The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Synths for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
how is your creative process? Modular Synthesizers
Old 8th July 2011
Gear Addict

Thread Starter
how is your creative process?

Mine is not very complex.. I am still trying to figure a lot of things of music making but so far I like to work around chord progressions. so lately I just grab a simple choir sound and simply build a progression I like, not thinking in scales or anything..

Then drums! nothing very complicated. Then I try to make what I have so far to sound good.. trying to synthesize some good sounds of what I have.

later harmonize the progression with basslines, leads..

most of times I think is garbage and start over again..
Old 8th July 2011
Lives for gear

for me, I often get melodies in my head and I try to build around those.

other times, I just fire everything up and start jamming.

lately, I'll put down the basic structure of a song and make that into an mp3. then I listen to it in my ipod for several days and make notes on additions/changes I want to make.

I suppose that can be considered part of the creative process. but in terms of composing a song, I don't think it matters how you do it. ultimately, whatever you end up with is a reflection of your development as a musician or songwriter and not a reflection of your creative process.

I think getting constructive feedback is an invaluable tool in one's growth.
Old 8th July 2011
Lives for gear
kilon's Avatar

I am copypasting my reply from the other thread since you ask similar things.

My approach is "do as much as you can real time" . So generally that means that I just browse presets on my motif es6 , I play those presets, usually I combine in them in layers, and create key and /or velocity splits on pattern mode. When I feel that the melody is good enough I hit record. My patterns usually are rather long. I use presets for drum loops , I rarely make my own, but I edit them some times. If a sound does not work for me but I like the sound, I edit it real time, while playing the melody always making sure it fits the melody.

If the melody has mistakes that I dont like , or the melody end up not working well for the song I rerecord the entire song again. That means I rarely do any serious midi editing. If the mistakes are adding to the song and give it character I leave them to be. If they are minor editing mistake that annoy me I use midi editing of the motif.

Usually in one go I have one track that may triger from 1 to multiple sounds, then I make passes with several other tracks if I feel that the melody need to beef up abit. I layer then my Andromeda and send the audio directly to garageband, there I add some alchemy, soundscapes and textures that Alchemy is really good at but I may add also regular sounds with alchemy too. I dont do any audio or midi editing in garageband.

So I would say it takes 20% of my time to come up with the 80% of the song and another 80% to come up with the rest 20% of the song. There are tracks that have made solely using my motif or mostly using my motif .

I started as a step by step musician , used to spend at least 30 hour per song, now I spend 1-3 hours and my goal is to decrease that to 5 minutes. The reason is that I love direct composing, it makes me produce fresh ideas that done fall inside a pattern. Also if I edit a song too much I end up destroying it and usually I get bored easily, probably why I dont like the idea of becoming a professional musician.

Nowdays I have invested my main effort at creating at the moment, I also no longer care about chords, patterns, what is wrong and what is right, I let my hands flow and try to capture something that is outside me, something that If I sat down and carefully made a song would never had created. Most of the time what I make is not something usable , but then out of chaos, jumps up and rather nice unique melody or maybe the same melody but captured with different sounds that change the whole scenery.

OF course then its the practically of it , I dont have the time to sit down for hours on a keyboard and so I am forced to create in real time, I am forced to work sometimes for only 5-10 minutes and in that time span create something usable. Once I captured the idea, the concept , making the song is pretty straightforward.

I rarely use more than 6-5 tracks, I dont seperate my layers to tracks, a track could be multiple layers even an entire song because as I explained everything is done before going to the DAW, and only thing I do in the DAW is usually some extremely simple editing and adding some other layers too. My mantra is "less is more" so I try to keep thing as simple as possible.

