Posts by adammonroe

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adammonroe says

Just curious – is anyone in the habit of notating their Audio Jungle tracks or their music in general? I usually notate piano and orchestral stuff after I’m done writing, but other things…not so much. Reading and writing music might be a borderline-obsolete, archaic practice these days, but I think there’s still value in it, and it can definitely help in large works with many different instruments, or when you leave and come back to something after an extended period.

I use Sibelius. I’ve tried exporting scores from midi data, but it usually seems like more of a hassle then just writing out a score, especially if you are pushing large amounts of instruments, using key-switches, ect…

The obvious downside is that it adds a few extra production hours onto a song.

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adammonroe says

Hip-hop performers should reflect that hip-hop and electronic music history is based on sampling. Deal with it.

Until recently, sampling pretty much defined those genres.

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adammonroe says

It works for certain things…it’s probably more useful for creating awareness than it is for directly generating sales.

Probably the only way to get anyone to see your youtube video besides friends and family is to figure out what piece of music your music sounds like, and make your video a video response to an already existing video that is already getting a decent amount of traffic.

Another thing I’ve seen some composers do is video reviews of samples libraries whenever they come out. The trick is, you feature projects your working on in the review. This obviously won’t generate too many sales – as most of the people searching for a videos like these will be composers and musicians – but again, it will get your name and your work in people’s ears, which is never a bad thing. More exposure is never a bad thing, anyway you slice it, IMO . Maybe it won’t generate too many AJ sales, but it could definitely lead to more interesting opportunities.

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adammonroe says

It was always my opinion that Myspace was better than Facebook. Yeah, the interface wasn’t as clean, and people put annoying content on their pages…but that was precisely why it was better – because it was much more customizable than Facebook is. It was almost like having a mini-website. But my opinion doesn’t matter, what matters is public opinion, and the public opted for the cleaner, but infinitely more mundane, social networking site known as Facebook.

Now, it appears ever since then that Myspace has been trying to look more and more like Facebook, but I don’t think it matters. I think the ultra hip kids who set social-networking trends move on to whatever they perceive to be hip or “underground,” so I don’t think they will be reverting back to something that is old. I think the Majority of people will just keep using Facebook, because they have invested so much time in it, well the hip kids go to Twitter, or whatever other ultra-cool networking site we don’t even know about but that now exists.

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adammonroe says

I like the track as a whole! I’ve always been a piano fan (played since forever) so I’m always open to listening. The toughest part of composing with just a single (midi) instrument is keeping the listener entertained/interested. One thing you could do, or undo I should say, is either give up quantization alltogether, or at least back it off some. A track like this makes me imagine a solo pianist, just sitting at a bench playing. So I would expect to hear things like minor timing differences, pedal noise, room ambience, breathing, etc. This is hard to accomplish with midi, and I understand the trouble of finding a grand piano to record. But I would say rehearsing and just play it through would give you a much more natural, lively sound. Fix major error if you must, but leave the little things in there. They’re part of the piece. You could try adding a subtle room tone as well, just to give a sense of presence and location. I like it though, hopefully one day you’ll have the opportunity to record it in a concert hall :) keep up the piano tunes!

I don’t think AudioJungle really likes things like pedal and room noise. I’ve actually had to go back and edit things like that out of my piano tracks due to soft-rejections. But, there is a balance to be struck between “natural playing” and “flat” midi that can only really be accomplished by playing a track expressively, and using a piano sample that has a good dynamic range. If someone can’t play that well, they can always go back and individually change all the velocities to sound more natural.

But there is also the balance you have to strike between what usually sounds good on piano recordings and what AudioJungle thinks sounds good on a piano. Most piano recordings I listen to are either too muffled or have too much reverb by AudioJungle standards, but in the larger world it is how these recordings are done…they are very nuanced and dynamic. Solo piano is something that’s pretty difficult to nail, because your sound can’t be too bright and it can’t be too mellow, it has to be just right, IMO . It’s analogous to a guitar players always searching for that “holy grail” tone.

About this particular track. Probably my one criticism would be that there’s just a tad too much bass in terms of eq.especially at 0:21 0:41, ect. Very slight, maybe 1-3 DB…But the overall composition is nice.

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adammonroe says

I don’t have many sales, but my experience is that one track sold directly after uploading (I’m guessing because it was in one of those item lists Envato occasionally does), another track didn’t sell initially, but has sold a couple times now that some time has passed. My conclusion? If a track is useful to people, they will eventually find it and buy it. People say there are slow months, or slow weeks, and although this is probably somewhat true, the science of sales is probably more statistical, and our human brains are simply trying to extract meaning and pattern from something that is inherently meaningless and patternless. Unless of course you can gain some traction with a “hit”...

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adammonroe says
  • cough * pre-delay * cough *

Mixing is just like anything else – the more you do it, the better you will get. That being said, it’s also somewhat SUBJECTIVE , meaning, what sounds great to one person might not sound that good to another. However, I think most people can recognize when a mix is really bad.

