How did you go so long without a keyboard?!? Yes, it should speed up your production by a factor of at least 10 if you can play the piano well.
I have a Yamaha CP-50 which is more of a gigging keyboard, overpriced, and is a bit lacking in terms of being a midi controller (could really use a mod wheel) but has some of the best action I’ve ever seen. As such, I can’t recommend it. I WOULD HIGHLY recommend a controller with a full 88 keys – you will use them if you plan on using instruments in the lower range (Basses, Contra basses, Tubas, ect) and the higher ranges (flutes, piccolos, violins,ect). It will save you a great bit of time having to transpose things up and down the piano roll. Faders meh, pads meh. I would spring for weighted action and 88 keys over those kinds things, but I guess it all comes down to what kind of music you are making; if you are doing a lot of synth works, extra sliders and knobs probably help out a lot.
I don’t really use Logic/Mac much beyond developing Audio Units, but the big issue with Yosemite for me was that it broke the drivers for my Midisport 2×2 and it was a few months before M-Audio released updated drivers. I would make sure all the hardware you use wasn’t broken by Yosemite, and if it was, that updated drivers have been released.
1. Yes, composition can be learned, but I think the more important aspect is CREATIVITY. I don’t know if CREATIVITY can be learned, I think some people just have it in more abundance than others, and it factors into everything you do in life, whether it be music, art, programming, mathematical equations, engineering, whatever. What I mean by CREATIVITY is the ability to sit down at the piano (or your chosen instrument) and come up with completely new melodies and arrangements without giving it much thought, more-or-less just letting your mind wander enough until you arrive at something good, or at least at something new. IMO, composition is just the flip-side of creativity; being able to edit and shape your CREATIVITY, and to push yourself to finish what your wandering mind has begun. COMPOSITION is the disciplinary foil to CREATIVITY. If you are a naturally creative person you will know it. Personally, I can’t go more than a day or two without making something, building something, writing something, or working on something, be it music or whatever else I happen to be doing. Inaction drives me crazy. This is the other part of life’s equation; having drive and ambition.
2. I think there is great merit in figuring-out other people’s music, playing it, and/or covering it. I don’t think there is much merit in sitting down and studying it in an analytical or cerebral sort of way…analyzing music like that is better left to musicologists and not composers. If you are playing the notes, you are subconsciously absorbing the intervals, the harmonic structure, the chordal changes, ect. Of course, if you are listening to an orchestra or something, and following along with a score, it will obviously teach you something about orchestration.
3. Experience? Sure it matters, because I think the more experience you have producing music other people want to buy and/or hear, the less likely you are to waste time indulging in your own anachronistic tendencies. At a certain point you’ll probably realize something like, “Well, I really like the stuff I’m writing, and I’m challenging myself creatively, but it’s just not what most people are going to buy or want to hear.” A long the way you’ll have figured out that simpler almost always means better, because the population as a whole isn’t really that well-versed in the musical language, the extreme importance of trends, and the modern emphasis on production over composition. I think that kind of thing can only come from experience, and the ability to force oneself to make music not for oneself but for other people, or for markets, can take some time to develop.
BTW I’m an iLok fan!
Haha….good for you
Only joking about the ilok really If you read all of the Soundfix post…i think that’s one of the most amusing posts in the last couple of years along with Dollar and Jeremy of course…imo, Mat’s pics really made me chuckle
Personally i hate the whole dongle thing, i’d rather be restricted to the use of one computer which is ok for me as most of the stuff i do is in my own studio. It’s a bit off topic but i think the waves copy protection system is really good as it gives you options, it also gives you the option to add your licenses on your own usb stick, thats the way to go for me I’m sure you already know that though…just putting it out there.
ILok is crap, I never pass up an opportunity to badmouth ILok and Pace. If your ILok breaks, they want to charge you double the cost of a new one to replace it and transfer your licenses, what a scam!
Fun fact, there are really only 24 major and minor keys (one minor and one major for each key on the piano), but if you build keys on the cycle of fourths and fifths (and take into account C Major and A minor), you end up with 30 keys, why? Because some of them are redundant, and have enharmonic equivalents. C-Flat Major for example – most people would just call that B Major, and indeed, The 5 accidentals in B Major are easier to keep track of than the 7 accidentals in C-Flat major, but the notes in each key are identical. Likewise, most people will take D-Flat major over C-Sharp Major, again we have 5 accidentals vs 7.
The thing I’ve always wondered about though, and what keeps me up at night is F-Sharp vs G-Flat. Same exact number of accidentals – one is sharp and one is flat – but is either key redundant? Does it matter? Anyway take away the six major/minor keys that are enharmonic equivalents and you get 30-6=24. Magic!
All that being said, I tend not to think about keys too much and just focus on melody, harmony, and intervals – the key only really comes into play when I go to notate my music, and usually I end up having to pick the “closest” key and add some accidentals here and there. I don’t think you even need to stick to a key to have a commercial or successful sounding track.
Yes, it usually sounds a bit weird to me when violins aren’t panned left and cello isn’t panned slightly right. I think most problems occur when trying to blend different libraries, because most often it will not sound like your strings are sitting in the same space. Your cello sounds much more exposed and in a different room than your violins. Yes, you can address this a bit with reverb, but I think best practice is just to avoid blending libraries, whenever possible. Blending different choirs of the orchestra sure, but strings…the room or concert hall they are played in just effects the timber and characteristics too much. For me, +1 to Spitfire stuff, because it’s all recorded in the same hall, so the solo strings blend very well with the Sable and Mural strings.
I Used to spend massive amounts of time mixing Vienna strings with different reverbs and pannings to try and get a realistic sound, but for me, an orchestra recorded in a nice hall with baked-in reverb will always sound more convincing. One day I got the feedback from Audio Jungle about my strings sounding “dated,” and I realized it was time to move on.
Now of course, we are strictly speaking about realistic strings. I don’t think strings necessarily need to sound realistic, and indeed, in 99% of Audio Jungle tracks they probably don’t sound realistic at all, but since your composition predominantly features strings, they are exposed and need to sound ultra-convincing.
Personally, I find the whole “realism” thing a bit chuckle-inducing when it comes something like orchestral strings and stock music. Sometimes the only way to make an orchestra sound convincing is through use of dynamics – or at least by not over-compressing your mix – but we all know dynamics and stock music are natural enemies. mix.
Not trying to sound pretentious, but I used to go to a lot of open mic nights and I’d get pretty inspired by everyone playing G-C-D chords and thinking, “I can do better than that.” Listening to music and thinking “I can do better than that,” can really inspire you in the opposite way that hearing a beautiful piece of music and thinking, “I’ll probably never make something as good as that” can.
Ah yes, the old loop-and-poop.
The size of the portfolio is most crucial. With three tunes, I’m afraid I won’t make big sales, unless you get lucky and one of the tunes manages to become trending the moment it’s published and stays trending for a long time. Otherwise you will lose search visibility in a few weeks. Only way I’ve managed to get to 600 sales has been to constantly keep building up the portfolio, diversifying the genre carpet and using different titles / tags to make sure I’ll keep up with as many search results as possible. Other tactic is to try and get lucky with single items, but it is all the time harder because there’s just too many good tunes here.
+1 for the hardest working Panda in the music business.
Sounds like traditional house clap and snare sounds? Like 808’s and 909’s? Those sounds are fairly ubiquitous, there are a few companies trying to make money from sampling/modeling vintage drum machines(Arturia Spark for example) but generally speaking, that stuff is out there for free.
This site seems pretty legitimate – just a collection of free VST’s/plugins – and they even provide links to the original websites – so I think you are a good to go.
Also, EULA sounds like typical sample library-boiler plate.