Author Topic: Getting started with composition  (Read 1933 times)

Offline vince94

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Getting started with composition
« on: December 06, 2017, 16:20:09 »
So I've been noodling around with OpenMPT and other tracker-like software since around 2009. I've mostly made covers and used SNESMOD to make SPC conversions of things, and while I've been practicing that for the past few years, learning what all the effects do and how to push them to imitate actual instruments (this guitar solo, for example -, learning how to record/loop my own samples, and learning how to break down arrangements to work in the SNES's eight channels (or the NES's four channels via Famitracker) and still sound good, I've never thought about composing my own music. I see so much amazing original music here and in places like Battle of the Bits, and I can't help but feel a bit out of my league in that regard. So I just thought I'd ask, how long did it take for you guys to go from not very much experience to making original stuff that you're actually proud of? It feels like all I need is practice, but at the same time I'm not sure where to begin.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 16:29:11 by vince94 »

Offline Saga Musix

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Re: Getting started with composition
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2017, 16:30:20 »
It can take years but it also depends on tons of factors. If you already know how to use the software, how to handle samples, how to get new and better samples and instruments, then you already have a lot of technical knowledge and these aspects of making a song won't get in your way when trying to be more creative, and you can focus more on the compositional aspects. You learn by doing. Look at other modules and how other authors manage to do things that you like about their music. Getting more familiar with music theory is of course also useful in this regard (but many people do fine without it).

how long did it take for you guys to go from not very much experience at composing to making original stuff that you're actually proud of?
It's actually not that simple because of all the aspects mentioned above. Even in the tracks from my first year of using a tracker there are already really nice ideas, but e.g. the samples are crap. So while the composition is already acceptable, it still doesn't sound as good as it could be. Especially in the beginning this was definitely a hit and miss. Three years later I think I finally managed to tackle both the technical and compositional aspects, but of course still with a lot of room for improvements. Another two years later I wrote some stuff that I still like a lot today.
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Offline LPChip

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Re: Getting started with composition
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2017, 22:28:31 »
It takes a lot of time indeed, and the fun thing is, you continuously get better.

For me I never shared my music with the internet simply because I didn't had it when I was younger. So the first 8 years, my music was not that good. At some point, internet became more accessible, and I started to share my music. I had reached a decent level, but it was not that good, and all the feedback and being active really helped. Listening to other people's music, looking what they did and how they did it helped me. It was definitely another 4 years before I noticed my level got semi-professional, and another 2 years before I could say I am a professional. But even so, my level continues to rise and my music now is so much better than where I reached a professional level.

That said, your music does not need to be on a semi-professional level before others will start to like it.

You do need to experiment, but the biggest step for you, is to just get experience. Just try to make something completely made by you, repeat that process at least a 100 times.

And remember, there is only one person that should like it, and that is you. If you like the music, then that's all that matters. Share it with others, and who knows, others may like it too. And if you share it at music places like OpenMPT, then we'll give you constructive critisism, which will help you to understand what you can do to make the song even better.

I've worked with beginners like you, and by just a few tips I saw their skill increase by a factor of 10 which gave them enough confidence to continue on their own and they make great music now.

So the first thing is: just make something and if you don't like it, just throw it away.

I have my old songs that are crappy still on my harddisk. Most of those songs are unfinished because I just didn't like it or was stuck. But if I listen to those songs, and I do  occasionally, the first thing I think is this: man, this is crap. But then I hear the ideas I was having, and those ideas are solid. I have resurrected a few of these ideas and turned them into decent songs, sometimes even 15 years later. So my point is: make a song, and if you get stuck or don't like it, stop working on it, and create a new one.
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