how do you make your music?
BotB Academy Bulletins
Level 19 Mixist
post #27195 :: 2013.05.04 8:36am
  brightentayle liēkd this
I'm kind of intrigued as to how you guys start your songs!! I can't really make something unless I have a doodle to start with, and then I usually create the song from around there. I'll also possibly bring in tunes from other doodles and fit them in that same song if I can as well. I find it really difficult to make good intros so I usually leave that last, but what about you?
Level 25 Mixist
post #27197 :: 2013.05.04 9:00am :: edit 2013.05.04 10:02am
  TQ-Jam, sethdonut, mootbooxle, commandycan, Slimeball, Doxic, cce, Tuxxy Brown and skinnyhead2000 liēkd this
Yea, I totally dig what you're saying. Overall, I think it helps a ton to study/play other people's music. It's one thing to listen and another to take the time to play it on an instrument(or perhaps cover it if the tracker is your instrument). This builds up your musical vocabulary over time in a natural way.

I'm usually simultaneously trying to digest both jazz and classical pieces. Classical stuff is chock full of great examples of what you can do with melody, harmony and rhythm. As I'm becoming a more proficient player, I'm finding that the starting point of writing something gets easier and easier. More and more lately I can just sit down, play around and have fun with ideas that are usually influenced by what I've been playing recently, what I've been listening to and also what's been going on in my life.

Hope that helps : P


If you're having a particularly hard time with intros, why not take some time to study intros from other songs in the styles you're interested in?

Also, I'm a big supporter of treating your composition like a bonsai tree of sorts. I usually start off fairly quickly with general ideas and forming the overall skeleton, but then spend literally dozens of hours combing through it again and again until I'm satisfied with the level of detail(or until the deadline hits!)

(editx2)To add more to the bonsai tree thing, I was relieved to hear Koji Kondo admit in an interview something like, "Yea, I take more time than anyone here at Nintendo to write music. It usually takes me a whole month to write 2-3 minutes of music." I dunno how you feel about Kondo's music, but there are scary amounts of concision and detail in just about everything he's ever written for games. I imagine this slow cooking process of his is a big part of what makes his writing so effective for the tasks he's given.
Level 21 Criticist
post #27198 :: 2013.05.04 9:35am :: edit 2013.05.04 9:37am
  kfaraday and mootbooxle liēkd this
World renowned gyms-level polish
(Locally renowned rainwarrior Polish sausage)

Different styles of songs start in different way. Sometimes it's and hour of playing with a synth until there's a good timbre, and then a short sequence is made, and then other insturments/percussion to accompany it, then go back and flesh out an intro of those accompaniments leading to the synth part. Sometimes it starts with rhythm and nearly the entire duration of a song is completed with perc only, then add harmonic content with arps/moving bassline, then fill in some melodies possibly with counter melodies being guided by the harmony. Sometimes start with those arps to experiment different harmonic progressions I'm not comfortable with, add melody, add embellishments to arps, and completely forget about percussion :S
Level 27 chipist
post #27199 :: 2013.05.04 11:26am
  radian, VirtualMan, null1024, Doxic, Tilde, skinnyhead2000, Xyz, Chip Champion and ant1 liēkd this
  trough, gyms and goluigi hæitd this
Level 25 Chipist
post #27200 :: 2013.05.04 11:38am
  VirtualMan, goluigi, iamgreaser, skinnyhead2000, mootbooxle and Doxic liēkd this
Usually I start with a small "seed", maybe a 1 pattern loop that sets the tone of the piece. Then I start thinking of places it can go, ways it can transform or transition, and I usually plan out the overall flow/structure of the whole piece, and I'll know how roughly long it needs to be and where it's headed. Often at this stage I'll go to the piano and work out some harmony to use. Then I start filling things in (revising the plan if something interesting comes up). Once it's all together I usually need a few passes of revision before I'm happy with the result.

For OHCs I just do whatever. There's not much time to think or plan.
Level 21 Chipist
post #27201 :: 2013.05.04 11:39am
  goluigi liēkd this
Some of my work just comes from an idea I had floating in my head, for example I usually make up random melodies while I am working at night, (Autumn Colors is an example of that) and sometimes when I get home I write down the basic skeleton of the song and then continue to work on it throughout the day/week. For OHC's I just randomly pick a chord or a few notes and go from there, sometimes starting with a bassline and other times starting with my melody.

