Question for the music makers...

Stix Jan 27, 2004

  1. Stix

    Stix Guest

    music's been made since the dawn of time and people make sure that you can't copy thier origenal work.. I know that there must be only so many combinations of notes in the universe (would do the maths - but no good at it so I won't start)

    so ok here's the question..

    where do you get your inspiration from and how do you make sure that it doesn't sound like someone else's work?

    I guess one answer to my question is the fact that there are so many types of 'intruments' that make different noises..

    but hows about ed-ju-macating a gal? :Smile3:
     
  2. soliptic

    soliptic whirling mathematician

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    I think this sort of debate (ie whether or not its possible to create something truly original) is interesting philosophically, but not really relevant in purely practical terms.

    I'm not much cop at maths either but I can get far enough to realise that the 'limit' isnt really worth worrying about.

    I think your one answer pretty much nails it for starters. Music as us lot know it is about raw sounds as well as 'music'. Ever since the likes of Schaeffer and Varese one of the most important points of electronic music was to extend the brief of the composer into the sound palette itself. Electronic musicians have total control over timbre, not just notes...

    Now if you were to work out the number of possible timbres you could represent in CD quality audio, it would be something like

    22050 (different frequencies) * 65535 (number of different amplitudes) = 1,445,046,750

    just for starters - and my maths is crap, so that doesnt account for the fact that you can have any combination of any number of those frequencies each at any amplitude. (which would be 1,445,046,750! i think, and my computer refuses to even work that out). Even then that would still assume an unchanging timbre, whereas psychoacoustically one of the most important factors is the evolution of timbre over time, ie how the relative strengths of frequencies change over time. since this can change 44,100 times per second, if we worked out the number of possible unique sounds we could store in, say, 5 seconds of a cd, i'd be confident the number is something roughly equal to the number of atoms in the universe :lol:

    less extreme with notes and melodies, but i think the maths would still offer a surprising number of possibilities. it may seem like we have only 12 notes but thats assuming western tuning. arabic music uses quarter-tone tuning, and of course with synths and psy and whatnot pitch-bending lines are common enough, where you have approaching infinite notes available.

    and then there's rhythm...

    and then of course thats "per element in the track", and the interaction between them is key... (ie, put A over B and it might sound very different to putting over A over C).

    so by the time you multiply ALL of the above together i think there are enough possibilities to last until the heat death of the universe :lol:


    Anyway... enough maths

    where does inspiration come from?

    just live a full(ish) life, feeding yourself lots of 'experiences', be that via drugs, travel, people, nature, art, culture, or whatever. personally my favourites sources are nature (experienced with or without mushrooms), people/relationships (even psytrance producers write love songs!), and other music. altho most times i dont really think about it consciously.

    how do i make sure it doesnt sound like someone else's work? personally i dont bother. i couldnt care less. either it was a pure fluke, i never heard the other track, in which case its no problem. or else (1) imitation is flattery (i liberally borrow ideas from the ozrics, headhunters, all my great heroes) and (2) intertextuality and recontextualisation is a wholly legitimate aspect of music creation. Again, it has been an important aspect of electronic music since the first footsteps, and indeed long long before (for example, cf. 'variations on a theme of paganini').
     
  3. jsainsbury

    jsainsbury Forum Addict

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    i refuse to learn any music theory and dont listen to anyone tell me somethings wrong, defy genres. detune stuff beyong musical realms, mutilate, decimate, crush, then make it sound rhythmical somehow that i couldnt explain
     
  4. Kudos

    Kudos Psytranceaholic

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    </div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (MisStix @ Jan 27 2004, 05:58 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> where do you get your inspiration from and how do you make sure that it doesn't sound like someone else's work?

    I guess one answer to my question is the fact that there are so many types of 'intruments' that make different noises.. [/quote:6553a451ea]
    Inspiration:
    From my current mood, thoughts and issues going through my mind at the time of writing. Past events in my life where I look back and see how I handled them, and how they affected me.
    From all the music that I have heard in my life to date. The ones which gave me goosebumps when I heard them are obviously the most inspiring.

