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 Where do you start?

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Saphira
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PostSubject: Where do you start?   Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:17 am

Alright, so I've wanted to produce music for quite some time now but I really have no idea where to start. Where do you guys start? Do you lay down a beat first? the melody? How do you go about bringing tracks to life? I feel like I have no idea how I'd even come up with a melody let along all the other stuff that goes with it. So I'd really like to see what other people's creative processes are.

Also what do each of you use? The only thing I've ever really played with is FL Studio, so I'm curious to see if there's a different favorite out there that maybe I should be trying out instead.

Thanks all <3
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JochSejo

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PostSubject: Re: Where do you start?   Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:05 am

When I first started I only was into classical so I used the online notation site http://www.noteflight.com to write music. Later on I found out that you could export the file and put it into another program as a MIDI file.

Converting a MIDI into the music program you use or already having that option in the software would be the easiest to start.

I use Noteflight.com and take the MIDI from that and put it into Ableton Live Lite 8 (Going to buy Ableton Live 9 Suit this year).

I would start with making/thinking glad or sad music or rock/pop and choose a good key to write in and then pick some chords that's in harmony and from that make a drum beat(after I've chosen the chords).

After that I would listen to it a couple of times and try to sing the melodi I want (If I can come up with something).

Next would be to create a structure (INTRO,VERSE,BRIDGE,LIFT,DRUMS OUT, VERSE,BRIDGE,CHORUS,INSTRUMENTAL,CHORUS,OUTRO) Or something like that...It's up to you.

It could be easier if you already had Lyrics of a song and only wanted to make the music because then you would know what you wanted and could make a good chord progression and then go from there.

I mostly use Drums,Base,Guitar,Piano,Cello,Viola,Violin.

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djcalvycakes



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PostSubject: Re: Where do you start?   Wed Aug 27, 2014 3:13 am

First I usually hear something in my head, like a sound, beat or melody. Then I try to bring that something to life. I'll usually build off of that once I have it down. Sometimes I'll lay a beat down and try to write over that. Other times I'll just mess with a synth or plugin until I get something that sounds cool and go from there.
Listen to a variety of cool music and take inspiration from everywhere.

I personally use Pro Tools 10 because I'm 4 times certified in it and I'm quick in it. There's a T O N of stuff you can do in it, but I wouldn't recommend it for newer users. Popular DAWs that I hear people use are Cubase, Reason and Reaper.
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PostSubject: Re: Where do you start?   Wed Aug 27, 2014 5:15 am

I start my songs with whatever idea it is that inspired it. I realize that sounds really obvious and stupid but it's true. Sometimes I come up with a melody while improvising on the piano, and rush to FL Studio to put it in before I forget it. From there I make chords, do instrumentation, and then things tend to take off. Alternately, sometimes I'll just sit down with the idea of making a track of a certain genre and begin by crafting a synth sound that fits that genre. I plug in a rudimentary test melody to use while designing the sound, which eventually gets revised and refined into a proper melody and again, things take off from there.

I'd suggest starting with whatever your core musical strength is. For me, it's the piano. For you, it's whatever got you in to making music. If you learned how to play the guitar when you were little, then start by fiddling around on the guitar. If you started out as a singer, begin by writing the lyrics, or come up with a melody by harmonizing with a favorite song (just an idea, dunno if it's viable). Some rudimentary knowledge of music theory is immensely helpful when it comes to fleshing a brief idea out into a full song, so if you don't know how chords work, LEARN.

I'd definitely suggest playing around with other DAWs if you're unsure in FL. Ableton was one of the first DAWs I ever used and it completely baffled me. When I tried FL Studio, everything felt intuitive and simple. I've talked to plenty of people who had the exact opposite experience, so it's really all about personal preference. On the other hand, if you're comfortable in FL, don't bother trying to learn another DAW until you're confident in your abilities to lay down some music. It's not worth the time.

