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> Rated Htr's Thread, for Gab's Army
Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 3 2014, 02:06 PM
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Hello Filipe! Welcome to out thread for Gab's Army. As we discussed via PM, here we will work on developing your composition skills. Composition is related to creation and creativity, there is some magic happening there, but this are also topics that can be trained as a guitar technique, but the cool side is that the possibilities are endless.

I will copy here your message to have it as reference:

"I want to train my songwriting and style approaches. I want to learn more about certain elements of certain bands, how to portrait and analyze them. I already have a good theory background, just need to have the proper method and break free from the chains if you know what i mean"

At first I would like to share with you three methods that really work for me, tell me what you think and share with me which methods you tried to compose music...

Mode 1: Ideas library

In this mode I compose a melody or short idea that works as the release of a song.

- I search for a place that is not where I usually work or practice. A different place, that gets me out from distractions. I took a guitar that helps me to play along with my voice, if possible a guitar that I don't use very often.
- I start creating melodies with my voice over some progressions being played on guitar.
- Every time I heard something that I like, I record it to avoid forgetting the idea. I use my cellphone for it.
- In this way I create my library of ideas.
- Organize this ideas on different folders using different criteria to being able to find them later when you need an specific feeling.

Pros of this method:
- Ideas totally genuine and original, that comes from our own personality. Quality.
- Big amount of ideas. Quantity.
- I start the song from its "soul".
- It's soul is clear at first.

Cons of this one:
- Sometimes it's tricky to develop the idea to get a the song completed.


Mode 2: Sculptor technique

Using a software that allows me to record multitrack audio I start to accumulate ideas in different layers. Each new idea suggests the next one. After many layers I get something similar to the virgin wood that a sculptor has before he starts working on it to get the final shape. In this method, I believe that starting with not very outstanding ideas, I can get stuff that wouldn't have appeared if I wouldn't have done the whole process of recording layers and layers. Another way to define this second mode is as a summation of unclear ideas that give shape to a song.

-----------------------------------------------

Modes 1 and 2 can be inpired by:
- Situation of life: feeling, love, anger.
- Reading, a book, an article, newspaper.
- Song, album, show.
- Video clip, movie.

Tricks to avoid repeating the similar ideas:
- Using an instrument that you don't know how to play the chord, scale, etc. This avoids you to play the same things over and over. You will try different combination of notes.
- Using your voice instead of your instrument.


Mode 3: Direct inspiration (Analysis - Re-creation)

- I analyze many songs, compare them and then write down a list of concepts and criteria that work on a music style and use them / re-create them to compose new music.

Pros:
- This method is very effective when you need to create music on a specific style. This usually happens when you have to compose as a job.
- Fast high quality composition. It's a very fluently and fluid method.
- You can get genuine music if you re-create the concepts learnt.

This post has been edited by Gabriel Leopardi: Oct 6 2014, 01:39 PM


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Rated Htr
post Oct 3 2014, 02:29 PM
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Hey Gab, thanks again for having me. So, using one or more of these approaches, you want me to get an idea going and than share it with you?

On the first approach, do you take an electric guitar or just a plain accoustic guitar?

I already have a spot in mind, if that's the case smile.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 3 2014, 05:29 PM
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QUOTE (Rated Htr @ Oct 3 2014, 10:29 AM) *
Hey Gab, thanks again for having me. So, using one or more of these approaches, you want me to get an idea going and than share it with you?

On the first approach, do you take an electric guitar or just a plain accoustic guitar?

I already have a spot in mind, if that's the case smile.gif



yes, that's the task. When I decide to force it, I take my acoustic guitar. When this happens naturally I use what I have closer, sometimes just my voice and my cellphone.

In parallel, some song analysis could be also a good idea. Could you please share here some songs that you like?




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Rated Htr
post Oct 3 2014, 07:31 PM
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Well, I really wanted to learn to analyze the band Haken, been a huge fan since their first album.



Also a great fan of Epica smile.gif



And Amaranthe



Hope that helps.

I'll try to do something tomorrow than.

This post has been edited by Rated Htr: Oct 4 2014, 12:32 AM


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 3 2014, 07:58 PM
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Very interesting stuff. I used some kind of template to analyze music that helps me to get the most used ideas, concepts and tricks in my favorite music. I make a table with 3 columns. This columns say: Structure, What's happening? (arrangements) and Scales and chord progressions (Theory). I first write down the structure, and then start analyzing the arrangements and theory of each section. This method is connected to my mode 3 of composing, but it is a great background to composition in general. You will incorporate the most used ideas in your favorite music.