    Originality:
    It's common for some of my music to take a very similar form to other music I have heard in the past. I might not even know it when I'm writing music, but there's a high probability that I'm recreating a tune from distant memory rather than creating something original. Sometimes it's not until a track has been finished that I would suddenly remember where I heard the tune from...and I'd go digging around my CD collection to find it. It's annoying if I DO find the track I got the tune from, because it might be a track that I haven't heard for years!
    Conciously avoiding letting my music sound obviously similar to other artists can be a hinderance to my own creativity though.

    Maintaining originality is a complex issue, and might make this a long thread...!

    With the tools we have, we have loads of ways to transform sounds, and this comes in handy when something sounds too simple. We can take simple sounds, and process them, making them morph in time with music, echo, pan from left to right in the stereo field, or even mess about with the phase orientation/offset/angle to place sounds in exciting locations in the stereo field (with phaser, flanger, chorus and other effects). We can even make sounds appear to come from behind or above you! Other things we can do is reverse sounds, or chop them up and re-arrange them, or even vocoding (the process by which the format (shape) of one sound replaces the formant of another, typically used to create robot voices using the format of a vocal sample on an instrument sound. Different sounds can be used instead of vocals to create interesting effects besides the classic robot voice!).

    K
     
  5. djchoppa

    djchoppa Real world? What's that?

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    By the year 2032, all available rhythms will be used up, causing all new songs to actually be remakes of older songs.

    :Wink3:
     
  6. Stix

    Stix Guest

    Soliptic, Kudos - thanks for indepth explainations, but Sol you lost me about half way thru.. maths *shudder* lets just say it's a BIG number bout <-----------------> long :Wink3:

    yes cHops, thats the sort of thing I thought..

    If that is the case then - what do you do next?

    And also what's the deal with copy right issues if your tune does sound like something you've not heard in years?

    oh yes and one more - what are your views on taking, say a sacred tribal chat and using it as a sample? Lots of tunes that I have, have some sort of 'ethic' (be is Africa or Asian sub continent) sounds in them.. I personally would would be a little upset if I found my 'precious chat to my spiritual guider' in a tune.. could it be a kind of religious blasphemy?
     
  7. Kudos

    Kudos Psytranceaholic

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    Well, in the cases if it's not a personal bit of speech, it would most likely be a poem or chant. If it's a form of praise/worship, then all the better...whoever/whatever is being praised is getting it echoed in a track, so I don't see how that can be blasphemy.

    I find it really hard to get samples of tribal vocals (singing or talking). Maybe the best way would be to find someone who can speak a tribal language who is willing for you record their voice. That way you get the best recording, customised to your own needs - plus you know exactly what the words mean.

    There's this crazy bloke I'd like to get in touch with again - I met him at an Antiworld a few years ago, and saw him at a Liquid Connective outdoor a couple of years ago. He calls himself 'Wolfman Mishka', he about 55 to 65 years old, and he can Oom! Ooming is like a cross between singing and humming, where TWO pitches can distinctively be heard in his voice, so he can sing two melodies at once.

    If anyone can track him down I'd love to get in touch with him again for recording his voice - I just lost his phone number ages ago.

