That point in which sequencing MIDI just seems like a chore

Discussions on sound production outside the synthesizer such as mixing, processing, recording, editing and mastering.
ned-ryarson
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Re: That point in which sequencing MIDI just seems like a ch

Post by ned-ryarson » Thu May 28, 2015 11:13 pm

Ha, you're not alone though, that feeling sucks. I'd say there are few musos who don't experience it at some stage. When the inspiration and fun happens again, which it always does, it will feel better than ever. Do you have any music online anywhere?

Zmeinogorsk
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Re: That point in which sequencing MIDI just seems like a ch

Post by Zmeinogorsk » Fri May 29, 2015 8:00 pm

Rarely add real guitar/bass to tracks, but this one sort of went that way.
Last edited by Zmeinogorsk on Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: That point in which sequencing MIDI just seems like a ch

Post by mmp » Sun May 31, 2015 1:14 pm

Two things:

How about trying to make music without any MIDI sequencing for a while. Try playing and overdubbing.
(I pretty much abandoned MIDI sequencing 20 years ago. I didn't like how I was always tempted to quantize and take the life & expression out of everything).

Secondly, for me, it has always been key to seperate creation from editing/critique. When my inner critic is at work nothing is good enough to keep and nothing gets created. So, I have forced myself to isolate the two tasks. Create something/anything, but finish it, turn off the inner critic. After something is made, then critique it. It's great, it sucks, it needs refinement, or I'll save that idea for a later time when my perspective and taste have changed and it will have merit then. It has increased my output considerably, and it is amazing how many things I might have thrown away, have later been key ideas or themes I am glad I have kept.

OK then, go make some freakin music!
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ian
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Re: That point in which sequencing MIDI just seems like a ch

Post by ian » Sun May 31, 2015 4:08 pm

Hey,

I've been where you are a few times and have a couple suggestions. One thing I would say is that don't blaim yourself because you are not having fun with your set up, midi/DAW sequencing is not for everyone. Anyway, here goes...

1) try singing a melody or riff or some phrases into a recorder. if it sounds bad... awesome! start layering other sounds on it and make it sound cool. there's your verse or your chorus. put it down and wait for the next riff to come to you.

2) Put the micrscope down! Drum fills are for drummers. keep everything as minimal as possible and keep moving. The beauty of all the wonderful tech we have at our fingertips is that we can go back and fix anything we want AFTER the song is sketched out. How many overworked, half finished "drafts" do all of us have that will never see the light of day? Keep it moving, don't over listen to one thing, you'll end up mastering the one part you have before you even get to writing the chorus or bridge.

3) A beat is just a beat until it's a song, so stop making beats and start writing songs (and there is only one perfect song that has ever been written; Wondering by Little Richard, if you are curious..hahahaha... so, don't even try to make a master piece). As Stevie Wonder said, you always have to leave a little room for god in a song. In other, words relinquish responsibility and become a vessel for creation, stop censoring yourself. Stop trying to recreate the "perfect" song you imagine you hear in your head. Use a synth sound you normally would never use as your lead. Remove the burden of perfectionism. Stop trying to make all your gear work at the same time. You have a DAW; lay down a lick, sample yourself kicking a box for a kick drum, turn on the arpeggiator... whatever. Make it fun!

4) You may find a piece of gear that helps your work flow but I don't think adding yet another distraction is gonna help your creativity. I would suggest lighting some candles, having a seance, and deleting all your half finished tracks in a sacrifical blood right/ rebirth ceremony. And then start kickin some tail.

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Re: That point in which sequencing MIDI just seems like a ch

Post by Zmeinogorsk » Sun May 31, 2015 4:46 pm

Ian and MMP - thank you both for your responses! I think this is what I needed. Gear is not the answer, but working on my mindset. Gonna spend this afternoon working on something - with no expectations. Scrap the 20 half finished tracks I've been grinding away at. And maybe light a candle or two. ;)

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Re: That point in which sequencing MIDI just seems like a ch

Post by ian » Sun May 31, 2015 4:55 pm

Very welcome!

I know the feeling you have all too well, and I too am older and hermity as well. It's hard to break out of a funk but I think the key is to not let your inner critic squash you. I also found listening to new music and going down a YouTube rabbit hole for awhile to be inspiring.... "It's like, oh, that 's so simple but the artist made it sound fresh..? Cool! Let me try that but in my style"

Don't give up, music is the the life blood!

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Re: That point in which sequencing MIDI just seems like a ch

Post by atkbg » Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:38 pm

I find by limiting external sound (no radios, cd players, youtube, etc.) I start to hear the melodies in my head again. I often drive with no music and let my internal ear create it. When I get home, I'll try to actuate what I heard. Often-times, its just a song for the evening. And that's fine. I have a number of tunes where the name is just the date.

I also play out. When I play out, its like going to a party. You hang out with people, play some tunes they want to hear or some originals that are roughly in the same vein for the night. I mostly leave my music for me.

Not all music is made for public consumption.

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Re: That point in which sequencing MIDI just seems like a ch

Post by thermite zapruder » Mon Nov 30, 2015 6:35 pm

I have a too-long backlog of songs that...

-Are unfinished
-Are finished but need mixing
-Are finished but, I can see now with the perspective of years/accumulated skills, really want to be re-recorded (in many cases, the original recording was intended to be a demo but I ended up spending too much time on said demo)
-Are finished but, I can see now...etc...need re-mixing.

Anyway, my MPC is busted. About a month ago, I wanted to do some recording but wanted to start out with some percussion. I figured I'd construct a drum kit from my 2600. But instead of doing the rational thing and sampling the kit sounds with my EMU 6400, and then either triggering them by hand or wrapping my mind around that machine's sequencer (I am a sequencing idiot--for rhythm purposes, I've only ever used the incredibly easy and intuitive sequencer on my MPC)...I thought I'd try to use the 2600's internal clock, overdubbing, and selective track muting to construct a rhythm track.

There's a way I could have synced up the start times for the kick sound I devised, and the hi-hat I came up with next. I opted to say Screw it, and do it by hand/ear. Yeah, that didn't work out so well. I made three attempts, on three separate tracks. By the time I was done with that, I had gotten pretty far away from my original intent...but I had a f*cked up heartbeat sound, and then three tracks of clicky, metallic, fast-running rhythm that didn't quite sync up with the heartbeat or one another. I brought all faders up. It sounded not at all like any kind of drum kit. It sounded like some kind of nightmare machine. I dug it, and thought...huh, I'll have to come back to this and see what I can do with it--maybe add this or that.

A few weeks later, I listened back and tried some melodic overdubs. Can't say I added anything of value. So I listened to the original four tracks again and realized it was what it was: cool in its own right, on its own terms. All five minutes of it was too much...but a minute or two was evocative and took at least me on a bit of a journey. Screw it: with no specific destination in mind anyway, I can call this done, for better or for worse. It felt liberating. I'm in a place now where I'm rediscovering some synths that have lain fallow for a while after a transitional period, so there's a lot of pure sound creation. I decided to carry this non-obsessive, minimally judgmental, first-though-best-thought, for-the-sake-of-the-journey, approach forward for a little while. I now have five little compositions, no more than three-to-five tracks each, all short, that I am happy to call DONE, and I am thoroughly enjoying this process.

I started by matching sonic ideas with one another in a minimalist way. And, importantly, by giving myself the permission to do only that. I am now finding the compositional juices flowing again.

I still, however, need to get that damn MPC fixed.

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