Making music

Discuss NSF files, FamiTracker, MML tools, or anything else related to NES music.

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Tom
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Making music

Post by Tom » Sun May 31, 2009 11:00 am

I'm curious what process people go through when composing music. Do you start with the melody, and then add the other elements? Do you start with the instruments, or do you get the melody/harmony done first and get the instruments right later? Or do you not really have any process at all?

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B00daW
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Post by B00daW » Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:16 am

Depends on who you are and what you want.

Songs without goals are fun and usually shape into something neat if you keep going with them and stay motivated, confident and interested.

Otherwise a little structural planning is good too... Just sorta organize your frames as measures or half-measures (or whatever.) Figure out how many frames you wanna do before you do your refrain (or hook.)

Add the total amount frames first (or the frames of the first few measures) and skeleton out your melody in one or two channels with a premade or a basic instrument that can be edited later.

Once your skeleton is done you can add meat by editing the instruments or adding commands, DPCM, percussion... whichever. Some songs are best _started out_ with percussion. Just really depends on what the goal or loose goal is.

Experiment and find out what works best for you. That's the most important thing.

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Bregalad
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Post by Bregalad » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:41 pm

I'm not an experienced composed so it's hard to tell.
Often I admit I take an existing song and I think myself "I'd like to make one that sound like that", usually with 2 or more different songs, taking simple ideas from them. As long as you keep ending up with something relatively different (that will be the case normally) it's all right.

A good idea is to play with a piano until something comes up (and if something comes up you need some trick to remember it). And after arranging that something with different instruments on you computer, you can make variations on it, add something before and after it, etc...
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tokumaru
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Post by tokumaru » Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:27 pm

I'm pretty new to this as well, and I don't know much about music theory, so my methods are pretty weird. To get the basic melody I keep whistling until something "decent" comes out. I record that and run through a note recognition software to get the notes. This is all I've done so far, but I plan to build the rest around the basic melody.

Tom
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Post by Tom » Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:54 pm

What sort of note recognition software are you using? I planned on doing something similar but I haven't found any software yet.

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tokumaru
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Post by tokumaru » Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:28 pm

AKoff Music Composer 2.0 is pretty small and has given me the best results so far. It will create a mid file from wav or direct mic input. I usually whistle and have it convert in real time.

Then I open the mid in an editor (Anvil Studio, I think) to fix up some notes and tweak the melody a bit and finally get the names and durations of the notes.

Celius
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Post by Celius » Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:57 pm

When making music, I generally don't have a specific method of doing things. I usually think of what type of song I want played on a certain level or something and then experiment with various ideas on the piano or with Cubase, which is a wonderful program that does cost money. With Cubase you can define all of the notes you want played very easily and you can easily tweak melodies. I often write stuff on Cubase I never would think of while sitting at the piano.

As for harmonies and stuff, I usually quick play something random that could go along with the main melody and tweak it until it sounds good.

Another good thing to do for a game is to write a theme that you can incorporate into other songs in the game. For example, in my current platformer, the boss of the game music is going to include a sort of minor (musically minor, aka sad/dark) variation on the title screen music, which I see as the main theme of the game.

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Banshaku
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Post by Banshaku » Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:54 pm

I don't really know my note while writing music so it make it harder. Usually there will be an idea that will come out of nowhere (on the bus, in the shower etc) and if I have the chance to write it in the tracker, I may be able to keep that idea. Since I don't know my notes at all and cannot write it down, if I'm too far from a tracker, too bad: idea is gone. I lost many song idea this way.
B00daW wrote:Songs without goals are fun and usually shape into something neat if you keep going with them and stay motivated, confident and interested.
And if you're not organized and work out of inspiration, you better try to finish your idea ASAP. If not.. It's hard to add to them later. I had a week full of inspiration, started many songs idea but never finished them. Now I cannot add anything that sound good to them. Maybe I need another inspiration phase or it is just that I suck at music anyway :)

I always wanted to post my early draft here to know how people think my songs are but I think I'm not great at music so I never did it. Maybe I will do someday and that will give me more inspiration to finish them. It's a nice community here so maybe I will be able to have an idea how my songs early draft sounds like.

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tokumaru
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Post by tokumaru » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:46 pm

Banshaku wrote:I lost many song idea this way.
If I have an idea for a melody when I'm outside I'll quickly get my MP3 player and record myself whistling it. Yeah, I do get a few looks, but whistling on the street shouldn't be that weird... =)

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Bregalad
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Post by Bregalad » Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:24 am

Well, it is possible to write the begining of a song, get out of inspiration, and get back to it one or two years later when you have completely forgotten about the song to get the second part done. It doesn't give optimal results, but it have worked for at least 2 songs I'm going to use in my NES game (the first 2 levels). My very favourite is the song I'll use on the 3rd level which I composed much faster.

Oh and yeah that's another thing, in a game you want to be sure the song heard on the first level is very good. If the music of the first level is crap, no matter what is played in other levels, the player is likely to be driven away.
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GradualGames
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Post by GradualGames » Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:31 am

My favorite approach to writing music is improvising on my piano. I record these improvisations, and sometimes I play something cool that I would have forgotten otherwise. I can listen to these recordings and pick out the cool stuff, and turn them into songs for games or just for its own sake.

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