Maybe if I stop writing random things and actually tried to compose something musically I would be a better composer. :o
Anyhow, After the skeleton and basics I just improvise ontop of that, and every frame after, I just tend to go where I feel it should go. I always listen to what I am writing an ungodly amount of times (not even kidding) and usually tweak volumes and certain rhythms while doing so. Sometimes I will go back and add a few frames here and there if I feel something doesn't shift right or just isn't long enough. I rarely spend more than a week on any given track, I should probably work on that :o
Level 15 Playa
post #27202 :: 2013.05.04 12:44pm
  skinnyhead2000 liēkd this
I find this thread very interesting, because so far I have just used the "Brute Force" or "OHC" method. rainwarrior said there is no time to work out complex structures in an OHC, so you just do whatever.

For me the difficult part is sticking to a structure.
Rhythmical structures are less of a problem, but I have a hard time with chord progression.
Last year I tried to force myself to use certain structures that I planned out, but I never really got anywhere with that.
Going the OHC route has made me more comfortable with using trackers and now I find it easier to try different things out.
That's why I want to retry making a structure for a song first for spring tracks. I have a couple of ideas and I pay close attention to them being something I have never tried before.
It's going to be quite challenge, but I hope I'll learn a lot along the way :3
This thread has given me a lot of inspiration on how to approach this!
Thanks guys for sharing C:
Level 28 Chipist
post #27203 :: 2013.05.04 1:49pm :: edit 2013.05.04 1:49pm
  rainwarrior, goluigi, Grumskiz and Slimeball liēkd this
silly octave bass
4/4 kick
snares maybe
then randomtrack a lead over it

Now you too can make nullmusic!

also, multi-channel echo on everything but the drums
Level 24 Chipist
post #27204 :: 2013.05.04 1:58pm :: edit 2013.05.04 1:59pm
  Tilde and Slimeball liēkd this
And gyms sayeth:

"Also, I'm a big supporter of treating your composition like a bonsai tree of sorts. I usually start off fairly quickly with general ideas and forming the overall skeleton, but then spend literally dozens of hours combing through it again and again until I'm satisfied with the level of detail(or until the deadline hits!)"

This quote pretty much embodies my songwriting process, but sometimes if I'm unsatisfied with parts upwards of 20 seconds long I will remove them outright, so my 'skeleton' as it were is ever-changing. That's not to say that my song structures suffer as a result of removing parts, just that I think it's a good idea to remove weaker parts of the structure to make way for better ones. That might be part of what gyms implied by 'combing' but I'm not sure so I am reiterating. :y

Also it is a good idea NOT to listen to a song often when it is in an unfinished state. While it might seem like a good idea to get really familiar with the work-in-progress so that you can have a clearer idea of where you want to take it, I have found that, personally, I struggle coming up with parts to a song if I am used to hearing it as the unfinished piece. If you want to dedicate more than a couple days to a song, any time you stop working on it you should try and give yourself a good starting point for the next time that you work on it; it's a good warmup process and it should also help prevent mental roadblocks.

It is also important to like the songs that you are working on. Any predisposed notions about narcissism should be left to the wayside. Your songs are an extension of anything that inspires you so it should only be natural that you are making a song that you would want to listen to.
Level 24 Chipist
post #27206 :: 2013.05.04 2:46pm
  VirtualMan, trough and skinnyhead2000 liēkd this
tend to write it pattern by pattern in the tracker

i.e. i write the first pattern and then i write the second pattern and then i write the first pattern

sometimes i reuse patterns or whatever but what i am saying is that i don't do x patterns of drums and then go back and put a bassline over it

i also tend to start at the start and end at the end. usually my orderlist naturally ends up something like 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 0 is almost always the first pattern, i don't tend to write "intros"

so basically i just make it in the same order it will be listened to. but that requires quite a lot of conviction that you've done The Right Thing (i am a narcissist) and being able to resist the temptation to tweak and reorder (i am lazy)
Level 30 Chipist
post #27207 :: 2013.05.04 2:53pm
  tonreihe, VirtualMan, Slimeball, goluigi, Jangler, skinnyhead2000 and commandycan liēkd this
like a neurotic jerk haha

sometimes i have ideas in the shower but they're not really notes
Level 28 Chipist
post #27208 :: 2013.05.04 3:10pm :: edit 2013.05.04 3:12pm
  commandycan liēkd this
"Your songs are an extension of anything that inspires you so it should only be natural that you are making a song that you would want to listen to."

Best advice.

"so basically i just make it in the same order it will be listened to. but that requires quite a lot of conviction that you've done The Right Thing (i am a narcissist) and being able to resist the temptation to tweak and reorder (i am lazy)"

It's certainly easiest to fall into this when OHCing, where there isn't much time to reorder. Hell, I'll just insert a new pattern between if I don't like how one pattern goes into another instead of trying to reorder usually [so an orderlist like ...02,03,06,06,04,05...].

