Production: The Infinite Monkeys Approach

ichabod

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Back in the old days composers writing a symphony would have to compose the entire tune without hearing it (only in their heads I suppose). Using a computer I find I quite often just stick it on loop then mess around with stuff for ages to get something sounding ok. A bit like using the infinite monkeys on typewriters apporach - just bash away randomly for long enough and eventually you get something good (e.g. the complete works of Shakespere/Simon Posford :Smile3: ).

How much of a tune do you make through inspiration - e.g. coming up with a great riff or rhythm in you head then translating it succesfully onto the computer and how much is made by just tinkering around and experimentation to get something sounding good?
 

jamez_23

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Good question - not too sure .......

Most of the time I come up with stuff using the random tinkering method ......... not always ..... but most of the time .....

*will stay here* *good thread*
 
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makdaddy

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oh man you random tinkerer 23!! no man tinkers for quite this long as this one i can assure you :P

I tend to work a little more methodicaly than james :Wink3:, remembering what i am doing as i destruct along the way (well trying very hard to aynyways)

alot of the time i do have a good idea of what i want in my head, and especially with beats i usually get the result too

but no doubt some of the best stuff comes from random tinkering...its ace :Smile3: *wants to go home and randomly tinker*
 

squinkysaurus

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:goodthre: i was catually gonna post the same question myself... personally i just play around most of the time and see what comes out, mainly because i switch on my computer cause i feel like "makin tunes" in general rather than havin a specific idea i want to get down.

i wish i conveived of my tunes before i started though, i think in a way this would be a better idea because then you've actually got somethin to say musically and you go about tryin to say it. but i guess its hard keepin that concept in your head and not letting the "tinkering" divert you and shape your tune.
 

Abstraction

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im a bit of both. sometimes i cant think of anything to write but tinkering will yield some results, other times i have so many ideas pouring out i dont have time to tinker.

whitedog said:
although i've been known to get home feverishly muttering "dum-didididaadum" or somesuch and rush straight into the studio

this happens to me a lot too,
but usually just as im falling asleep, which is a right pain in the arse cos i have to get up and turn everything on and then i cant get back to sleep :lol:
 

psyfi

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Allot of composers were also pianists and would write on there pianos. I have read that John Williams is a major tinkerer.

If I’m writing a funky type tune or a little dub ditties then the bass line will have probably have popped in to my head along with a couple of the main beats and then the rest will have been tinkered together around it.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com
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makdaddy

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psyfi said:
Allot of composers were also pianists and would write on there pianos. I have read that John Williams is a major tinkerer.

If I’m writing a funky type tune or a little dub ditties then the bass line will have probably have popped in to my head along with a couple of the main beats and then the rest will have been tinkered together around it.

yo Al - you dont use the plasma skin do youeh!?? this text is invisible in plasma!!
 

psyfi

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imak said:
psyfi said:
Allot of composers were also pianists and would write on there pianos. I have read that John Williams is a major tinkerer.

If I’m writing a funky type tune or a little dub ditties then the bass line will have probably have popped in to my head along with a couple of the main beats and then the rest will have been tinkered together around it.

yo Al - you dont use the plasma skin do youeh!?? this text is invisible in plasma!!
I use the default skin that the forum opens up in. What ever that is.
 

Reconstructed

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I get a clear idea in my head of what type feelings or images I would like to convey and then just "tinker" or unconsciously sift through material until I hear something I like and that matches that message. Sometimes this is playing spontaneously on the keyboard or on a guitar and sometimes this is sorting through sample folders until I hear something that fits.

For beats and rhythmic sections I sort through sample folders using the down arrow key while playing a 2, 4, 8 or 16 bar loop in the background. When I find a sound that fits in a certain location, ie: downbeat or 3e, I load it up and then go back to sorting.

Another thing I like to do is play a track from the beginning and put Write Automation on (SX2) and tweak with the knobs of all the effects in real time. If I find anything that ends up sounding right I save that automation and throw out anything that doesn't.

