Mod Archive Forums

Music Production => Tracking => Topic started by: fnask on July 10, 2006, 18:07:49

Title: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: fnask on July 10, 2006, 18:07:49
Hello, I've been tracking for a while. But my tunes still sound very UNprofessional. The topic (above) vaguely suggests my problem.                    

 - I don't know where to or how to start composing my tunes.

 I am looking for tips!!, please. I've noticed many composers put the bass-line in the first track (01, to the utter most left), to later ? ad melody and chords.

 - Is my assumption true ?

 I haven't found my style of tracking yet and I'm always starting off on different parts (like: melody, drums, bass, chords etc.) of the tune every time. Do you think that i care to much and should just go and track like HELL!!!, or do you guys have any tips on how to start composing a tune.

 - Do u choose wich samples to use in the early stage of composing ?

etc.etc. plz many answers. discuss!!
Title: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: Darth Nefelim on July 10, 2006, 20:00:10
:thumbneutral:  How am I tracking? Well, just tracking, I guess. :D Don't get this, just joking.

I don't think there is any "straigth plan" of composing music. Like any art, music is based on freedom of personal creativity. You a free in any your decisions. At least until you are composing for free, not for money.

As for me, I have many projects at once. It's not easy to focus on one work, sometimes I don't have enough free time for this, but it's hard to catch the right idea. Some of these projects are developing even for years, some are interflowing. The main point is not to stop composing, try any opportunities, make sketches, templates, try different ideas. The result will come sometime.

I thought about writing an article about this topic... :P That's a funny case.
Title: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: Saga Musix on July 10, 2006, 22:20:02
i think you've to find your own way. in my first tracks, i inserted too much drums (Bass Drum, Snare, hi-Hat, Cymbal AND Ride Cymbal samples playing at the same time :grinno:  :D ), but a year later, my tunes were pretty cool... coz i learned that "too much" isn't always good..
Title: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: Eagle on July 10, 2006, 23:43:57
My advice to you is not to worry about where to start working on your song. If you get a nice melody in your head or some cool drum idea, start tracking on it. Eventually, you'll get better at recreating your ideas into the tracker. Both more accuratelly and faster.

Just don't give up. If you don't have any music ideas, listen to other people's music and see how they made it, if it's a module. Read some tutorial on how to polish yourself. Check out the stickies on this forum. I have written some helpful articles which may be to your aid.

And if it helps, most of the people around here made crap on their first try. I even still do, but I have gotten better and learnt a lot of things. Just remember to have fun.

Oh, and welcome to the forums. We are always happy to see new faces. :D
Title: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: Darth Nefelim on July 11, 2006, 06:03:39
If you need a specific advice, I can give you the following. Sit down beside your PC, start-up your tracker. But don't try to compose something, just sit. And try to settle what really do you want to compose. What do you you want to say in this imagined track? Then open your favorite mods storage (you have it, do ya? oh, yes, you have it!) and find out some suitable works. Don't hesitate to get'em and change to meet your requirements. THIS WORK IS NOT FOR PUBLIC! You just trying to understand, what is your music style, your music way. I've no doubts you'll succeed using this method. Creating such kind of "covers" can help you to learn some tricks, to begin your own material you'll use tomorrow. Keep up!
Title: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: Eagle on July 11, 2006, 13:39:49
Yeah, I used to do covers of other people's module only to learn their tricks. I can really recommend it as a good practice. Though, it is as mentioned not something you should upload on public, unless you have something to "say" with your cover.
Title: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: oto on July 12, 2006, 00:23:12
all creativity springs from your head. i suggest you make up your mind and have an idea of what you want to create.. what are you aiming for with your "tracked" music?? do you want to make "music" (sound,noise,beats whatever you call it) or do you want to "know all the tricks" and be more of a programmer than a musician.. keep this in mind when you read so called "tutorials"..

tracking is more than an art of sample alignment!

try as much different trackers as you can get, but stick to one of them and learn all the commands, shortcuts and how you can create noise from that... try to minimize yourself. use only 4 samples (or 8, 16 etc) for your track. sit down and create some samples in stomper for example and create basic drumkits, chords, pads, strings etc.. make yourself a fundament of samples (kits) and background layers (pads, chords, strings fx.. etc)..  this will help you finding your style.. use these samples over and over again and learn how they behave in combination with other samples and effects.. test it.. do lots of patterns.. dont delete "crap tunes", enhance them.. or leave them (you'll love them after some years, hehe!) this involves countless hours of practice and even if you think you are "good" and "this particular" tune is dope as hell, it is not!
Title: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: Rikimbo on July 12, 2006, 19:19:24
Personally, every time I set out to write a track, thinking "I'm going to write a track that sounds like <blah>!"... it never ends up soundling like <blah>.  How I start a tune these days is just play around with samples, putting things down and trashing them again, until I hit something that sounds even remotely cool.  Then I add a little to it, if I think it sounds a little bland on it's own.  At this point I set up my panning as well, so that essentially, this first pattern I put down, I never have to touch it again.

After that's done, the most tedious part is done, which is actually starting the tune.  Now it's just easy riding, intuition.  After a few more patterns, I go back and do two things.  I write a proper 'intro' set of patterns for the tune, and I go back and tweak the tempo.  The reason I think the tempo tweaking is important, is because when I start a tune, my mind might be thinking at a different speed than the actual tempo of the song is.  It's hard to explain, but what you're hearing in your mind isn't the same as the tempo it's actually playing at... sort of.  So I fix the tempo until I think it's how I intended it to sound.

