Author Topic: Arrangement/Finishing songs  (Read 4455 times)

Offline Bleetz

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Arrangement/Finishing songs
« on: July 22, 2014, 23:06:59 »
Hi there, I've been using trackers (Ompt/Madtracker) for years now but this still bugs me. How do other users go about arrangements etc? I mean how do you know when your track is finished and ready to share? I seem to get stuck at around the 2 minute mark and I don't know how to finish my songs. I get stuck in a rut and tend to constantly change samples, ruin what I started with and end up stuck in that 2 minute loop! I have bounced channels/samples down to wav to export into Reaper and completed tracks that way, but I would love to be able to make (for example) a 5 min track that I am happy with in a tracker. I use the separators etc in the sequencer view and it still doesn't seem to be able for me to complete a full song in MPT entirely. I know alot of people will say, well use a DAW then, but I love using Modplug. I have also OVER analysed and tried to copy the arrangements of the music I am into, but  I still can't finish a song in Ompt AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH(Maybe its just me) anyway... Would love to hear experienced users tips on this.

BTW Modplug gets nicer to use with every release. Keep up the good work.  ;)
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 13:48:31 by Bleetz »

Offline Saga Musix

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Re: Arrangement/Finishing songs
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2014, 00:16:07 »
Well, my most successful recipe is probably to have a creativity streak as long as possible. If you have the ideas coming, sit down for as long as you can and continue writing. Otherwise, at least for me, picking up a tune that I've started a month ago is often difficult. You can do exactly the same mistakes in trackers and classical sequencers, but trackers often allow for more details to be changed, of course. Try doing this detail work when you're done with the structure.
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Offline LPChip

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Re: Arrangement/Finishing songs
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2014, 10:40:33 »
What works for me (I'm known to have made songs that lasts for 7 or 8 minutes, and even attempted to make 2 30 minute songs) is learning how to make transitions.

Basically after 4 or 8 patterns, at the end, using the last 16 rows (or more if you really want a big transition), change the drums dramatically with a fill, change the bass and other sounds if that works for that moment, and on the next pattern go with something new.

You can keep small parts of previous patterns, but it allows you to move into a new direction.

Also, if you are consistent in changing patterns, a transition is not always necessary. This way, you can have 2 or 3 different melodies/set of chord progressions and go switch between them. A good example of this is my song called: Crying for Love. Notice how, after the intro, I have 3 different parts and how I keep going back between these parts, but where I change how the drums sound, how the bass sounds and how the guitars play.

And the biggest factor here is experience. The more music you make, the more you learn how to do this. Do note, if you have a writersblock, it can be that you only get a few patterns out and that the whole just doesn't sound good. If this is the case for you, think about doing something else for half a year and come back to music. Also, listening to other music usually helps getting inspiration.

As oppsed to Saga Musix, I do not try to track as long as possible when I have lots of inspiration, but if I feel I still have inspiration left and I have the time, I certainly continue. But usually I work on a song about 3 hours a night, and even with inspiration left, I stop. I start listening to the song on repeat, fix mistakes and get a state where I'm comfortable with what I made so far. Then when I move on, I start working on the next section.

And I suppose the biggest quesiton remains: What can you do in music to entertain the listener? It doesn't have to mean that you keep changing the song, as long as the listener enjoys what they're hearing. Small variations or sounds in the background can do that too.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline Bleetz

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Re: Arrangement/Finishing songs
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2014, 13:31:03 »
First off, sorry for the delay in replying.

Thankyou for your suggestions they will both be taken on board. I am going to attempt a track by getting the structure down first, then doing the detailed bits, instead of the other way round which I have been doing. Also gonna work on my transitions too.  BTW Nice track LP Chip ;)

Hope these tips can help others struggling with arrangement too.

Offline LPChip

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Re: Arrangement/Finishing songs
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2014, 21:30:42 »
Welcome back. I'm sure eventually it'll work. I didn't become a pro over night either. I have over 20 years of experience on my belt. :)

Just work on groups of 4 patterns, finish that then go to the next, and dare to go into a different direction. Thats basically what you need to start. Once you got that part done, you can try and come back to earlier structures with variety in it. A good example of this is an old track of mine called I was mental before.
Basically the song starts and changes to something else every 4 patterns by the use of different kind of transitions, where most won't sound as transitions, but they really are.

Also you may want to check out my Battle for Justice as it has a "making of" video, showing you how I track music. Entire process took about an hour, grouped by each structure.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs