Bad and Wrong Music Lessons, Part 3

By Shamus Posted Thursday Sep 4, 2014

Filed under: Music 64 comments

As I’ve discussed before, I’m using MAGIX Music Maker Premium 2014, and I am not a fan of the software. I realize this probably comes off as kind of silly. How can I be picky about music programs? I’ve only used one! It’s like a 16 year old kid who just got their license suddenly talking about how a car feels, like he thinks he’s Jeremy Clarkson. But MMM is really getting on my nerves.

I’m sort of torn now. Do I try another music program? These things are expensive and I’m not knowledgeable enough to sort the good from the bad by just reading product descriptions. Or should I just put up with MMM until I get used to its quirks?

The trick here is that – unlike programming development environments – music environments use proprietary formats. That’s to be expected, but it does mean you need to choose your platform well. Sure, I can export my music to MP3 or OGG, but the source – the editable file where I can change instruments, toy with volume levels, and move notes around – is married to whatever platform I used to make it. The longer I stick with MMM, the more of my musical source will be stuck there as well. If I am going to jump ship, then the sooner the better.

On the other hand, this whole music thing is probably just a passing fancy and I shouldn’t sink too much money or concern into something I won’t care about next month.

In the meantime, let’s compare two pieces of music like we did last time. First up is a plastic facsimile of music:


Here is what the project file looks like. Every box represents a sound file or a group of notes:

mmm6.jpg

“Wow Shamus, you certainly put a lot of effort into this song!”

Except, no. Here are the parts I composed myself:

mmm7.jpg

But even that is overselling the effort I put into it, because a lot of those boxes have the exact same sequences of notes in them, copy & pasted all over the place so I’d have the same sequence played by many different instruments. It works like this: I have a long note played by an “angelic choir” type instrument that swells in the middle of the note. I also have the same note played by some kind of echo-y thing that starts abruptly and then fades out. Then another instrument trills quickly, like someone sawing away at a violinIs it called sawing? Yeah. No need to look it up. It’s probably called sawing.. The result is this complex sonic avalanche, all arising from one stupid note.

What I’m getting at is that despite how complex this project might look or sound, the sheet music for it could probably fit on one side of a piece of paper, with enough room left over for a grocery list. This required very little effort on my part. I just shoved a few simple notes together, copy & pasted them, and then added dozens and dozens of sound files to round things out.

Is it good? I honestly don’t know. It’s kind of disconcerting that so little knowledge and effort can make so much music.

Now let’s consider another thing I made:

For contrast, that project looks like this:

mmm8.jpg

It looks ridiculously simple compared to Joypuke. And it is. I’m using half as many instrument channels, and instead of blasting the listener with all of them at once I usually limit things to three or four instruments at a time. Also, this isn’t a jumble of random sound files and canned music. This has distinct parts designed for specific instrumentsPiano, electric guitar, bass guitar, and a synthesizer. Also violins and cellos, for some reason.. I mapped out the whole song a note at a timeThe only canned part is the orange boxes. Those play a reverse cymbal sound to cover up the fact that I still don’t know how to write a proper transition between parts.. I even made my own drums, and I never bother with those.

The song is simpler. Or at least, less cluttered. But it represents an order of magnitude more effort on my part.

The two are the result of very different approaches to making music. Since Joypuke uses canned loops, it can’t stick with any one idea for too long. The loops are only a few seconds long, which means you can only repeat them a couple of times before they get really irritating. So you keep swapping out groups of loops. We’ll play A. Now A and B. Now B and C. Now A and C. Okay, now we’ll go through some big drum transition and start over with a fresh set of loops.

In contrast, Storm has long musical… er. My musical vocabulary fails me here. Phrases? Like, the piano comes in and does a good 20 seconds of stuff, but it’s not looping. It has a deliberate structure with a beginning and an end, and if you cut it in half or looped part of it things probably wouldn’t make sense. Instead of throwing down four chords and calling it a day, I have to map out hundreds of notes.