I kind of wish I was better at transcription [my own fault for not practicing :P ], so I could hum out a melody and put it in the tracker. It'd certainly be better than how I track right now.

One thing I remember doing a few times ages ago was tracking one master pattern, duplicating it a half-dozen or so times, and muting channels to build up and break down the song. It works in a pinch [eg, < 30 minutes to track].
Level 25 Mixist
post #27214 :: 2013.05.04 6:22pm :: edit 2013.05.04 6:28pm
  Tilde, null1024, goluigi, Jangler, Slimeball, Grumskiz, zanzan and Doxic liēkd this
zan you ding dong

also, what's up with the shower being a magical place for ideas? i've heard probably 101 people mention this to me in my lifetime at this point. i wish my shower did that. perhaps i'm not inspired enough by my own nudity ;o
Level 30 Chipist
post #27217 :: 2013.05.04 6:52pm
  tonreihe, Tilde, skinnyhead2000, Grumskiz and Doxic liēkd this
running water falling on yr head is like the zenmaker (*>* )

hey i'd install a waterfall in my bathroom if i could
Level 21 Chipist
post #27218 :: 2013.05.04 6:54pm :: edit 2013.05.04 6:55pm
  goluigi, Slimeball and Grumskiz liēkd this
kfaraday music: inspired by my nudity! :D

Edit: wait not my (doxic) nudity, my (kfaradays) nudity
Level 30 Chipist
post #27219 :: 2013.05.04 6:54pm
  tonreihe, Tuxxy Brown, Jangler, Slimeball and Doxic liēkd this
! oh my
Level 24 Mixist
post #27222 :: 2013.05.04 7:06pm
  VirtualMan and skinnyhead2000 liēkd this
I start off with a rhythm; a drumbeat.
then I choose a key and think of a harmonic motif.
afterwards I counterpoint that motif with a fairly static supporting bass line.

next I add arps and echo

Finally I choose a harmonic motion for the motif created earlier that sounds cool to me (cuz who needs resolution amirite?) and then I use a direct chord following lead to tie it all together most of the time.

This way, production becomes quicker as time passes in a song's development. (week-long compos start to sound 10x better than ohbs due to a more firmly grounded motif)
Level 25 Mixist
post #27223 :: 2013.05.04 7:06pm
  VirtualMan, goluigi, Tuxxy Brown, cce, Jangler, Grumskiz, Xyz, null1024, ant1, skinnyhead2000 and Doxic liēkd this
we should have an ohc where everyone's expected to take a shower for 20 mins and track whatever comes to mind
Level 25 Chipist
post #27225 :: 2013.05.04 7:09pm
  VirtualMan, goluigi and kfaraday liēkd this
I get ideas by stealing them from other music I listen to.

(Also, I try to listen to things that are kind of opposite of what I'm working on in the hope of finding some ideas to steal that are a little more fresh.)
Level 16 Chipist
post #27226 :: 2013.05.04 8:28pm
  skinnyhead2000 liēkd this
Level 24 Chipist
post #27227 :: 2013.05.04 8:33pm
  Jangler and skinnyhead2000 liēkd this
Level 25 Mixist
post #27228 :: 2013.05.04 8:35pm
  Doxic liēkd this
hay you make the best caterpillar songs i think that exists. also don't be so hard on yourself i mean wow you are in fact going through metamorphosis. manalive how nervewracking !
Level 16 Chipist
post #27229 :: 2013.05.04 8:42pm :: edit 2013.05.04 8:43pm
  skinnyhead2000, kfaraday, mootbooxle and Doxic liēkd this
don't even have hands not sure if moth or butterfly just way to stressed right now

i usually make a simple melody and let it repeat over and over and add layers as it goes.
Level 28 Chipist
post #27231 :: 2013.05.04 8:56pm :: edit 2013.05.04 8:56pm
  VirtualMan and Doxic liēkd this
"we should have an ohc where everyone's expected to take a shower for 20 mins and track whatever comes to mind"

