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why do i keep writing 8 bar loops - oh, i see why. Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 6th September 2011
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fifstar View Post
Here is a nice tutorial by Tarekith that outlines one way to turn your 8 Bar loop into a full track:

..:: Arranging ::..
thanks for this, it's genius.
Old 6th September 2011
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicAlchemist View Post
so very true - great point. Whoever earlier mentioned the practice of starting out by copying the form of other artists until you master it best described what Beethoven was doing - with no Sonata-Allegro form concept anywhere in his mind. Only after he had internalized Haydn and Mozart, among others, and been beaten over the head with Palestrina (via Fuxian counterpoint exercises) did he have the tools needed to carve his own path.
Too bad it took him losing his hearing to really eschew that tradition!
Old 6th September 2011
  #63
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here is what Liam Howlett says about it..hehe:

"I did Jilted Generation with the W30 sequencer, but afterwards, I thought I could do with getting a few more tracks. Cubase has helped my writing quite a bit. I was so stuck with the W30 I never really thought I'd need more than 16 tracks. Also, I was worried I'd change the way I wrote. Now, I try and write the same way I used to on the W30; for example, I try not to copy too many things. I might write something and do an 8-bar section instead of one bar repeated, which is what most people in dance music do. The worst thing is getting stuck in an 8-bar loop -- you stick Cycle on, come up with something good, and it goes round and round. Then you get stuck into a groove, and it takes you ages to actually write the song. I try not to use Cycle too much -- just until I get a few ideas, then I turn it off."

...so its a common misstake...even for HIM!)hah.

i remember , about 5 years ago ised to do i=one track per night....now...one in a fewmonths...maybe its because i cant find a place for a studio and im always distracted by wife, kid, internet, tv and other crap...maybe itwas the different way i used to work. i started not with the groove but just with the intro drums, some effects...then bass, then some crazy sounds.....i should rethink the way i work now.
Old 6th September 2011
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinky909 View Post
the problem isn't loop mode on the machine, it's loop mode in my brain.
well, the influence of the periodicity of the classicism (2,4, 8 goes on) is really big, I found it normal.

I think that a good idea would be that you impose yourself another options: "let's make a 7 bar loop", "let's make combination of loops in several organizations", "let's make a phrase of X measures without periodical division, etc"

to change old and deep habits requieres a conscient move, but is completely possible. The will to search is the key, in my opinion.

I hope it can help you.

If you are interested, Haydn did some asyimmetrical things, which is very curious because he was in a strong symmetrical style, but well, they are exceptions
Old 27th January 2012
  #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkPlasma View Post
Its more than just sequencing...its about tweaking them all until they sound right.

A 1-bar loop, if synthesized correctly, can be heard for much longer than 8 bars...

But sometimes a real acoustic drummer is exactly what you need.
A great example of this is most rick ross tracks. There is sick gospel style drumming going on that follow melody with amazing fills and grooves. Never a boom bap for more than a bar.
Old 27th January 2012
  #66
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Ok.. umm.. so first of all.. what's the fixation with 8 bar loops? I think I must have missed the memo or something...

So I have no idea what level you're at so what I have no idea like.. how to say things that would be really constructive for the OP...

But um.. so one of the things is like.. how much time do you spend producing music.. like.. working with the tools?

I almost feel like it's a muscle.. and its like exercise.. you don't want to over do it the first day or like.. you know.. you wont' be able to do it again for a while.. you need to kinda work your way up...

So for me.. for instance.. one goal is to maximize how much time I'm spending producing.. I mean there's other stuff in life I apparently have to deal with if I want to go on eating.. but.. you know..

And so there's this whole idea of creating a routine.. and creating the best routing for what you want to be good at.

So.. a part of maximizing how much time I spend producing.. it's also like.. how much time I spend with this set of tools I'm using.. and...

Well ok.. like lets me honest here.. potentially speaking.. and ok.. maybe there's a prejudice here.. but electronic music is like the most ridiculously complex, at least potentially, musical genera you could ever think to get into.. cause I mean look what goes into it.. there's composition... potentially there's performance.. there's performance programming or like "how do I program a drum thing so it sounds like a real drummer kinda sequencing" stuff.. you know what I'm talking about? There's sound synthesis.. there's mix engineering... there's potentially.. recording engineering.. umm.. song writing stuff.. sound design... mad technology...