The bands that you shared are very rich musically, and in the case of Haken, the structure is more advanced because they are progressive and the songs are usually long, so maybe you could start with one of the other songs, but feel free to start with the one that you prefer.


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Rated Htr
post Oct 3 2014, 08:27 PM
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Ok Gab, sounds good. I'll start with the Amaranthe song than. I shall have a video tomorrow with my thoughts and way of analyzing tomorrow as well as I'll just go to my ideal spot and try to come up with something. smile.gif


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post Oct 4 2014, 12:47 PM
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Hey Gab, as discussed, here is my first raw analysis of the song Trinity.



Structure would be:

Intro /
Verse /
Pre-Chorus /
Chorus /
Intro (Main Melody) /
Verse 2 /
Pre-Chorus /
Chorus /
Intro (Variation w/ keys) /
Solo /
Pre-chorus /
Chorus /

Very standard structure.

Chords for each section:

Intro - C#m A B (i VI VII)

Verse -A B C#m ( VI VII i)

Pre-Chorus - D E F#m (VI VII i) / Same Progression, but changed key.

Chorus (I'm struggling a bit here but it seems) - F#m E D / Bm A E / A E F#m E / D F#m E (After resolving they change the key again as you can tell by the melody changing).

That's pretty much it. The Solo I need to check but for now, that's what I've got.

This post has been edited by Rated Htr: Oct 4 2014, 12:50 PM


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 4 2014, 02:51 PM
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Hi mate, congrats on this video! The analysis is brilliant. That's exactly how I would suggest to do it, combining structure, arrangements and progressions /scales used. Every single song will give you important characteristics of the composer that will let you understand their music. Be sure that, if you analyze 4 or 5 more songs of this band you will be able to combine the most significant concepts and create a lesson in their style (like I usually do). You can also keep those ideas, chord combinations, arrangements ideas or structure section for your future compositions. Being able to see the music in this way, as an overall, is like being the musician and the producer at the same time. That's how I work with my band, and everything I do.

It's good to keep the notes that you wrote here in a notepad for future checking and also remember some details about this song:

- It has a normal "pop" "rock" song structure.
- The use of modulation between intro + verse and p`re-chorus + chorus is very interesting. Check out the intervals distance between each tonality and keep it as a possible modulation for your compositions.
- There is a rhythm pattern used as the heart beat of the song. A good song doesn't need lots of rhythm ideas, if you want it to be catchy.
- Guitars are used more for rhythm and keys for melodies and high arrangements. This is an stylistic decision.


It's awesome how many things we can learn by analyzing a song, great job!! smile.gif


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Rated Htr
post Oct 4 2014, 06:19 PM
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Hey Gab, thank you for the feedback, I'll get a notepad just for brain storming than smile.gif.

Here's a video regarding mode 1 of your approach.



Just in case I was confusing in the video, I think my overall problem is building the arrangement and not the riffs or structure itself hence probably why I presented songs with such rich compositions.

As a side note, I'm training the intervals etude by Cosmin and started working on the Phrase Book: pre-bends by Ben today as you suggested. If all goes well, I should have a take of the latter one for tomorrow smile.gif.

As well, I was browsing my old soundcloud and have a couple of old ideas that I never turned into fully fledged songs. One of them I didn't get to record as well but i uploaded the midi version I tabbed from guitar pro.

https://soundcloud.com/filipe-rocha-4/dream...di-demo/s-Je1ND
Idea: wanted to make a djenty song but felt I lacked the skills to understand the layer composition and drum work.

https://soundcloud.com/filipe-rocha-4/youre...ble-raw/s-0H3xT
idea: Inspired in Skillet and Three Days Grace, a standard rock song.

This post has been edited by Rated Htr: Oct 4 2014, 11:55 PM


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 5 2014, 11:10 PM
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Hi mate! GREAT stuff! I really enjoyed your idea on the video. I can say that you already have the soul of your song, which is not a small thing. Now, it's time to work on the arrangements and other instruments. The possibilities are limitless so now it's time to take some decisions:

- Style direction
- Tempo
- Instruments to be used
- Instrumental song or song with lyrics?
- Structure

Also, I was wondering, do you have any daw to record drums, bass and other instruments? What do you use?


