This week, I finally got around to putting music videos of my last two songs from last summer. I like the music that I did a lot. The videos are only pictures of the covers but it helps to put things on YouTube.
The first, Space Hop, was a remembrance of the Sputnik satellite. I was in seventh grade at the time and a big science geek already. I actually wrote a poem about Sputnik. The music also contains the sounds of all the space travel movies I have seen since.
Yesterday, I uploaded a new piece of generative music called “The Blues I” to YouTube and Soundcloud. they can be viewed/listed to below.
Sooo… what on earth is generative music? You can think of it as music that is generated by a process. In this case, it is generated by software called VCV Rack. This free software models hardware called a Euro Rack synthesizer which is a modular synthesizer. Modular Synthesizer? Well that is an electronics rack and all the electronics that you might find in a more normal commercial synthesizer which most bands use these days. The difference is that the user puts the electronics parts (modules) into the rack and uses movable jumper cables to connect them in any way the user wants. Thus the user can make a very large array of sounds. The modules start with oscillators for the sound wave creation (sine waves, square waves, triangle waves, saw waves, etc), filters, envelopes, low frequency oscillators, voltage controlled amplifiers to modify the sounds. After you have those, you can add many more sophisticated modules.
VCV Rack is still in devlopment (version 0.5) but it already has a large following and a goodly number of developers making new modules for it, some free, some for sale, some for a donation. It is completely addictive! You will see the model I built for the music in the YouTube below.
I built in the basic beat and the bass with a small amount of randomness to happen over time. The lead voices (I designed what they sound like) use randomly generated notes for their parts constrained only by the beat and the musical scale that I chose. Hence it is generated music. I was surprised at how musical it sounds.
As I have said before, I have taken the deadmau5’s Masterclass in EDM Production.
For students in that class, deadmau5 has started a New Artist contest. Each of us can submit one song. Joel Zimmerman (deadmau5) will judge the entries and the winner will become a track on his newest album from his record label mau5trap and receive $10,000 and valuable music production software. Three finalists in the contest will receive $2,500 and more valuable music production software. Ten semi-finalists will receive $1,000 and more valuable music productions software.
Obviously this is an exciting opportunity. Here is my entry, named after my 1 year old grand-daughter:
The EDM Masterclass that I took is still issuing challenges to students. This particular challenge asks you to make music using the selection of sounds on a sample pack track of sounds. The student has seven days to complete the challenge. Here is the sample pack track (patience, it is 6 minutes long)
I did not realize it at the time there were 3 or 4 other tracks of vocals that we could use. Not knowing that, I made it more difficult than necessary.
I intentionally made it more difficult by choosing not to use any other sounds or instruments that I had and by using only my Reaper DAW and the stock FX and free downloadable FX (no expensive plugins for me).
The synths and bass and drums were all produced using waveforms from the Sample Pack in the free (really good) VSTi TX15Wx sampler or the Reaper stock VSTi ReaSamplOmatic5000.
All wave editing was done in Reaper. All FX (delays, filters, EQ, compressor, flanger, chorus, reverb, etc.) used were either stock or free downloads.
The lead and bass lines were developed using the Masterclass techniques.
Here it is:
This was quite a challenge but I am pretty happy with the result.
I have completed the first part of the EDM Masterclass by Deadmau5. It has been all about producing EDM.
The final homework was to produce a new piece. I did it in only 7 days! This is something like a record for me.
This is a link to the Spotify player:
This is the Soundcloud Player:
The next part of the Masterclass will be about building a career in EDM. I will watch and listen, but at 70 years old, I think that I have had plenty of career already and making music will remain a hobby.
Remixes are common in today’s music. In a vocal, the mixer will often just replace the instruments but retain the song structure and rhythm. In one of his lessons, Deadmau5 explains that he feels that a mix should take some ideas or sounds from the music being remixed and producing an entirely new piece.
He supplied the stems (separate instrumental tracks from a song) to his music “Snowcone” and asks the students to take only some parts and produce a whole new piece.
This is my effort. I am really quite proud of it as an original piece inspired by “Snowcone”.
As I told you in Music Masterclass for the New Year, I am taking an online video masterclass in the production of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) taught by a well-known musician in that genre, Deadmau5. I have completed eight lessons of the 26 lessons.
Taking a break from lessons and homework, I created the music in the link below. The music attempts to use the many things that I have learned about EDM melody, lead, and bass line creation as well as a lot of material on programming synthesizers both modular and not, both hardware and software. I have no synth hardware and Deadmau5 really insists that hardware sounds better. Part of the homework has been to “make sounds no one has ever heard before”. You will hear some of that in the music. If you are not familiar with EDM, you may be surprised at the music.
In the next lesson I will be learning the EDM beat (basically one kick drum hit per quarter note and claps and/or snare every second quarter note with added hihats. All of that varied a bit.) Also, how to create my own unique, “signature” kick drum sound from a two or more samples of kick drums and some distortion.
Throughout the past few years, my interest in music has remained unabated. If you are a regular reader, you know that I produce a new piece from time to time and that I have set up a store to sell the music and, of course, the soundcloud account for everyone to listen to my productions. This new year, I have decided to up my game. January 3, I enrolled in an online music masterclass: “Deadmau5 Teaches Electronic Music Production”.
deadmau5 Teaches Electronic Music Production | Official Trailer
Deadmau5 (pronounced “deadmouse”) is a well-known Electronic Dance Music (EDM) producer and performer. He has founded his own record label “Mau5Trap” and performs to packed stadiums, has received several awards and nominations and has been on the cover of “Rolling Stone”.
The course consists of 23 video lessons by Deadmau5 with a downloaded pdf workbook for each lesson. I am currently on lesson 7 of the masterclass and I already have learned a some techniques about how to compose a melody for EDM and how to extract and develop a bass line and a lead from the melody you have developed. I find that I was doing it a more difficult way before this.
Because I have been composing music “in the box” (in the computer) for about six years, I know some of the techniques and tips already. For instance my current masterclass lesson 7 “Introduction to Synthesized Sounds” mostly covers things that I am familiar with. There is always something to learn though. As part of this lesson he develops one of his signature sounds called the “deadmau5 pluck”. He does it rapidly without a ton of explanation because he’s really just demonstrating many of the features found on synthesizers. I plan to spend part of today (maybe also tomorrow?) learning to do this on one or more of my synthesizers. Note that I am talking about software plugins that are synthesizers, not the hardware keyboards. I don’t have a hardware synthesizer. Apparently, deadmau5 has a large collection of hardware synths. Hardware is expensive but needed for performing and he also seems to prefer the hardware for sound development.
EDIT: the “deadmau5 pluck” took only a couple of hours to get a very similar sound.
I hope to develop some music that I can publish very soon as part of these lessons. It’s great fun!