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View Full Version : a need a better work flow:((post yours here)


danieljay
04-05-2009, 09:03 AM
hello. i have to say my work flow is terrible, in actuall fact i dont really have one. I dont really know where to begin, what to set or which instrument to choose from. Wether to work in sections or all at the same time. I aslo dont know wether to do all the cc11 stuff first, or when the score is complete for me to put in exra fine touches.


so if u can be bothered post your work flows here. I will read them and try them out. Its time to change instead of sitting in my chair getting absolutly no where every single day i try to compose. I think knowing and having a set work flow would be good for me. Id appreciat anyone for giving up time to participate.

A.Leung
04-05-2009, 03:22 PM
Hmmm- this can be a very hard question to answer since its so user based:

Ill give it a go.

(This presupposes that one has a good knowledge of reading and writing music and orchestration knowledge as well)

1.) Write piece in Sibelius
2.)Export to Logic Pro
3.) Mix and master (or just do a rough )
4.) Back into Sibelius or finale for writing out and printing of individual parts for live playing. (skip this step if the MIDI tracks are to be the final for the film/project)

Memphis
04-05-2009, 04:26 PM
Interesting topic. Itīs very individual I assume. Iīm miles away from to call me a good composer or something like that but I feel to share some thoughts.

For the most I write the theme for the song straight on the piano. Sometimes on my midi-keyboard but itīs ussally more inspiring to write on a real piano. Then I often goes on to the rythm and tempo if there is any. Starting to imagine what instruments that can play the theme so it going to sound like my idea. Experimetning between different instruments and try out whats best for just that melody or theme and what harmony and colors I want the specific part to have.

Start recording the theme and make more and more instrument-layers that I need or want to add, dependning of the musical situation. Then maybe make some variation of the theme or some second theme to move on to, and so on.

I think itīs very important to have an idea to built your song/score on. A theme that you base your things on, a achord-theme or a like most often, a melody. And donīt be so nit-picking during composing!! That kills the work-flow very effective I think. Just move on and go crazy with your melodies, themes that youīve worked with and just carry on without thinking of the technology. (the mix, exact articulations and automations) Focus on the composition and deal with the other things later. Or else I often get stucked and lose the flow and get tired and not get so much done in the end.

Here is a guy with good workflow: Screencast #1: Live Composition in Under 8 minutes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGBfgaesP-4&feature=relatedf). Check out his videos and maybe you can get some inspiration. Youīll see how it gets easier to have a theme already figured out and then play around with. Myself you canīt have such many instruments loaded but loading a new instrument to try out doesnīt take many seconds. But a smaller template to start with can be a good idea I think.

Hope something of what I said was at least little helpful. I wich you good luck to a better workflow anyway. Cheers!

/Joseph

danieljay
04-05-2009, 04:42 PM
thanks for the help so far. im looking forward to seeing more post in this thread.

SJK
04-06-2009, 02:02 AM
I agree with Memphis here. I always start with a temp track, Piano or full orchestra patch and just go with the flow. That's what I call the fun part. Then I go back and start arranging. That's what I call the work part (it's still fun though ;)).

Don't kill your creativity with too many things on your mind.

danieljay
04-06-2009, 02:25 AM
I agree with Memphis here. I always start with a temp track, Piano or full orchestra patch and just go with the flow. That's what I call the fun part. Then I go back and start arranging. That's what I call the work part (it's still fun though ;)).

Don't kill your creativity with too many things on your mind.

oh so you use the full orchestra patch for expirmenting and then arrange and choose the instrument for each section??? thats a good way

KenK
04-06-2009, 03:46 PM
I think it's best to have a large scale view of the whole piece first.
I like to think in terms of a structural schematic and then "fill in the blanks".

I start w/ some basic tones that are close enough to get a rough version done.
When I like the piece as a whole, I start filling in details.
Get all the notes "right" (timing, lengths, velocity), then look for articulations,
then start using expression or mod. (That's all we have in SO, but other synths obviously have more options.)

I try to avoid getting caught up in "cycle" or "loop" mode.
You can get hypnotized and end up trying endless variations for hours w/o really getting anything done.

At this point I've only been using SO for only 5 or so weeks, so I'm still experimenting, getting to know the possibilities- I tend to separate "experimenting" and composing. But I do need to spend time fooling around w/ it to learn it.

Q: for Alan- (and others who start w/ a notation program)

I'm wondering if you tend to "play in" only the more melodic parts?
Do you leave the support parts as they happen in Sibelius?
Seems like it might be ok to do it that way.
Or do you alter everything to make it more human?

How much of that is done w/ the mouse or quantize type functions and how much is actually played on a key board?

I'm asking because my chops are only so-so, and it seems not much slower to simply mouse away at it.

Ken

danieljay
04-06-2009, 04:24 PM
I think it's best to have a large scale view of the whole piece first.
I like to think in terms of a structural schematic and then "fill in the blanks".