Here is the interesting thing: I can’t say for sure that one is objectively better than the other. I suppose the comparison would be more useful if I had more experience or talent, but both approaches produce stuff I’d listen to. It’s the fast food problem: One takes hours to prepare and the other takes a few minutes, but both taste good and get the job done with regards to filling your belly with the calories needed to stave off death.

Then again, maybe I’m overlooking a lot of the work that went into Joypuke. Sure, all I had to do was mash samples together and call it a day, but someone else made those samples. So it’s probably not fair to say that making goodLet’s not argue over what THAT means. music doesn’t require effort. It’s just that it’s possible to outsource the nuts and bolts of composition to someone else and leave you to do the easy, fun part of assembling those musical samples to make the final whole.

I guess this doesn’t count as a “musical lesson”. Not even a bad and wrong one. Still, it’s a strange thing to be able to make a song as easily as you can build a Lego set.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Is it called sawing? Yeah. No need to look it up. It’s probably called sawing.

[2] Piano, electric guitar, bass guitar, and a synthesizer. Also violins and cellos, for some reason.

[3] The only canned part is the orange boxes. Those play a reverse cymbal sound to cover up the fact that I still don’t know how to write a proper transition between parts.

[4] Let’s not argue over what THAT means.



From The Archives:
 

64 thoughts on “Bad and Wrong Music Lessons, Part 3

  1. Ben Anderson says:

    You may want to check out Fruity Loops Studio. I think the $99 version would have all the features you need. I haven’t used it in about 7-8 years, since I don’t do a whole lot of loop based music, but it has a fairly good reputation and back in the day it was at least stable. There is also a free trial version so you can play with it before you buy.

    http://www.image-line.com/flstudio/

    1. Bropocalypse says:

      I tried and failed to use Fruity Loops some years ago. It’s… complex, to say the least.

    2. Dragomok says:

      Ohhh, Epic Rap Battles of History uses that. Er, used that. In one song.

    3. Koriantor says:

      FL Studio is what I use myself. It can seem intimidating, but there are some really good tutorial resources online. It will require more technical know-how, but it adds a lot of flexibility. It also doesn’t come with many “loops” for you to mess with. Most of your production would have to be hand written.

      The trial version is fully-featured. The only limitations it has are that you can’t reload files you’ve saved in the demo (until you buy a version of FL studio) and the synths will periodically silence their output for about 5-10 seconds unless you buy the synth (usually around 50 bucks or so per synth. In reality, you’ll probably grow accustomed to using only one or two favorite synths in your production process). Annoying if you want to keep using it, but certainly workable for a test run.

      If you do get it, it’s relatively cheap (50, 100, and 200$ versions) and you get free updates for life so you can always upgrade to the newest iteration. In the end, I’m not really sure if it’d fit your workflow but you might as well try.

      While I don’t have personal experiences with these, Cubase, Reason, and Ableton Live are all decent choices of DAW (Digital Audio Workstations (think of it as an IDE for musicians)). Try them out if you’d like.

      Feel free to ask me questions if you need any clarification. I’m not the most talented musician/producer, but I know my way around.

    4. Volfram says:

      Back when I was in a metal band(2008-2009), we mostly did our composition using Anvil Studio, which is free, if you’re OK with just a MIDI composer. Just before I left, the band lead and drummer picked up a copy of Mixcraft, which has a free version, which we would drop our Anvil compositions into for a better idea of what the song would actually sound like.

      Probably not what you’re looking for. We used them mostly because we were able to print out sheet music of the result. I’m not sure what they’ve moved to since I left, but the original pieces I’ve heard from them have been very impressive.

      I also picked up a copy of Cakewalk Music Creator 6 Touch on Steam last year, but I haven’t played around with it any.

    5. Zak McKracken says:

      Just wanted to plug Ardour, then had to realize that you have to pay for it these days, or compile it yourself, except if you’re on Linux.

