The Magic Circle

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About The Magic Circle

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  1. How are you improving your abilities?

    Something I've found useful is to find books on theory (there are a ridiculous number of them online for any aspect you can imagine. I mostly use jazz and 20th century classical ones.) and trying to implement what you're reading into test projects. They don't even have to be loops, you can just mess around with a couple chords, rhythmic ideas, instrumentation, etc. It might sound a bit artificial at first, but you'd be amazed at how much more you can learn from a piece of music once you understand how and why it works. The best place to start is probably figuring out jazz harmony. Once you've got that down, you can basically slap any set of chords together and get a nice chord progression out of it (which you can use as a skeleton for your track).
  2. 15 Good DAWs

    Something neat to mention about Reaper is that its piano roll isn't restricted to twelve keys per octave, so you can make really wild microtonal music with it. It's not something most people would necessarily do, but it's fun. Something that is NOT neat to mention about Reaper is that it doesn't have a native clip view like what Ableton has. Without it, you'll have more luck writing things down in a notation program like Sibelius and importing it to Reaper, but that's a huge pain (and Sibelius is pricey). However, you can download Playtime for Reaper and then get a clip view. The general rule, from what I understand, is that Ableton has a good workflow and a powerful sampler (and Max for Live is fun), FL has a bad workflow but extremely powerful synths (Harmor and Sytrus are incredibly versatile), Reason is a trip and barely even counts as a DAW in the traditional sense because everything is native to Reason and it doesn't play nice with other VSTs (but it's a powerful music making program), Renoise is great if you're a masochist who likes making music via trackers (like programmers in the 80s), and personally, I would use Reaper for microtonal music and absolutely nothing else (A lot of my stuff is pretty experimental). I haven't tried Logic/Cubase/Pro Tools/etc, so I can't comment on them, but I do understand that they're a lot better for mixing tracks than Ableton is, so if you have the inclination to do this, you should create your tracks in one DAW and then mix them in another.