I start w/ some basic tones that are close enough to get a rough version done.
When I like the piece as a whole, I start filling in details.
Get all the notes "right" (timing, lengths, velocity), then look for articulations,
then start using expression or mod. (That's all we have in SO, but other synths obviously have more options.)

I try to avoid getting caught up in "cycle" or "loop" mode.
You can get hypnotized and end up trying endless variations for hours w/o really getting anything done.

At this point I've only been using SO for only 5 or so weeks, so I'm still experimenting, getting to know the possibilities- I tend to separate "experimenting" and composing. But I do need to spend time fooling around w/ it to learn it.

Q: for Alan- (and others who start w/ a notation program)

I'm wondering if you tend to "play in" only the more melodic parts?
Do you leave the support parts as they happen in Sibelius?
Seems like it might be ok to do it that way.
Or do you alter everything to make it more human?

How much of that is done w/ the mouse or quantize type functions and how much is actually played on a key board?

I'm asking because my chops are only so-so, and it seems not much slower to simply mouse away at it.

Ken

if you do it with the keyboard from what i leanred in this forum doesnt get that realistic sound you want with precision. strings are different and they are not played and suppose to be played with a keyboard and they never were. doing so with the mouse will help you adjust the velocities and length and better transitions alot better. When i say strings arent supposed to be played via keyboard, i dont mean you cant and this is a rule but, if your trying to get your tracks sounding like a well manipulated midi mockup then the mouse is the way to go.

Denny S.
04-06-2009, 04:52 PM
Alright, here goes my standard flow, sequencer is Samplitude 10 Pro.

1. For a full orchestral work I create 4 Tracks, seperated into Strings, Brass, Woodwinds and percussion (4 instances of PLAY)

2. I load up a basic patch of instruments, mostly long articulations at first. Within the creation of the piece I'll add addition articulations when I need them.

3. Composing a part of the piece.

4. Around 1/4 I load a mixer preset that includes a soft compressor and an equalizer to balance out the sound a little, this often helps me with the mastering later on.

5. After finishing the track I start to correct or work out smaller parts that need some more detail. Then I switch the convolution reverb on, load the 24-Bit samples and export every single section of the orchestra (EQ and compressor off)

6. I create a new file and load the mixer preset that I've used while composing the track, then I'm going to import the 24-Bit wave files I exported, add Multiband Dynamics and a limiter, draw some volume lines and equalize the sections if they need to be corrected. After a while I figured out that if there's nothing playing in a section it's the best thing to cut out these parts to avoid noise during the quieter passages.

7. Mixdown to 24-Bit Wave and 320kbit/s MP3.

8. Posting it into the Music section, hoping Doug will add it to the official demos.


That's my usual workflow!

danieljay
04-06-2009, 05:38 PM
well see i have trouble in like wat to do next after an intro or some notes layed down. Like how do u think of something that can come next that will keep appealing to you.

Jeff Hayat
04-06-2009, 05:49 PM
I dont really know where to begin, what to set or which instrument to choose from.

well see i have trouble in like wat to do next after an intro or some notes layed down. Like how do u think of something that can come next that will keep appealing to you.

Ok, I am going to be the one to say this. Don't take this the wrong way; I am not putting you down, or anything of the sort.

It sounds to me like workflow is not your problem here. Whereas they might help a bit - a great template and workflow are not going to write notes and compose for you.

If your problem is not knowing where to begin, and trouble with what to do next after "xyz", might I suggest 1) Samuel Adler's "The Study of Orchestration (with workbooks and cds) and 2) that you sit down and study and imitate scores. And just write. Even if you don't like what you hear - just write.

And don't worry too much - even John Williams had to start somewhere.

Best of luck.

danieljay
04-06-2009, 06:37 PM
Ok, I am going to be the one to say this. Don't take this the wrong way; I am not putting you down, or anything of the sort.

It sounds to me like workflow is not your problem here. Whereas they might help a bit - a great template and workflow are not going to write notes and compose for you.

If your problem is not knowing where to begin, and trouble with what to do next after "xyz", might I suggest 1) Samuel Adler's "The Study of Orchestration (with workbooks and cds) and 2) that you sit down and study and imitate scores. And just write. Even if you don't like what you hear - just write.

And don't worry too much - even John Williams had to start somewhere.

Best of luck.

nar im not affended at all. your right... i should probably try and immitate other compositions which i will learn from... then put it in my own stuff... or maybe im just not music material anymore like i used to be. I dont know if thier is such thing a loosing your creativity but yeah i sure have lost it.

Jeff Hayat
04-06-2009, 07:05 PM
I dont know if thier is such thing a loosing your creativity but yeah i sure have lost it.