      The price is ridiculously low, though, so:

      It’s open source, and it’s a pretty comprehensive DAW software (recording, mutilating sound via plugins, arranging, MIDI, whatchacallit). I did try to use it a while ago and found it a bit much at first but it’s similar to Cubase and such (which I’ve seen other people use, and it was just as opaque to me). It can even run VST plugins (which is kind of a standard in the industry) and has a library of those, loads of samples, and it does not lock you in. And afaik you can migrate to Cubase from Ardour and keep all your stuff.

      Soo … I can’t really judge it but you could get it for Linux and see if it does what you want (in a way you like), or maybe someone else here has an opinion?

  2. Neruz says:

    Honestly I think the ease at which you can create music that sounds good using the tools is in fact an extremely positive note towards those tools. It is hard to make good music, but it turns out that the right tools can help a lot.

  3. uCrane says:

    Set. Add. Clean. Repeat.

    That’s what my friend tells me to do with these programs. Set a tempo. Add some samples on top of that. Clean up(remove samples where not needed). Then go back to tempo.

    Problem with this being that if I first hear a sample atop something else and it sounds like garbage, I refuse to use it for a long time.

    Also, I’d rather listen to nice music all day than experiment and listen to 5000 melodies of diarrhea inducement to find that one great mixed tune. Luckily there’s enough awesome music around that I won’t ever have to worry about making my own.

  4. Disc says:

    I like “The Best Part of The Storm” better mostly because of the things you mentioned. For my equal lack of knowledge of the English terms, the longer.. sequences are what generally speaking make for a more thoughtful style of music. Pour enough talent into it and you can make it feel like the melody is trying to tell you something, communicate a story or a feeling etc.

    “Joypuke” isn’t bad in itself. Easily digestible music sells for a reason. Personally it just doesn’t resonate the majority of the time.

  5. Cybron says:

    This must be what it feels like for your less coding-inclined readers when they come across your coding articles. I just have no idea what’s going on.

    It’s still interesting to read, though. Probably one of the benefits of being an excellent writer, you can make anything sound interesting.

    1. tmtvl says:

      As someone (moderately) well-learned in both fields, I’d have to say I greatly prefer Shamus’ coding articles over his music articles, but you know what they say… Can’t argue colours or tastes.

  6. Chris says:

    I’m not at all familiar with MMM’s capabilities, so this might not help, but it generally is possible (with varying degrees of hassle) to port works in progress from one DAW application to another. Your sequences are easy; just export them to MIDI, which any DAW worth anything can import. Finding matching instrument sources in the new DAW might be tricky, but often you end up with something better. The sections using loops are a little more work. If you can’t export the clips directly, render or bounce each track out to its own wav file, and then slice them back up when you’ve imported them into the new application. Once you’ve done it for a track or two, the process gets much quicker.

    1. Toasty Virus says:

      I came here to say this, glad you didn’t though cause I would’ve explained it terribly!

      I’d say that the biggest issue with new software is that they all just do EVERYTHING differently, things don’t work in the same order and even simple tasks leave you scratching your head while reading the manual.

      1. Chris says:

        It’s fresh in my mind because I just finished porting a bunch of old Cubase and PTLE tracks over to Ableton.

  7. BenD says:

    I can’t speak (in any way that would be meaningful to anyone else) as to the quality of these two pieces, even in respect to each other. However, I can say quite firmly that I never want to hear Joypuke played by real instruments, such as in a live performance (even though I enjoy listening to it as presented here); meanwhile, if you could assemble some musicians to play The Best Part of the Storm on actual instruments, I think the result would be far greater than the sum of the parts. If you can export to sheet music and release these things to the wild, that’s the one I’d say you should start with!

  8. Orogoth the Overlord of Oranges says:

    “One takes hours to prepare and the other takes a few minutes, but both taste good and get the job done with regards to filling your belly with the calories needed to stave of(?) death.”

