The introduction of the personal computer and music making software provided the ability to produce music with technology that was was once the reserve of academic institutions. This technology has developed at a blistering pace and now allows musicians with limited technical and musical knowledge to realize all the beats, melodies, and soundscapes their creative imagination conjures. However music software alone cannot take all the credit, another omnipresent resource shares this credit, the Internet. Having the software to produce is only part of the solution, the other is tapping the vast resources the internet provides, not only in using the software but in music theory, tutorials in using the technology, and of course musical and technical inspiration. This advances not only personal development but also the emergence of new genres of music, based on the dissemination of techniques and experiences.
Demi semi quavers?
Music theory was never my specialty but after years of using music making software and playing one-hand, one-finger keyboard I thought it might be an idea to revisit the old enemy. Luckily I came across a great free resource in the shape of musictheory.net. Its an incredibly intuitive and powerful tool and I find its approach refreshing, producing real results, and only after a few weeks of use. I always return to it to refresh my knowledge. It can also be fun too, using it as a quiz game to test your knowledge.
Get your groove on
In order to have great melodies or grooves in my arrangements I often rely on external help. I get one of my more accomplished musicians friends to input MIDI using my keyboard controller. Another resource I often use is MIDI files. These are pre-recorded MIDI clips, usually 1-2 bars in length. There are many free resources on the Net. I often use specific search engines to download Classical arrangements of famous songs and analyze the MIDI arrangement, often copying, editing, and rearranging sections. This can be a powerful tool in learning from the masters.
Let’s tool up
When testing out these arrangements I often find General MIDI sounds lacking. There is a wealth of free add-on sounds and instruments available to turbo-charge your music software. One of my personal favorites for doing sound design and cinematic textures is Yellow Tools Independence software sampler which produces pristine quality sounds in a flexible sampler instrument that easily integrates into your music making software.
Old dog, new tricks
Last but not least is the wealth of musical inspiration that is available. This helps create a healthy vibrant music scene, allowing us musicians with a thirst for knowledge to get exposed to all areas of music and sound production, from game and film sound design to learning the lineage behind our current heros.
Those links again
The Internet is a crucial resource for any musician. You can never have too much knowledge in the ever expanding area of music technology production tips and tricks. Social media networks are also a great place to keep in touch with other users and resources. There are countless free resource sites where this information is available. The links included here are some of my regulars go-to’s, just a taster to get you started.
music making software
specific search engines (for MIDI files)
Yellow Tools Independence
film sound design
game sound design
learning the lineage