Differences between playing an instrument and making music on your computer?

Discussion in 'Production' started by Rogue Cypher, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. Rogue Cypher

    Rogue Cypher Member

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    I have been trying to get back into music again.

    I think I am growing out of dance music now because I start making a tune and then get sick/bored of it pretty quick.

    Electronic music for me is fun in parts but mainly only the parts where I manipulate things through midi, so the bits where I am playing an instrument of sorts.

    The arrangement can be sort of rewarding sometimes and figuring out new tricks but mostly I find it too cerebral and thus takes me out of the moment. This sounds ironic coming from me as I am one of the most cerebral fellows around but I want to use music as a way to get me into the moment and so it bugs me when I am just pointing and clicking around the place.

    I bought a violin a while back but haven't taken the time to play it yet because it felt pretty inaccessible without some instruction. I potentially see that as more rewarding now though if I take the time to learn it.

    I imagine both can be very rewarding if you really take the time to learn either but I have less appreciation of dance music now as i relate less to the scene and find I have more appreciation of classical. I still dislike most music in general but the violin was the instrument which really hit home with me so wanted to endeavour to learn it.

    If people have done both instrument and writing computer based music I'd be interested to hear their experiences with each.
     
  2. subprime

    subprime Dysjoint

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    I love the sounds and tones that can be created with computers, but I miss the moments that are created when you're jamming with friends on real instruments.
    I bought sonnus G2M, which plugs into my electric guitar and creates monophonic midi notes to trigger whatever synth, and that is cool but I haven't used it enough yet.
     
  3. Rogue Cypher

    Rogue Cypher Member

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    I was just thinking I might just be getting bored with the genre of music; although dnb is a genre which has a widerange of sub's I've only really tried making minimal techy stuff which I've found bugs me now and I have to turn it off after a few mins. This is/was my fav type of dnb to listen to but I find it irritating to make due to it's repetitiveness.

    It's similar to how bassline music might give me an adrenaline rush and seduce me for a second if I let it but a few seconds after I feel dirty for being seduced by that simplistic chavvy crap.

    I think my musical tastes might be outdated as I had still been attemtping to make tunes that would sound good if you were mashed at a free party and I have certainly long since left those days behind.

    So I guess there is still plenty of room for experimentation.

    I may try my hand making some other (/sub)genre.

    Ambient perhaps. I love aphex twin, one of my alltime fav art dudes though I wouldn't dare to try and make a track that would match one of his as I wouldn't know where to begin.

    I agree I still certainly really like and am intrigued by the sounds you can make on a computer. Perhaps updating my musical ear for something which would better suit my present life setting would do the trick.
     
  4. Protoplasym

    Protoplasym Nuskool

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    I don't play an instrument so I guess I'm not one of the ones you'd like to hear from : ) but I thought I'd offer my opinion regardless:

    From the sound of it, I imagine you'd do well with a partner handling the Sequencing/Recording side of things which would leave you more time to focus on Riff Creation... just a thought.
     
  5. Rogue Cypher

    Rogue Cypher Member

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    Nice idea but one of the whole reasons I like computer music is letting the computer be your jamming buddy :) so fulfilling that role better would be good.

    I like the idea of somehow having the ability to have the computer running a basic track so I can jam to it to my heart's content.

    I sort of do it a bit atm but more of that would be good.

    Have a jam then record a track then jam again over that and so on and so forth.

    So finding out ways to make computer production more intuitive and 'live' would be a good goal to try out so ideas on those lines would be cool- also without requiring a partner or spending any more money :)

    I just got a korg padkontrol I'm still figuring out how to wok it but I saw you can turn it into a monome which looks interesting and might be up my st. for what I just outlined above.
     
  6. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    Bah, i think it's not a surprise if i invite myself by here.

    I take producing more as a composing side. That's it.
    You do a track from bottom to top with you ears and your hands. When you play an instrument, your rely on your mates, you play tunes composed by others etc....
    Moreover, production gives me that dirty loudy shiny lovely adrenalin drop i can't get with my instrument. Get me well, i love my instrument and i take as much pleasure playing it (even more) than producing but i can't do the same kind of things with it.
    When i'm producing i have this loud and clear sound i love in electro music, the one that i can't get with my instrument, and every time i find a new idea, every time i write a good drop i'm feeling like i'm jesus on hearth. I listen to it and take a full charge.
    Then i put my track beside a mamoth or block control and i go cry on my bed silently. But the former moment is priceless.
    Btw both are interacting with each other, which is pretty cool.
     
