Platinum The very last piece I wrote in my first year of Music Technology was this piece. I took very long pauses with development of this piece, but alas, it's finally done. The main difference between this piece and others I've made is that this was my first attempt at writing EDM in a major key. Mr. McCready frequently insisted that minor is the way to go with your music, and I wanted to challenge that I ended up writing this song. The main thing this song reminds me of is that it sounds like a Rainbow Road thee to me. But that's just my opinion. What do you think it sounds like?
In place of nothing (Program: Ableton Live) For the last assigned piece that I wrote in Music Tech class, Mr. McCready informed the class that we were to create a video game concept, and then create a piece that fits the mood of our game. This was awesome, since there were no limits on what we could create- we could choose any key, time signature, etc. that we wanted! We were even allowed to choose whether we used Ableton or Soundtrap. (It was reccomended we create a piece that is approximately 2 minutes long, but that wasn't even a requrement since it was just a reccomendation.) If this game were real, would you main Rachel/Jack in Smash Bros.?
The song that exists (Program: Soundtrap) This piece was the final piece I was assigned to create in Music Tech 1. I'm already excited to take Music Tech 2 next year! I ran into an immediate problem when creating this piece; Soundtrap dosen't produce good music if the velocity is too high! This is a problem, since I prefer to write and listen to high-velocity music to the point that me producing low-velocity music is like Kermit deciding to stop being a frog. I still tried my best, though... It still managed to come out relatively high-velocity though, so it's not a terrific problem or anything.
Jazz Knight (Program: Ableton Live) This is my first non-incredibox, non-class required project I've made. As I said on my influences page, I was a band student in middle school, where we played chorales and classical/jazz/march/other kinds of music. In this piece, I tried to give off the same vibes a band piece would give, as well as a music tech piece. Elements from band include scale runs, and the use of a major key instead of a minor key, while music tech elements include synthesized instruments and audio effects.
Black Raven (Program: Ableton Live) In the first assignment, we were given a DJ set to use to make a piece. This was the same thing, except, unlike the first assignment, this time we needed to make our own set.
I didn't create a whole bunch of loops, but I did use multiple loops for some tracks. It might be hard to tell that there's loops, since I added a bunch of risers and also a complex melody, but yes, I did start this piece off in session view. It all started when I came up with the piano loop on the Ableton Live Website (learningmusic.ableton.com), and then proceeded to add a drumbeat. At that very moment, I didn't know how the final piece would sound, but I knew right there that I absolutely needed to use that piano-drum loop. The energy from this piece comes from velocity. The more accented everything is, the better the piece, essentially. Take this as a warning; this piece is LOUD. For the record, yes I am fully aware that louder does not equal better, but often times, whenever I would decrease the volume, it puts a limit on the piece's "epicness." in this piece, there should be no forms of epicness restraints. I decided not to use world percussion in this piece because I thought it sounded weird side-by-side with the rest of the urban-sounding hip-hop beats, but then I was told that world percussion is optional. I was seriously worried I would have to make two versions of this piece, the "real" version and then a separate piece that's sole purpose of existing is to meet the requirements so I don't fail. The mood of the piece is quite simple; dance. This piece is supposed to emphasize the "epicness" described earlier, alongside just how catchy it is. Play this piece when you're at a hip-hop dance of some kind. The flow in the music comes from the pattern of the piece. It begins in an EDM style, then enters a more laid-back country style with a guitar melody, before ending with the same kind of EDM melody. I also incorporated multiple beat drops into the piece. The main thing I learned about music from this was that music takes a lot of effort to make. I already learned this through "It Just Keeps Adding," but that didn't have the same impact on me that this piece did. This piece took me around 7 class periods to make (I don't remember the exact amount.)
