Hey everyone, first proper post here, aside from entering the HEAT contest, which i may have to forfeit from due to the thing i'm about to spill out in this post.

I'm Patrik, 28 years old from Sweden.

I have been writing music, everything from metal to orchestrated and electronic pieces since about 4 years back, uploading it to soundcloud so i can remember my trip through it all.

My biggest issue will first and foremost always be myself, because i am my harshest critic. But most pressing is the fact that i know very little about production once the songs have been written, and i can sometimes scrap many ideas that i know would be wonderful if i had the education or the proper software and the knowledge to use them. 

A lot of the times i will scrap something if it doesn't get any longer than a minute and a half, because i want to upload something more substantial that one may listen to for enjoyment rather than as a piece of "this is what i could do if i had more resources".

I am currently using Notion 5, and while it's good for its price range, i get hindered in my writing because i get discouraged that it doesn't sound like a proper hollywood production. And i know that's really stupid because of course that takes many years and years of practice and education, and money obviously. But i cant shake the feeling that i should just give up because it doesn't sound the way i hear it in my head, and that gets in the way of actually writing more notes.

I guess i just want to know if anyone else feels the same, and what they do to get over it.

I want to be able to think "This is just temporary, write your heart out because the notes are important, not the production."

Thanks in advance.


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  • I struggle with this as well, as notation software rarely matches what I have in my head.  To make matters worse, it's difficult to get it to play microtones accurately– I mean, Sibelius does have quarter tone playback, but I rarely use it, and they don't play anything smaller than quarter tones accurately.  Not to mention any sort of contemporary techniques that I use don't go through (sometimes even basic things like glissandi don't).  

    However, I have been lucky enough to find musicians to work with, and they can help me figure out how to get a sound I want much better than notation software ever could (not to mention they can produce the sound if I record the piece live).  I have little experience with VSTs and getting them to sound realistic– those can be pretty expensive and getting them to sound how you want them to sound can be time consuming, from what I hear.  But if you're working on an orchestral piece and want to get results on how it's going to sound, asking an orchestra to play for you is rather impractical (unless you're at a conservatory with regular composer readings or something– even then it can be impractical), and it can be easier to work with a DAW.  

    Anyway, don't get discouraged if notation software doesn't give you the results you wanted in terms of sound!  Personally, if you're aiming to get pieces played, go find musicians (either online or in real life) and talk to them about what things will sound like, whether or not passages are playable, etc.  

  • Machine gun effect. Argh.

    Anyway, everybody starts with no education whatsoever and remain so until they educate themselves :P So that isn't a problem.

    I really think you should get around to obtaining some, at the very least, semi-decent sample library. You seem to have an idea on what and how to tweak to improve the quality. But wasting endless amounts of time applying this to sounds that simply aren't good, you're doing yourself a disservice. Learning to use tools that are more suited for making the music sound presentable will save you time and nerves in the long run.

    Here's a thing I started with:


    It's quite outdated by today's standards, but you have the whole orchestra and it uses very little resources. A decent starting point, and by starting point I mean you can keep learning new things and getting better at sampling for a year or three before you need to shift gears to a higher shelf library. I would go for the Gold version if I were you. Buy outright, or subscribe to the Composer Cloud for 30 bucks to test it out, or borrow from someone, or find a torrent, doesn't matter. Figuring out how to set this up to work smoothly will probably give you a big headache (though there are tutorials on the Internet). After that's done, though, you can do amazing things.

    By the way - the demos they have on the page to showcase the library aren't even "very good" in my book :P you can do better with this package.

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