  7. druu

    druu Member

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    maybe you need to try and infuse more acoustic/organic sounds into your music? I'm pretty tired of the all electronic feel of my tracks but lately have been really focusing on trying to get a more acoustic sound from my drums and also use record my own vox and maybe a bit of guitar. sample selection us critical too
     
  8. Rogue Cypher

    Rogue Cypher Member

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    I'm quite the opposite in that I find the techier the better I like strange and unusual sounds with feeling. I find it great fun playing with the knobs on massive and seeing what occurs.

    Computer sex :)

    I'm still a real n00b with this stuff anyway so I guess I got loads to explore I just want it to be fun to replace drugs and computer games as my new hobby as it seems like a more productive thing to do with my time and potentially more rewarding.
     
  9. dexter

    dexter Member

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    you think too much! stop writing bout what you wanna do and try shit out, create your own mix of how you want to do whatever the hell you wanna do, plenty of people try and do as little in the box as possible, i personally love sitting and clicking.. lol.. just try shit out man what are you waiting for?
     
  10. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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  11. djdevz

    djdevz Member

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    ^ deffo agree with the above 2 posts
     
  12. Innovine

    Innovine Active Member

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    Nearly all musical instruments rely on muscle memory and very fine motor skills. About the only exception I can think of is within electronic music, where it requires high technical competence.

    I do technically competent things all day at work.

    When it comes to making music, the last thing I want to do is push a mouse around. I dont give a shit how great that might be or what endless possibilities it can offer. Its still pushing a mouse around and that is an entirely different part of my brain and body from playing other instruments. Its boring, and I pay a LOT of money for hardware which allows me to turn off my brain and just get totally into playing instead. Mouse people don't know what I'm talking about, and will say it's crap. That's fine.
     
  13. Busdriver

    Busdriver Member

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    Lovely term even if it slightly does looks like a denigration.

    I define me as what you call a mouse people regarding another thread, and i know perfectly what you are talking about.
    I teach music to people who don't want to be pro, they just want to have fun and i guide them through that so they can do so.
    But when somebody ask me how to progress in music i will give him different advice.
    There is a lot of path but they depends on what you want to achieve.
    There is no shitty one if you are conscious of what you want to achieve.

    If you are fine having fun the way you do, nobody have the right to tell you you are wrong.

    So to the OP, define what you want to do clearly, then take the good path or ask for a precise advice.
     
  14. sam the dnb man

    sam the dnb man Variation

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    Don't just moan about it, do something about it.
    If you feel that techy Drum & Bass is too repetitive then make something that isnt repetitive atall.
    Maybe compose a synthony(synth geddit lol) then turn use parts of it in a tune.

    Personally I feel that a lot of dubstep artists bar a few these days will just make a 16 bar loop and copy and paste it.
    So now I'm trying to add my contribution to the world of dubstep by creating a track in which every 16 bars are different.
    More of a sequence than a song if you will.
     
  15. Innovine

    Innovine Active Member

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    I had a lot of success playing with some korg electribes. I have an emx and an esx, and although the sound quality isn't all that great, they have a superb hands-on interface. It's possible to do a live show with just these, but it's even better with a friend. It's possible to jam and even play a whole live, improvised set with the addition of a few fx pedals and bits. And I mean totally improvised, no preset stuff, you can just twist a few knobs and punch a few buttons and get an awesome tune happening in a few seconds. Gets even better with a couple of pre-prepared midi riffs and drum breaks.

    The key here is that these machines are designed for doing exactly this, where as midi controllers are designed to do something similar, but work with a DAW, which is designed to do everything. Somewhere along the lines it falls apart, cos you always end up reassigning stuff. Having the exact same controls in the exact same place is really useful for your fingers.

    here's a really awesome video of someone pushing the esx pretty hard, he has 3 patterns I think which he is screwing with live:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODRAbDreOuQ

    here's me screwing around and improvising the most of it
    http://www.stickam.com/viewMedia.do?mId=178692128
    I've a vinyl player/radio under the camera which you cant see. This is providing a few random speech samples through the esx, which is gating and echoing it

    With two machines and a cross fader you can keep this shit going all night. You might also want to check out http://www.livepa.org/board which is a forum for electronic musicians who do live sets. Sounds like live sets might be something you are into. The forum is made up for the most part of hardware guys, and a couple of laptop guys. The laptop guys nearly always have some midi controllers. I think knobs, buttons and sliders are absolutely essential for getting that jamming and live feel, rather than sitting on front of ableton with a mouse, which I think looks and feels much the same as Microsoft Excel.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
  16. Rogue Cypher

    Rogue Cypher Member

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    Cheers for the heads up innovine.

    I actually saw some videos of those european hark tek guys doing live sets at free partys using this very same hardware you are on about which is what inspired me to look into the live electronic stuff in the 1st place although I had no idea what the hardware was they were using at the time.