Dr. Waluigi's Chungus Machine (Program: Ableton Live) For this assignment, which was called, "The Drop," I had to use a pack of sounds that was an add-on to Ableton Live (Think video game DLC) called "Solid Sounds," and use the five-step process (see below for more info) to remix the sounds into a song. We also made a beat drop using a riser (Which was not a "solid sound", but was from a website called "Loopmaster.") From this assignment, I learned a lot about how to mix music, track it, add effects, and more. The original idea for the song came from listening to the first loop in the Bass Loops segment of the Solid Sounds, which would later be my piece's melody. The loop reminded me of a mad scientist, more specifically Dr. Wily from the Mega Man series. I ultimately decided then that this piece would sound like a mad scientist's theme in a video game. I decided to make the piece's name a joke, however, hence the name "Dr. Waluigi's Chungus Machine." In this assignment, I learned a great deal about the importance of the five step process. If done properly, the five-step process makes music easier to make, as well as less confusing to make. The five step process begins with pre-production, then the music is mixed and tracked, before it is mastered and then post-production begins. I'm not a huge fan of the five step process, however. I don't generally compose music in this "Play loops of music at given intervals" kind of a way that most other kids in music tech do, so I find the five-step process to hinder that. My personal preferred method of developing music is to slowly work my way from the start of the piece to the end, adding things as I go along, such as reverb, counter melodies, etc. and then making final touches once all composition is done. It may be the more complex way around, but in the end this method creates better music. When composing my music, I wanted to see how much I could do with the Solid Sounds. I was almost tempted to use MIDI tracks to add more crazy counter melodies and sounds to the tracks on Tuesday, but I spent the wholesome of Tuesday realizing I despise Ableton Live's limiters. I don't know how, but the bar on the left keeps entering red, even when I make the piece barely audible. I asked Hans why this happened, but he had no idea, so I just went on the assumption the only one of the bars we needed to worry about was the bar on the right, which relates to dynamics. I did, however, manage to include some unique features, such as the ending of the piece, in which the melody is being played on two seperate tracks, but one is transposed up an octave, making it sound higher. The beat drop was, of course, the main part of this assignment. We were supposed to place the beat drop 1 beat before the song's peak, but I placed it 1 and a half beats before the peak, because it sounded weird otherwise. I chose the riser I did because it sounds the best with the rest of the song. I also made a beat drop-ish thingy at the beginning of the song, because I thought it sounded better than no beat drop-ish thing. You'll know what I'm talking about when you actually her the piece yourself. The thing I learned most from this project is the importance of effects. I already learned some about effects from MIDI Tower, but not as much as I did here. This piece would sound so much different if there weren't any effects. But the effects make the piece just that much better. I'm glad we finally learned about EQs, because MIDI Tower, which I made without knowledge on how to use an EQ reader, sounds "wobbly" per se, on some devices, as though it has the world's most vibrato in history. I had to put a warning about that on my Music Tech portfolio.
Vocal Chords 3 (Program: Incredibox) I was originally going to use Incredibox in order to test the limits of how far I can go before I make a song I can't put on my Music Tech portfolio, but then I found out I can't test it that way because Incredibox E-mails you the pieces you make if you have the app. Oh, well. It probably doesn't look good having three Incredibox pieces on my portfolio, but it's just for experimenting, if I may remind you. I do like Incredibox, but once again, I am doing it for the sake of experiments, because I don't want to spam Incredibox songs on my Music Tech Portfolio. (Note that this wasn't the first piece I made on Incredibox that I was going to use here, but I chose this because I like it more.) Also, I couldn't get a picture of the characters I used, so I just used an image of the version I used instead. I used a bunch of them, anyways.
Vocal Chords 2 (Program: Incredibox) This is the first piece I ever made at my house. I used Incredibox, because I wanted my first piece to be a simple and easy piece so that I wouldn't make an absolute masterpiece on a complex system just to realize that I can't import the piece because I'm at home instead of at school. Essentially, this piece was a test run to see if my computer can handle this kind of stuff. It can. (Generally speaking, whenever I upload another song from Incredibox, you can just expect I was experimenting with the limits of what music technology can do.) One thing I did learn, though, is that you can indeed make beat drops on Incredibox. I also learned a little on how to drop the beat in general from this piece. Note that unlike the original Vocal Chords, in which the 7 characters seen in the picture are the only characters used with one exception, in this song, the actual characters are constantly changing- 13 of them get used.
MIDI Tower (Program: Ableton Live)
This assignment revolved around beats. In fact, the assignment name was "The Beat Box." In this assignment, we were supposed to do our best to simulate something similar to a drum battle using Ableton Live, as well as use a bass line and audio effects to make the piece. We then were allowed to add more to the piece if we wanted to.
