Music Composers Unite!
Alright guys, I've been having a huge sticking point lately and perhaps someone can relate and point me in the right direction.
Back when I first started composing, I would just sit at a keyboard synth and just flip through sounds just playing randomly until I "accidentally" played something that sounded cool. From that point, usually I could kind of feel how more of the song was supposed to go, and I would continue it on from there. I grew to hate writing music this way though, because it's always basically"hit or miss", and I usually would write something of a completely random style, I had no control over if it was happy, sad, clubish sounding, techno, whatever. However I noticed sometimes, I would kind of just "hear" random music playing in my head, so I started deciding to try and write this music out. I failed a lot at first, but I've gotten pretty good at it now. I've dedicated a good part of all my time since then getting better at writing it out as accurately as possible.
The problem is, when I go from notation to actual sound, a lot of the time, I have such a hard time trying to find the sound that I'm looking for, I usually basically forget how the song was supposed to go. Even tho I have it written down, the original version of the song I heard is gone. It's frankly been down right depressing lately. Anyways has anyone here had this problem with composing from the inner ear before? More importantly, have any of you figured out some solutions to prevent yourselves from losing the piece while trying to write it out? Any input at all is greatly appreciated! Thanks guys!
Honestly, it's down to practice. Also, having perfect pitch is nice! I have pretty good pitch (when I assert myself), but this came from practicing and practicing. I still can't get my ideas down perfectly, but when I'm struck by something, I find having my computer right next to me at the piano is helpful. Not much advice that I can give other than acquire perfect or good pitch.
The contradiction you meet is natural and, I think, happens with any composer. Your "inner ear" and mechanical output of the automatic notation software performers are different in principle. The latter cannot feel what you described as "happy, sad, clubish" etc. Classical notation is essentially a language for human performers, not for mechanics however rich it is with sound samples.
You have two directions to tackle the problem:
1) Apply a human performance (yours included) of your notated music, even using virtual instruments;
2) Edit and combine MIDI records of your "accidentally played cool-sounding" fragments.
Both directions need serious development of your personal technique, style, studio, writing and recording discipline, and both directions can lead to outstanding results.
Practise your relative pitch, which is to be able to distinguish all the intervals. That has helped me a lot. A tip is to learn to sing them, one by one. It might seem impossible at first with some intervals, like the minor seventh or tritone, but after a while they stuck in your head and you remember them. If you can have someone playing random intervals and you guessing is a nice practise too if the other person can correct you when you get it wrong.
I bought the relative pitch and perfect pitch supercourse by David Lucas Burge a few years ago and I'm only like a third through so it may develop very slowly. Those courses I'd recommend because he is such a great teacher, though after getting an understanding in how to develop these abilities I learnt that you don't really need a teacher because it's very simple. Simple but hard on the patience because, at least for me, it has been alot of work, but I'm glad I've put down the work.
böh a little messy but I think you understand.
Hey I appreciate the replies everyone! Haha let me clarify a little bit, I actually do have perfect pitch lol, (Why am I complaining right lol), My relative pitch isn't tooo bad ether. When I hear songs playing in my head, I can usually notate them pretty quickly, without any assistance of a piano or anything. I write all my important melodies on the staff, and the chords above the staff so I know what goes with it and tempo too.
At that point, if I walk away, I can come back any time, look at my paper, and remember how the song was supposed to go. But, as soon as I start looking through my vst's or one of my hardware sounds to try and play what I've written, after a bit, it kind of overrides the song in my head. At that point, if I go back and look at the music I've wrote, I don't remember the original instruments that were in my song, it's all been replaced by other sounds. This isn't really a problem with "real" instruments, its more of a problem I deal with when trying to find the right type of synthesized sound. I guess since they're not real in the first place, it's hard to have a standard for what it's really supposed to sound like.
I myself came up with the solution that, perhaps I need to learn all the different categories and timbre's of the synth, warm, cold, bright, distorted, analog, additive, etc. But I don't know, just a thought lol. Anyways any other thoughts are appreciated! Thanks for all the replies guys!
Lol you had both relative and perfect pitch XD Well then I can't help you. Being good with the timbres certainly sounds like a good idea.
Hahaha, ahh man. For a minute I thought we were in the same boat, but then it turns out you have perfect pitch. If for a moment I forget you mentioned that, then I feel exactly the same way. Often I'll have ideas in my head, but putting them on paper (or computer) is just really hard. I guess it's down to practicing intervals for me.