I mean its not just one field.. its like.. made up of many fields that you could spend a life time working in.. and never be like.. "why yes, I'm done now, I now fully understand mix engineer." You know what I mean?

So I always have goals of like.. what I think I need to work on.. and like.. just about any music project I work on is like my ginny pig.. for trying to work out this stuff.. so there's goals I have other then.. if the song it's self is going to be uber awesome or not, right?

Now.. lets talk awesomeness......

So.. Freud had this idea about wish versus prohibition of wish (which was how the moral order of the family / village little johnny was growing up in... got injected / internalized in little Johnny.. in the form of the super ego) and via here the sub conscious got formed...

Now Freudian Heretics.. came onto this notion of the "Labyrinth" in mythology which seemed be.. on a symbolic level.. a synonym for the Freudian unconscious... and if you've heard the story.. apparently.. you go in there.. and try and make sure that you can find your way out.. to get the golden thing.. and fight the Minotaur.. in order to bring back the groovy.. thing.. which is really this part of the totality of you're potential as a human being that didn't manage to reach adult form thanks to the evil side of the super ego.. if you will (That's a very Nietzschian thing to say, ha?)

Anyway.. so the deal with wish versus prohibition of wish.. is that.. it's kinda like.. you have this concept of reality.. right? Now.. a concept of reality acts as an intermediary between you and reality.. .and this concept of reality goes "ok, I believe this is the statistical probability that this effort you are going to do is going to work out."

So imagine if you will.. you spent 20 hours worth of work on this project here.. and it sounds like crap.. ok.. based off you're current conception of reality.. I mean this is happening independent of your conscious self.. you've come to realize that.. that 20 hours was risked.. and the pay back chances are not so high and so.. a part of why you think it sucks is this concept you have of reality that is subliminal to the process... and this is why you give up...

This is kinda.. the wisdom of John Cage and like Brian Eno's cards....

Anyway...

So.. if you do my shtick.. and say that the metric of success is getting better.. then it really doesn't matter if the music you've made in your 20 hours of work sucks.. cause you've been learning the whole time.. you've succeeded in that.. you see? So the wish has been full filled..

What you have to understand.. is if you don't believe the wish can be fulfilled.. you'll never even have the wish.. cause it get preempted.. and this has to do with how inspiration and thoughts come to us and all this stuff I wont get into...

Anyway.... so um.. if you have a goal like.. to maximize the amount of time you give production.. what you're doing is you're say look.. I'm giving this issue of music production this much time and energy.. this percentage of my total time and energy output.. of my life..

Now.. ok.. if you're only give it.. I'd ... lets say.. 10 hours a week.. there a supply and demand value to what you're risking.. and how that's all gong to work.. now.. if you out in 40 hours of work... the deal is.. that risking 10 hours is like.. no where near as big a deal as if you just risked your total music production output for a week.. on this production.

So you see what I'm saying? It's like the psychology of getting stuck and the value of putting in more time and energy.. is really the sorta underlying this about why you're having this problem with your 8 bar loop.

Or that's my view anyway.

(I know.. I should be nominated for craziest gear slut thread response ever..)
Old 27th January 2012
  #67
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like um, yeah?
Old 28th January 2012
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicAlchemist View Post
I know everyone has their own way of working, but this post seems to be an invitation for suggestions for a different way. Hope it helps:

1) plan out the structure of your song. Will there be an intro? how long? verses, choruses, maybe a prechorus? Have anything cool in mind that is structural? Maybe you've got a cool idea about building a bigger climax by creating a prechorus that does x,y, or z leading up to a modified chorus the last time around.
2) Lay down a simple kick, snare, and high hat pattern for each section but don't mess with the sounds themselves. They are just a placeholder. They should change from section to section, and they should represent the different feel of the section.
3) however the material comes to you, in whatever order, write a)melody, b) bassline, c) harmonizing chords. Even if you delete the melody later and only use the bassline, it is still a good idea to write one at this stage.
4) organize this material into the order you want it, filter, modify, vary it, etc - focusing at this stage on only the bones and soul of the work, still ignoring the production. you still haven't thought about what these elements will sound like, just what they are.

