Something I have noticed is that people often listen to music passively. What I mean by that, is that they tend to play music in the background while doing other activities. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and it’s something that I catch myself doing a lot as well.
In fact, music is…
I agree with everything in this post, for the most part
Because you see at the same time I’ve noticed a trend in people who “actively” (should we draw the parallel between active and passive music enjoyment) listen to music, or at least those that are consistently engrossed in it (VERY common among composition and performance majors) have their own shortcoming.
Basically they lose themselves in the music.
Now on it’s own that’s a fairly confusing statement, but just think about it for a second. You see music has many many facets and components that come together to create something that sounds ~good~, but alone should those pieces sound good?
Well yes, but not as ~good~ as it could be with the whole. Like for example take the works of whatever your favorite musician is and listen to a single piece, isolate a single element from it - let’s just say the bass line and ONLY pay attention to it. Now recreate it in your head alone or with an instrument, heck even sing it out loud - just anything to get it by itself without the rest. While you may be hearing the part alone, odds are that in your head you are recreating the rest of the song to go with it, the other parts that cover it - the delicious melodies, harmonies beats that come together to create the final ~good~ness. That bass line sounded good alone, but it didn’t sound ~good~ - no, you needed to complete it with the rest of the song to fully appreciate it. Now that’s not to say that focusing on the bass line can’t improve your enjoyment, maybe a little nuance you never heard before or something you had never quite noticed, but thing is alone it’s not doing too much for you.
Now this may be a fairly overly large explanation but now take my example of the bass line and extend it to music as a whole. I’ve noticed quite often that music majors or anyone who spends the majority of their time working on music in some way tends to listen specifically to certain parts or aspects - not to say it HAS to be like a section of the song but just some aspect, be it how it works, how it’s performed, how it’s made or even sounds and ignore the rest. They miss the big picture, it’s not a song but an example, or a set of instruments corresponding to certain rules, or a set of cleverly engineered sounds.
All too many times I’ve met with a composition major who would listen to the work of some genre other then their area of interest and dismiss the music as not just “not their taste,” but specifically not good music.
Well seeing this as an atrocious level of flaunting one’s ego (who is one to say that someone else’s taste in music is not just different from their own, but specifically qualitatively bad?) I’ve pressed there sorts of people for further information on to them what makes music ~good~ and I’ve run into similar circumstances multiple times:
To these people they aren’t “listening” to enjoy a song at all, but are more so analyzing it in a specific area to see how well it conforms to certain rules they hold within them or have been taught, and gauging their enjoyment from there.
They have effectively “lost themselves” within music as they can’t see a song, but a set of sounds or instruments that may or may not be following rules and relations.
At it’s core music is a form of communicating ideas and emotions between people via sounds arranged in a “pleasing” manner, while how a song has been created or performed can definitely improve your enjoyment of a song if your enjoyment only depends on them you are missing the communication of the ideas and emotions of the song, you’re not thinking “how does this make me feel.”
In that manner as a musician sometimes you just have to sit back, and listen. Don’t analyze, don’t deconstruct, nothing Just listen and feel.
Why can't I hold all these pianos? Searching for a good tone
While writing Rarity’s theme one thing that constantly came up was disatisfaction with the piano’s tone, in many older versions it didn’t seem to punch through, it just sorta seemed muffled, in the background - not very good since it contains pretty much the main substance of the song. I spent much of the time making the song toying with the piano lead to get something that sounds good, you’d be surprised really the difference in sound quality different plugins of the exact same sound/instrument can get you.
*So let’s see, here’s the original piano I was using in the track, it’s from a plugin called Minigrand that came with Pro Tools 8.
Eh, it doesn’t sound much better does it - not even the magic of compression, dimension expander, EQ or chorus could make it a bit punchier. Basically it’s trying to clean up something that’s not very good to begin with.
So now what? Well let’s see what other sounds I have at my disposal
*Well at the time I was originally working on this, I only had Pro Tools 8 default plugins to work with - so in the world of pianos it’s Minigrand or Xpand!2 - a hybrid synth sampler that combines samples with synthesizers to cram a lot of sounds in a little space. Well let’s see what Xpand!2 has to offer, here’s the Workstation Piano setting layered with 3 octaves:
Eh it’s okay, but it doesn’t seem to fit the sound I’m going for, not to mention it sounds kinda cramped too, I’ve noticed a lot of sounds from Xpand!2 seem a bit like that, the sound’s not too bad but they lack depth.