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post Oct 5 2014, 11:13 PM
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Thanks Gab smile.gif

Well, I'm a big symphonic guy and, like I mentioned in the video, I'm a big fan of Sonata Arctica's style of ballads. The doubt is if I would do acoustic guitar or just electric guitar on clean and than switch to distortion like they do. Instruments to be used, obviously to follow that idea pattern I would at least have strings.

Song with lyrics is my thing smile.gif.

Structure I'd say a pretty generic one like "Last Drop Falls" from Sonata.

I have Logic Pro, Addictive Drums and I have a real bass and keyboards. Just suck at producing tongue.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 6 2014, 01:09 PM
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Cool, let's go for Sonata as a reference to produce this song. Remember that this is just the soul of the song, then you will be able to create riffs and things like that if the musical direction that you decide to use requires it.

In the case of this idea, it's a very melodic song, that seems to be suitable for a ballad, but let me say that I can imagine an ultra fast drum rhythm over this one and some synth creating melodic arrangements......

Ballad direction:






Power direction:








Where you'd like to go? biggrin.gif



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post Oct 6 2014, 01:21 PM
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Well, since I have more difficulty in creating the power arrangement, I'd say to go with that. If I have to pick a specific song to get inspired on, I'd say "My Land" would be my pick. smile.gif

So, if I'm following your idea correctly, this is what I'm thinking about based on that.

- That main idea I was humming around what I'd assume to be the chorus could be used as an intro melody to establish the mood, along with the chords in a clean mode for a while.

- I usually don't like to stick to just power chords, I like to try and make things interesting although, that's not the case with Sonata Arctica who seem to leave the space for the vocals and let the keyboards do the melodies so, maybe here I'll try to do some things with the guitar and just switch them to the keyboards.

- As for drums, since I'm not really gifted at building them, I usually make a base rhythm for the mood and than try to develop it from there. Since it's power metal based, it doesn't have a lot of variations, so it should be fine.

Anything else you feel important to mention or any suggestions you may have are most welcomed smile.gif



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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 6 2014, 01:39 PM
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Yes, that's the idea. There are many possible ways to continue now but this is what I usually do to let the things start happening.

- I record a simple drum loop based on the groove that I will use. In this case you can go for "My land"'s rhythm and loop it.
- I record the chords, very simple (Sonata or punk style), just to have the progression happening there.
- Sometimes I also record the vocal melody.
- If it's possible I get the whole structure in this way, if not, I start with intro, and then see what happens.
- Once I feel that I can't continue the song, I start arranging the parts. Try more interesting guitar riffs, lines, ideas, synth, rhythm variations that then can be followed by the drums.

It's very important to let the things happen, instead of blocking with thoughts like: this is not very interesting, this is so simple, this is not original, this is weak, just record it, and then, record another idea over it, use many layers, applying a bit the second mode of my composing modes (sculptor).


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post Oct 6 2014, 09:16 PM
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Ok Gab, here's an update.

I used the My Land drum track and just start riffing. From the version you are going to hear, I'd like to point out that before the second verse, I made a mistake on the D5 with my vocals since I was expecting another chord, which I will change smile.gif.

The vocal melody I hummed at the intro is probably gonna be done by synth , I still have to check.

I did a quick solo after the chorus just like Sonata do in which I speeded up the riff (it was the original riff) which I had to double for the intro. I still have to add some chords since I didn't do all the passages and the chorus passage from F#5 to D5 was too quick for the vocal melody I wanted to do.

Other than that, things are moving on and I'm quite happy. Let me know what you think.



Hope my bad vocals don't make your ears bleed laugh.gif

Anyways, what I did was the following.

Clean Intro - F#m Dsus2 E C#m

Intro - same as clean but with power chords.

Verse - F#5 A G# / F#5 / F#5 with Amaj7 arpeggio.

Pre-Chorus - D5 B5 C#5 A / D5 B5 (Played c#5 but wanted to go to A)

Chorus - F#5 D5 E5 followed by pre-chorus with variation at the end.

Solo section is the same as the Intro but double speed. Probably gonna do a modulation for keyboard solo and than return to Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus and than a different section.