My dream is one day to not need a DAW at all, and make everything with a couple of synth and record everything in one go. A 5 minutes song would take 5 minutes to make.I just love the freedom that that kind of speed can give to me , the fact that I dont think I just make music. I am not there yet but I am slowly moving toward that goal. This approach started when I got my motif es6 5 years ago and I have find it loads and loads of fun every since. It has frustrated me , having to rerecord entire songs from the start for correcting my mistakes, other would have just jumped it midi editing and save the whole frustration. But helped me tremendously improving my playing skill and as resulted exploded the speed at which I make songs nowdays. It has certainly forced me to change my workflow I like to think for the better and that show inside my music. I think it makes it sound alot more organic alot more fluid and unpredictable because when I compose I have no idea what I will make, even when I have decided on a concept.
Old 8th July 2011
Gear maniac

sit at desk, mash keys, hope for the best

sometimes i'll get a hook or a concept stuck in my head and i'll act on it, most of the time i sit down and try to inspire myself with a bit of imrpovisation. after i've got one bit of melody to work with it's all downhill, sometimes i'll spend hours dicking around with synths/editing and have nothing to show for it.

i find motivation is the biggest hurdle, Sony have got a lot to answer for by allowing me to buy a PS3.
Old 8th July 2011
Lives for gear
DanDaMan's Avatar

^^^ I'm with jackaleks, I pretty much do the same thing. Except I have an Xbox 360
Old 8th July 2011
Lives for gear

I switch it around.

Sometimes I start with Drum Rack ( I build loads of kits on top of a standard, but reasonably fleshed out 4 bar beat when I'm bored/on the phone etc etc), then I can just drag and drop the kit over the pattern and switch parts out etc.

Sometimes I just open a synth and just mess around, then add drums.

Sometimes I just drag a random loop and then have live slice it up and mess aroud with it. I used to kind of avoid using loops at all but very recently I've been quite amazed at some of the results I've got from taking, for instance, a processed dubstep loop, chopping it up and rewriting it as 140bpm driving techno.

Sometimes I start with a generic synth sound like a plain reese etc and then just write a little riff and then just add a ton of fx/modulation and work backwards.
Old 8th July 2011
Lives for gear
Barfunkel's Avatar

I just put a 4/4 kickdrum on and start jamming until something worthwhile comes up. When I like the loop enough I just press record on the DAW and record 5-7 minutes worth of material, call it a day and open a bottle of beer to celebrate yet another new track.
Old 8th July 2011
Karloff70's Avatar

Originally Posted by Barfunkel View Post
I just put a 4/4 kickdrum on and start jamming until something worthwhile comes up. When I like the loop enough I just press record on the DAW and record 5-7 minutes worth of material, call it a day and open a bottle of beer to celebrate yet another new track.
It's the best way, although it takes years until you can play the hihat with your little finger, the conga with your ring finger, the bass with your right thumb, etc all at once.
Old 8th July 2011
There is no one simple answer and it depends on the style of music I'm doing. For edm its often a bassline or a beat that starts the initial inspiration then build from there, if its a downtempo number it is often a melody or a motif.

When the inspiration and vibe is strong, it just flows effortlessly the way it should. And things come together real quick. Those are always the best tracks. The ones you struggle with for days usually end up on the scrap heap.

Case in point, two days ago I just did this track. One sitting, 6 hours from start to finish of first rough mix. This started with the guitar that my partner was playing around on, recorded a loop of it, built the drums on top of it, extended that loop to make a rough arrangement, then recorded the vocals, edited the takes and added fx, added the bass, tweaked the arrangement, done.

Note the drums came together real quick cause I have a library of my own loops I've recorded over the years.

Old 8th July 2011
Registered User

like everybody else,

it all depends.

theres like a million variables. what kinda track it is, what kinda mood im in, what time of day it is, how high i am, etc..

i find my best tracks are when im just messing around with sounds. just having fun mangling **** up.. i typically find a great vibe and then it all starts coming together.

like the dude above said and in my opinion, quicker is better. if i can get a rough track done in a day and then fine tune for a couple days after that with fresh ears, its usually close to be gold (for my current level),

but if i have to keep coming back to something and i still don't have the gist of it, its gonna be **** for me. ive learned to cut my losses and also not be attached to ideas i potentially think are good. ill come up with new ones.
Old 8th July 2011
Lives for gear

What's really really cool about Live, and something I never see mentioned, is that say you have a nice little progression built up, with a synth and some fx, yeah? You can simply drag the midi clip into the browser area and it will save everything in one package, the clip, synth, fx. Then you can just drag it into any song.
Old 9th July 2011
Lives for gear
famousbass's Avatar

