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#1 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 01:44 AM

Hello,

I've looked around and didn't really see any "newbie" forums so I thought I would post here.

I am not a game developer, but a musician with a love for video games. I am a bassist, play some guitar, and have been heavily working with MIDI in Reason as of late.

In another post on my favorite forum (talkbass.com) I detailed my goals for music, and one of them was to see my music in a video game that has the same effect that some of it has on me. It will be along pursuit, no doubt, and as a newbie I expect to be put through the wringer and made a better composer because of it.

I'm 17 years old and graduated from high school in June. I've been playing video games since I was 4 but didn't even pick up music until 10 years later. I can read music fairly well and have been trying very hard to increase my skills since school let out and I decided I wanted to make a life of music.

If there were one composer who I could say made me decide, it would be Tomohito Nishiura (specifically, Dark Cloud 1 and 2). Further cementing that choice would be Motoi Sakuraba. I first experienced his work in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, but he is also a solo artist. Also interested in acts like Crush 40.

Until now I have largely been a live rock band bassist. Non video game music I enjoy includes Avenged Sevenfold, Opeth, Katatonia, Pink Floyd, Tool, Protest the Hero, etc. However, I listen to a wide variety of things from 80's pop to Weather Report. I have also been listening to a lot more classical and baroque pieces as a result of learning to play the Bach Cello Suites on my bass guitar.

I think that is everything about me. I hope I haven't broken any rules with this post. I imagine I will stay largely on this side of the forum, but I look forward to my stay here.

Thank you all for the time and in advance for any advice you have!

Sponsor:

#2 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3603

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 08:35 AM

Hey,

If you're looking for advice on your work (and getting into the biz) it might be best to post some samples of your work. WIthout that, we're left with not much to comment on since you're not really asking any specific questions at all.

Thanks,

Nate
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#3 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 01:04 AM

Thanks for your patience while I learn the flow of this particular forum.

The only work that I have uploaded to a public site can be found at my soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/dakota-potts

The first one is a test I sent to a guitarist regarding a rock/metal bass tone. The second is an original work, It has basic guitar and bass guitar parts written, but I lack an interface to efficiently record real instruments.

I had previously avoided posting it because my work needs a lot of... well, work. I like the idea of the song I have posted, but I just feel it isn't enough. There's nothing technically wrong with it that I can point out, but it sounds empty and amateur. I feel this way about a lot of my tracks.

Perhaps we can start there. What are some ways you would suggest to start to develop a more mature style of writing? Obviously things like dynamics, tempo changes, key changes etc. aren't even addressed in that recording.

Also, how do you go about learning the feel of instruments you've never played? For example, if I wanted to incorporate a brass section in a song, I have no idea what the nuances of that would sound like. I also tend to use the same couple of virtual instruments because they're familiar.

A final question: Is there anything wrong with having music be all electronic or all "real"? Is one or the other expected?

#4 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3603

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 07:48 AM

The only work that I have uploaded to a public site can be found at my soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/dakota-potts

The first one is a test I sent to a guitarist regarding a rock/metal bass tone.


Yeah, this first test is not complete enough, in my opinion, to use it as a demo piece to try and get work as a game composer. Perhaps if you fleshed it out with a more full instrumentation and elements so potential clients could get a better idea of what you can do.

The second is an original work, It has basic guitar and bass guitar parts written, but I lack an interface to efficiently record real instruments.

I had previously avoided posting it because my work needs a lot of... well, work. I like the idea of the song I have posted, but I just feel it isn't enough. There's nothing technically wrong with it that I can point out, but it sounds empty and amateur. I feel this way about a lot of my tracks.


Getting an interface that records audio is very easy these days and there are dones of options out there for almost any budget. I'd check out Sweetwater and Musicians Friend and search for audio interfaces. I'm sure you'll find something that meets your needs, goals and budget. This song has a bit more potential but, again, it's a fragment of a picture. When submitting demo reels to clients you want to leave them with full idea of you and your work.

Perhaps we can start there. What are some ways you would suggest to start to develop a more mature style of writing? Obviously things like dynamics, tempo changes, key changes etc. aren't even addressed in that recording.


Well, all of the things you listed (dynamics, tempo changes, key changes (optional in my opinion) would help give this song more depth. Also the recorded audio parts would most likely add a bunch too. I would consider both songs early sketches where you're laying out how and what your music is about. Look for ways to give them more depth and capture that sound/mood you're after. Have you done much A/B comparisons? Take a piece that matches your end goals and then toggle between it and your work to see how you match up to the "bar."

Also, how do you go about learning the feel of instruments you've never played? For example, if I wanted to incorporate a brass section in a song, I have no idea what the nuances of that would sound like. I also tend to use the same couple of virtual instruments because they're familiar.


Listen, listen, listen. If you want to learn more about how certain sections or ensembles work then listen like crazy to tons of examples. Then you'll start to get an idea of the feel for them a bit more. Also, if possible, consider joining an ensemble that has those instruments!

A final question: Is there anything wrong with having music be all electronic or all "real"? Is one or the other expected?


Not at all. It's more a matter of what is best for the game and the client's vision of it. In some cases all electronic music really works while in others, having realistic music is best.
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#5 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 02:31 PM

The first test was just there to send to a friend as a "hey, listen to my new pedal!" Deal. It was a lot of different cover songs.

I'm not necessarily looking for work now. I hope to use a lot of the stuff here to get to the level where I am comfortable looking for work

#6 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 01:06 AM

Nate, you have been so awesome in helping me out that I hate to ask for more.

However, I have just uploaded a new song, all virtual again, that I feel is much more complete than the last. Certainly not where I would like it to be, but much of an improvement I believe. It is called "vacancy". I am also working on a waltz type song that I aim to have done by tonight and may or may not be uploaded when you check it in the mornings if you seem to do (sorry if that was creepy!)

I was hoping you could reviews these for me and give me some feedback. I would rather that than start a new thread and clutter up the forums.

Thanks,

Dakota

#7 Bakuda   Members   -  Reputation: 279

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 02:48 PM

I highly agree with Nate about listening. I find every time I listen to music I start to dissect it...look at what the drums did there, that's awesome how the strings are swelling like that, wow...the brass is really coming out here. See what works for other composers and try it out yourself. Sometime it works...sometimes it doesn't...but you won't know til you try.

I like your idea with Vacancy but I'd suggest throwing in a little something in the background to fill the dead space. It doesn't have to be much...just a little something to add to the emotion.

#8 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:36 PM

Thanks for this awesome advice.

There is a piece I did on there called Banquet Hall. It is not perfect but I like the way it went. I feel after listening to it that it was inspired by my foray into bach cello suites and the antonio vivaldi sonatas for double bass that I have played on my bass guitar. Other pieces have been influenced by various things I have listened to. Since I started playing music 3 years ago, I have learned that listening to every piece critically is very important and try to do that. I've started listening to more baroque, country western, and rap, three genres I never really listened to.

As I told my friend, my ultimate goal is that if somebody says "I want to pay you 12 million dollars to score an intimate moment between a space alien and escaped Sea World Orca in the midst of their violent outbreak from a top secret government agency" I want to be able to convey that feel.

Even though I don't love everything I've written, I am proud of the direction it's taking. I hate listening to "A New Day" because that style annoys me, but it took me where I wanted to go with the piece. Next I should be able to convey that same feeling and love the song.

Any more feedback is always appreciated!




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