I need to install a microphone in my shower just so I can remember what I hum... ;3
Level 25 Chipist
post #27239 :: 2013.05.05 12:00am
  VirtualMan liēkd this
I mentioned this briefly above, but a keyboard instrument is a really important part of my writing tools. I find it hard to write harmony/counterpoint in a tracker in general, but the problem is especially bad in Famitracker where the channels are so limited. If I'm working in 5 note chords, on the NES I need to play those broken, or try to imply tones that aren't played, or build icky arps, etc. so I find it really hard to create these kinds of chords effectively on the NES unless I know what they are before I start entering them in Famitracker. This is why I go to another instrument like the piano (or guitar, or something else if I can't find those) as part of the writing process.
Level 30 Mixist
post #27240 :: 2013.05.05 12:03am
  skinnyhead2000 and Grumskiz liēkd this
I get my best ideas when driving or taking a shower. I really am not well-versed in the brain science that this entails, but I know that it's something to do with occupying the left brain with some menial task while your right brain goes wild with creative impulses. There's a constant struggle to reach those creative places in the mind where new ideas can appear when you're focusing too much on "the real world". You have to take yourself to another place inside your head, all the while doing some sort of automatic physical activity which keeps the "reality" part of you occupied.
It's hard to think about creating some amazing piece of art when all you can think of at the moment is "I really gotta pee".

My process of creating music is never the same, but I'll give some examples of my usual methods:

1. Have a germ of an idea, be it a chord progression, rhythm, or melodic fragment, and let it play in my head on repeat while I edit it over and over, embellishing or simplifying it as I go. Sing it into a voice memo on phone or tape recorder. Play it on a keyboard or guitar. If it still sounds cool, add more interesting chord voicings and start to develop it into a song. Come up with other sections and structure the song. Make a quick demo version. Burn disc. Listen in car for couple weeks. Re-record with all the stuff I decided wasn't working and hopefully, at that moment, I have a complete Moot Booxle instrumental composition.

2. For songs with vocals, these are the ones that most often come while driving, showering, brushing my teeth, or even sleeping. I've got some great ideas in dreams for songs. Usually this is a sit-down-at-the-piano-or-guitar type of composition process where I just play chords and sing melodies and try to connect the dots in the story I'm trying to tell, or the emotion I'm trying to convey. I try to complete the first draft in one sitting, including a demo recording. If that's not possible, I'll hum what I have so far into a tape recorder or my phone and save it until I can.

Sometimes the composition process is very much like a chicken and an egg. You have to sit on that idea for a long time sometimes before it finally hatches. Some of my best songs have taken years to hatch. I had the initial spark or idea years before, which was when the egg was laid...and I've been sitting on the egg all this time whilst nurturing other ideas that are already formed.

My OHB process:
Tracker music: Scramble like mad to make something that sounds halfway decent, try to remember all the commands and keyboard shortcuts and fail, look stuff up, take too long on one sound or neat noise, submit late.
Allgear: Pick up an instrument, find the right tones, connect wires, mic things up, and just let the funk flow forth. Allgear OHBs are the easiest (and also most fun) thing for me to do.
Oh yeah, then get bogged down mixing the song and submit late.
That always happens.
Level 25 Mixist
post #27242 :: 2013.05.05 2:59am :: edit 2013.05.05 4:39am
  Xyz and rainwarrior liēkd this
Schoenberg wrote a few books on composition. Here's a quote from one of them that I found interesting(and agree with more as time goes on):

"A composer does not, of course, add bit by bit, as a child does in building with wooden blocks. He conceives an entire composition as a spontaneous vision. Then proceeds, like Michelangelo who chiseled his Moses out of marble without sketches, complete in every detail, thus directly forming his material.

No beginner is capable of envisaging a composition in its entirety; hence he must proceed gradually, from the simpler to the more complex. Simplified practice forms, which do not always correspond to art forms, help a student to acquire the sense of form and a knowledge of the essentials of construction. It will be useful to start by building musical blocks and connecting them intelligently.

These musical blocks (phrases, motives, etc.) will provide the material for building larger units of various kinds, according to the requirements of the structure. Thus the demands of logic, coherence and comprehensibility can be fulfilled, in the relation to the need for contrast, variety and fluency of presentation."

I also strongly agree with a couple things rainwarrior mentioned, about 'stealing ideas' and the importance of keyboard skills when it comes to voicing your chords.

"Stealing", not alluding to plagiarizing but simply being inspired by anything and not being ashamed of utilizing it, is essentially using ideas knowingly from a concept or situation. Relying on your own tastes and enjoyment of certain types of music is one factor, but another important one is understanding how to 'properly' analyze melodic, harmonic and rhythmic components and structures from classically established methods. It is an enormous asset I think.

For example, if you want to study song introductions within certain styles of music, how would you go about doing it? What what would you actually look for and focus on? Surely, using your own established musical senses would take you somewhere, but without a firm understanding of basic and classically established concepts such as harmonic texture(homophonic, homorhythmic, polyphonic, etc), phrases, motives, harmonic rhythm and such things, you'd be missing out on a lot of information and ideas that the music basically hands over to you without much resistance.

