how do you make music?
Im starting this thread in hopes to grow as an artist. I simply would like to know how you make music.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you imagine what you want your production to sound like and then try to make it that way or do you take bits and pieces of random creations that sound good and put them together like a puzzle. Do you do vocals? Why or why not? if so do you build your tracks around the vocals or do you build the music first and then the vocals? Anything you can think of that you do or have seen done that might help someone grow, add to this channel, cuz we all need some love.
this is how i make music presently:
I take a song i like, usually from pandora internet radio, and i record the track on audacity. Then i pick it apart into a form. For example if it starts out with a melody and a drum beat then i write down melody and drum beat. Then if the base kicks in i write melody drum beat base and so forth. It ends up looking similar too reasons sequencer, like this
Melody 2x melody 2x melody 2x second drum beat2x ect.
Drum beat 2x drum beat 2x second drum beat 2x base 2x ect.
base 2x second base 2x
Try this link its in black n white and spaced out right, forum messed up the spacing.
then once i have the form, and the form is used just as a guide line much like an outline when your writing a paper, i start to make the parts of the song. I like to start with the drum beats, because ive had good results when i do this first, but im not sure which is best to start with. So i open up a redrum and make 8 different beats. The reason i make 8 is that i like my music to evolve. Once the 8 beats are made i do a little survival of the fittest and cut the beats i like the least and keep the top 2 or 3 and pick which beat i want to go where. After i have the pattern down i go through and play with different drum sounds see if i can find something I like better. I then do the same procedure for the melodies and base parts. This may sound like alot of work, and there have been times when it has taken some of the fun out of the music, but for me i usually find the end justifies the means but im not sure if this is for everyone.
Some things i dont like about this way of making music is i like the idea of divine inspiration and this procedure kinda edges on destroying this idea. Also the structures can be kinda boring and ive found most popular songs use really simple structures, but this may be for lyrical purposes such as choruses ect. Overall i like making music this way but am always open to new ideas and advice because there certainly are alot of talented musicians on here.
Anyway i hope some other people post how they make music, or, and i say this humbly, get some ideas from me. Much love, Cody
I will try to keep this short and simple, but basically I find that not having a format keeps the music interesting
things that inspire me to write: music, Drugs, stupid women, stupid humans in general, unaware, oblivious assholes, arrogant, ego-centric pricks. I've even heard the rhythm of a copy machine and it inspired a beat.
do I do vocals first or music? it changes from time to time. I remember Kurt Cobain said "music first, then lyrics."
I find that either one can evoke an emotion. Sometimes I write lyrics and I think, okay these sound haunting or disgusting, happy or angry, or vice versa with the music. then go from there.
guitar riffs are usually sporadic. most the time they are old riffs that never went anywhere, then one day I write something in Reason and find that it works perfectly with the beat. serendipity at it's finest.
one thing I try to refrain from the most is verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. my songs the usually build up and explode into another area. certains things will change (i.e. guitar, bass, beat), but I'm a big fan of textures and not being redundant.
there are no rules.
have you ever tried keeping the lyrics in your head until you write them down, i know of some artist that do that but have never tried it, cool post, thanks :)
I will start with this old saying,
"Learn it, to forget it, to do it."
I wrote something similar to this topic here:
what are tools for a professional sound
"I feel that, as above, practice, practice, practice.
It has been said that it takes about 2000 hours of focused attention to gain basic competency in a skill. That's 40 hours a week for a year.
Also knowing ones limitations, I find important. Delusion about skills, gear, what's cool/good etc. seem to only hamper attaining competencies. Leave the baggage at the door or you will not have a chance to gain competencies. What is, is. LOL."
I find that when one spends the time to learn the tools and the tools limitations, when one learns to listen more and speak less, when one focuses outside themselves and stays humble, and practices alot (did I say that already? LOL.) the writing tends to take care of it's self.
I find that just "writing" gets much more milage than waiting for "inspiration" (whatever that is). Wait, wait, wait. In the mean time, time passes on, the moment is gone.
For me, I just start hacking stuff up. It will lead to something eventually. I find most important is to just "do" and let go of expectations. Overtime, the songs and ideas will reveal themselves to you.
I started to write more (and better) the more I just focused on learning how a song or style was put together. Learned a lot about music history, theory, and the styles of music and how they evolved. Like, what makes Reggae, Reggae, Rock, Rock, Classical, Classical. Why was Funk/Punk/Industrial/Whatever important? Who were the pioneers? What tools were used? How were the tools used. Then I throw it all away and write. Everyday. I write and listen to other peoples music. Always learning and absorbing. And asking lots of questions and lots of reading.
And always learning tools. Compressors, EQs, drum machines, guitar pedals, whatever. I try to explore all the stuff in Reason and all my other software. Sometimes just screwing around and seeing what a piece of gear or software does leads to writing. Crazy.
Hope this makes sense and isn't too "Zen". LOL.
