In order to improve at anything in life you need to know where your deficiencies are. So you can work on them.
When you listen to your own music critically and honestly, where are you falling short in your composition?
Compare yourself to the best of the best in whatever genre you’re making music in, what is different about your music? Sure, there are differences in the mix and sound design between you and the pro’s. But let’s skip those, we have an excellent thread for that here, and focus on the music and arrangement instead.
Feel free to share your music along side some examples of what you’re trying to achieve. But tell me where you think you need to improve.
For the last year or so I’m trying to be more minimal in my music. So the groove, the feel of the track is becoming more and more important to me. The unfortunate fact is that I am rhythmically un-gifted, to say the least. I couldn’t clap a steady pulse for more than a bar to save my life. But I can hear the difference.
The last part of Underworld’s Cups (11m12s) was a huge influence on the end of my track here (7m32s) (warning: flashing lights). Underworld’s timing is tight but not on the grid exactly. It has many small offsets breathing life and excitement in the part. No doubt it was played in. I love that but I struggle to achieve that in my music.
There are more examples where Underworld manage to have small rhythmic variations that feel natural and cohesive. And mine feel forced and often a little jarring.
I have more weakness that I’m aware of but no time to type them out right now.
If you cut a song in three parts, then I think my biggest weakness composition-wise is the transition from the middle part to the last part and keeping the last part interesting without deviating too far from the main composition. But there’s no big difference in comparison to the “best of the best” of the scene.
Besides of that I could work on my abilities in terms of sound design from scratch. But of course there’s a difference between composition and sound design respecitvely musicians and sound designers. It’s not the same, even if it all might come together when it comes to producing.
Indeed another one I strongly recognize. Especially when it comes to making chords. I rarely think ahead when it comes to chords, just find something that works, move on to the next one. So often it lacks any real kind of progression, they just occur. And it’s not that I don’t know how to do it, it’s mostly because I’m being lazy.
I used to be pretty good at coming up with things in my head and retaining them for hours or days until I got a chance to develop them. This was back when I was younger and al I had was either a 4-track, and later on an Atari computer and few samplers. I think that once I started using PCs and DAWs, I relied less on coming up with stuff, working them out in my head, and keeping them in there, and more on coming up with the bare minimum in my head, and do all the work in the computer. The muscle has gotten weak over the year. So that is one weakness that I am now trying to get better at.
That’s what you think, but who knows if others would think the same way when they listen to your stuff. In my experience people obviously like the stuff I thought that I maybe should take even more time to optimize some details here and there, and that it’s really good but still not exactly as good as I think it could get, just like for example this song:
I almost didn’t upload it, I thought it’s maybe 99% but for sure not 100%. It became my first Elektro track that got more than 20 likes without any social media support or anything else. So you could upload any finished song and look what happens. Sometimes it turns out to be different than expected. And hey, you can’t lose anything, right? You can only win something. Just try it out. The worst that could happen is someone saying he doesn’t like your stuff, right? So what? You can’t please everyone, can you?
100% confirmed! I don’t know why is that in your case, but in my case it’s clearly because of the short time. If I have to choose between composing and sound design I will always choose composing. I don’t want to end up creating a couple of usable sounds within hours if I could have made a whole song (or at least a big part of it) during that time. Mostly I know exactly which kind of sounds I want to use, and it’s easier and faster (for me) to browse through presets and change the chosen ones to my liking instead of trying to create (from scratch) exactly that kind of sounds I’m looking for. Especially when it comes to more complex and rich sounds. But I’ve got the impression that people who primarily design sounds mostly suck at composing and vice versa. In the end only the result (= a finished song) is what counts.
That’s cool and kinda impressive. There are so many different daily impressions and things happening, that I couldn’t develop a song for DAYS in my head without having a lot more ideas because of the different daily impressions and the different moods. At the latest when it comes to the instrument selection for a song many different ideas will appear in the head and they will distract from the original idea…
Seemingly no one else in this forum has got weaknesses as a composer, so I’m looking forward to listen to absolutely perfect music that will be shown in this forum in future.
I get stuck listening to same loop over and over again as well. The endless repetition makes me think “this is the way it’s supposed to sound”. Then at one point I start hating it and making way to drastic and sudden changes. Causing one of my other weakness to rear its ugly head, not allowing musical parts to repeat enough to make musical sense to new listener. So my tunes change way faster than is good for them.
I’m working on changing that though. At best I’m moderately successful at it, but I’m trying. I want to force myself to listen no more than 3 times before deciding if it’s good and then move on to develop the next part. Or at least prevent myself from falling into the endless listening trap. It’s hard, though!
I want to be more like @error.eyes was (/is /will be again). Think up in my head what I want to add or change about the part. Then make the changes in silence and then re-evaluate. Instead of endlessly listening.
There is this quote that I think is really apt, “art is never finished, it’s just due”. As for liking them, I never decided if I really like/dislike my track until weeks or months later. After getting some distance.
I laughed so hard at this. I can’t wait to hear all those perfect pieces of music. Bring it on!
