Workflow, the bane of my existence

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Workflow, the bane of my existence

Postby Sarphog » 10 Feb 2015 15:27

Fairly open ended question, but whenever I make something, it ends up being only a few bars long, or just one segment of a song that I'm never able to place anywhere in a track, or work around. Obviously this is about my workflow, and how I get "stuck" on a few parts on my idea, attempt perfecting it, and just burn myself out on that single thing, but if this has ever happened to you, what helped you avoid getting into this scenario?

And sorry if wrong board/whatever you'd call it. This one just seemed like the most relevant one, I suppose
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Re: Workflow, the bane of my existence

Postby eery » 10 Feb 2015 15:37

Generally I avoid this by trying to focus big picture stuff. Say I make a 8 bar loop bar loop like this: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/765 ... /loop1.mp3

I would then go farther into the project, and just make a new loop using the same resources with a new sort of groove, a different feel like:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/765 ... /loop2.mp3

Like, not so that I know the first loop has to fit with the next, just so I have more, to spawn more ideas. Its sorta like I'm making A first, then C, to make it easier to figure out what B is. Trying to work non-lineary really helps me when I'm stuck. Like its different for what music you make, but if you're making house music and you're stuck on the verse, just start making the drop. its a lot easier to interpolate than extrapolate, if you get what I mean.

Another thing I do in my mind is that after a loop you have three options: Repeat, variate or make something complettely different. Decide on which you think is best for the moment. Like if your verse is only 8 bars, you can easily repeat it another time and make it 16. If that gets too repetive, variate it. If you want a new part, like a contrast, you probably want to make something new.

Sorry for makin sort of a rambling post, but this is what I do anyways.
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Re: Workflow, the bane of my existence

Postby Sarphog » 10 Feb 2015 17:51

Na I think get what you're explaining, and I suppose I'll give it a shot.. I have to admit, I've been way to linear. Let's hope it has some results
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Re: Workflow, the bane of my existence

Postby FLAOFEI » 11 Feb 2015 01:03

When I get stuck cause I don't know what to do I just forceit, and chose something at random to do. Sometimes that means a drum solo, sometimes I change up the chords, sometimes I just repeat with a simpler/complicateder melody, sometimes I do the same thing again with a completley different set of instruments. Sometimeds I just say fuck it and play Rainbow Factory with whatever synths I'm using.

I've looked around on the forum, and this is allways what ppl sugest you do in a creative block. If it's crap you can change it later. The point is to not stay in stuck mode. An artteacher once told me a blank slate was the bane of creativity. Not in those words, but still, you won't make a masterpiece if you don't start doddleing.

In the end it's pretty much the same as eerys tip though... Not exactly, but pretty similar.

Edit: Captain Ironhelm writes a few posts down that you shouldn't be random, and that you should have purpous and stuff. Go read that, it was good advice. I should probably add that my tip is better for getting out of creative blocks where you have no idea what to do, or just don't know what to do with the track. If you do have an idea of what to do, or just what you want to try out next, follow that.
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Re: Workflow, the bane of my existence

Postby Thunder Dash » 11 Feb 2015 08:34

When I make music. I focus on something huge. I make small themes, but then find ways to vary them and expand them. That's what it is really about, taking something simple and elaborating it.

Here, try this: Make an 8 bar loop and find as many ways as you can to vary it. Whether it be changing rhythms or completely converting the style, this might help you with your problem.
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Re: Workflow, the bane of my existence

Postby Captain Ironhelm » 11 Feb 2015 10:23

i wrote this arrangement guide just for you back in 2013:
http://mylittleremix.com/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=8630&p=131551#p131551

i don't know what genre you make, but realize this isn't just for edm. arranging progressively is a powerful tool that can make really emotional music. audiomachine uses the model for their recent epic orchestral tracks and it just works.

so don't be random, arrange with purpose on how you want to play with the emotions of your audience.

once you get a hang of it it's pretty simple. here's an example of somebody else's midi i took and arranged into something in about 20 minutes:
https://www.mediafire.com/listen/q3e6j3b2sxff30w/New%20Synth%20Test%20(PPS).mp3

here's a few bonus tips that i have to keep in mind when arranging:
- work one section at a time purposefully
- mix for dynamics, not for loudness of every sound
- you are painting an environment with sound

good luck
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Re: Workflow, the bane of my existence

