I have organized the modular synthesis videos that I have created and uploaded to YouTube. These video show the VCV Rack synthesizer screen as it models a hardware synthesizer to play what I have built. VCV Rack is a software model of hardware called Eurorack Synthesizer. If I had all of the hardware that you see in those videos, it would cost thousands of dollars.
With a modular synthesizer, the musician puts together discrete modules that might all be built into a more normal synthesizer that you see on stage with musicians.
Having this software model, I have spent months learning it. Interestingly, most of these pieces just took a few hours or days to build once I knew the modules and had the idea.
Here is the playlist. Each piece is very different from the next.
That VCV Rack modular synthesis software is quite addictive.
This time, I started with the simple intent to just create a sound called the ‘Deadmau5 Pluck’ which I learned to do last year when I took the Deadmau5 EDM masterclass at masterclass.com. It was pretty easy and I added a random tune generator. Of course then it needed a bass, so I added that doing something new to me. Drums were a must at that point so I added a kick drum and made a snare drum up by modifying the noise output of the Turing Machine that was creating the original tune. That was a fun exercise. Then of course the piece needed needed some more movement and voices so I created those using different generative technique. A simple project turned complex.
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.
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:
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.
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!