    Yea this is just the type of direction I am interested in although I am rather restricted money wise so one of these badboys is pretty out of reach for me as I just checked ebay and they are like 400 new prob a but less second but still too much for me atm.

    One other thing about those as well- they have all their sounds in built right? Do you find you get bored of the sounds after a while/they become repetitive? I think having the same hardware setup but having it be a programmable sampler would be more versatile in the long run.

    The great bonus about software is i can download nearly anything I want. So being software is it's biggest plus but also the biggest drawback.

    Ideally I would somehow want a way to replicate one of these hardware things using software/a midi controller to use as a sampler/step sequencer.

    I recently got the korg padkontrol and I have been trying to find the mod which makes it into a step sequencer but I can't find a working link for it yet :(.

    Would turning it into a monome make it pretty much the same in functionality as the ESX?

    That way I could fulfill my abovementioned requirement getting the best of both worlds having the step sequencer setup with programmed in samples.

    It's funny you mention about the hardware/software divide. I remember years ago when my sister's boyfriend was teaching a little about making music and I was barely interested at the time but I recall him mentioning about the pluses and minuses of both and now I see just what he meant about the advantages of hardware :).
     
  17. Innovine

    Innovine Active Member

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    hope the padkontrol works out for you.
    If you're using midi controllers, then I think it's important to decide on what parameters you really need, and assign them, and always keep them at the same place. If you're constantly remapping the controllers (and its really easy to get into this trap) then in the end you will be hunting for the appropriate control rather than instinctively reaching for it (you'll often be twisting/pressing several things at once in a buildup/breakdown).
    You can look to existing hardware gear to see what sort of things are available and where, as a good reference point, but really, this is all up to taste and style and whatever software you are using too. Just be aware of the risk of getting bogged down in configuring things, rather than just jamming out those beats. A crap config can still be fine to play with

    ---------- Post added at 14:23 ---------- Previous post was at 13:41 ----------

    Well, the emx (the blue one) has all the sounds built in. The esx can load in wav files on a memory card and keep them in memory after that.
    I like the emx drum sounds, they are pretty general and of good quality and have some real impact over a large PA system. Given that it's a live set, and that it's mostly required to be loud and banging, I think it works just fine. Play it next to some well produced vinyl though and it'll sound a bit shit. I've gotten real bored of the synth sounds in it, but I sometimes use it as a sequencer for my Virus B as it's sequencing is simple and quick, which is usually enough for what I need.

    The ESX can load up new samples, but I think that the process is a pain in the arse. You need a program on the pc to load the wav files, and they have to be a specific format so you end up converting files and trimming and normalizing them all on the PC and so on. This is a real creativity drag but it'll get you the sound palette you want on the machine in the end. Personally, I have not had the patience toa real good sample set, so my esx is seldom used (I've a few snare samples and a few shaker loops in it, thats all I use it for). The output of my esx is very noisey too, a terrible hiss, some units are worse than others apparently.

    So yeah, I'd say that in the long run the sounds of these machines does get samey. The lack of detailed control over the synths can mean that you can't adjust the sound exactly how you want it (blunt is one way to describe the synths in them). But still, they are the bomb for fucking around with, or if you have a mate to jam with. If you add another synth (even a software synth or some samples) then the immediate 'electribe' sound gets masked, it'll sound fresher and your ears will respond in a nice way again.

    Apart from my drumkit, I think I've spend the most studio time using my electribes, so that says a lot. Now, I'd trade both for a machinedrum, as I'm getting into more minimal sounds, and I always have the virus for bass.
     
  18. Rogue Cypher

    Rogue Cypher Member

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    Yea so check this vid out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93Bi9Lt8Jlc

    would this make the padkontrol pretty much the same in function to an esx at least in terms of it being a looping thingy? (is step sequencer the correct term?)
     
  19. BLoodstaiN`

    BLoodstaiN` Member

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    Well, in real life you'll spend much more if you want to make a sound of every instrument in the world. Eg. Violin, guitar, piano, cello, drums will cost much more then just FL studio.
    and you're not bound to single sounds on a computer you can manipulate every instrument in every single way on a computer. While your standing there playing the violin irl, i can be playing that on a keyboard and if i'm bored i'll distort the fuck out of it.
    There's a plus part though, the authenticity of an instrument is much cooler then clicking indeed
     
  20. Innovine

    Innovine Active Member

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    I've not heard a keyboard playing a violin sound that is remotely as nice as a good quality violin played by a good musician.

    And then you want to go and distort it? That sort of shows your level of dedication to high quality sound right there.