    Helpful nitpick.

    1. syal says:

      Oh yeah, should definitely be “Staff of Death” there.

  9. The Rocketeer says:

    I’ve actually been trying my hand at Magix lately, and having a pretty rough time of it. I understand music and notation very well, but not the program. So, essentially what I want is to jam on a keyboard and schwack anything I like onto some blank digital sheet music. And that’s not actually what Magix is made for.

    Which is fine, except for the part that it’s a buggy, unreliable pile of code and every time I get into a groove and get something I like into the program it crashes and takes my work with it.

    1. Arkady says:

      IIRC you can do this in Sibelius. It’s very expensive, though.

      1. postinternetsyndrome says:

        While it’s true that Sibelius has that functionality, the program is for making good-looking scores for printing and putting in front of living musicians (that’s what I do). If you want to work with loops and a lot of other electronic elements it really isn’t very useful.

        I’m pretty sure big studio stuff like logic, cubase and reason has functions like that too, though they are of course not very cheap either. Nothing in this business is. (The real nightmare is the sample libraries if you want to simulate orchestral music. Check this out and try to sleep tonight: http://www.vsl.co.at/en/211/442/1797/1883/1881/305.htm)

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “It's kind of disconcerting that so little knowledge and effort can make so much music.”

    Pop music in a nutshell.

    1. Geebs says:

      Dunno if I agree with that; I mean, “I want to hold your hand” is classified as pop music. There’s an art to fitting all of your clever ideas into two minutes which in many ways is far more impressive than some bloated epic.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        I was only joking.Of course I know that there are some good and smart pop songs there.Such cases can be found in every genre of music(except for turbo folk).

        On the other hand,black eyed peas.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “On the other hand, this whole music thing is probably just a passing fancy and I shouldn't sink too much money or concern into something I won't care about next month.”

    *nonchalant whistling*

  12. Ilseroth says:

    It’s kind of funny, I got the urge to do some music composition a few years ago. I couldn’t help but find myself in an awkward place when I downloaded the trial version of some popular composition software as I never was trained in how to use it. For me, despite being a very technical person, music making had always been on traditional music staff.

    So I was looking around for a good software and all of them kept advertising loops and bits of sound and I was so utterly confused why that would matter. But then when I downloaded the trial and looked for a traditional staff it was nowhere to be found. I could use a keyboard to generate a track but at the time I had no training in piano (I was taught starting with Viola then Trumpet and now self teaching myself Guitar).

    Not finding a “proper” staff to write my music on that software (don’t remember what it was) I kinda just gave up and went back to whistling/humming/singing the songs and having them be forgotten by the next day.

    1. Ben Anderson says:

      If you are looking for a proper staff to write music on to, you probably want a music notation package rather than something like this. MuseScore is a pretty good open source one. I haven’t tried MIDI recording with it, but using a computer keyboard is the best I’ve seen. The other option would be Finale, but I personally think Musescore is much better than the free version of Finale and the expensive version of Finale is, well, expensive.

      The drawback to this type of software is that the number of instruments are VERY limited and don’t sound good. So if you wanted to produce actual music you would need to jump through hoops to convert the notated music into a mp3.

      1. Trainzack says:

        There also is Noteflight, which has a free and subscription based version. All pieces are saved on the cloud, it’s easy to use (but somewhat limited), and you can give other people the option to view your work.

    2. Geebs says:

      It’s very guitar-centric, but Guitar Pro is surprisingly good at entering notes on a stave, has other instruments (drums, keyboards), and isn’t particularly expensive. Plus the guitars actually sound pretty good.

    3. postinternetsyndrome says:

      Sibelius and Finale are the main options for this. I used to work in Finale and then moved to Sibelius, which I find superior in many ways, but it’s also somewhat a matter of taste.

      Both are very expensive of course, though they usually offer student discounts. And of course, if you’re not going to work with it professionally, you might not feel too bad about “other” options.

