IN NEED OF URGENT HELP!

Mr Fletch

aka KRONIX
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#1
Hey guys, haven't been around as much as usual as I've been hard at work with my EP. But I now come to you for some much needed help

To cut a long story short, I've been approached by quite a successful electric violin player who is putting together an album. She apparently loves my deep dark sounds and has kindly asked me to compose and produce a track for her album. Now.....she wants me to compose the whole thing! Including the violin part, for her to recreate live when she plays on tour!

I honestly feel out of my depth a little bit, but I intend to do the best I can with what I know! What I want to ask is do any of you have any tips or pointers as to how I should approach this? Do I write a track, then compose some violin piece over it? do I add the violin as I build the track? As a rule I don't tend to worry about these kinda things, but knowing that the violin is gonna be the main part and emphasis of the track pains me a little!
 

miszt

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#2
I'd listen to what she has released so far, get a feel for her style, then compose a violin part, then the rest of the track - violin is a very expressive instrument, you've got your work cut out, looking forward to hearing it! :D

Stravinsky (one of the greatest composer of all time) once said: Lesser Artists borrow, Great Artists steal

listen to lots of music from her repertoire, and her favorite composers, for ideas and inspiration
 
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#4
Just my 2p worth, but as both a producer and a (ex) violin player, I think it would work better if you wrote the track without the violin part and then she wrote the violin part on top of that. I think it's asking a lot for any producer to compose a violin part, given the intricacies of the instrument etc. and particularly if she is a very good player.
 

lostnthesound

Burns Easily in the Sun
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#5
First off: Congrats mate! Helluva unique opportunity so take it on head first, I'm sure the result will be great.

I would flesh out the big parts–drums, bass, pads–the core elements to get the groove in motion. Perhaps even mess about with some texture/atmospheres to help aid with the direction you want the track to go. Once that's done, utilize a generic violin sound (Kontakt has some lovely bits) as a lead and maybe even a bit of a rhythmic (staccato) component–if she's willing to record a couple different parts. Then render the MIDI files into notation...unless of course she's one of the few who has natural perfect pitch.

Just my .02. Good luck and let us know how it turns out. I for one would love to hear the finished product.

Cheers.
 

miszt

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#6
dont assume that coz someone can play the violin, that they can write music...but its worth asking. i really cant agree on writing the backing first, the violin is the focus, and ought to be fairly well put together and the backing built around it
 
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#7
dont assume that coz someone can play the violin, that they can write music...but its worth asking. i really cant agree on writing the backing first, the violin is the focus, and ought to be fairly well put together and the backing built around it
Different methods for different people I guess. For me, it would be bloody hard to write a part for a violin straight off the bat, it makes it a bit easier when you've got (even if only half) a backing to go by.

Additionally, there's more to it then simply playing something in a violin virtual instrument and it sounding good - you've got to take account of whether it is actually possible given the complexity of the violin (finger placement etc). This is why I think at least some input from her would be hugely advantageous.
 

miszt

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#8
thats because you are thinking about the Violin in the same way you probably think about Leads/Hooks - that is certainly one way to go about it, but its pretty restrictive

writing a piece for Violin is something different to writing a lead or hook in the normal edm sense, it needs to be approached like writing a song melody for a singer, and as it doesn't have words, its complexity must come from the notes, and just as importantly, the melody must be free to change key in order to express itself properly, something which is difficult to do/imagine once the backing is already there, because the backing track becomes the driving part of inspiration, mood and key, rather than the melody itself, which leads to a single key thruout, with the occasional switch at the end of a phrase...this is not appropriate for a violin focused piece imo

....now if you havent written anything in this way before Fletch, dont try to over complicate it, at the end of the day, you are the producer, and you've been asked to write something because they like what you do, so dont stress it, just do what you do

violins are capable of most things that we can come up with tbh, over complexity/fingering is a secondary concern, but yeah one which needs to be evaluated by the musician
 
