Hey everyone! I likely won’t be posting much in the way of tutorials this month because I’m pretty heavily burdened with game projects. So … why not show some love to another chiptune artist that has shown my work some love? Earlier this month, the great Tuberz McGee accomplished the arduous task of reviewing my first full-length album, ‘The Life and Times of Whiskers Mahone’. In his Chipwin debut, he made some generous comparisons between my obsession with odd time signatures and some of Tosin Abasi’s writing.
Hello, everyone! Today’s article will expand on my previous entry, “Writing a Song: Part I”. If you haven’t read that, I strongly recommend checking it out as it has some valuable information that I think applies to composing in all styles.
Towards the end of the article, I mentioned the five tools you can use to take an idea to the next level:
Today, I just want to talk about repetition, as each subject deserves its own spotlight. More after the jump!
Continue reading “Writing a song: Part II”
Writing a song: Part I
Merry Christmas! This post is in some respects a continuation of my previous post, “What goes into Chiptune music?”, but it’s far more generalized. And of course, a warning: it’s heavily opinionated, but insight is never without some degree of bias.
Although I started playing music around the age of 12, I didn’t really start composing until I was about 23. What I’ve learned over the last three years of writing my own music is that composition is not like the process we have heard/seen from biographies or movies about famous composers. Not that many people get to have their very own masterpiece flow through their mind’s ear while sitting and doing absolutely nothing. What might happen on a very infrequent basis is that a melody does come to you, but it rarely comes neatly packaged with context (rhythmic, harmonic, bass components, etc). There are things you can do to make this process happen far more often (such as doing interval ear training, functional/solfege ear training, transcribing), but for the most part, composition is an active process, not a passive one. More after the jump!
When I started writing chiptune music in 2015, I didn’t think that there was much to it. I already knew that composers had fairly basic tools to skirt around the limitations of monophonic square wave channels. Some of these tools include rapid fire arpeggios … implying root and fifth movement through the bass … or outlining the changes through the melody. It became obvious to me that many chiptune composers came from a jazz or classical background with expert-level knowledge in theory and counterpoint, which is how so many of them could musically say so much with so little.
But theory wasn’t what was helping me the most when I wrote Boundarymen Volume I (and later, Whiskers Mahone). I used it in ruts, sure — but what helped me the most was just one rule, and it’s the only rule that matters. Read more after the jump! Continue reading “What goes into chiptune music?”
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