      Musescore is free of course, and I know people who use it and like it. Might be worth checking out first.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Today Wikipedia taught me that there are two ways to tune a guitar: Regular, or… Standard. Damn it, music nerds.”

    Made me laugh out loud.

  14. Geoff says:

    Reminds me of a CGP Gray video I watched the other day on automation. One of the examples of expanding automation he provided was for music making by a bot called Emily Howell. A bot that can put out reasonable quality music that is “good” and basically indistinguishable from a human composer to the untrained, uneducated laymen.

  15. Dan Efran says:

    Shamus, if you are going to switch to different software, you might check out Melody Assistant for a traditional music notation approach, or Reaper for the track-based approach you’re using. I’ve been happy with both so far, though my needs are a somewhat different from yours. (I never use prefab loops, and I probably spend as much time choosing instrument sounds as I do choosing notes and melodies. Reaper makes a pretty good host for software synths.) Neither is very expensive, which was important to me.

  16. HeroOfHyla says:

    Back when I was very briefly interested in making music, I tried out OpenMPT. I liked it alright. However, it looks like this which is a huge turnoff for many people.

    1. Lisa says:

      That looks like the old ‘MOD’ Tracker composers. I think I need to look into it. Thank you!

    2. BeamSplashX says:

      I commented on this previously, but OpenMPT is probably not the best way to go. I still use it, because I learned it in high school when I had gobs of free time and patience, but it’s awfully fiddly to get into.

      Also, while I’ve been able to use effects to get a cool lo-fi sound out of MPT, getting these really clean, nicely-produced sounds out of it will require Shamus to dive into more involved mixing and mastering work. While he’s already figured out songwriting better than I have, it seems a little early to drop all that on him.

  17. Zach_Hixson says:

    Yeah, if you want a full set of tools, FL (fruity loops), or Ableton will do the trick, just be warned it’s going to take some learning.

    Good news is, both of those programs are well use by amateur and professionals, unlike MMM which I am pretty sure very few people use (never even heard of it until you posted about it).

    I don’t know how many VSTs (instrument plugins) work with MMM, but I know almost all of them work with FL or Ableton.

    EDIT: also if you can export to MIDI, you might be able to move your stuff in between programs a little easier.

  18. Dragomok says:

    For what it’s worth, I couldn’t stand to listen to Joypuke(*) for more than 20 seconds before I started to feel pain, but I really liked The Best Part of the Storm.

    So, you know, the effort on the second one wasn’t wasted.

    (*) It sure NONONONO lives up DON’TMAKETHATJOKEDON’TMAKETHATJOKE to the seTOORUDETOORUDESORRY

    1. Majromax says:

      This. So much this.

      “Joypuke” goes with a “wall of sound” approach, but just as in the visual arts more is less and less is more. As it stands, it’s *tiring* to listen to, and it sort of makes me want to beat a clown to death. I’m not entirely sure where that last part comes from.

      “Best Part of the Storm” has a distinct melody that takes a couple musical ideas and elaborates on them. It’s not Chopin, but I can easily imagine this track being used as, say, level music in a platformer.

      1. Steve C says:

        “it sort of makes me want to beat a clown to death.”

        That’s a good thing right? Success!

  19. If you can find it (usually used, and it’s still kind of pricey), I like “Band in a Box.”

    Just a few random notes can be turned into a composition of various styles and instruments (or Midi tones) in short order. It IS pretty big. Some used licenses come with the whole program stored on a hard drive because it’s too huge to ship otherwise.

  20. DGM says:

    @ Shamus,

    Just a few days ago I learned about a genre of music you might find interesting. It’s called “Black MIDI,” and the idea is to use more notes than a human musician could physically play.

    Actually, I’m understating the case. The REAL idea seems to be to use so many notes that your computer catches fire trying to play them all. As in millions.