Whether these methods work or not .... :huh:
 

squinkysaurus

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Reconstructed said:
I get a clear idea in my head of what type feelings or images I would like to convey and then just "tinker" or unconsciously sift through material until I hear something I like and that matches that message.

do you not find yourself getting distracted from the original "message" as you tinker?

today i started making a dirty grime/dancehall tune and through tinkering got so diverted on a tangeant that the une is now trancey chillout with dirty beats! im hopless, can't stick to an idea.... :no:
 

Reconstructed

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squinkysaurus said:
do you not find yourself getting distracted from the original "message" as you tinker?

Oh, completely. I love when that type thing happens, though. I make backups of my works in progress as I do them to keep some kind of "heritage." It is fun going back and listening to how something sounded from months ago. Sometimes I find it has changed for the better and sometimes I prefer the older version.

I'm afraid that I usually end up with just bits and pieces of loads of tracks instead of a fewer more developed ones, however. The only tracks I bother fleshing out are the ones that I don't filter out over time. I'm not really in any particular rush, I just enjoy making sounds - it's pretty theraputic.
 

squinkysaurus

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Reconstructed said:
I usually end up with just bits and pieces of loads of tracks instead of a fewer more developed ones, however. The only tracks I bother fleshing out are the ones that I don't filter out over time. I'm not really in any particular rush, I just enjoy making sounds - it's pretty theraputic.

hmm. so the tracks that you manage to finish are usually ones you've come back to rather than ones you've driven yourslef to complete at the time?

...im having a real problem with this at the moment. someone suggested to me recently that once ive started on a track and have some ideas down, i should go about tryin to make a complete skeleton for the whole track, rather than workin on it bit by bit. that way you've sortof finished your track and all you need to do it is flesh it out.
 

whitedog

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squinkysaurus said:
someone suggested to me recently that once ive started on a track and have some ideas down, i should go about tryin to make a complete skeleton for the whole track, rather than workin on it bit by bit. that way you've sortof finished your track and all you need to do it is flesh it out.

i do that, most of the time...
 

ichabod

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Yeah - I have the same problem finishing tracks (I've only finished 2 and even they still have some final bits to do :Sad: )

I have the same problem as squinkysaurus; I can't settle on a style - I'll start doing a 140bpm psytrance track but then the next week I'll be listening to some other type of music and get inspired to start a tune in that style and so on. I've just abandoned my 3/4 complete prog track to have a crack at some minimal tech house. Still probably better than trying to cram all of your ideas in to one tune I reckon. Thats what happened to my first tune and it ended up taking soooooo long as I constantyly added and changed bits!

Anyway, back on the topic of inspiration/experimentation; I feel that as I improve I am using more of the former and less of the latter which has got to be a good thing. Still, I find that the problem with using inspiration is that even when I have a great idea in my head I can't always get it down on the computer.. I get distracted trying to find the right patch/drum sounds or effects then lose track of the original plan. I think I really need a microphone to sing or drum ideas down so I don't loose them.
 

AEON

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it's rare that i will have a predefined melodic or rhythmic direction in my mind before starting work on a project. generally the tinkering process is fairly refined; i tend to need to find the right sort of sound, e.g. for a synth, before the melody comes along.

the atmosphere of the track is the most important thing for me. i find fitting individual components intoa larger soundscape is the easy part; defining what the track will feel like is my favourite, and getting down to the nitty-gritty, the engineering of such a soundscape, the challenging part!

a lot of composers did use instruments to compose... violins, harpsichords, voices. i find that violin is great for thrashing out 'slidy' lead lines and guitar nice for finding funky fx samples.
 

nik

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before i started writing with computer sequencers circa. '96/97 i used to compose the whole song in my head before tracking it down....though bearing in mind i was using a four track and only had 7 mono tracks available!
But at least with those kind of limitations you could be more artistically decisive - you had to rely on your original concept and ideas to make the track good.....but i think this still does apply with todays technology you just havve to know when enough is enopugh, when to stop tweaking and layering the fx and moving on to the next bit...that is an enitre skill in itself.
i think the best tracks are the ones that come quickly the ones that keep that original concept/mood/feeling fresh - tracks that take too long often sound like that feeling has been lost or that the composer has forgotten why they were making the tune in the first place.
though sometimes i suppose it can be great fun to lose it! tweak away and see what happens :Smile3: a lot of the most important discoveries were made by accident!
 
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