And then I just keep going and exploring until I run out of ideas, at which point I find a decent way to finish the tune.  Last thing I do is fix volumes, dynamics, fix yet more panning, add more effects, fix transitions, and so on.  The last little details that have to be fixed.

That's the way I track, anyhow.  At least that's the best I can summerize it.  I don't expect anyone to agree with the way I do things, but hey, you asked.

Regarding what you said about structure.  What I used to do alot is try to fill everything with a proper string section, bass drones, the whole kit and kaboodle.  But eventually I found that it was just too much and it didn't help towards the sound... in fact, it bugged me after a while, and clashed with my ear.  So now I figure that less is more, and I'm a strong advocate for minimalism.  So my advice on that point is don't overdo it, and never second guess your intuition.

Don't worry about professionalism.  Trying to achieve a 'professional' sound is putting yourself in a box, limiting your creativity.  Don't.

This post is too long.  My apologies.

Title: Re: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: yozfitz on August 02, 2006, 03:00:52
Quote from: "fnask"
I haven't found my style of tracking yet and I'm always starting off on different parts (like: melody, drums, bass, chords etc.) of the tune every time. Do you think that i care to much and should just go and track like HELL!!!, or do you guys have any tips on how to start composing a tune.

 - Do u choose wich samples to use in the early stage of composing ?

I don´t know why you are looking for "a style". Perhaps, having no style could be your style.  I don´t follow any procedure when traking.  Bass, Drums or strings first, it´s the same.  If you like the melody or rythm your coming up with, your are probably going to succeed in developing it, and compose an entire song.     I don´t know, that´s what I think.  And I choose the samples along the development of the song.
Title: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: Kmuland on August 02, 2006, 11:02:08
Everyone have his own style for tracking...

When I started on trackers with Ft1.. I was all day worried about loading samples.. and then trying to create a song with them.

Now I prefer try to imagine the song sounding into my head... whisper it..
I try to have an idea about what rythm I want to use, how the bass line will sound.. the chord progression... etc

When I have the concept on the head I load the tracker and write the music...

I would recomend not be a slave of samples.. and dont get crazy at first instance about choosing samples, cause "you lose many time".

I do the things easier.
Using MIlkytracker I draw some samples by hand.. and I use them for write the song.
When the track writting proccess finished (or I dont have more ideas).. I become centered on change samples.. do arrangements,,, etc.
Title: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: zovik on October 28, 2006, 00:03:40
I'm not an expert at tracking at all. But I have learned a couple of things from trying that may be useful to others.

- Start with 4 channel mods. The tracker paradigm takes time to get used to, and using only 4 channels helps cut down on the complexity.

- Don't try to learn all the features of your tracker at once. (Effects, instrument settings, etc.) Focus on one or two and write short bits to get a feel for them.
Title: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: regular shoulders on November 27, 2006, 19:52:21
i usually write a riff that i dig on guitar or piano. and then i let my drive for magic wonder develop or discover the musical ideas that lay inside using the tracker.
Title: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: Ceekayed on November 28, 2006, 15:55:52
Well, I'll tell you how I compose my ohc-tunes.

Step 1) Take a bellish instrument, if the pack has a one (if it doesnt, use a sinewave), configure the envelopes (I'm not going to tell you how, you'll have to look), and throw a bag of notes in e-minor to the pattern editor.
Step 2) Add slow attack pads
Step 3) Add more slow attack pads and breaky drums
Step 4) Add a cheesy lead and even more slow attack pads
Step 5) Transpose the song a full step up and add a fade-out

We have a winner.

P.S. Don't forget to use lots of echo channels.
Title: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: the Deviant on December 31, 2006, 00:54:29
echo channels are always good...
I don't think I ever developed a particular aproach, but one thing I have learnt is to pick a key and stick to it, or at least decide between major and minor as they give a totally different feel to a piece. Even if your technical music know how is not that great (I know mine isn't) I find it useful to sit down with a guitar / keyboard and figure out what chords / notes might sound good together, it can be frustrating to try and figure out chords in a tracker, and easier on a 'real' instrument. But maybe that's just me.

I just started tracking gain after something like 3 years, and I have found that I know like to track for a bit, listen to the what I've done a few times over whilst surfing or doing something completely different, and boom, suddenly an idea for an extra part or where to go next with the melody just hits me. In fact.....
Title: How do YOU track a tune ? (Walkthru?)
Post by: woolters on January 04, 2007, 23:06:15
first you want to decide on the genre. Mine is easy... it's mainly reggae :D

if you download Winamp for example, you can tune in to loads of Shoutcast Livestream internet radio stations. They are ordered by style, so a good one is found easily. Tune in! you might hear remarkable things which you might want to try yourself! :D
You also might want to select a livestream from a genre you didn't have in mind to track in, but it might provide you with some fresh ideas for your original tune.

I also often start with chord experiments. I go to the Instrument Editor and press some random chords. I have done this a lot in the past, so I can predict pretty well what sounds right and what not, but that's a matter of experience.

Once I made up my mind, I start tracking the Chorus. I've tried to start with an intro some times, but the possibilities how to continue overwhelmed me, read, blocked me. But that approach might work for others.
When you have a chorus, you can work around and towards it.