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Icy Lust

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PostSubject: Re: Where do you start?   Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:55 am

I start from an idea, if I played something on my instruments or a beat in my head. I think that you must learn to use your DAW, because even if you're a great composer but you don't know how to do these things, add these effects, your music won't sound like you want to.
By the way, totally agree with Legacide : use your "strength", your instrument for the first ideas, then record it/write it in MIDI, think of what kind of beat you want (beatboxing is cool to imagine how it will sound). Then, you'll have to find the other virtual/organic instruments that'll fit with your melody and your synths.
I recently realized that you MUST take time to search to good drum samples, work on your synths, mixing, mastering. When you make music in your home studio, you have in reality 2 jobs : the composer, and the sound engineer.

I'm not a pro at all, but if it can help you, glad to help !

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Tizzer

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PostSubject: Re: Where do you start?   Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:21 pm

As a guitar player, I'm coming from a different sort of background it seems. I tend to open up my DAW and just play guitar until I come up with something I like. I'll record it, and expand from there. I also find it can help to record things on your phone if you're not at a computer. I'll start a video on my phone and play a riff or even hum a melody so I remember it later.

Occasionally I'll have a beat in mind without any melody or chord progression, so I'll use my drum software and make a quick loop and then jam over it on guitar.

The main thing I try to keep in mind is to not get sucked into the production part too early. Get ideas down in the most comfortable way you can, and worry about making it sound perfect later. You can always change settings or re-record performances, but if you get too obsessed with levels or EQ settings it can slow down or kill your train of thought. Anyway that's my 2 cents, good luck!

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ALvT



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PostSubject: Re: Where do you start?   Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:19 pm

Well, I usually start with whatever comes to mind first. Regardless of whether it's a drum beat, a melody, a drop idea, etc. But my most common starting points are either with a melody or chord progression. I try to make music that conveys some kind of emotion or tells a story (with the exceptions of some where I just want to make something groovy), so having the right melody and chord progression really helps evoke said emotion/delivers said story. Then I'll expand the song from there.
Making a song come alive is definitely one of the hardest parts of music production, next to composition and sound design. I'm still not 100% sure how to do it myself, other than making sure that there are some dynamics in the track and some variation (so the listener doesn't get bored). Personally, i try to add layers of stuff (e.g. pads, arps, choirs, etc. that are barely noticeable unless you're actively looking for them) into my songs, as long as they complement each other and don't cause a mess, in order to fill up empty space. But I suppose if the idea is good and you're determined to make it into a song, it will come alive on its own.
I personally use FL studio, and would highly recommend it to a starting producer, though I'm not opposed to the idea of starting with or trying out other DAWs to find one that suits your workflow.

tldr: Start with the first idea you come up with, build off of that by adding complementary sounds, and use whichever Digital Audio Workstation lets you get down your ideas efficiently.

Even though my knowledge of production and theory is rather limited (presumably in comparison to most of the slices in our loaf), I would be more than happy to help you with getting started with making music. Just contact me :3
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Saphira
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PostSubject: Re: Where do you start?   Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:23 pm

Thanks for all the responses so far slices. Think I'm going to re-get FL and start playing around.
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PalmMute



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PostSubject: Re: Where do you start?   Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:08 pm

I usually just spend a lot of time making things... just things. Nice synth patches, messing around with piano's with new midi controllers or just messing with a new scale or practicing a new scale and I end up having something wich makes me go "OH YES, YES YES YES" and I flesh it out with all the parts it's missing. then just play it and I let myself into "fill the blanks" mode wich usually is not creative at all, it's literally just taking things I've heard in the past and using that to fill the gaps. Sometimes I even go in huge 'listen to everything that sounds alike' sprees and then take a break for a day or two to not create something exactly the same.
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LukeIcardMusic

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PostSubject: Re: Where do you start?   Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:30 pm

Depends on what i've got in my head really.

Sometimes, I'll hit record in reason and just play my keyboard until a cool melody or chord progression happens, and then ill use that one to build a song. 

What i've been doing lately though is building a drum groove, and working melody/chords under that. Just depends on what genre you are doing too.

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