What's really cool about DAWs is they all record everything.
What's really bad about DAWs is they all record everything.
Creativity is a gift from God.
So is discernment.
You can create anywhere, anytime, anyhow. You can formulate processes to grab the fruits of those moments. The more you prepare the better the outcomes.
Basically, I dunno.
But if I sit down every single day and decide to write a song/track/theme, then I guarantee I will create something.
I find the best cure for writer's block is to write lots of anything.
Old 9th July 2011
Gear nut

I find the best cure for writer's block is to write lots of anything.
Oh yes.
Old 9th July 2011
Lives for gear
Beermaster's Avatar

For me it really depends on what I'm being asked to write as the approach for different forms of music comes from different angles.

Yesterday I had several jobs on the go, one was to create a club track that felt similar to a certain famous artist for a 'Pot Noodle' TV ad (yeah, I get all the good gigs ) - for that job it was all about the big banging drum beat so i started from that with no idea what I was going to do musically on top. Once that was up I wrote a melody for the singer, recorded her and a small stack of backing harmonies - once she'd gone I then decided how to harmonise what I had - ended up with three versions one in the dark minor key, one with a suspended feel and one happy tonic major key. So that job was very arse about face.

The other job was scoring a kids cartoon - lots of music all written to work with the action on screen so every movement of every character, reaction, mood and change has to be pointed up in the music and must also feel like it belongs to the sections either side of it so the music must all join together as well - For this type of work I deal with small fragments at one time working vertically not horizontally across the time line - you may have a section where a character wakes up in his bed......the door to the room slams open and another character runs in.. So you have to establish each element of that so the music points out these things ... that may be six beats of calm sleepy strings with celeste and harp...then smash ! drums, basslines and guitar for 5beats, reaction sting, pause and into a short picked guitar pattern for three bars... Totally fragmented writing with a huge range of instrumnets, colours, tempos, grooves and effects. Little tiny bits of music all different but all linking to sound right and look right.

The final job of the day was a short TV ad for Moneygram - this had to be a bit 'Harry Potter' - mystical and magical with a key moment when a girl in the film levitates - started with riffing on the piano, decided on a basic chord pattern - but before recording set up the click track to find a tempo that would give a good a nice even number of bars at the top but land on a good downbeat when the girl's feet left the ground - this was difficult as the beats never really worked out... then decided to try a 3/4 time sig... bingo that worked. Mapped out the piano sequence simple cliche (Cmajor to Dmajor over C repeated ) - at the bar the girl levitates I added boys choir, harps, celeste, strings and windchimes but with a big key change up a minor third - tailed off with big resolution held chord......done and dusted in two hours.

All very different tracks for different types of client and all totally different in approach to production and composition.

Old 9th July 2011
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by famousbass View Post
Creativity is a gift from God.
So is discernment.
Evolution rests upon creativity, humans have evolved to be the dominant species due to the possesion of comparitively large brains and great manual dexterity (well positioned thumbs) and a huge creative/problem solving potential. Increases in 'leisure' time due to the aforementioned human atributes have 'free'd up' the creative in us from purely survival based problem solving, to create increasingly complex inner worlds and all the wonders of human artistic endeavors, engineering works, etc. And last but not least (well perhaps least) the multitude of complex belief systems!

Pretty damn impressive for an up standing ape!

Back on topic - Jam with my machines, record the jam to a 2 track, listen back to a number of 2 track jams every couple of weeks and pick put the best for further work. As Junket pointed out - not getting too attached to every possible idea is good practice, sometimes only certain elements of any given musical idea are worth keeping/working on further, discernment comes into play here. In the near future my setup will allow me to multitrack as audio all the major elements of a 'jam' making editing/re-arrangent easy!

Setup is key to capturing your flow of ideas, a studio is a lot like an individual instrument and, like the development of technique on an instrument which is a prerequisite to improvisation or performance in general, a studio needs to be setup to allow the unhindered translation of musical idea to realisation of those ideas. When I say 'studio' this could include a DAW on a single computer, only in this case you need to set the DAW up to make your creative flow as smooth as possible, same thing just ITB.
Old 10th July 2011
drums > melodies > arrangement > effects > the end

something like that, all while mixing and stuff
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.

Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump