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UDemy tries to teach bigcat - Printable Version

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UDemy tries to teach bigcat - bigcat1969 - 07-03-2017

So I'm taking this Udemy Course on making game music since it was $10 for 20 hours. Seems a bit odd but interesting. So the first project is to make a simple very short theme using a sort of arp on bottom and melody on top for a peaceful village looped a lot to make it go about 1:30. The instructor chose flute and harp so I tried that using Sam's VSCO2 Pro instruments. Then I tried Fluffy Audio medieval recorder and deep guitar thingy and sped it up a bit.
I dunno. It's very repetitious and simple and still sounds weird in places. Anyway it seems to fit the definition of music as time controlled by sound or was it sound controlled by time?

https://soundcloud.com/joe-stevens-16/town-and-hamlet

https://soundcloud.com/joe-stevens-16/town-and-hamlet-two


RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - Mattias Westlund - 07-04-2017

Nice! Definitely captures the right atmosphere, though I must say I much prefer the second version. The recorder and the gallichon gives it a kind of early music feel, which is more fitting than the first version which sounds like... well, typical "fantasy music played with modern orchestral instruments".

Musically speaking the tune does its job, but I would have done a couple of things differently. First of all, the flute melody. It goes on and on playing a handful of notes while never really developing into something hummable and memorable. I think this is one of the reasons why you find it repetitious, and I agree. Listening to this looped while in a town doing town things (talking to NPC's, trading, visiting the local inn) would get on your nerves in just a few minutes. I would suggest changing the melody into something more... melodic. More distinctive. Some pauses here and there to break up the repetitiousness would be nice as well.

Secondly, since this is looped and quite short it could also use a B part. Some development that takes it somewhere else and makes it sound less, uh, loopy. 15 seconds of A and 15 seconds of B would make the looping much less blatant. In this case you could think of it as a "verse" part and a "chorus" part for example, so that it more resembles an actual traditional music song.

Just my $0.02 Smile


RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - bigcat1969 - 07-04-2017

Thanks for taking the time to listen and comment. You have some great points.
The A B really makes sense as I agree it gets monotonous quickly even in the 90 seconds. I was ready to to turn it off after about 60 seconds. That variety is needed.
Good point on melody or lack thereof I really need to work on that as everything I do kind of just wanders around right now.


RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - Mattias Westlund - 07-04-2017

(07-04-2017, 12:29 PM)bigcat1969 Wrote: Good point on melody or lack thereof I really need to work on that as everything I do kind of just wanders around right now.

I understand that this is just an experimental/practice thing and not actually written for any specific game, so I don't know how much work you feel like putting into it. But to get ideas for the melody you could check out some early/traditional music from different parts of Europe (since this seems to fall into the Western style of fantasy). Seeing as you have a recorder and a lute instrument in there, maybe listening to Renaissance music could be helpful as well.


RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - bigcat1969 - 07-04-2017

Thanks. That is a good suggestion.
Along with the Udemy thing, I've started taking 'Understanding the Fundamentals of Music' DVD course from Robert Greenberg. He's been playing excerpts from various pieces to illustrate the Timbre of the various orchestral instruments, but I've also caught myself noticing some of the melodic bits and thinking hum I can do that, I think... So listening more is certainly a key for me.


RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - kneedeep - 07-04-2017

Listening is key. And for melody and phrasing, and trading melodies between sections of the orchestra, and playing the same thing at different dynamic levels, and repeating something the right amount of times and then doing something else for a while, and then still something else, etc, I blatantly suggest Beethoven's violin concerto. It's all in there. It's like a textbook.

And Rick Beato has some good stuff about music theory, film music etc on youtube.

And for a fantasy village/city theme that's about 1:30 long, here's an example I like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0pVM0n3Jz0

It's just a four-part theme repeated twice, once on flute with swelling chords and once on violin with more percussion and harp. So it's an AA structure but the As have different instrumentation. One and a half minutes isn't long.

Regarding your composition, Mattias is right. The flute is meandering. Try starting with a simple bit of melody, just 5-10 notes or so. Then take that and repeat with a variation. Then find some sort of closure. Like in the Drakensang example. Try to do a call-and-response thing with pauses in between. Make a motif out of a call and response thing, then make a theme melody out of several motifs or phrases or whatever it's called. Start with small bits and combine them and vary them, do some call and response, and build a full melody that stands on its own like that. Like using lego bricks, really. A kind of modular approach. And find out what phrasing is. Something like, play a snippet, pause, play the next thing. Don't ramble. Then try playing with dynamics - play the same thing quietly, then loudly. Or have a loud A part, a quiet B part, then return to the A.

For chords, I suggest looking up some standard chord progressions and just starting with those. There is such a thing as a standard harmonic progression. There's probably thousands of pop songs that use the same three or four chords. That's because they work. Same in film music.

Alternatively you can start with a melody and then let the bass or cello or strings or harp do something that sounds good, without thinking in chords, and create harmony that way.

For a technical tip, your music would be more listenable with reverb on there. Just take a free reverb plugin and choose a standard hall or stage reverb, and it'll sound ten times nicer. For mixing, in your first example the harp is overpowering the flute (too loud). Finally, there are some pretty loud notes on the flute in the second take, you might consider a compressor and set it to a really soft setting like 3 db of gain reduction with a "soft knee". Just as an idea, if you ever feel like playing with those things.

The phrasing and pause and call-response things would be good to consider next, I think.


Edit.

If this wasn't enough, here is an example of structure that I personally like: the Pippi Longstockings theme. Notice how there's a lot of repetition in the melody, but also distinct parts. There is a short intro that lasts 12 seconds, then it goes to the A part until 0:33, then to the B part. At 0:44, it goes back to the A part for a bit, then at 0:57 it goes off to some completely different place in a C part, for a very pretty effect. Notice the long pause before that. Also notice the bog-standard chord progression in the left hand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f3eilCzfCU


RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - bigcat1969 - 07-04-2017

Thanks for all that good advice and things to listen to. I'll definitely check that out.


RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - bigcat1969 - 07-04-2017

Better worse?

https://soundcloud.com/joe-stevens-16/town-and-hamlet-take-2

With chords instead of a broken chord arp thing for the lute?
https://soundcloud.com/joe-stevens-16/town-and-hamlet-take-2-chords

A three minute version using the stolen lute track...
https://soundcloud.com/joe-stevens-16/town-and-hamlet-take-3-chords


RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - kneedeep - 07-04-2017

Better, but still not enough breathing in there.

Consider that a woodwind player has to breathe. Take eight or sixteen bars of melody and put a pause at the end where the recorder doesn't play. Like at 0:19 for example. Just let it sit for a moment with just the lute before continuing. Let each melody, each motif, each section sink in for a moment. Then let the melody begin anew. Make the pauses clearly audible.

The melody is still not well structured enough. Have varied note lengths and pauses. It sounds a little mechanical currently. The lute is doing a lot of eighth notes? Don't make the recorder do the same as the lute. I think you just need to listen a lot more to real instruments. A real player can't do this continuous stream of quick notes on a woodwind for a minute. Take a really deep breath and notice how long it takes. Two to five seconds. That's how long a woodwind player needs to pause just to breathe. Otherwise he goes blue in the face.

There are some good melodic ideas in there. Just take it a lot slower. The recorder doesn't need to play continuously all the time. The lute can, because a lute player doesn't need to stop picking in order to breathe...

Try some longer notes, some shorter ones, and let the recorder pause from time to time. Just take the hand from the keyboard for a moment. The silence between the notes is important.


RE: UDemy tries to teach bigcat - bigcat1969 - 07-04-2017

Awesome advice thank you!