    K
     
  8. soliptic

    soliptic whirling mathematician

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    copyright-wise i believe the law defines something like a sequence of 6 notes as being the basic building block (ie, rip 6 consecutive notes off someone, and you're busted... rip 4 and you're not)

    remember tho its something that the owner has to press charges, which in the grandest scheme of things isnt terrifically likely

    as for the tribal chant thing... another great point. there is actually a significant moral dimension to ethnomusicology. 'deep forest' for example had the ethnomusicology community absolutely OUTRAGED with their first album. basically they sampled tons of stuff from Tribe Z, and then included a huge spiel in the notes about (the far more famous and more romantic) Tribe Y. I cant recall for sure, but they possibly also paid the 'royalties' to Tribe Y!! Another example... in strict Aboriginal terms women should never play the didj. but needless to say in tourist towns where they sell didjs many female travellers will buy a didj and start to play. most probably dont realise. i guess the only safe thing to do is ask.

    asking is obviously not really a possibility all the time! - but to be honest i think the only ways anyone gets tribal/chanting style vocals is (1) recording it themselves (in which case they can ask, or (2) sample cd, in which case you kinda have to trust the sample cd manufacturers that they arent horrifically violating the source culture.

    personally if i had any serious cause to think there was such an issue with a sound i was using, i'd be aware of the whole scenario, and possibly be wary... on the other hand though i do typically operate on a principle that anything i hear, i'm free to take and do what i want with :Grin:
     
  9. Kudos

    Kudos Psytranceaholic

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  10. JPsychodelicacy

    JPsychodelicacy Studio Elf

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    I think there'll always be some noticeable influences in my music, so I only really correct (what I consider to be) the most blatant stuff - anything else I tend to class as an 'unintentional homage' :Wink3:.

    It's been interesting learning how to write dance music (which I've been doing for just under 18 months), as opposed to more straight ahead guitar-based songs (which I've been doing for fecking ages) - I'd always thought that the constraints on dance music would be looser, but thanks to the genre-isation of things, they turn out to be about the same. I say that not so much because I want to fit a genre, but because I'm a picky bastard in terms of the stuff I really like and get - as opposed to stuff I quite like but am not 100% 'into'.

    One thing I will say is that it's much easier to nick a melody line and get away with it with dance music, simply because, as has been said, you can give it a completely different timbre, and it becomes much harder to tell.

    I often wondered the same thing though (wrt the original question). Having control over my own production - as opposed to just the music - almost makes it a moot point now though.

    J.
     
  11. Abstraction

    Abstraction happy juice

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    i take most of my inspiration from drugs and nature. they are very inspirational because they are so good at putting you in a particular state of mind.

    if i am suffering from an inspirational block then i just experiment and do random things: slap a load of random notes down, pick a sound with my eyes closed, then just play it and see what it sounds like, and mess around with it till it sounds good. using this technique its very easy to create music out of thin air
     
  12. opia

    opia locus solus

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    </div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (MisStix @ Jan 27 2004, 05:58 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>where do you get your inspiration from and how do you make sure that it doesn't sound like someone else's work?
    [/quote:cd21e0cf84]
    a pretty interesting question that one, and one that can't be answered particularly well probably.. you have to ask yourself when making a piece of music, be it psytrance, techno, ambient (the list goes on) or off the wall experimental what it is you really WANT to do with it - and within the confines of whatever genre (hoho) it is possible to do with it. i.e. if you went into experimental psytrance doing 7/8 shit, is it experimental, or psytrance, or both? :crazy: probably neither and i'm all for that!

    i'm a firm believer in the experimental ethic, i.e. take on board your influences (and hopefully that's a wide and far reaching range of influences!) and sculpt something new out of it - merge all those sounds you've heard since you were a kid, and god knows that's a LOT of sounds you have to work with, and then you whack on top of that the personal touch that only YOU can put on it as an individual. doing that successfully surely has to mean you've done something original (and in my eyes, that must mean experimental by it's very nature), and you should be god damn happy with yourself :Smile3:

    i could never pinpoint where my inspiration comes from, it's everywhere, and that's the way it has to be- if you have to get it from drugs you need to be looking harder at the world around you :Smile3:

    by the way - since i'm on the topic of experimental music - was anyone else absolutely WIDE EYED at the brothomstates remix of shpongle?

    huw x

    please buy our music from WARPmart!
     