I ultimately really enjoyed this assignment. It taught me a lot about how to make beats and develop songs. I chose the drum kits I did because they sound well with the beats they were used for. My most common method for making beats was to use Groove Pizza, a website that helps to make beats, but I personally prefer making beats entirely from scratch. I think my beats turned out to be pretty well. They're catchy, and really fit well with the music. My bass line was developed by me clicking random stuff with the pencil tool until I got something I liked. It didn't take long before I came up with my bass line because I already have practice in writing sheet music, and making the bass line is not really different from that. While assembling my song, I used session view, and, just like it was with "It Just Keeps Adding," I put in way more content then I needed to get 100% on the assignment, and I still made the piece musical. The effects I added were added to make the piece more dynamic, catchy and artistic, but not overwhelm the piece or even be well noticed. I mixed my song by making sure that every part was panned to a different spot. It was hard, but eventually all the music was audible. One problem I has was that if the piece was too loud, the piece would start to only register the music in parts and glitch out with the bass line and beats, as well as getting bass booted heavily for whatever reason. The solution was to simply make the piece quieter. Easy fix. The thing I enjoyed most from the project was simply experimenting with beats. I eventually found a perfect rhythm with the music, and I think I made a pretty good piece. What I learned most from the piece was how to make music catchy. I tried to make rhythms and beats in such a way that it is very, very catchy and fun to listen to.
Depending on what kind of a device you listen to MIDI Tower on, it may or may not sound wobbly at certain parts. Good computer recommended.
It Just Keeps Adding (Program: Ableton Live)
For my third piece I developed in Music Tech class, an assignment called "The Bell," I had to develop a song similar to "The Bell" by Mike Oldfield. In "The Bell," a guy would occasionally announce an instrument by name, to which that instrument would start playing. It's the same idea with this piece.
Of the first 3 pieces I made, this was definitely the hardest to make, despite the fact that it's also the shortest of the 3, clocking in at 56 seconds. I had 10 music tracks at once (excluding my voice), panning each to the point you could hear them all. I ultimately did enjoy the assignment, because it was fun to see how creative and complex the piece could get. I personally like to exceed requirements in the field of creativity when it comes to assignments like this, rather than just sticking to the bare necessities to get an A+.
One things I learned from this piece is that making music better with even more complexity is always worth it. (NOTE: "Harder" and "More complex" don't always mean better. I'm just saying that if complexity makes music better, make music complex.)
Binary Parallel (Program: Ableton Live)
This was the second piece I made in music tech, and the first assignment piece in Music Tech. The Assignment was called "Remix Time." For this assignment, we used a development program called "Ableton Live," which allowed for all kinds of crazy things. To warm up, however, we were given an easy task. Like Incredibox, we were given a specific set of music patterns we had to assemble into a 2 minute long piece of music. We were given 5 sample sets to choose from, called Sample Set 1, Sample Set 2, Sample Set 3, Sample Set 4, and Sample Set 5. Go figure. I used sample set 4, because I picked one at random and set 4 was the set I chose because dumb luck. Unlike Incredibox, however, we were given the ability to change the panning and the dynamics of the music we assembled. When I first made this piece, I made it around 5 minutes long, but then I heard I could make the piece no longer than 2 minutes, so I had to quickly remake absolutely everything I had previously made. Oh well. In addition, after I was fully done assembling the piece, I went back and modified both the percussion line and the line with Future Arp and View Arp because at first I only ever used different sounding tracks on track 1, but at the last minute I went back to change that.
One thing I learned from this piece was the importance of panning music. Making parts play louder doesn't make them more audible as well as panning does. Another thing I learned the importance of is repetition. If you keep changing the piece constantly without ever repeating anything, the listeners/audience just gets confused.
Vocal Chords (Program: Incredibox)
This was the first piece I ever made in music tech class. We were so new to making music that we ended up using Incredibox to develop our first piece. Incredibox is a simple music program where you drag and drop things onto characters, and then they produces different lines of music. For this project, we were simply instructed to make a song out of the Incredibox figures. I think I did pretty well. I used only these 7 Incredibox musical parts throughout the song, with the exception of one of the characters being replaced by the blue mask circle thingy to the right of the blue headphones. Of these 8 parts, 7 parts were at once; which 7 varies throughout the piece.
There wasn't anything major I learned from this assignment. I did learn that putting in and taking out clips of music that repeat over and over again is actually a valid way of making music, but that is not my preferred way of making music. Overall, this piece was a good beginning piece for music tech, but not ideal compared to everything that came after.
Note: These pieces are ordered in reverse chronological order. To hear them in chronological order, start at the bottom and listen to each piece going up. Also, each song's image is the one directly below the song itself, and the commentary for the song is below the corresponding image.