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Muzlack

Music advice

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i have, by trial and error come up with the basic tune of what would turn out to be a bad guy music. Now, in order for this to sound right, I would like to make it orchestrated. Now, I've had a lot of trouble in the past with making orchestra stuff sound right. Could anyone tell me how or more preferably spend 5 minutes and post a new midi file and explain HOW they did it? And also, maybe someone would like to spend maybe 10 minutes and help me change this from the simple tune it is into a full song built off of it. I can come up with a million of simple things like these, but I have so much trouble turning them into what sounds good! Like, I hum it and it sounds really really cool, but as soon as it gets written down, it needs more... So could someone give me some assitance in making this what I hear in my head? I think it's pretty obvious what I want this to sound like. Here's the midi file: Midi PS--right click and save target as... then listen from computer
--Muzlack [edited by - Muzlack on October 3, 2002 11:57:55 PM]

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I think that your best bet would be to get books on theory and orchestration. Also, download some midis that are in the style that you would like to be able to write, create scores from them, and study them. I''ve found it helpful to look at film score midis for examples of the big, orchestral sound.

I know this isn''t exactly what you were looking for, but it''s something that will take LOTS of effort and time, and can''t be taught quickly in a forum.

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I would be willing to help you turn your idea into a full score, just so i could get some practice. First of all, I need to have whatever program u r using to create your MIDIs. Second of all, I cannot download the MIDI. Send it to me. My email is mcilvain@madtel.net.

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I agree with Dana''s post.

The best way to learn composition is from hundreds of examples of professionally orchestrated music. You should also look into counterpoint and variation, as well as basic chord progressions, just so you know what you''re looking for in the examples you use.

What instruments you use is of little consequence unless you''re using high-end samples in your midis. Just concentrate on getting the sound you want.

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Uh, rough guide...

Pretty much any ''orchestral'' music will have some sort of harmony and melody, or ''the chords'' and ''the tune'' to simplify a bit. To begin with, it''s best to start with one and add the other on top. Although there are complete books on such theory, just try and avoid playing any notes that are 1 semitone apart and you won''t go too far wrong. But you really need to know which scale you''re using, and which notes are in that scale. From that, you can quickly see which are the ''valid'' chords, and how to construct basic harmonies.

Quite often there will be some sort of counter-tune that ''answers'' the main tune. Listen to the overworld theme from FF6 to see an example of this... in the second or so when the main tune stops changing due to a long note, you hear other instrument lines doing stuff.

Additionally, you might want harmonies layered on top of some of the melodies, especially on a repeat. Generally you can layer them a 3rd or a 5th above, which basically means 2 or 4 notes higher in the scale you''re using. Don''t be afraid to use different intervals than 3rds and 5ths from time to time, and on occasional notes.

You also need to work on rhythm. I couldn''t pick out an obvious time signature from your MIDI file. A lot of people have trouble with rhythm, but it''s really quite simple - music is about patterns and repetition, and these patterns usually come in blocks of 4, and larger blocks of 4 of the smaller blocks, and so on. The ''4'' could be 3, or 6, but generally it should be constant and predictable. Yours seemed to have a 5 beat bit, then a 3 and a half beat bit. I played around with it and flattened it into 2 phrases of 4 beats each, and you could probably do the same.

Also try to separate the tune out... don''t do it all on one instrument. Have the bassline on a bass instrument, the melody on some sort of lead instrument, and add in some others for flavour. Try and strike a blend between bass and treble, staccato and legato, and loud and soft sounds, as they all add interest to the music.

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Instead of doing it for you, I think it would be better for me to help you through it, so you can learn how to. Since this has a sort of spanish sound, you should first add a good set of maracas.

-FlamePixel

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I''ve been at this for about half an hour, and I can''t seem to get a good drum beat. All I''m really good at is coming up with these basic ideas. I don''t know how to build from there. How do you start thinking up a drum beat that will "go" with the music? Because I can come up with some cool ones, they just sound bad with the music.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I compose my own music for my game..all with wav''s mixed into mp3''s, i dont do MIDI. [ samples can be found at www.geocities.com/~magux_prime/music.html ] However the principles of composition are the same. You have a main working melody. In fact the melody you have works more as an introduction theme that could build into something else. If you want i could do a simple mix of that melody into a 20 or 30 second song to show you an example. email jorganadar@hotmail.com

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Kylotan- great post. I think that you did as best as anyone could to basically describe orchestral music without trivializing it. I''m really impressed.

I don''t have MIDI capabilities right now, but Monday I will download your file and check it out. What I can say right now it that orchestral music relies on frequecy holes and dedicated roles of instruments (basically) to sound right. Keep your melody louder in volume and in a different octave than your accompanying figures. Keep your chord voicings open when using a computer and try and find the highest quality samples you can. I don''t know what you''re going to write this for, but getting access to a high quality sampler might be your best bet. When I was younger and had less money, I would write all my music on a crappy soundcard synth, then go and buy a really expensive sampler/synthesizer with my credit card. I would spend a weekend recording my tunes to CD with that keyboard and then take back the synthesizer. I didn''t do it that many times, but it really helped me to get some good sounding recordings.


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