  13. goa_kev

    goa_kev Forum Member

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    I've only read some of this post cause, well i'm a lazy git and theres a lot of writing. :P So if this has been said already then sorry. Theres always the option of recording your own sounds. Any one recording of a sound will never sound exactly the same as another. For example, record the sound of someone punching a pillow, and that can be turned into a bassline. Or record someone opening a shaken up can of drink and uve got yaself a hi hat. So if u take into account the amount of things in the world that can be used to make a sound (pretty much everything) then there should be an endless possibility of different sounding music coming out.

    Just my 2p worth. :Smile3:
     
  14. Ott^

    Ott^ Guest

    </div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (MisStix @ Jan 27 2004, 05:58 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> where do you get your inspiration from and how do you make sure that it doesn't sound like someone else's work?
    [/quote:7d1eab3637]
    Every one of my tunes starts out as a homage to another piece of music. I'll be making the tea and a tune from the last 35 years will suddenly pop into my head and that'll be it.

    I don't consciously set out to copy the notes or chords or anything, but instead I'm trying to re-create the atmosphere - create something that makes me feel like the other tune does.

    So - for instance - Somersettler is my homage to Ghost Town by The Specials. In fact, several of my tunes are inspired by that tune.
    Sonically and musically they sound nothing like it, but in my head it creates the same feeling.

    Smoked Glass And Chrome is a bizarre hybrid of Kraftwerk - Autobahn and various tunes by ABBA and ELO. Stop laughing at the back - its true! You would be shocked to see the inside of my record collection! To be more specific, the bassline was directly inspired by Autobahn, and the ABBA/ELO references are the compressed, toppy, double tracked acoustic guitars and strings. To put this in perspective, these are the sounds that had me spellbound when I was 8 years old [in 1976] and are being regurgitated 25 years later.

    Music to me is just a means of building my very own universe, and in my universe the joy is that I am free to choose whatever materials and proportions make me happy.
     
  15. Ott^

    Ott^ Guest

    Even more so I'd say.

    A few years back I decided i didn't want to be a sound engineer anymore and I decided I was going to make use of the studio I'd built up over the years and make some records. It seemed obvious that, as my best mate ran a trance label, I should do some trance tunes, so off I went.

    I'd never had any particular love of music that went "Doof!", but I figured that was the best way of getting some records out and got busy with the kik drums. My heart wasn't really in it, and it was a bit of a loveless enterprise, but I came up with 2 tunes and burned them onto a CD.
    Next day, I took them round to my mate's house to play them to him, like you do.

    In my case though, my mate happens to be the all-time, undisputed Guv'nor of Goa Trance, so it took some nerve giving him the disc.

    He was very good. He sat there nodding, tapping his foot and even laffing at the horribly contrived "weird" bits.

    When they had finished he said "Yeah - really good mate - well done. We'll have them."

    I was surprised. I could tell he didn't really mean it. :Smile3:

    Feeling like I'd got something out of my system, I went home and decided to treat myself to making a bit of music PURELY for my own pleasure. I wouldn't ever play it to anyone, I wouldn't try to make it sound like anything, no genres, no rules.

    PURELY for my own enjoyment.

    So I did.

    It came together really quickly and was a total joy to make. I used all my unfashionable influences and drew from all the periods in my life when I was really happy and turned on. I nicked bits of 60's and 70's dub, 80's Ska, 90's chillout [On-U-Sound - Dub Syndicate] and fragments of everything I'd ever loved without a thought for what anyone would think of it.

    For the first time ever I was making stuff for nobody's ears but mine, and it felt really good. When it was done, I burned it onto a CD and put it in the cupboard with a heavy sigh.

    Next day, I started on another sexless Goa Trance workout, hoping it would be the one that paid my rent. Played it to Simon. More nodding. "Yeah mate - really good."

    Then, while he was in the bath, I asked him if I could check out my *other* tune on his monitors - just to see what the mix sounded like. Three minutes in he came stumbling out of the bathroom in a towel going "Whats this?? its excellent!"