And regarding keyboard skills, more 'professionally' established composers than you might imagine learn how to play the piano despite it not being their main instrument. Guitarists, drummers, brass, woodwind and string guys all seem to learn,at least basic to intermediate, keyboard skills at some point in an ongoing professional career. And I keep pointing out "professionalism" here as way of saying, "a strong, demonstrable desire for continuous progress in their craft."... hey zan, stop looking at me like that...

But it's very valuable for arranging your composition, which is something else that's very important: the composition's arrangement. It's one thing to establish a chord progression and melody, the core composition, but voicing chords, building textures and assigning them to different timbres is a much more complex and involved skill. The keyboard is almost essential in developing more complex arrangements and still maintaining communicability between the features of the piece.

But yea, anyway I think classical music is so extremely important and valuable. I'd argue that any progressive musical movement in the past hundred years involved major players with classical backgrounds. Being able to read it, and understand the elements and arrangements involved, without much effort would feel almost like cheating, lol. It'd be just like having a little gremlin on your shoulder that constantly feeds you ideas.

Here's that Schoenberg book if anyone's interested: . Personally, I haven't really read too much of it, as I didn't feel like it could really help me too much, but I realize more lately that this was only because I really couldn't understand a lot of the verbage and dismissed the whole thing as, "lol, this is way too analytical, Schoenberg you dingus." But I'm finding it's actually quite practical and useful once you make it past the verbage hump(it basically just breaks down how to analyze shit from a classical standpoint and presents ideas on using what you find from this to adopt into your own musical language).
Level 27 Chipist
post #27248 :: 2013.05.05 5:54am :: edit 2013.05.05 5:55am
  Slimeball liēkd this
In my case, listening to all that SNES game music. Although it's blurred now with other sources (that's actually a good thing, as those type of references have stuck out like a sore thumb in the past since I recall the actual notation and sometimes either accidentally or intentionally use it), that was my main start... just listening to the music. Plus, it helped that I started off with MTV Music Generator 2, which gave me the notation. I think either that one or Digital Hitz Factory might have had a chord generator...

I make my music on the fly, and just go with the flow... although in the past, I've made segments that failed to connect. I usually attempt to incorporate it later on by hooking it up.
Level 25 Chipist
post #27265 :: 2013.05.05 9:40am
  Slimeball hæitd this
  gyms liēkd this
Schoenberg is my favourite, gyms.

I also recommend his Theory of Harmony (Harmonielehre) for a very thorough exploration of classical harmony. There's also a great book of essays called Style and Idea, which touches on a wide variety of topics. Kind of related, there is a little book called The Path to New Music by Anton Webern, which is a quick read, based on lectures he gave. I never really understood what Schoenberg meant by "musical idea" until I had it explained by Webern.

The nice thing about Theory of Harmony is that while it was intended to be a textbook on harmony, Schoenberg is really incapable of writing in an impersonal style, so it comes across more like his own odyssey through the ideas of harmony.

Of course, after writing the book on harmony, he proceeded to try and escape from it entirely, and everybody ended up hating his music. :O (Well, not everyone. I love all of it.)
Level 25 Mixist
post #27267 :: 2013.05.05 10:18am
  Slimeball hæitd this
  goluigi, rainwarrior and skinnyhead2000 liēkd this
i think slimeball has a poster of schoenberg above his bed.
Level 30 Mixist
post #27273 :: 2013.05.05 1:40pm
  Slimeball hæitd this
  orion and goluigi liēkd this
I <3 Schoenberg!

I may as well state here my honest opinion on music theory in general:

Music Theory is a thing to be learned, studied, analyzed, and internalized...And then promptly removed from the conscious process of making music. The goal is to reach a point where you know what works and why, so you no longer have to think about it. It's second nature. When you tie your shoes do you think about and analyze the process each time? I doubt it. And often if you think about it too much, you'll tie them wrong.
The same is true for creating music. Once the theory is locked in your head, you are free to express yourself unbridled by its constraints.
Level 25 Chipist
post #27277 :: 2013.05.05 6:58pm
  Tuxxy Brown, Slimeball, orion, mootbooxle and goluigi liēkd this
Theory isn't for composers. It's for people who want to study music. (Studying music can help your composition skills though.)
Level 30 Mixist
post #27278 :: 2013.05.05 8:19pm
  goluigi liēkd this
Well said man.

I guess the thing that I was trying to say, in a nutshell, is that it's critical to remove as many roadblocks as possible from the creative process.