No you have not. Creative is as creative does. If you are creative and you have been creative before, you are still creative. But thinking you aren't isn't helping you at all. Don't dwell on it. Maybe you need to take a break for a while - a few days, a month - whatever. Maybe there are other things going on in your life - girlfriend problems, financial problems, family problems...whatever - that are impeding you ability to create. It happens. Just don't tell yourself you aren't creative anymore - because if you do, that will stifle your creativity.

Chin up! :)

danieljay
04-06-2009, 08:42 PM
No you have not. Creative is as creative does. If you are creative and you have been creative before, you are still creative. But thinking you aren't isn't helping you at all. Don't dwell on it. Maybe you need to take a break for a while - a few days, a month - whatever. Maybe there are other things going on in your life - girlfriend problems, financial problems, family problems...whatever - that are impeding you ability to create. It happens. Just don't tell yourself you aren't creative anymore - because if you do, that will stifle your creativity.

Chin up! :)

thanks man.

A.Leung
04-06-2009, 09:48 PM
Eh- dont worry Daniel - itll come back. But Jeffs giving you good advice since as Jerry Goldsmith once said, "Once Creativity leaves you all you have left is skill." So reading those orchestration books (adler, et all) is a good idea as the more SKILL you have - you can substitute IT for Creativity on a rainy day.

OneThrow
04-06-2009, 11:22 PM
Daniel - You haven't lost your creativity. Its a confidence thing. And you are right to say a good work flow will help. No one knows what will come out when they compose, good, bad or indifferent. Once its done, then you can judge.

A useful strategy can be, sit down to write, whether at the keyboard, computer or with a piece of manuscript and just write for the hell of it. Its usually a good idea to have an aim in mind like, a love theme or an adventure theme or whatever, that's your choice. Finish it as far as you can then sit back and ask yourself is it what I wanted? What are the faults. Then write another one.

If you find yourself sitting down with nothing coming out, that's okay, take a break and come back later, improvise for a while, its surprising what ideas come out of that.

Tomorrow is always a new day with new ideas. Once you do one piece the rest will follow.

If its orchestration that troubles you, look at other composers, try to work out how they get the effects you like and copy that. Remember, you won't know what works until you try it. And if it doesn't work first time, try something else. Its great, it won't keep going wrong and you'll produce something great, trust me. And in the process you'll learn.

Enjoy the orchestra, its fantastic!!!

Hope that helps.

danieljay
04-06-2009, 11:26 PM
hey thanks guys for your advice... its quite helpful. now the books you talk about?? are they free to read online or where can i buy it from??

musicpete
04-07-2009, 03:49 AM
Try Amazon, they have all the books you need.

And use the time that a creative block gives you to increase your skills. I am just coming out of a 6 months hiatus.... Couldn't write anything, after a particulary gruelling score job I did. I spent the time improving my composition skills, re-reading orchestration and harmony books, setting up a new DAW computer, learning how to mix and master my music better, how to set up templates for better workflow. Oh, and I have 2 jobs which require some attention, too.

So my suggestion is: Get off your ass, stop complaining and putting yourself down. Use the time to learn. From what I read, it seems that you have a lot of learning to do. Just get started on a topic that interests you and work as hard as you can from there. Good luck. You can do it. ;)

KenK
04-07-2009, 09:53 AM
well see i have trouble in like wat to do next after an intro or some notes layed down. Like how do u think of something that can come next that will keep appealing to you.
Excuse me if what I'm saying is a bit rudimentary, but it's a possible solution to your dilemma above.
As I said in earlier post:
I like to think in terms of a structural schematic and then "fill in the blanks".
The idea here is to have a plan before you even write a note. Simply create a "structure" first.

Most jazz tunes are in the common AABA form- most often 8 bars each w/ slight variations.
A classical rondo is ABACADA etc.
I like an "arch" structure for a lot of my compositions- ABCBA
Each of those section can again be an arch in itself- A=a,b,a B=a2,b2,a2 etc.

Sit down w/ a piece of paper and scribble a plan:
Let's say it's a waltz- you've already got plenty of structure w/ just that idea alone.
Create a form- say it's a jazz fusion type piece for 2 soloists
So you can start:
Intro A B A C(for sololist 1) D(for soloist 2) B A Outro
Stated in simpler terms: I, ABA, CD, BA, O
Already a plan is taking shape. Now we "fill in the blanks".
Intro and Outro wil be based on the melody for "A" which we'll write later.
Pick an amount of bars for A and B and write a chord progression for each.
C section can be the "1st half of A+ the 2nd half of B" for example.
D can be a repetitious bass line from the unused material.
Sit w/ your chord progressions and write the melodic material.
Intro and Outro will be unison riffing of melody segments at double the tempo.
Then you can write a riffing section between C and D just for the hell of it.
If needed, change keys in a couple of spots for variety.
You can also alter the meter or tempo for certain sections.

I get a lot of mileage out of that kind of thinking.
Hope it helps.

Ken