*Okay so that’s not very successful, but the hunt is still on! It’s not my preferred method but there are plenty of great free plugins out there, thing is you have to search through quite a bit of bad ones first but nevertheless it’s worth a try. As a user of Pro Tools, I’m limited to RTAS plugins, there are quite literally little to no free RTAS plugins since unlike VST the format isn’t open source, nor is there a synthmaker equivelant in RTAS - so basically the only companies that have access to the RTAS format are the big ones that can afford it, IE the ones that charge absurd amounts of money for all their plugins. But that’s nothing the demo version of FL studio can’t help, so here we go - google search free vst piano and one of the first things that came up that seemed okay (I can’t remember the name honestly, it was quite minimalist - it literally had no user interface, you just sorta plugged and played it):
Still not what I’m going for, I tried various combinations of layering it with the other pianos yet nothing seemed to get a good clean piano tone that I was aiming for with the song.
*So after plenty of time working on the theme and tinkering with things one of the artists on the team Conner told me he had a friend (Oneki) who had some pretty good equipment who was willing to help with this sort of thing. So after getting in touch with him we went through a few hardware synths and some other plugins before coming to the one used specifically in the final version of the song, a software version of the Korg M-1 e-piano, it had the sort of sound I was originally imagining in the track.
It’s just interesting to hear the various little differences between plugins that do essentially the same thing, make a piano sound - there’s so many nuances and avenues to explore on even something relatively simple.
I’m now sitting in the music hall waiting for a friend to never arrive and hang out with me. I think he said we would do something at around noon but it has been half an hour and I have already finished the mixdown, more or less, of my collab with SGAP. The waveform looks really…
Remember this? You did practically all the work on this and all I provided was bass, some mixing and some plingy bell things (bells are appropriate in ALL occasions). Not to mention like all of your Circuit and BM stuff. You do plenty of work in collabs.
I actually was developing the theme over the course of a few months and kept adding thing upon thing to it, at which point the other guys felt I was over-working it so I decided to go back and revise and older version, here’s an unfinished one I was working on of the more overdev’d one (note it’s mainly slight differences): http://www.box.com/s/eqvk4sgnb308s7gbns4v
To avoid confusion - this version was decided against, the one on the youtube is the one that IS the altered older version.
I would’ve tried to put more Rarity song references in there but when I originally composed it all that was up was Art of the Dress, I really dig Becoming Popular and would probably end up putting a lot more references to it in there, maybe I’ll find some room in a different track for it.
Also a suggestion. What a lot of moombahton producers like to do is get a little vocal sample and put it right after the kick, and um, I hate to say this, but it definitely makes it 20% cooler.Just listen to anything by Dillon Francis, you’ll see what I mean.
Oh sweet I see what you mean, I’ll have to give it a try I think most of my vocals samples are female singing, I’ll have to look around for interesting things to sample in that case. I was considering chopping up the “where’s the balloon party” sample but I didn’t like how it cuts, I might just end up recording myself.
It seems like the easy part is coming up with the droppy thingy, coming up with something that fits the sound well earlier that’s more melodic…. seems a bit tougher, Moombah seems like a very rhythm and buildup oriented music, I don’t do buildup very well if I don’t have a melody to work with ;-;
Honestly most of my work here is just drums so far, I just took the saxes from the last mix even though the tempo’s been adjusted slightly - I’ll re-record them later, trying to get the groove down right now. Yay for Kontakt Abbey Road vintage drums.
Guitar and Male Vox: Derpidety Female Vox: Pinkie Skye Everything else: me
Just a random guitar doodle with no attention paid to timing or anything, just sort of a stream of conscious thing. I don’t know, I’m just trying to get better at just sitting down and spontaneously making music.
Yes I know I caught someone closing the hall door in the background.
I’d really like to animate that piece I did for Jackle because I really don’t like the whole screen to be just that hear with a question mark. It seems so boring to me and it just doesn’t settle right either.
HAHAHA ANIMATING IN GIMP
You can do it, but it’s horrible.
I really don’t know what I’m doing when I’m trying to make a gif in GIMP.
(It’s not that bad)
Gif animation in gimp ain’t hard.
You literally just have to take things frame by frame with a bunch of layers