P.S: Do ignore my hand, it had a life of its own xD

This post has been edited by Rated Htr: Oct 7 2014, 12:25 AM


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 7 2014, 12:25 AM
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Hi mate! It's really cool to see how the song is starting to take shape! The structure fits perfect with this progressions and melodies. The next step would be to record the key solo section, copy there the last pre and choruses and then work on the outro. There can also be a variation in the last pre-verse, you could make it longer, or something, it can be also a variation in instruments and arrangements. Then we will see.

By now, focus on finish the basic structure and then start polishing each section, record keyboards, bass, more precise guitar arrangements, drum fills and let's see how it evolves.

You are doing a very good job! smile.gif


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Rated Htr
post Oct 7 2014, 01:59 PM
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Ok Gab, here's an update.

I haven't added other instruments yet because I was busy developing the full song structure which I've just finished and I must say, it turned out a lot different than what I expected.

Structure:

Clean Intro
Intro
Verse
Bridge (aka Main Melody Riff that is used a load of times) laugh.gif
Verse II
Bridge
Chorus
Bridge w/ Variation
Solo
Intro (Modulation)
Verse III
Bridge
Chorus (Back to original key)
Bridge
Break Section
Verse IV
Bridge
Intro Riff Variation for quick solo
Break Section II
Clean Guitar Strumming
Bridge
Chorus (Modulation)
Bridge
Ending

Attached File  Until_It_s_Paid__Guitar_and_Drums_Only_.mp3 ( 7.05MB ) Number of downloads: 69



Seems a lot, so if you have a better way for me to name it, It would help laugh.gif

Anyways, let me know what you think. Some things still need polish and I barely changed the drums, just did cuts to suit my structure a bit more.

I'm gonna play around with the other instruments after this.

Cheers




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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 7 2014, 03:51 PM
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Hi mate! It's cool to see how this one get shape! I think that you created many parts and variations for this one. I not totally convinced of some modulations and some groove changes, but the best is to polish the structure and section then, as I said, "cleaning after" instead of "blocking before". For this reason, I think that the best would be to continue working on arrangements, and on making the connections between parts smoother.

Next steps:

- Record a voice with melodies as reference.
- Work a bit more on the drum grooves, and the fills that take from one part to the other.
- I can't hear the bass, I notice that there is something there but very low. Please equalize the bass and increase frequencies on 1.5 Khz or/and 2.5khz, to make it more present, and maybe put it higher.
- Add keyboards.
- Polish guitar arrangements, and make some riffs (mostly from the break sections) more interesting.


And also, please put the time for each part on the structure to let me follow the structure better.


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post Oct 8 2014, 02:27 PM
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Hey Gab , here's an update.

I decided to cut some sections off and make the arrangement simpler. I recorded everything again until the chorus. I don't know where my microphone is atm laugh.gif so I recorded the vocal line with a guitar patch.

Regarding the bass, I know why you couldn't hear it. Because it wasn't there laugh.gif the bass frequencies where from the guitar probably smile.gif.

Right now here are two mp3s for you to check it out. One with the vox line and one without it for you to hear the arrangement better.

Attached File  Until_It_s_Paid__Till_Chorus__w__Vocal_Line.mp3 ( 1.8MB ) Number of downloads: 65


Attached File  Until_It_s_Paid__Till_Chorus__no_Vox.mp3 ( 1.8MB ) Number of downloads: 66


Structure is probably going to be:

Intro
Verse
Bridge
Verse II
Bridge
Chorus (with the bridge to tie up at the end)
Solo
Verse III
Bridge
Chorus
Break Section
Verse IV
Bridge
Chorus (Modulation) <- Have to find a better way to tie the riffs together to make the transition, despite it being a cliche.

And that's it. Let me know what you think smile.gif



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Gabriel Leopardi
post Oct 8 2014, 04:00 PM
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hehehe now it is starting to become very enjoyable to listen! and also, I understand why I couldn't hear the bass!! haha

The guitar arrangements, the keys and the vocal line are sounding really cool. I can say that this one can be a top level Power Metal song! smile.gif Now that we have the vocal melody I feel that the tempo is a bit low, but this is not necessary to fix it yet.

Do you have a bass guitar or a vsti to record bass? If not, try Trillian, it's great. Adding bass will make the whole mix sound fuller and more defined, and it will give you more place to experiment a bit more with guitar arrangements.

So, this first section is great, please continue polishing the following parts to see how the breaks and solos start to take shape.

You are doing a killer work man. Do you have previous experience composing complete power metal songs?


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