5) Now is the time for you to indulge your inner tweak-head and spend as much time as you want diving into crafting mind-blowing leads, thundering basses, whatever.

In my humble opinion, from the frequency of these types of posts, it seems many people are skipping straight to step 5.

Step five my be the most fun for you, so that is understandable. But it will be even more fun after 1-4.
Yeah this is a seriously inspiring quote. Thanks!
Old 28th January 2012
  #69
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Outstanding reply.

Sent from my HTC Desire
Old 28th January 2012
  #70
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One tip for people using a lot of hardware (and also works for software btw). Record to audio/bounce tracks as soon as possible. Once you got things in audio you at least take the soundcreating part and can focus on arranging.

At least for me the zillions of possibilities are a killer, you just keep editting the sounds because you are SURE that it can improve just a bit.
But think of it this way, 'now' the quality can be 90% of maximum, and with 2 more hours it can be 95%, but the overall difference is negligible.
Old 28th January 2012
  #71
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If you must be in loop mode leave a empty bar at the beginning or end of the loop. So an 8 bar loop needs to be 8 bars with a bar of silence. Grinding on an 8 bar loop is a bad habit that will impair your ability to create structure. It's a bad habit.
Old 28th January 2012
  #72
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One trick that I do to stay focused on laying out the song, is to KEEP THE VOLUME LOW. If I turn it up louder, I begin bobbing my head and getting into a trance, thus quickly losing focus on where to go next.

If you keep the volume low, you'll trick your brain into viewing the music as a composition.
Old 28th January 2012
  #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firby View Post
If you must be in loop mode leave a empty bar at the beginning or end of the loop. So an 8 bar loop needs to be 8 bars with a bar of silence. Grinding on an 8 bar loop is a bad habit that will impair your ability to create structure. It's a bad habit.
That's an interesting idea. Do you mean add an extra empty bar (8+1), or leave one out of 8 empty?
Old 28th January 2012
  #74
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boreg's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SonicAlchemist View Post
I know everyone has their own way of working, but this post seems to be an invitation for suggestions for a different way. Hope it helps:

1) plan out the structure of your song. Will there be an intro? how long? verses, choruses, maybe a prechorus? Have anything cool in mind that is structural? Maybe you've got a cool idea about building a bigger climax by creating a prechorus that does x,y, or z leading up to a modified chorus the last time around.
2) Lay down a simple kick, snare, and high hat pattern for each section but don't mess with the sounds themselves. They are just a placeholder. They should change from section to section, and they should represent the different feel of the section.
3) however the material comes to you, in whatever order, write a)melody, b) bassline, c) harmonizing chords. Even if you delete the melody later and only use the bassline, it is still a good idea to write one at this stage.
4) organize this material into the order you want it, filter, modify, vary it, etc - focusing at this stage on only the bones and soul of the work, still ignoring the production. you still haven't thought about what these elements will sound like, just what they are.

5) Now is the time for you to indulge your inner tweak-head and spend as much time as you want diving into crafting mind-blowing leads, thundering basses, whatever.

In my humble opinion, from the frequency of these types of posts, it seems many people are skipping straight to step 5.

Step five my be the most fun for you, so that is understandable. But it will be even more fun after 1-4.
I agree this is excellent advice, but how can it be applied to stuff where sound design is the main element (like this or this for example)?
Old 28th January 2012
  #75
WDM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boreg View Post
I agree this is excellent advice, but how can it be applied to stuff where sound design is the main element (like this or this for example)?
I guess, that this kind of "sound design" based music fools you that with "sound design" you don't need to maintain the structure, melody, harmony, etc...
It seems like it's sounds good without all that. But, it could be just an illusion.

We all got tricked by those sweeps and echoes

Below is the same piece of music: with sweeps and without.



Old 28th January 2012
  #76
WDM
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Just to add to the whole topic: we don't have to use just one 8 bar loop.
It helps for me to make two 8 bar loops, one for verse and one for chorus... then start to arrange the whole piece.

Also, there are great methods described on subject called "the orchestration".
And for those who would want to go really deep there is also "the counterpoint".