    Credit goes to Ace of Spades, but that’s a political blog so if you want to avoid that here’s a direct link to the Youtube video they showed.

    EDIT: Accidentally left out the direct link. Fixed.

    1. tmtvl says:

      I immediately thought of this.

      I’ve heard some piano rolls can play it, but I’m not sure if that’s true, I don’t really keep up with piano as much as I should.

      Fortissimo!

  21. Chris says:

    Something that’s always bothered me about these music authoring programs is that the results can’t be used in open source, e.g. the soundtrack to an open source game. Well, you could include it with the game but the music itself won’t be open source like the program, graphics, etc. That’s because the producers of the software still own all the samples. You only own the arrangement of their samples, and the resulting music is a collaborative work that you don’t fully control.

    1. Groboclown says:

      There are various sample packs available that are under different CC licenses, many of which are classified under the “acknowledgement” variety, but a few exist that are completely free.

      There’s also the issue of the tools to produce the end product music file. You’d have to use an open source DAW to ensure that it’s all completely open source.

    2. Majromax says:

      > Something that's always bothered me about these music authoring programs is that the results can't be used in open source, e.g. the soundtrack to an open source game

      That’s not necessarily desirable, but it’s ultimately okay from an open source licensing standpoint. Back in the “bad old days,” even the basic *compilers* were closed-source, commercial products.

      Open source ultimately means that you distribute the files that you yourself edit to produce the final work. If that happens to include a proprietary file like this, it’s not really that much different than including a photoshop project with layers and proprietary filter settings.

  22. Fawstoar says:

    I’m always terrified that I’ll someday be replaced by a robot spitting out procedural melodies and perfectly arranged chord progressions. Of course, randomly generated computer music can be a sort of art form in its own right, but it is unnerving that loops and samples are so accessible. Usually you can tell the difference between something pre-fabricated and something original, though I don’t expect that to last.

    For the record, I like the second track much better (and I heard it first via my Soundcloud feed, so I should hope I’m not biased by the article!). If you’re looking for a DAW to jump into without a huge learning curve, I would recommend REAPER, so long as you’re willing to take the dive into the world of VST plugins. It’s open source and the full version is free to try as long as you’d like.

  23. djshire says:

    Demo some different DAWs, and find one that works for you. You can’t demo Logic, but I’m guessing you’re a PC user, so it doesn’t entirely matter. Reaper is a good, feature-filled, cheap choice. Reason is a damn powerhouse, but you’re limited by the Rack Extension format for plug-ins. Live is great if you use a lot of samples, but not so much if you use MIDI.

  24. Paul Spooner says:

    Stick with MMMP or go to another proprietary closed-source format? Sounds like you forgot the most interesting option!

    Write your own!

    Seriously! It would be awesome! You wrote your own comic book software. Just write your own music generating software! Make the whole thing open so other people can improve it, or convert the files to other formats. Then you can get exactly what you were looking for. If you need samples, I’m sure the community here would be happy to provide some. There are not a few musicians among us.

    1. Trainzack says:

      This would be wonderful! I could see myself donating some shitty trombone and out-of-tune piano samples.

      1. Bryan says:

        Way back in the dark ages of … 1997? 1998? … I started to hack together a music composition tool. The idea was to serialize the files as MIDI, and do sheet music as the UI. (Looking at the various things Shamus has posted, I now think that was probably a bad idea. But I never got that far, because…) As it turned out, the MIDI file format just seemed too undocumented; I could never “see” the format in my head.

        So … uh where am I going with this … oh yes, Shamus should *totally* do this! :-P

        1. Paul Spooner says:

          Yeah, I’ve tried parsing MIDI before as well. It’s a tangled skein of nightmares.
          Shamus, if you make your own music software, please make it MIDI non-native. Exporting to MIDI would be cool, but I’d love to be able to actually use the files, generate them myself, etc.