I think you summed it up nicely.
Level 25 Mixist
post #27280 :: 2013.05.05 10:03pm
  null1024, goluigi, Warheart, mootbooxle and Doxic liēkd this
  Slimeball hæitd this
we need more theory books on tying shoes.
Level 30 Mixist
post #27290 :: 2013.05.06 12:29am
  Slimeball hæitd this
Level 12 Pixelist
post #27310 :: 2013.05.06 8:11am :: edit 2013.05.06 8:16am
  skinnyhead2000, Slimeball and gyms liēkd this
I all ways start from scratch, maybe that's a bad thing...
I probably should compose something before an OHC starts, but that's, idk, kinda cheating...
Or idk, maybe it's just because I've started with Famitracker like summer 2012 or something. I've been mostly doing covers and all my OHC entries are my first compositions that I've ever made.

I would love to see 2 or 3 Hour Compos, especially for n00bz like me, so we can have more time to learn exactly how we should think and do before composing anything. I've all ways wondered how some people here can cram in so much stuff in just an hour, or is it really just randomness?
Level 23 Mixist
post #27312 :: 2013.05.06 8:20am :: edit 2013.05.06 8:20am
  goluigi and Slimeball liēkd this
I don't even know. I don't really even have much knowledge on music theory. I guess I usually try to get inspiration from other songs and see where I can go from there, hoping I don't rip off other songs too much, because honestly I feel I really have a tendency to do that.

I started out using famitracker, but once I figured out how to use openmpt, I got more into that. There are still a great number of things I haven't quite figured out how to do in these trackers.

Conclusion: I'm still learning!!!
Level 25 Mixist
post #27318 :: 2013.05.06 8:50am :: edit 2013.05.06 9:17am
  kfaraday and Xyz liēkd this
warheart, i think music making ends up working similarly to a language. musical improvisation is just like language improvisation, which you do all the time! when you're talking to someone face to face, you're freely improvising. when speaking, you're simply drawing from the tons of memorized phrases you've come across in your lifetime and understand how to string them together with your developed knowledge of grammar(which is surely know always used intuitively!)

writing it all down is the same as music composition i think. ohb's are just like saying, "hey! you've got an hour to write something about x topic, g0g0g0!" but if you're unfamiliar with a lot of basic phrases used in the english language, of course you'd have a hard time and would 'talk around' things you wanted to communicate.

and grammar would definitely correlate with music theory. you of course learned to talk and listen before you could read, write and understand grammatical structures. i think it's the same progress with music.

(all this to sort of answer your question:

"I've all ways wondered how some people here can cram in so much stuff in just an hour, or is it really just randomness?"

i think ohb's for most everyone ends up being a furious scurry where there's not much time to think about what you're doing. so it comes down to that intuitive draw from things you know already mixed with what you actually want to say.)
Level 23 Chipist
post #27336 :: 2013.05.06 3:25pm
I usually start with the hook and elaborate from there, often putting down templates that I fill in later.

That's it. That's all I can contribute to this discussion.
Level 23 Mixist
post #27405 :: 2013.05.08 2:30am :: edit 2013.05.08 2:30am
  goluigi, trough, Doxic and Slimeball liēkd this
  zanzan hæitd this
and then some sort of lead and chords and whatnot

That's pretty much how I get it started.

Starting with the lead is actually a good idea though. I've done that a few times.

EDIT: Also make sure you have an A04 A03 swing going on
Level 19 Mixist
post #27406 :: 2013.05.08 3:38am
I don't post in many battles here because one hour is way too fast for my speed, but I have averaged 2 songs a month for more or less personal use, as I am not popular. I continue to do it, though, at this regular pace, because it brings me joy to mince and mush notes together. I do see the honest goodness in making something in one hour creatively, but I find myself, in my head, saying in so many ways, "okay, again... and again, but this time, with feeling. More heart magic." and that takes a while.
Level 24 Chipist
post #27433 :: 2013.05.09 3:30am
  sethdonut, skinnyhead2000 and kfaraday liēkd this
you're popular with me <3
Level 19 Chipist
post #27490 :: 2013.05.10 4:22pm
  Tilde, null1024, R3M, Slimeball, chunter, skinnyhead2000 and goluigi liēkd this
  gyms hæitd this
i press keys

i honestly don't know
Level 24 Chipist
post #27491 :: 2013.05.10 5:27pm
  Tilde, Slimeball, sethdonut and mootbooxle liēkd this
My method is actually closest to Svetlana's.

I used to make a point to write/code every time I had a good idea and save it for a day to elaborate, editing again and again until finished.... and for the most part that's how I still do it.

There is nothing wrong with visiting a past idea. There is nothing wrong with starting with an idea that seems to work well as long as it remains inspiring. There are lots of exercises you can use to challenge yourself to avoid things you do all the time. Try them all as you learn them.

Try everything and you'll never run out of ideas.
Level 30 Mixist
post #27492 :: 2013.05.10 7:02pm
  Tilde, sethdonut, kfaraday and skinnyhead2000 liēkd this
Good thoughts chunter. For me, there's never a shortage of ideas or inspiration, only motivation to actually apply them.
I have a 15-year archive of unfinished songs for that reason. Sometimes I mine my own archives and finish old ideas, and come up with something way better than I could have at the time. Never give up on an idea. Just let it sit and marinate. It will be of use to you sooner or later. :)
Level 14 Pixelist
Tuxxy Brown
post #27556 :: 2013.05.12 5:46pm
  Tilde, Slimeball, goluigi and skinnyhead2000 liēkd this
i think i have the bad habit of treating an hour like i only have two minutes before i have to go somewhere
Level 23 Mixist
post #27575 :: 2013.05.13 7:43am
I also have a bad habit of rushing things as well. Something I hope I can turn around.
Level 28 Chipist
post #33432 :: 2013.11.13 11:26pm :: edit 2013.11.13 11:28pm
  Slimeball liēkd this
wow i remember when this thread was active in may and i sorta just skimmed through it for some reason :(

but i ended up somehow (?????????????//////?) accidentally finding this thread now 6 months later wow and since i like this thread and i needed an excuse for myself not to sleep so i read every comment here in depth now. so now im going to say what i think!

i think i start music like rainwarrior does, a small little seed pattern/phrase/section. however (dont shoot me wow) i cant plan out the whole structure of a song when i only have this one little thing. instead i sort of make like 20000000000000 more patterns (wow sorry ive been brainwashed by sexmodit and im thinking in patterns!) and end up trying to see which one i like the best. i usually write my songongongongs way out of order too (even within the individual phrases of a section!), it's probably the least professional or musically correct way of writing but it seems like the most fun way (at least to me wow) because sometimes i surprise myself with what im writing and its kind of fun not knowing what your whole entire song will sound like before you write it or have very little written of it. idk it just seems boring to me to have the whole entire song planned out in your head (not that i could do it anyway wow) before you write it :(. also i kind of do the same thing as kungfufurby, while im writing i sort of have a bunch of incoherent parts and then i attempt to link them together later on, tho usually this is one of the last things i do when i can try to mentally think of how to transition the sections. basically i dont really have a "song skeleton" its more like trying to make a lego model by making all the individual segments of it and then trying to attach the segments together at the end and in all this not knowing what you're even making a model of (?????? idk)

i also have a problem with intros and i usually just wing those and save those for last most of the time :( i usually end up writing some middle section (sorry i dont know the proper usage of chorus and verse and bridge!) first and then deciding it should be a different section in the song maybe after i write more of the songong.

as for things like harmony and counterpoint, i am really mediocre at those because i dont really play an instrument (i play trombone but thats a monophonic instrument) and i havent actually tried to make legitimate counterpoint ever :(. maybe i would get better at that if i tried to sit down and learn how to legitimately play piano (i'm better at laptop keyboard keyjazzing more than actual piano!)

i dont really decide on a "key" to write in either, i just either make some melody or chord progression or bassline and it will just happen to be in a key, sometimes i'll try to transpose the little thing around a bunch to see if it sounds better in a different key (but usually it sounds the best in the key i wrote it in originally).

i also tend to forget what individual songs i make sounded like a lot of the time (tho i know what golgicore is ;)))))))))))))))))) and i will also remember it if i listen to it again but soon after forget again wow) but this is probably related to something else (poop crap memory probably and excessive songong writing)

good thread i liked reading up on how other people wrote tho, it is interesting how a lot of people write music and we should have more thought provoking threads where ppl exchange ideas more often :)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

wow i wrote an essay on what is this 8 bit poop crap
Level 22 Chipist
post #33436 :: 2013.11.14 1:02am
  goluigi liēkd this
Uh, I dunno. Only now I understood I barely keep track on how I make songs! D:

On the other hand, it is hard since my methods for starting up a song vary more than always.

Sometimes I'm basing it off a melody that I've made up in my head long ago (and there's still more of these to exploit ._.). Sometimes, I'm getting the melodic theme or even the song structure from someone else, which is "stealing".