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#10
thats because you are thinking about the Violin in the same way you probably think about Leads/Hooks - that is certainly one way to go about it, but its pretty restrictive

writing a piece for Violin is something different to writing a lead or hook in the normal edm sense, it needs to be approached like writing a song melody for a singer, and as it doesn't have words, its complexity must come from the notes, and just as importantly, the melody must be free to change key in order to express itself properly, something which is difficult to do/imagine once the backing is already there, because the backing track becomes the driving part of inspiration, mood and key, rather than the melody itself, which leads to a single key thruout, with the occasional switch at the end of a phrase...this is not appropriate for a violin focused piece imo

....now if you havent written anything in this way before Fletch, dont try to over complicate it, at the end of the day, you are the producer, and you've been asked to write something because they like what you do, so dont stress it, just do what you do

violins are capable of most things that we can come up with tbh, over complexity/fingering is a secondary concern, but yeah one which needs to be evaluated by the musician
I'm thinking of it from the perspective of someone who both produces and has played the violin.
I don't think the concern about a change of key is a big one - I can think of very few, if any, melodic/liquid d&b tracks that change key. In terms of vocalists, whenever I have worked with them they tend to write the vocal line based on the basic instrumental track I've already written. Then you can build the rest of the track around that vocal. I think that this way round would be more common than writing a track purely based around a dry vocal, unless you were doing a remix or something. I'm not saying write the whole tune straight up and then throw the violin part on top as an afterthought.

Again, I'm just giving my opinion based on experience, ultimately it's up to Mr Fletch how he wants to approach it - he might find that your way is more suitable. There's more than one way to skin a cat etc
 

sonic72

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#11
Write the tune and get her to play her part with the melody, she needs to collaborate on this too to get the best out of the tune, and subsequent live performances.

Also, it's a good excuse to get her in the studio and bag some violin samples for future tracks! ;)
 

miszt

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#13
I think its strange she don't do the violin part? is she a cover artist of some sort?
playing an instrument, doesn't mean you can compose music, they are two separate skills, that only cross over in some people - works the other way too, i play a piano and guitar for example, but i am much better at composing for both instruments, than I am at actually playing either of them (to the level required for the kind of compositions I write)
 
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#14
Cool opportunity man, has she given you any creative direction other than deep & dark?

The only advice I would really give would be not to focus on the opporuntiy itself, that would only add unecessary pressure. I wouldn't try to switch up your style to fit hers either. She has approached you because she likes what you do, not because she thinks your the next Tchaikovsky.

Unless she has given you clear direction on what she wants, just stick to what you do best man. Maybe look into how to write music for string instruments online to see if you can get any pointers.

Maybe have a search on http://www.talkclassical.com/ to see if there is any tips.
 

Mason John

21st Junta
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#15
Late congrats here; I don't think I came across this thread before today. Anyhow I really can't be of assistance; I do have some violin experience but it's beginner level and I'd argue I'm a better pianist than violinists. All the suggestions so far have been great ones to listen to, and I really have to add to the "try and collab w/ her on writing the violin part" piece; it's not critical she knows how to write, maybe she can just record herself playing a few sections and email them to you and you can get a midi file from that and go from there, I dunno.

Maybe you can also email her some breaks you're working on and sfx, sort of the two of you bouncing the track back and forth feeding into it until it's to a point the rest of the work (the eq and compressing for the mastering stage mainly) falls on you.

There's also the consideration that even if you're going to focus heavily on the violin, if it's a dnb style track (is it?), you still gotta leave some breathing room for drum and percussive elements to do their thing. I don't know how you'll work the bass in there but it probably shouldn't overpower her violin. It's just a really different way to the process I know almost nothing about xD.

Keep us updated with how everything goes and good luck & fun w/ the collab :)
 

Mania

i fukin wot m8
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#16
If she's playing a solo violin, just treat the violin like a solo instrument. Compose a track like you normally would - the key being 'track'. As much as the whole "Holy shit i need to write a violin part" might be daunting, i'd suggest you really focus getting the track sounding like a good track.

The violin part acts as a limitation to your clients brief, so all you need to do is write a track with a solo instrument in mind. Being a violin, you can just contact her about the intricacies of a violin and what you can do to implement them into a part, assuming she has know experience with composition.
 
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