Musical Synthesis

Musical Synthesis – Tutorial part 3

Here is a concise tutorial, consisting of seven parts and therefore divided over seven individual posts, about the composing, musical synthesis, orchestrating, and recording/production process of music. It is intended for beginner composers, orchestrators, sound-engineers, home-studio owners. And it is not intended merely for making electronic music. It is intended as a good place to start with music and to learn a few tricks that will save time and help them along the learning music composition.

Overview individual posts of this tutorial

  1. Introduction making Music
  2. Instruments
  3. Musical Synthesis
  4. Learning about Instruments
  5. Home Studio
  6. Mixing and Editing
  7. Really useful Links

This is the practical aspect of making music. We know the basics of how each element of the soup works; now let’s try making some music. Firstly, let’s open a new project in our sequencer, or get a blank canvas, as I like to call it. This where we gather our creative energy; this is the calm before the storm.

Think about what you are about to create. Try to get your thoughts and feelings together. Concentrate. Now there are three ways you can begin your piece of art:

  1. You can start by making some cool ideas and then trying to fit them together.
  2. You can plan out the whole song including what your trying to say, how it’s structured, which instruments you will use.
  3. You can do a bit of both.

Cool ideas

For me, this means sitting down at the keyboard and just playing whatever comes to my fingertips; usually mostly rubbish, but sometimes, just sometimes, there is a grain of magic. Your job is to identify a capture that magic. Whether you sing, play violin, or even drums, you need some little bit of magic. It can be a bit of a melody, a bit of a harmonic progression, a cool rhythm, or even just a feeling – anything.

Structure

There are several things that you could do here:

  1. Choose how many verses, choruses, bridges, interludes, etc. you will have e.g. Verse Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Bridge Chorus Chorus Outro (a typical song).
  2. Decide the harmonic progression e.g. C C C C F F C C G F C G (a 12 bar blues).
  3. Decide which instruments you will have and what purpose they will serve e.g. Rock drum kit for rhythmic drive.

Composing the parts

So, you’ve come up with some ideas, or you’ve planned out the whole song. Now what do you do? You start composing the parts. This may sound scary to some of you, but all it takes is practice. I don’t know many people who can play 33 different instruments well enough to be able to compose a good part for each instrument. I don’t know many people who can play 33 different instruments, full stop.

So, what this means, is that you are going to need to learn how to write for different instruments. This is most definitely the hardest part of making music. There is no easy answer, however, there are a few basic tricks that you can use as starting points.

Ross Unger, www.rossunger.com




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