Otherwise, I pretty much have to make it all up on the go, either starting with the drums or with the bassline. That's the method that might force me to scrap the whole song.

And whenever it comes to creating a .mod rather than an actual chip composition... It's not a secret to anyone that AY, 2A03 etc actually have a limited sound range, which lets you decide which tone/noise will be which instrument. With .mods, I either have to roll with the soundpacks (which is in fact more limiting) or mess with the sample selection/edition (in which I'm basically unskilled).
Level 19 Pedagogist
post #33441 :: 2013.11.14 5:50am :: edit 2013.11.14 5:51am
  null1024, Slimeball, goluigi and Grumskiz liēkd this
i take all my songs from 40 chinese laborers working in my basement
all the chinese accounts that register are their families trying to reach them
Level 22 Mixist
post #33444 :: 2013.11.14 11:47am
i write riffs and melodies and develop them, that's pretty much it. if i'm doing something electronic on the other hand...

well let's just say i make weird sounds and they become the basis for which all the other weird sounds come from.

fl studio all the way maaaaaang

serious note: i've done a few livestreams of my writing process; it's pretty random in how the end result comes to be, but hey, the way it comes together is different every time and it usually depends on what i start with. i could start off making a fun sound in sytrus or harmor, and then i develop that with more effects, add a basic drum line over it all and it could evolve into a full drop, in which case i'll write an intro or a verse after it and adopt either of them into the other. when i'm writing metal, on the other hand, it's usually noodling on my guitar or bass and coming up with a riff i like, and then it just gets put together. depends on the material, really, and also depends what i intend on doing. my sgen stuff follows a same sort of work procedure as my metal stuff, in that i come up with a riff or chord progression and just build on it. nothing special, really!
Level 19 Pedagogist
post #33454 :: 2013.11.14 3:59pm
  kfaraday, goluigi and Slimeball liēkd this
yeah but in actuality i mess around with melodies and then layer on chords and a beat and shit
Level 27 chipist
post #33484 :: 2013.11.15 2:16am :: edit 2013.11.15 2:27am
  Post-retro, stinkbug, trough and kfaraday liēkd this
i rehearse a song on keyboard beforehand; when I approach the tracker I write bar by bar instead of laying down the entire of any instrument since it's cool to hear the song grow further from the idea you practiced.

also a hell of a lot of looping. famitracker was perfect for me because it has the unrivalled laziest sequencing tool built in. now working in renoise i find my tunes are much shorter
Level 27 Chipist
post #33486 :: 2013.11.15 2:59am :: edit 2013.11.15 3:01am
  stinkbug, Slimeball and mootbooxle liēkd this
I like how everyone has differing approaches. I think it tends to be different for every single track I write. I guess it depends on what idea takes the strongest emphasis; the genre, the lead, chords, rhythm, general structure or specific instruments. One of any of these elements I may have in mind at the start of the song and will likely take precedence unless something awesome turns up during making it. Early on I used to make melodies on guitar and see if they worked well tracked, but recently I got a keyboard and thats helped out a lot, especially with chords.

I also massively agree with emulating/imitating artists, genres or musicians that are inspiring to you.
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things" - applied to the music world :)
Level 30 Mixist
post #33487 :: 2013.11.15 3:19am
One of my favourite passages of Scripture.
Level 28 Chipist
post #139693 :: 2021.04.02 4:24pm
  Yung Gotenks liēkd this
OLD af thread, but NEW af botbrs. bump.

how does teh current meta make music?
Level 28 Chipist
post #139694 :: 2021.04.02 5:09pm
  VirtualMan and Tilde liēkd this
I make music in a closet.
Level 28 Mixist
post #139695 :: 2021.04.02 5:13pm
  argarak and Tilde liēkd this
for ohb shitpost i usually shart out drumbeat or chords then halfass melody and then run out of time. for actual songs i usually focus on either composition or sound design, and try to do a little mixing while i do composition, and wait until composition is pretty much done to finetune.

one thing that usually yields me success when i choose to do it is recording myself singing and then transcribing it into tracker. That allows for more natural phrasing and melodies but is tedious to transcribe note by note.

I like having modularity in sound design, so i like using doofers in renoise and stoermelder strip in vcv rack to easily save and reuse signal chains.

recently i figured out how to use the audio interface that i got a while ago so i started overdubbing guitar a lot.

I'm generally not satisfied doing something extremely similar to what i've done before unless its something easy and fun to do.

in general, whap head on keyboard and hope for the best
Level 24 Chipist
post #139752 :: 2021.04.02 10:49pm
  nitrofurano, damifortune and kfaraday liēkd this
muscle spasm

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