Personally, when it comes to orchestral works, I don’t like percussion that overwhelms the track, because I don’t think it sounds very natural. Now, it is a popular (modern) practice to layer and bed percussion to create a larger sounding track and grab people’s attention, but it’s not something that composers throughout history have traditionally done. In fact, it’s something composers have traditionally gone out of their way to avoid.

“The student will probably pass through the following phases: 1. the phase during which be puts his entire faith in percussion instruments, believing that beauty of sound emanates entirely from this branch of the orchestra—this is the earliest stage; 2. the period when he acquires a passion for the harp, using it in every possible chord; 3. the stage during which he adores the wood-wind and horns, using stopped notes in conjunction with strings, muted or pizzicato; 4. the more advanced period, when he has come to recognize that the string group is the richest and most expressive of all. When the student works alone he must try to avoid the pitfalls of the first three phases. “

Principles of Orchestration, Rimsky Korsakov.

Something to think about.

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adammonroe says

Well, as a huge Bach fan, I can say I definitely enjoyed this. Reminded me a bit of the first movement of Bach’s E Major Violin Concerto – one of my favorite pieces – but obviously more light and airy. I think you definitely achieved the Baroque, European-Nobility-Dancing-In-A-Ball-Room affect.

The mix actually sounds ok to me. Traditional recordings of small ensembles or chamber orchestras probably sound too dull to most modern ears anyway. Kind of how a good recording of a classical pianist sounds great to an audiophile or music snob, but probably sounds too “soft” or “weak” to everyone else used to music that has been compressed into oblivion. The point is that you are using the samples in a realistic way – in terms of how strings might actually be played – and I think this is far more important. A lot of music people are composing these days doesn’t sound like music people would actually play…you have guys like Daniel James who say things like, “I don’t worry about whether or not an orchestra could play this, I just worry about what it sounds like in the end,” and although that’s a perfectly acceptable method to be working from, I personally think it’s good to attempt to write write music that people can play, or might even be interested in playing…just in case they ever do.

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adammonroe says

I agree the two tracks have more obvious similarities than the Star Wars/King’s Row example.

My point was more that both tracks use a chord progression, harmonic rhythm, and synth sound that is fairly common as their ‘main idea’. The question I have is, are any of those ideas, either separately or combined, unique enough to be claimed by solely one person as their own to belong to no one else?

Another way of saying that is, can someone claim an acoustic guitar strumming one bar each of G, D, Em, C as their own and that no one else can use it? Of course not! Using the same chords played on a similar instrument is not grounds for infringement. If the offending track had added the other instruments from the AJ track and developed in the same way, there might be something there. But, it didn’t.

The only way to then prove some sort of infringement would to be have some sort of evidence that the AJ track was used as a temp or model for project.

As far as Mr. Williams, he ripped off melodic content which is basically the heart and soul of a piece. As you know, Star Wars was not written in a vacuum and was temped with well known classical music as well as scores from the ‘Golden Age’ of cinema. But given the same choice, would you sign your name to the theme of Star Wars knowing you majorly borrowed your melody from King’s Row, as Williams did? I know film music steals things from their temps all the time but I don’t think I could sign off on that theme because of worries of copyright infringement. Unless, legal counsel said it was ok, or if I was paid so much money that the fee for infringement would be a drop in the bucket.

Williams is a talented composer. I imagine Lucas, producers, and studio executives where driving the melodic choice there because, as a composer, why else would you borrow so heavily from another piece when you could just write your own?

The only thing I don’t really understand is why Williams can rip off Holst but when Hans Zimmer does it, he gets sued. I imagine that has something more related to the legal matters of publishing rights and money, since Star Wars was considered a box office risk in it’s time where I’m think Gladiator was an expected blockbuster.

Music is a funny business.

It would be something for a judge or equivalent arbiter to decide. It’s a gray line because we aren’t talking about music with very specific melodic content…I’d say the majority of music on this site doesn’t have very specific melodic content, because of the nature of what it is (stock/background music.) But legally it’s not just about the chord progression, it’s about the chord progression, rhythm, instrumentation, and whatever little melody there is taken as a whole. It’s a lot easier to prove copyright infringement when there is a specific melody over a specific set of chords or harmonic information, but it’s not impossible to prove if these these things are absent, and I’d further argue that as a society we might have to start getting extremely good at picking out the minor differences between pieces of music, as everything becomes more homogenized and similar. This site is sort of a microcosm of what happens in the larger music world, that being many people trying to copy what has been successfully done by a few, so you wind up with a lot of very similar content.

In the case of both Zimmer and Williams, I consider both cases to be more homage than theft.

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adammonroe says

Guitar is my main instrument, pretty much exclusively acoustic. I’ve actually been playing piano for longer (I started piano at 5, guitar at @14), but I enjoy guitar more overall. Of course I play the ukulele as well :), as well as any other stringed instruments that happen to be nearby. I love lots of electric guitar based music, but I never could enjoy playing electric for whatever reason.
Hah, I’m the exact opposite. Maybe it has to do with never getting the intonation quite down on the guitar. The guitar is probably a more expressive instrument than the piano, but I always find my playing degenerates into things like pentatonic scales, and I think playing scales is less important than just having good intonation with an instrument.
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