That point in which sequencing MIDI just seems like a chore

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Zmeinogorsk
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That point in which sequencing MIDI just seems like a chore

Post by Zmeinogorsk » Fri May 01, 2015 3:25 am

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

Post by polyana » Fri May 01, 2015 3:44 am

Have you looked at Zaquencer? A shedload of features, much more hands on than an MC-whatever or MMT8.

Maybe not enough for complex compositions, but you can always record a few audio takes and then mix and match.

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

Post by meatballfulton » Fri May 01, 2015 11:26 am

Are you only step sequencing? Try sequencing in real time (slow the tempo down if you lack keyboard chops).
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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

Post by madtheory » Fri May 01, 2015 12:54 pm

Does it feel like work because it's a computer? meatballfulton makes a good point. It's the interface that's the problem. Try something you can touch like a keyboard, MIDI guitar, breath controller, Push controller, drum pads, Kaoss pad, etc. etc. There are loads of ways to interact with a computer besides word processing tools (keyboard, mouse).

I've got it down to:
1. Weighted keyboard
2. SPD 11 drum pads (hit with sticks, great for burning energy)
3. KAOSS pad (pick a preset, ignore instructions, wibble your finger)
4. Frontier Alpha track: transport controls, ribbon controller for fast cueing.
5. Novation KS: best knobby VA I found.

But that's just my personal preference. My chops are OK after piano lessons as a kid. Took a few years to find the right combination of tactile gear. I couldn't handle breath controllers and I hate finger tapping drumpads. I even tried a Theremin. Still have it, but only use it as a Theremin not a controller.

You'll still need the mouse for some stuff, but just try to cut it down. Also, put some plants in the studio and keep it well aired. Electrical gear skews the ion balance.

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

Post by ned-ryarson » Fri May 01, 2015 5:21 pm

My most successful music was created in Logic with NI Massive and zero MIDI control. Mouse/pencil tool. I don't know where the inspiration at the time came from, but it eventually became pure hard work, soul destroying. Computer would go on, I would start composing with the same old approach and 2 minutes later I would say ''f-ck this'' shut it down.

Some time later I started playing a Juno 106 in a post-rock band and also as part of an electro duo. At that point I realised what I had been missing out on - analogue filter and pedals. Even the simplest sounds I created with the Juno and delay pedal were 20 times more inspiring than the most complex and 'interesting' Massive sounds I was sequencing with the mouse. And it was then the juices started flowing and making music became fun and addictive again, wether sequencing the Juno via laptop or playing it live.

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

Post by Zmeinogorsk » Fri May 01, 2015 8:08 pm

Thanks for the suggestions all! There is some really solid advice here. I do like the look of Zaquencer, but I'm not 100% sure it's what I'm after.

I guess I should elaborate my workflow a little bit, so people get the gist of why I feel so tired of making music. I have a MIDI controller which I use to trigger all my various hardware synths. With my hardware drum machines I usually mash the pads (if they transmit MIDI) to come up with drum parts. Once I've come upon a lick/drum part I usually copy and paste in my DAW umpteen times, and come up with some variation and fills. etc. etc. It just feels so mechanical. Copy, paste, repeat. Ugh. I also find the quantization of REAPER to be a bit shite, so often I have to go into the piano roll and quantize myself.

As a result, I've started to play melodies by hand instead, and found myself enjoying it a little bit more, but at the core I just find my music/"the process" really uninspiring.

The Arturia Beatstep Pro looks kinda dope, but since it's not out yet, I have no idea if that would help.