Well advanced at the core and very "old" at the same time, but still could be used for "8 bar loop" improvement.
Old 28th January 2012
  #77
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Good points. To expand on that (or maybe just repeat it), for instance, on the RM1x I use, each Song file has 16 Sections with 16 Patterns available in each section. Even if you just create nothing but 1-bar loops (which, frankly, is what I most often tend to do), that's up to 256 separate loops within a single Song file. By building cool bits up from ground-level, frequently rehearsing/listening-back to them, and finding things that go together (or making up pieces to stitch two pre-existing things together), you can wind up with a track with a lot of apparent "structure" that came apparently from out of nowhere.

A lot of people have given good suggestions in this thread (which I credit to the honesty of the OP). I always have to remember that there's no right way to do it. Starting with a structural template/framework can work; building up loops can work; jamming and editing together and then overdubbing can work. Ultimately, it's all about results, so I have to remember not to guilt-trip myself about Not Doing It The Right Way Like The Pros Or Whatever.
Old 28th January 2012
  #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockmanrock View Post
You just need the right 8-bar loop:

This is a loop mixed and arranged live on the mixer.
Or at the very least theres hands on action as it was
being mixed down to Dat (I presume)
Old 28th January 2012
  #79
This thread inspired me to finally write a full track (after months of suffering with loopitis). I'm proud to say that I started and completed a full track today!

Just wanted to share what I did differently in case it helps someone else.

Here is what I changed:

1) I rerouted all my MIDI so that it was coming from Ableton Live (instead of Octatrack as before)

2) I used only soft synths (I have 5 hardware synths but didn't use them here).

3) I started the track by playing and improvising a drum sequence from the machinedrum. I jammed with muting/unmuting and changing the sequence on the fly as I recorded everything to audio. After about 4 minutes of pure drum jamming I had a foundation for a track.

4) I then created a bunch of soft synth tracks in ableton and jammed parts using a keyboard. When I liked something, I'd record it. I then created different parts, always thinking horizontally instead of vertically (never getting trapped with looping). I think this was the key thing for me.


A big part of it for me was not using a hardware sequencer for synths. They are great for jamming and having fun, but are horrible for thinking 'horizontally' (at least for me). Of course this depends on your preference, but for me a DAW is still the most natural tool for song structure thinking (I'm a very visual person though).

Another piece of advice I can give is just force yourself to start with a foundation (like many have stated before). Once I started with a full 4 minute drum track the rest was much easier to "fill in" vs starting with a completed loop and going backwards (think "additive" vs "subtractive").

Here's the track I completed today. Probably nothing amazing but I had a huge smile on my face when I finished it, feels good to be loop free for once. Thanks for starting this thread!

Old 29th January 2012
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UCTION View Post
Well im glad you figured out the secret yourself, and this is it. A great article once told me, you've got to make **** before you make gold. So don't attach yourself to anything - you should mark ALL of your projects now as "crap I have to make before things get good", and use this mindset to blaze through arrangement and create full songs. You should get so good at this that you can take one project and churn our 3-5 arrangements out. Say "f*** it I'm a man, I'm not married to these bull**** songs, not afraid to f*** them up and thanks to computers, I can always fix them later when I get better".

This way when you get good enough and want to stop treating your projects as learning/scratch projects, you can tone down the skill you have and go back to your old habits - except this time you'll have the power to make 1-2 arrangements you'll be happy with.

The best parts of making a song are:
The beginning, when you have no idea how something could end up but you feel it could be magical.
And the part where, AFTER arrangement, you pick sounds and tones and mix.

The most difficult thing in the world for a musician is having a good idea, and executing it poorly.
The most difficult things in this universe have been mastered - with practice and strong godlike mentality.

Same reason we went to the moon.
So take your songs to the moon.

