The BIG and unique music composition & arranging thread!

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By MrRudi

Hero (515)

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16-05-2012, 16:09

So, based on the discussion in this newspost I am opening up this thread for all musical discussion. Which doesn't mean we're gonna discuss who was better, the Beatles or the Stones...no no no, it is all about music composition tips and tricks, techniques, production, mixing, arranging, instruments, portamento, legato, marcato, pizzicato and pizzaria! Hmmm..something seems off in that list. Oh well! So here goes: the original discussion was about software instruments or VI versus hardware instruments and synthesizers in particular.

Of course the contents of this thread does not have to focus purely on me and Wolf talking about the pros and cons of VI versus I...pretty much anything goes, as long as it has to do with making music (that is preferably on MSX or based on MSX stuffz).

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By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9767)

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16-05-2012, 16:16

Ok, for no particular reason I shallt kick off by linking to the tracker I use. Click!. It's what I've been using since 2006 and this was the first MSX-related output - I think.

By Meits

Scribe (5480)

Meits's picture

16-05-2012, 17:30

I use a really weird method of composing stuff on other synths than the MSX ones. One of my Near Dark friends decided a long while ago to hack MoonBlaster WAVE into a MIDI tracker... He succeeded... Too bad his hard disk containing the work files/sources crashed before the project was completed.
It can't pitch bend or mute channels (which is vital when composing).
Therefore I still use the Moonsound and MBWAVE to lie down the notes of the arrangement...

Once I am done in MBWAVE, MBMIDI gets started. It spews MIDI through the Turbo R GT MIDI interface and the one in the Philips Music Module (the one I use).

It would be very easy to just use General MIDI (sad that MBMIDI just goes up to 128 instruments because GM2 supports more than that... Can't reach that with MBMIDI) so I could record the result in one go... It's just that GM is a dead sounding thing... All sounds are as flat as a beer coaster...
Then, if I want to record all in one go, I could go for the (Roland calls it) perform mode... I've to set everything ON the synthesizer itself... That's an awful job to do, therefore I settle with the unorthodox way:
When in patch mode I can only use channel 1 of MBMIDI, so I've to record per channel having quite some MB of WAV files once I'm done... When playing the channel which is about to be recorded, I browse through the extensive library of sounds embedded in my synths and set the volume on my mixer to avoid the red zone...
In a way it's always a surprise what the result will be once all is recorded, because only then I find out if there's any harmony between the chosen instruments... Often it turns out that something totally doesn't fit, so I've to rerecord that channel again... Sometimes I play the song with that particular track muted and use the old fashioned 'play along with it manually' on the keyboard of my Korg X5D (while not hearing the Korg, but a Roland... This model of Korg isn't famous for its brilliant sounds)...
When all is recorded to my satisfaction, I mix all down in Sony Vegas 6 and nag Wolf_ once in a while on IRC on "how does this work" or "darn, I forgot how this or that should be done" or "is this even possible in Vegas?". He helps me out on those questions in a way I can barely understand it, but it works...
When done, It's rendered and I consider it done...

Tip: Don't try this yourself, it takes loooong...
But at least you get to work on a real MSX Big smile

By Jorito

Mr. Ambassadors (1761)

Jorito's picture

16-05-2012, 17:51

I haven't been that active with composing lately (spent most of the time working on this website!), but recently I feel like composing something again.

My tool of choice nowadays is Renoise, a tracker with excellent support for samples, VSTs and MIDI. I was big on using MIDI/hardware instruments in the old days, but my last tracks have been made with VSTs mostly. The MIDI synths (Yamaha Motif ES6 and Roland XV-5050) are only used if I find a cool preset I'd like to use.

But as said, it's 95% VSTs nowadays, as it's just more convenient to me.

Workflow-wise my method is quite similar to the one I saw in this video the other day (note that this movie is 90 minutes long or so!). I'm only less good than he is :P

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9767)

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16-05-2012, 18:12

If only the balance between his voice-over and the music would be more equal..

By inversephase

Supporter (12)

inversephase's picture

16-05-2012, 22:40

Hi guys, I'm a tracker kid.

In terms of MSX composition, I'm not too happy with anything I've found to write music. I'm eagerly awaiting TriloTracker which I will probably use a lot on my MSX2.

My primary music composition is done in Soundtracker and then I have a variety of scripts to convert the "kits" I create to, for example, NSF. Even though it's not the "real thing", I spent a lot of time time making the kit output as authentic as possible so I can perform live with only a laptop and SoundTracker.

Here's a video of my setup. I'm probably boring to most people but at least the musicians here might find it interesting. =]

EDIT: Apologies in advance that the track I demo is Atari, not MSX ;)

By Jorito

Mr. Ambassadors (1761)

Jorito's picture

16-05-2012, 23:43

You really should check out Renoise, inversephase. It's definately the way forward for trackers. The only issue might be that it's not free, but you can download a free demo version to play with Smile

What kind of live performances do you do?

BTW, most people in this thread are tracker people. I think only MrRudi doesn't use a tracker Tongue

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9767)

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16-05-2012, 23:52

Maybe he hasn't ever used a good one.. Smile

By syn

Paragon (1920)

syn's picture

17-05-2012, 11:35

I used Renoise about 10 years ago I think (for a short while, I made some snippets in it), I had the free version but the only problem was that I couldnt export to wav file, so I just put Soundforge on record and played the song in Renoise. I havent touched trackers for years though, since I switched to Reason.

A few weeks ago I wanted to try to make some music on the MSX so I gave moonblaster a try but couldnt really get used to the interface.

By Meits

Scribe (5480)

Meits's picture

17-05-2012, 12:13

Getting used to an interface can be quite hard indeed... I never got out of Moonblaster... Have tried different PC trackers and also other kinds of composing programs, cubase, reason, guitarpro... Never got a harmony of notes from it... Tried revisit on top of cubase (like Wolf_ does)... Why does setting up a simple composing environment have to be so utter complex... I might try renoise again sometime...

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9767)

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17-05-2012, 12:24

The reason why setting up takes some moments is because it's not one integrated product, like hardware workstations and platform dedicated trackers (like MB) are. reViSiT (and any other source o' notes) can't assume that I'm always using the same instrument, and virtual instruments can't assume it's always the same musical source that's controlling them. So, in order to stay flexible, the notes can only communicate with the instruments through some kind of modular bridge - which is exactly what this setup is. You gain flexibility and possibilities, at the cost of having to set up these things. It's an offer which *I* don't mind.

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