Nowadays I have weaknesses in every step of music making. I miss the old days when I did some really good tunes in Cubase without thinking too much (or not at all compared to today). It wasn’t this effort that I put into a song like today. I simply used cubase eq, not one of 20 graphical eqs. I like Renoise for scaffolding a song, for me watching the notes of each track next to each other seem to be very important to my brain. I absolutely suck in scoffolding a song in Bitwig. Pianoroll shows me nothing at all, after moving around notes with the mouse half an hour, I always loose the motivation. The more I know, the worse it gets. Well I guess you can’t compensate missing live playing talent with technical knowledge…
Also I am old now, I started to do not like most of the music I am listening to on spotify and youtube. Everything seems to be made before already, why trying to copying something already very good? Don’t need 12345 psytrance songs which sound the same. I really miss this unique omg something really new impression in nowadays music, including mine. Sometimes I find it in this forum. Had some nice guy, he sang nice little parts to my song ideas. Would love to do this more professionally, really working on something together, developing together, in an openminded and resilient way.
maybe you should solicit a collaborator in the collaborations/competitions section
I think it can be really useful to switch up the typical genre one is working in to spark new enthusiasm and ideas. Also to work outside of genre, or to create a new one and attempt to compose within a new, arbitrary aesthetic. We can certainly calcify in our tastes and methods of composition as time goes on, but there is much that can be done to counteract that as well. There are whole universes of unexplored sounds, rhythms, aesthetics, and musical ideas that have yet to be realized. Perhaps you (or any one of us) can break some new ground?
I hear you. There would need to be a winnowing process. But there are many talented producers here. would love to see more collabs/mashups here generally
Not sure the specific genre matters, as long as it’s something that sparks some interest in you. I recently went down the dungeon synth/frog synth/winter synth rabbit hole and it inspired me to create a new genre (xeno synth lol) and write a bunch of microtonal ambient music in odd and additive meters. Whether anyone besides myself would enjoy it is kind of moot, as I enjoyed the process very much and felt some new inspiration, got new ideas, and was generally excited about composition
I think it also helps a lot to actually play/practice or learn a new instrument. That always helps reorient me from screen focus towards music as an immediate and expressive act
This is a classic composing mistake you should avoid. And btw, this is also something you shouldn’t do while mixing. In terms of composing I also tend to listen to my unfinished stuff over and over again (provided I like what I hear), but this slows down progression massively. So if I’m stuck in that way, this is what I do: As soon as the main pattern is finished I play it as a loop to figure out how to start the song. Therefore I deactivate and activate tracks (just like a live act) until I know how to start and how to do the build up of the song. As soon as I’ve passed this point, the rest is a piece of cake. And that’s what I would recommend to you, too.
100% confirmed. In the past I’ve made up to 3 finished songs in one day. Even just a couple of years ago I’ve made 2 finished songs (including mixing) within one evening. But the expectations (including my expectations) are growing. Now it’s also important to have a proper mix and master, otherwise I couldn’t enjoy my songs anymore. And if you’re doing it right, it will take at least a couple of days just to finish the mix, because you need to have breaks for some well known reasons. And it’s not good for creativity in general if you need around 50% of the time to finish a song for mixing and master. But it’s a big mistake to not release songs because you’re stuck in your mixing process loop that never ends, especially when every mix sounds the same.
I have a vision! I can clearly see a greek guy called @stoiximan singing to your sounds! I see joy, creativity, progression and a lot of positive feedback. I see @stoiximan inspiring your workflow and I see you teaching @stoiximan how to get a proper mix in 5 days including breaks. I see both of you improving in every aspect. And yes, my visions usually become reality. Come on!
I could have imagined this means “fucking tosser fuck you”, but it’s something else.
Both of you are right. But personally I think Psy-Trance is way more same-sounding than Synthwave, because Synthwave is based on melodies and Psy-Trance on sound effects. Just a couple of days ago I’ve listened to some Psy-Trance stuff at work and I really thought it sounds exactly like your stuff. I checked, but somebody else made it. Anyway, this is not a genre specific “problem”. This problem affects all kinds of music (and videogames, and movies, and every media you can imagine, too).
My ultimate weakness is the writers block.
I realized how much i deal with writers block, i truly hate it when it happens.
When I come up with something to work with, I finish the composition fairly quickly, i am able to finish a 3-4 minute composition in about 16 hours from scratch, but here’s a thing, sometimes i can just sit for days try to come up with something i think it’s good to work with and eventually give up after some time. That’s why i am not able to produce a lot, and my album i would love to release, keeps delaying because of that simple thing, which results with me creating a small amount of songs and not that much songs in the album as well.
My idea to stop this from happening that much is to use Renoise more, i had a pretty long break from it, since i started using Ableton a lot, which limits my creativity in some sense, and start trying out different mixes of genres (had a idea to do ambient + DnB + breakcore stuff) instead of creating only chillwave.
too true. As the music technology develops, the bar for making music lowers, which is a good thing, I think, but it means that there is so. much. content. And we don’t even really have AI blowing human producers out of the water yet…
But people will always seek to express themselves through music, even as the technological landscape changes
Nice. I’ll choose to take this as a compliment on my production quality lol