*Renaming project folder*
Old 29th January 2012
  #81
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It's because your only seeing the making of the music itself as the creative process, try to get some good ideas some creative ones about arrangements then apply them to your loops. Rinse and repeat..
Old 30th January 2012
  #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by complex View Post
It's because your only seeing the making of the music itself as the creative process, try to get some good ideas some creative ones about arrangements then apply them to your loops. Rinse and repeat..
i think you are onto something. i was far more creative when i didn't have a room full of gear to enable an 8 bar endlessly repeating. i was focused more on the doing and less on the messing.
Old 30th January 2012
  #83
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I have a confession to make.A lot of my stuff is based on a 2 bar loop.Sometimes 1 bar.Its like some kind of artform to me to create life out of a very minimal composition.I really feel theres more to music than this tho.But i can improvise for hours without looping of repeating with no structure.Im sure part of the problem is the sophisticated tools are ruining us somewhat.My old tapetrack less schooling invited real random experimentation that could go on for ever-unhindered.
Old 30th January 2012
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodsample;7498371
[SOUNDCLOUD
http://soundcloud.com/nebs/the-gardeners-lament[/SOUNDCLOUD]
Good track and post btw.Great thread too blinky
Old 30th January 2012
  #85
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When I'm building loops, I usually end-up with a cacophany. But, by considering this the chorus, it can be deconstructed to give simpler lines for verse, intro. The hard part is switching-off loop mode and arranging your single 8-bar into a song structure.

Someone here gave a great tip: Import a song you like and use it as a reference to place markers for Intro, chorus, buildups, etc.
Now copy your single 8-bar loop x times to get the same length as the reference, then start reducing. It's a good start.
Old 30th January 2012
  #86
KT1
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I have not had the time to read the entire thread. so if this has been said already appols.

I find a good way to get out of loop only tracks is to arrange as soon as possible. You see people can get trapped in the loop and no longer envision the song. You start adding elements till you're bored then add some more..before you know it you're stuck and dont know where to take it.

Next time you record your synth chord progression or whatever dont start to add elements unless it is bare boned. move on and work out the change into the hook/chorus ..breakdown etc..Intro and outro if poss. Once you have all of this even if in a basic form you can view and listen to the song on loop and easily identify at which point it becomes repetive. Now just continue to add remove instrumentation and production elements to ensure you keep movement.

The quiker you can knock out an arrangement the more likely a song and not a loop will be born.

This is just from my experience. Good Luck!
Old 30th January 2012
  #87
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i'd say the reason i write 8 bar loop based stuff is because i walk into the studio with no idea what i want to do - i mess about until i stumble on something that sounds good and have no idea how to develop it into something other than an endless 8 bar loop.

i have only written a few songs that started with an idea in my head and those are the ones with some amount of arrangement taking place. here is an example, it's not a great track, but it's much more than an 8 bar loop repeating and it is "finished"



i just need to have more ideas. i used to be inspired by the music i was listening to, but these days i don't listen to anything new and being a cynical old bastard doesn't help that front much
Old 30th January 2012
  #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Beatsmith View Post
i think the key is to arrange as you go

i suffer from the issue that making that 8 bar loop takes me so long, i run out of steam and need to 'leave it for the day', then the next day i do something else
This is the key for me. I've been in the same situation as the OP 100,000 times.

For me, I've found it extremely important to arrange as you go. If I don't, I'll usually get stuck playing around with the same loops over and over, trying to get them perfect.
Old 30th January 2012
  #89
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The whole point behind my music is in trying to create the perfect loop, something that doesn't get boring during the 6 minute duration of the track. Just some minor tweaks in real time when I'm recording the track. Other than that, my music is always just one loop looping over and over.

I have plans of making tracks with a different structure, but not until I'm totally satisfied with my loops. I want perfect one thing before I move on to the next one.

Then again, I like loopy tracks, their hypnotic nature. One of the reasons I don't like, for example, classical music, is because they change all the time. It annoys me, I like simpler things.
Old 30th January 2012
  #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barfunkel View Post
Then again, I like loopy tracks, their hypnotic nature. One of the reasons I don't like, for example, classical music, is because they change all the time. It annoys me, I like simpler things.
the bulk of the music i listen APPEARS to be very loopy, but in reality, it's a series of loops that have very distinct elements. each loop builds to the next loop, but they are not the same loop.

Speedy J is the master of this



yes the 303 line is endless, but the other elements come and go keeping the track moving from loop to loop. he's a fookin genius.

i am revisiting Tarekith's Guide to Song Arranging - it squarely lays out a starting arrangement method that works to stave off the endless cycling of the 8 bar loop. even if the foundation is an 8 bar loop
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