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

Post by meatballfulton » Fri May 01, 2015 11:22 pm

Zmeinogorsk wrote:enjoying it a little bit more, but at the core I just find my music/"the process" really uninspiring.
The biggest problem with making music is coming up with good ideas. Covers are easy, you can put your own spin on it but it's already a song. I realized a long time ago I would never be able to write good songs, surprisingly that freed me up to have fun just jamming with myself.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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

Post by Zmeinogorsk » Sat May 02, 2015 3:59 am

meatballfulton wrote:
Zmeinogorsk wrote:enjoying it a little bit more, but at the core I just find my music/"the process" really uninspiring.
The biggest problem with making music is coming up with good ideas. Covers are easy, you can put your own spin on it but it's already a song. I realized a long time ago I would never be able to write good songs, surprisingly that freed me up to have fun just jamming with myself.
I guess I might need to accept the fact that, on my own, I might not have the creative chops and the ability. Maybe that's liberating in a way. Find the joy in creating for the sake of creating. Or just join a band. ;)

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

Post by madtheory » Sat May 02, 2015 8:48 am

I always think of sculptors when this issue of "work" comes up. The largest amount of their time is spent chipping away at a lump of rock. Not "being inspired" and "having fun". Although I know a sculptor who enjoys the meditation and escape of that part of the work.

Look at Beethoven's process. He'd go for long walks in the country and bring a notebook, jotting down ideas. The first movement famous fifth symphony is a most excellent riff. It's 3 notes. You should try to find the books showing his notes. Man, did he work the shite out of those 3 notes for a very long time. Writing, re-writing, fiddling on the piano. But the whole thing is still 3 notes.

Edison summed it up: 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

He was also a great improviser and performer on piano. So I wonder about this too. The difference between a composer and a performer. Maybe performing is more fun? Maybe gigging is better for you than sequencing? But then there's all that practice time to get the chops...

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

Post by meatballfulton » Sat May 02, 2015 11:07 am

Zmeinogorsk wrote:Or just join a band. ;)
I was playing in bands long before I got my first synth and sequencer and still am (bass only, no keys or synths). That gives me an outlet outside of my music room.

For anyone who has never been in a band or collaborated with others I highly recommend it.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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

Post by Zmeinogorsk » Mon May 04, 2015 3:56 am

madtheory wrote:I always think of sculptors when this issue of "work" comes up. The largest amount of their time is spent chipping away at a lump of rock. Not "being inspired" and "having fun". Although I know a sculptor who enjoys the meditation and escape of that part of the work.

Look at Beethoven's process. He'd go for long walks in the country and bring a notebook, jotting down ideas. The first movement famous fifth symphony is a most excellent riff. It's 3 notes. You should try to find the books showing his notes. Man, did he work the shite out of those 3 notes for a very long time. Writing, re-writing, fiddling on the piano. But the whole thing is still 3 notes.

Edison summed it up: 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

He was also a great improviser and performer on piano. So I wonder about this too. The difference between a composer and a performer. Maybe performing is more fun? Maybe gigging is better for you than sequencing? But then there's all that practice time to get the chops...
Very solid points! I know a lot of it comes down to the process, and the "perspiration."

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

Post by madtheory » Mon May 04, 2015 6:33 am

With you on being an introvert. The best collaborations I ever did were regular improv sessions with friends. When we tried to put that in a band format and gig, we failed. So what I do now is work on my own and occasionally improvise with friends, or have them play on stuff, and try to put stuff out as often as possible. Just putting it on Bandcamp and getting a small bit of airplay so it feels like it's out there and finished. I've been putting off doing a gig for years but I'm much happier and more productive because the goal is simply to please myself and no-one else. Which is not entirely true because it's still really nice when people like my stuff. But the point is I'm not out there trying to get gigs which always end up being shitty.

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

Post by Zmeinogorsk » Thu May 28, 2015 4:29 am

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

Post by ned-ryarson » Thu May 28, 2015 5:28 pm

Zmeinogorsk wrote:At this point I might just sell all my synths. Making music is not fun. :(
That's kind of like one of those Facebook statuses where the person writes something like ''I hate my life :('' and everyone responds ''chin up, buddy'' etc etc

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

Post by Zmeinogorsk » Thu May 28, 2015 6:30 pm

ned-ryarson wrote:
Zmeinogorsk wrote:At this point I might just sell all my synths. Making music is not fun. :(
That's kind of like one of those Facebook statuses where the person writes something like ''I hate my life :('' and everyone responds ''chin up, buddy'' etc etc
Yeah, I agree 100%! :D Just being a big baby. I realize I just need to change gears...or not let it stress me!

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