourage you to discover all of them, if you haven't already.

Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, MixoLydian, Aolian, and Locrian.

Jazz, and Blues is a very versatile style of music. It does use these concepts quite a bit, so studying it will help a bunch in your trek. However, these concepts can be used in any style of music.

My advice is learn about modes, but also to remember to stay within your original expression, and don't allow them to jumble your mind, and perhaps make you write music more mechanically. Remember how you felt when you first played the guitar, and how it makes you feel when you play something that invokes emotion in you, and KEEP A HOLD OF IT!!! Because if it invokes emotion in you, then chances are, it will invoke emotion in everyone else.

Take care friend, and if you ever have any question for me, you know where my page is bruddah,

Later,

~J

BlazingDragon
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-04 10:06:24 Reply

Chord progressions cannot be copy-written, and literally hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of songs use the same chord progressions, even if those songs are in completely different styles and separated by decades.

"Collect" as many chord progressions as you can and write music based upon them. Take them from pieces that you like and lay your owns melodies over the top. Eventually, you'll build a strong sense of harmony and be able to branch off into more original material.

As others have pointed out, studying, analyzing, and listening to classical and jazz music will help you with harmony, but the important thing is to dive in and experiment. Find good ideas in music and actively use them. Don't just keep your knowledge theoretical; apply it.

Ghostbishop
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-04 17:31:30 Reply

Well I reluctantly posted an audio submission, my first, in fact. If you want to see why I'm so desperate for help, then check it out (it should be on my profile). And also (I know people are gonna laugh), how would one go about mastering, is it expensive, and most importantly, how much of a difference does it make?


Checkmate bitch, get used to hearing it.....

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SkyeWint
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-04 17:55:08 Reply

At 1/4/13 05:31 PM, Ghostbishop wrote: Well I reluctantly posted an audio submission, my first, in fact. If you want to see why I'm so desperate for help, then check it out (it should be on my profile). And also (I know people are gonna laugh), how would one go about mastering, is it expensive, and most importantly, how much of a difference does it make?

Listening to your song, it won't make much of a difference right now.

So from what I can see, you know how to use harmony, need to learn how to level music so everything is heard more clearly, and need to learn a *bit* more organization of ideas.

Most people use repeating chord progressions and do stuff on top of it, so that might be a place to start.

The most important piece of advice I think I can give you right now is... LISTEN TO OTHER MUSIC. But don't just listen, ANALYZE it. Try to figure out what you like about it, what makes it 'good'? Also, listen and find out what makes it bad. Try to do the things you like while avoiding the things that are bad. Experimenting is a good idea too, then you might find out another sound that's amazing and could let you make a better song.


Stuff.

My AIM piece is found if you clicky the image.

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BrokenDeck
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-04 21:33:30 Reply

At 1/3/13 01:37 PM, stratkat wrote:
Download a pack of royalty free chord progressions, rearrange and add to them to sound different.

It's a pretty cheap thing to do to be honest, but it's a fast way to get a base for a full song set up, and no one will really be able to tell, since those parks are free, and meant to either be continued and/or edited.

Don't do THAT. There's a name for that.

DUPLO.

Music made from duplo loops is against the upload rules.

Also, royalty-free does NOT automatically mean copyright free.

Maxximmox
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-05 10:51:25 Reply

Well just loved the music there you got your sense in them.


[{(::::....Maxximmox....::::)}]

jaysummers759885
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-05 13:35:29 Reply

At 1/4/13 05:31 PM, Ghostbishop wrote: Well I reluctantly posted an audio submission, my first, in fact. If you want to see why I'm so desperate for help, then check it out (it should be on my profile). And also (I know people are gonna laugh), how would one go about mastering, is it expensive, and most importantly, how much of a difference does it make?

``````````````````````````

After listening to your track, production seems to be key for you at this point. Learning the ins and outs of music theory is definitely a tool you can utilize, but it has been my experience that it is a method used to get you to the level, speaking strictly as far as composition, but also doing it in a quicker manner.

Learning a software, and finding out how it can improve the sound of the instruments you are using is your next step I think. By setting up different aspects of EQ, Compression,Stereo imaging, and Mastering, you will learn what you are working with. Not to say those are the only effects you can use, but certainly are very important. Once you have a grasp on making your VST's sound good, then I would move on to arranging them in composition.

When learning music theory, I had a beautiful live instrument to work with; the guitar. So as far as tone, and EQ, the guitar had that handled. I just needed to learn how to make it sound how it should in its natural state. Now a days, there are VST's, and they have come very far in creating beautiful tones, and vibrant distinction in the music industry. So the first step would be honing how your instrument SHOULD sound, and then learning how to use it.

Please allow these small, but important statements to ring true in your point of view, and allow this humble musician a chance to show you the way.

Later,

~J

samulis
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Response to Tips for a newbie 2013-01-05 14:10:46 Reply

You already have what I would call a good raw "ear", or what is really an internalized understanding of where the heck the music should go without consciously noticing and analyzing such, which is something that most people who play instruments, especially improv.

You need to practice working on Variation and Evolution... instead of just looping the same idea over and over again, build on it every time or modify it a little bit. My first tracks often had the same drum melody a bunch (I started on LMMS too, so don't feel like you have nothing). LMMS actually has a lot to offer... you just have to experiment and play around with it a bunch to get there.

You're at a stage where the best thing you can do is to just keep going and don't concern yourself much with the outside world other than drawing slight inspiration. When something doesn't work, get creative and move the notes around a bit and experiment until your ear says "that sounds good!" That is how I started and how I continued to work until I took some music theory classes.


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