I have a blog where I write about this kinda stuff occasionally:
Hope this helps.
It was about 3:00 AM and I had just finished watching "Donnie Darko" for the first time. I sat down at my piano and came up with this tune. The next day, I completed the song in Reason. It started with a movie, then the piano and evolved on it's own from there.
I go to the gym on a regular basis. There was a very, very beautiful woman (long, dark hair, brown eyes, tight body and absolutely gorgeous skin) who I had always hoped to talk to, but never had the opportunity. She stopped showing up. A few months went by I realized she was probably gone forever. So, I sat down at the piano and let my odd-placed feelings take me away. I pictured myself living in Seattle, in a penthouse apartment some where downtown, late, late at night. I saw myself playing this song while looking over the city during a rain storm -- dreaming about life and opportunities missed. It came out sad, dark and wonderful. I wrote is song thinking about a woman I never met! How's that for inspiration?
I wrote Dark Reflections to keep myself busy while waiting for my divorce to finalize. I wrote the lyrics to a simple beat, recorded and then decorated the music around the vocals. This is my only real vocal track. I don't think it's that great, but it's better than anything I attempted before. For this track, I pictured staring at myself in a mirror, telling myself everything is okay and that I was doing the right thing; to trust in myself and know that I would have to comes to term with my own individuality to make it through those tough times. Essentially, it's me, talking to myself in the third person.
I sat down at the piano and it just wrote itself. The rest came naturally. It "felt" right.
I am a programmer and was having a blast with my internal blog at work one day. I was so happy I popped open Reason and started writing the piano chords. The rest just wrote itself...
Almost all of my best tracks come from sitting down at my piano while in some kind of emotional state. Other good tracks come from creative ideas that pop into my head. For instance, the last few tracks I've been focusing on are instrumental with specific effects using pitch wheels, panning and fine tuning techniques. The result is creepy, which is exactly what I am going for!
My next experiment, after my new album, will be a complete vocal album. I plan on writing and singing lyrics first, then decorating afterwards. Based on what I've heard, not many people do it this way. I find that kind of odd.
When I start getting more free time, I plan on taking piano and guitar lessons. I also plan on studying mastering, music education and buying some hardware (amps, mics, etc). Right now, everything I do is guess-work that relies solely on software. I want to learn more. Heck, I might even try live performances if I can practice enough.
"I started to write more (and better) the more I just focused on learning how a song or style was put together. Learned a lot about music history, theory, and the styles of music and how they evolved. Like, what makes Reggae, Reggae, Rock, Rock, Classical, Classical. Why was Funk/Punk/Industrial/Whatever important? Who were the pioneers? What tools were used? How were the tools used. Then I throw it all away and write. Everyday. I write and listen to other peoples music. Always learning and absorbing. And asking lots of questions and lots of reading.
And always learning tools. Compressors, EQs, drum machines, guitar pedals, whatever. I try to explore all the stuff in Reason and all my other software. Sometimes just screwing around and seeing what a piece of gear or software does leads to writing. Crazy."
I really liked that part, i think its something i did alot of at first but have kinda goten outa the habit.
Also "when one learns to listen more and speak less" reminds me alot of what jimi hendrix is quoted as saying "knowledge speaks, wisdom listens"
good stuff, cody
i like how your inspired by life
"My next experiment, after my new album, will be a complete vocal album. I plan on writing and singing lyrics first, then decorating afterwards. Based on what I've heard, not many people do it this way. I find that kind of odd."
To be honest ive never tried it, so i guess its one of those dont nock it till you try it things it just seems really hard to me where as if you have the music already down, its easy to manipulate your voice, but the main guitar player in dire straights said when he was confronted with the norm of guitar playing styles he immediatly began to break the rules, and now hes considered by many to be one of the all time great guitarists :)
your imput is appreciated <3, cody
ok I am more of a "get a groove with bass and percussion" and then "start adding melody and frills as I go" sort of hacker. then listen a lot to what I have and then instead of getting on and working on a killer arrangement I get lazy and somehow never finish :( gotta work on that
am learning a bit of theory at the moment, along with learning to play the piano so I am hoping to see a bit more direction and improvement in my compositions and perhaps a couple of finished tunes too
ya i get lazy too about an hour into it, somethin that helps me with my energy is takin vitamen b, and potassium pills :P it might be one of those things thats in your head though, where u just think it helps. Thanks for the reply <3
I often make a simple drumbeat looping in Reason, pick up my guitar and start riffing around until i find something that sounds cool. when i have a riff i like I record the guitar and import to Reason, structire the drums so it fits with the guitar, and eventually try if theres something else i can add, like strings or a synth melody.
sometimes its the other way around. i play around on the keyboard and may find a melody/chord progression i like, and go on from there.
if theres a powerfull melody with strings and pads, then i make the guitar riffs simpler, since the focus is on the melody by the strings, not on the guitar.
this song is an example, the focus is on the strings and piano, so i didnt go bananas on the guitar;
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