  25. MichaelG says:

    I can’t help but think of this video:

    http://youtu.be/4xg-Wk2DEXs

    or this one:

    http://youtu.be/JzqumbhfxRo

    I have no musical taste myself, so I can’t comment. Amazed that you are taking on yet another project!

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Very cool! The Amateur concept has promise for constructed music, as it’s basically the same thing as Animusic, only with RL video. Hmmm… I wonder…

  26. tmtvl says:

    On a random unrelated note: you stroke the violin when drawing the bow across the strings, though it can also be played by plucking, fingering or tapping the strings.
    (You could in theory use a plectrum to play a violin like you would a guitar, but I haven’t really known any benefit from doing so.)

  27. Trainzack says:

    I think by “sawing” you mean tremolo. Or trill, if you’re changing between notes.

    “Phrase” is actually the correct term, though.

    1. BeamSplashX says:

      i think he meant “maxzimum zhredz”

  28. I like this site to get sound samples: Freesound.org. There’s CC stuff that you have to acknowledge, but there’s also CC Zero, which means you can just use it for free, no attribution, go nuts, be the next Daft Punk.

  29. krellen says:

    With “Joypuke”, I spent the whole song waiting for the “Na Na Na” at the beginning to return, or to be resolved, but I feel like it never was, so the song ultimately feels like a disappointment.

    “The Best Part of the Storm”, on the other hand, is a full, rich, filling experience.

    Now, I’m not really a musician – I played cello for a year in 6th grade, and I’m a competent singer when I can stay in my range, and I did write a pretty mediocre song once – but I vastly prefer Storm to Puke; I don’t think they’re equal at all, and the effort you put into Storm shows.

    Also, I believe it’s only sawing when you’ve tuned the violin into a fiddle.

    1. There’s always room for cello!

  30. lethal_guitar says:

    I have worked a lot with one of the more expensive tools (Steinberg Cubase), and a bit with some others. In my experience, every one of these programs has it’s quirks, instabilities and little annoyances.. Especially if you need to interface with special hardware, like audio interfaces. On the other hand, I’ve also heard about MMM being really, really terrible in that regard (haven’t used it myself).

    In the end, the most important aspect is how well you can utilize your chosen software/approach. If it works for you, and does everything you need it to, stick with it. Chances are that switching to another software also means completely re-learning how to use it.

    Heck, there are people creating awesome music in Mod Trackers, which never worked for me. But the whole Unreal/Unreal Tournament soundtrack was written that way.

  31. urs says:

    If you will actually find yourself in a position where you seriously(-ish) want to continue with Making Music on the Computer, I’d suggest checking out the completely loop-based approach, too. The one where you can’t really set notes but instead you get full control over the loops and samples on an atomic level. As in, I have very fond memories of dabbling in AcidPro. It’s pricey these days but there’s a free version I just installed because of the vibe of your recent posts :)

  32. Steve says:

    Joypuke I couldn’t stand to listen to; Best Part Of The Storm I downloaded and added to a playlist.

  33. Cuthalion says:

    I liked both the songs. Joypuke worked a little better in that the synthesized instruments sounded more natural as synthesized instruments. Best Part of the Storm would probably sound best with real instruments.

    Someone mentioned REAPER, which I use. No loops come with it, but you can do the piano roll editing you’ve been using, and it has a fully-featured, non-DRM’d trial version that differs from the full version only by a nag screen at startup.

    I’d also check out LMMS, which despite the L standing for “Linux” has a Windows version. It’s free. I used it awhile back, and it came with some cool instruments and loops, along with a neat, fairly intuitive (to me) way of composing drum loops.

  34. NoneCallMeTim says:

    I just watched a recent TED video talking about how music pieces which have a lot of repetition in them get voted as being more interesting than those which are unique throughout the whole piece.

    They say that the repetition helps you feel more engaged with the piece because that part is more familiar on a psychological level, and it allows people to anticipate and tap along with the music.

    That could be a part of the success of your pieces?

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