    I could tell he meant it.

    "Its called 'Somersettler' but its just a bit of fun.." I said sheepishly.

    Two months later, Somersettler appeared on Backroom Beats and was quite well received.

    The lame Goa Trance tunes never saw the light of day.

    Thank God.


    *----------------* <<==== fill in your own moral here. :Grin:
     
  16. Drat Mafia

    Drat Mafia Total Member

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    lets hear your trance tracks Ott :Smile3:
     
  17. Ott^

    Ott^ Guest

    You'll be bloody lucky...


    :no:
     
  18. goa_kev

    goa_kev Forum Member

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    </div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ott^ @ Jan 28 2004, 02:13 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
    Even more so I'd say.

    A few years back I decided i didn't want to be a sound engineer anymore and I decided I was going to make use of the studio I'd built up over the years and make some records. It seemed obvious that, as my best mate ran a trance label, I should do some trance tunes, so off I went.

    I'd never had any particular love of music that went "Doof!", but I figured that was the best way of getting some records out and got busy with the kik drums. My heart wasn't really in it, and it was a bit of a loveless enterprise, but I came up with 2 tunes and burned them onto a CD.
    Next day, I took them round to my mate's house to play them to him, like you do.

    In my case though, my mate happens to be the all-time, undisputed Guv'nor of Goa Trance, so it took some nerve giving him the disc.

    He was very good. He sat there nodding, tapping his foot and even laffing at the horribly contrived "weird" bits.

    When they had finished he said "Yeah - really good mate - well done. We'll have them."

    I was surprised. I could tell he didn't really mean it. :Smile3:

    Feeling like I'd got something out of my system, I went home and decided to treat myself to making a bit of music PURELY for my own pleasure. I wouldn't ever play it to anyone, I wouldn't try to make it sound like anything, no genres, no rules.

    PURELY for my own enjoyment.

    So I did.

    It came together really quickly and was a total joy to make. I used all my unfashionable influences and drew from all the periods in my life when I was really happy and turned on. I nicked bits of 60's and 70's dub, 80's Ska, 90's chillout [On-U-Sound - Dub Syndicate] and fragments of everything I'd ever loved without a thought for what anyone would think of it.

    For the first time ever I was making stuff for nobody's ears but mine, and it felt really good. When it was done, I burned it onto a CD and put it in the cupboard with a heavy sigh.

    Next day, I started on another sexless Goa Trance workout, hoping it would be the one that paid my rent. Played it to Simon. More nodding. "Yeah mate - really good."

    Then, while he was in the bath, I asked him if I could check out my *other* tune on his monitors - just to see what the mix sounded like. Three minutes in he came stumbling out of the bathroom in a towel going "Whats this?? its excellent!"

    I could tell he meant it.

    "Its called 'Somersettler' but its just a bit of fun.." I said sheepishly.

    Two months later, Somersettler appeared on Backroom Beats and was quite well received.

    The lame Goa Trance tunes never saw the light of day.

    Thank God.


    *----------------* <<==== fill in your own moral here. :Grin: [/quote:3668d4d9c5]
    Mate thats wikid! A classic tale of producing what your ears like, and finding out that others like it too! Mustve beena great feeling when the tunes u thought would stay in the cupboard became very popular! Nice 1!

    Ahh soon will be my time! :Smile3:
     
  19. JPsychodelicacy

    JPsychodelicacy Studio Elf

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    </div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ott^ @ Jan 28 2004, 02:13 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Then, while he was in the bath, I asked him if I could check out my *other* tune on his monitors - just to see what the mix sounded like... [/quote:dfa5232c3a]
    Thought you said his monitors were pants... :Wink3:

    J.
     
  20. Ott^

    Ott^ Guest

    They are, but they're handy for finding out how your mix will sound in the "worst case scenario".

    Which they are.

    :rolleyes:
     
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