Postby Sarphog » 17 Feb 2015 13:06

https://soundcloud.com/sarphog/brutal-drop-attempt1
https://soundcloud.com/sarphog/hi-1

Examples of tracks I got stuck on, and yeah, I make EDM mainly, though I'm not limiting myself to any genres.. Also, do what extent do you guys master your track while making it?
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Re: Workflow, the bane of my existence

Postby Thunder Dash » 17 Feb 2015 13:18

Sarphog wrote: https://soundcloud.com/sarphog/brutal-drop-attempt1
https://soundcloud.com/sarphog/hi-1

Examples of tracks I got stuck on, and yeah, I make EDM mainly, though I'm not limiting myself to any genres.. Also, do what extent do you guys master your track while making it?


I think one of the biggest issues with the first track was that you jumped straight into the hard stuff. I felt this was done too early, which is why I believe you got stuck. Maybe build it up and then bring it back down. I envision a dubstep song as a bell curve. It starts off soft and then builds up to the loud and wubby parts. Some dubstep songs even have multiple bell curves. Keep this in mind, as this is one of the key things in dubstep.

As for the second one, keep track of how many times you repeat a certain phrase. The standard EDM song has 8-bar phrases. On the 7th bar of the phrase, a sweep-in (for regressions) or sweep-out (for buildups) is used. Or, start the song in a heavy filter and as each bar passed, slowly sweep it out. You can also employ what is known as a "fake-out", which is more a of psychological tool, but still very effective when it comes to EDM.
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Re: Workflow, the bane of my existence

Postby Sarphog » 17 Feb 2015 14:35

Are you critiquing the way I started making the dubstep one or the actual track? Is starting with the drop in dubstep a bad idea? I've heard several artists say the prefer making the drop before anything else, though I personally have a tendency to tunnel-vision and eventually progress to mastering when I get to a certain point
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Re: Workflow, the bane of my existence

Postby Thunder Dash » 17 Feb 2015 16:20

Sarphog wrote:Are you critiquing the way I started making the dubstep one or the actual track? Is starting with the drop in dubstep a bad idea? I've heard several artists say the prefer making the drop before anything else, though I personally have a tendency to tunnel-vision and eventually progress to mastering when I get to a certain point


Starting off with the drop means that the energy must be maintained throughout the entire piece. Having the "bell curve" model for dubstep songs works better because you don't have to worry about maintaining that energy. Also, having the drop at the beginning means a lot more repetition, which causes the piece to become dull and numb after a while.
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Re: Workflow, the bane of my existence

Postby Sarphog » 17 Feb 2015 17:37

I'm so confused.. I know starting with the drop might make dull the climax, but I didn't intent to start with "the track" with the drop, it was just to show an example of how I make some segment of a track, and just get myself stuck after said segment is done

Are we on the same page?
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Re: Workflow, the bane of my existence

Postby Captain Ironhelm » 19 Feb 2015 02:02

Sarphog wrote:... Also, do what extent do you guys master your track while making it?


not at all. i'll have the volumes of each sound within reason so i know what it will probably sound like. for example, i won't let my bass synth drown out everything, so i'll just in about 2 seconds drop it down so it sounds ok and i can hear everything else fine. trying to mix/master while making a track is a waste of time. do it after you're done with everything.
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Re: Workflow, the bane of my existence

Postby Sarphog » 27 Feb 2015 17:25

Captain Ironhelm wrote:.. Trying to mix/master while making a track is a waste of time. do it after you're done with everything.


And I've stumbled across my (most likely) biggest flaw.. Getting used to not master while composing/whatever.. This one's gonna be a bitch lol
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Re: Workflow, the bane of my existence

Postby NightmareRare » 08 Mar 2015 18:59

Sarphog wrote:
Captain Ironhelm wrote:.. Trying to mix/master while making a track is a waste of time. do it after you're done with everything.


And I've stumbled across my (most likely) biggest flaw.. Getting used to not master while composing/whatever.. This one's gonna be a bitch lol


Sounds like your going through what I was a year ago. Check these articles out, there what took me from 8-bar to finishing tracks on the reg.


http://edmprod.com/50-workflow-tips/
http://edmprod.com/task-based-music-production/

Sam a awesome guy he posts loads of useful stuff for noobs to pros, he usually answers question to leave him on his posts too
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