*Music* anyone?

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fretski
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*Music* anyone?

Postby fretski » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:21 pm

I couldn't find a forum for this basic musical scream for help as opposed to equipment or effects or techniques, so maybe a forum called *Music Theory, Sweat & Blood* could do the job?

Here goes the opener.

I'm 74 and working on learning my 4th song, Bright-Eyes. As usual nothing that I find on the net tickles my fancy the least bit so I'm working on my own backing track in Rosegarden. So far so good, done this exact same thing with the previous 3 songs too, it's also a great way to learn things, at times even too great. I've run into a bit of a snag, most existing midis I found do NOT include a plain-old chords track for strings or synth, like the ones in them on-line karaejoke mp3's. I've cannibalised some chords from tab sheets but something is still missing. The composer went to great lengths to create an exquisite poetic & haunting effect but I'm missing it completely. Maybe some chords are missing, are the wrong ones, or start-end in the wrong place. I never worked chords before in my life.

Some born musicians will take one look at the staves and bingo, others see with their ears, and there are techies who need voices 'files'. To improve my chances I'm attaching one of each, covering the first verse and chorus. Anyone who can straighten me out a bit will get a request to the bartender from me to say a mass or the next best thing for his soul.

Something else, I think I have discovered a new guitar 'effect', I think I've even outdone 'ole Gilmour. I'll post that after resolving this issue. I managed the effect in roundabout and difficult manual ways but it needs coders to incorporate it into a preset or whatever it is that 'stacks' are full of (will fully document).

bE-Lead-and-Synth-Staff.png


the other 3 bombed either because of file extension or because of size

will remain up there for a day or two (i hope they work):

http://trixtar.org/temp-pub-buffer/bE-t ... -94bpm.mid
http://trixtar.org/temp-pub-buffer/bE-chordtest.mp3
http://trixtar.org/temp-pub-buffer/bE-chordtest.rg

Thank you
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fretski
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Re: *Music* anyone?

Postby fretski » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:36 pm

Wow! That was a lot of nose-grinding hard work for someone not familiar with chords, not to mention Rosegarden's behaviour sometimes. I cleaned it up quite a bit but there are still bad sounding chords in there.


bE-Lead-and-Synth-Staff-2.png
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Nachei
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Re: *Music* anyone?

Postby Nachei » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:52 am

Congratulations for your musical zest, keep it up! I also like the "healthy anger" that your post title transpires, I hope I still keep that kind of fire when/if I reach your age (I'm in my 44th year right now): I too feel a bit alienated sometimes among so many "techheads"; maybe this forum would be more suitably called "Musical Linux" or something like that, so that the user is clear about which one's the name and which one the adjective... :)

Now, I feel compelled to answer because I find your endeavor praiseworthy, but I'm just a stranger from the Internet so please bear in mind that your question points to a "general area of confusion", so expect my answer to be a bit confusing too, and sorry if this is not the kind of help you were looking for...

Listening to the song in Youtube while looking at the chords you provide, two things stick out immediately:

1) There is a mismatch in some of the chords in the page (minor mismatch; not dissonances, but different choices of chords).

2) An important part of the vibe of this particular song has to do, imo, with the transitions between one chord and the next; for example, during "Following the river of death downstream", there is a note-by-note fall in the bass, which creates a contrast with the previous sparse bass arrangement. When you reduce it to plain chord progressions, it's a bit like zooming out the picture; you lose details like that, and maybe that's also what you feel your transcription is missing.

My (wild) guess is that, by doing the "reverse engineering" you do with the chords, maybe you've "frozen" as stable some chords that were only in-between transitions; and you're getting a "Frankenstein" between two levels of detail.

Not everybody can commit the resources and the time it takes, but if you can, I would suggest that you go to the fountain and learn some harmony, because it really pays off. Rather than learning "how this or that song is played", you learn "how are songs built", and then you can apply it directly to any song you're interested in, without having to "parrot" each time from zero something someone else wrote.

This one song, for example, is harmonically not very difficult, you could get its chords by listening to it 2 or 3 times in a row, and then flesh out the arrangements in your own style, or focus on details in the original that you would like to keep and go deeper with them...

Of course the ear training that this entails is perhaps not for everybody, but it makes a world of difference. In my case, I never had the patience for sheet music, I prefer to break the toy to see what's inside... I'm pretty much self taught about harmony, but if you're interested in going that route maybe PM me and I can provide you some suggestions... Good luck in any case with your musical adventures...

fretski
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Re: *Music* anyone?

Postby fretski » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:26 am

Nachei wrote:Congratulations for your musical zest, keep it up! I also like the "healthy anger" that your post title transpires, I hope I still keep that kind of fire when/if I reach your age (I'm in my 44th year right now): I too feel a bit alienated sometimes among so many "techheads"; maybe this forum would be more suitably called "Musical Linux" or something like that, so that the user is clear about which one's the name and which one the adjective... :)

Now, I feel compelled to answer because I find your endeavor praiseworthy, but I'm just a stranger from the Internet so please bear in mind that your question points to a "general area of confusion", so expect my answer to be a bit confusing too, and sorry if this is not the kind of help you were looking for...

Listening to the song in Youtube while looking at the chords you provide, two things stick out immediately:

1) There is a mismatch in some of the chords in the page (minor mismatch; not dissonances, but different choices of chords).

2) An important part of the vibe of this particular song has to do, imo, with the transitions between one chord and the next; for example, during "Following the river of death downstream", there is a note-by-note fall in the bass, which creates a contrast with the previous sparse bass arrangement. When you reduce it to plain chord progressions, it's a bit like zooming out the picture; you lose details like that, and maybe that's also what you feel your transcription is missing.

My (wild) guess is that, by doing the "reverse engineering" you do with the chords, maybe you've "frozen" as stable some chords that were only in-between transitions; and you're getting a "Frankenstein" between two levels of detail.

Not everybody can commit the resources and the time it takes, but if you can, I would suggest that you go to the fountain and learn some harmony, because it really pays off. ...


Thanks for the effort in replying, I appreciate it. I'm mostly a usenet freaq and don't really know my way around web hosted gui's or private mail. None of the files I found on the net had the chords so I transcribed the chord names from a tab sheet and then built them in my first-ever triads session in sweat, blood and breaking out in pimples. Done, I will post the chords, there might still be one or two rogues in there but it's not bad.

I'm putting together my backing track already. I have found two styles of this song, the original a little too wet-hanky version and the Shadows' version which strays too far from it. The disco stuff I best not comment on in public. Always trying to be original if I can I think I lucked-in with an arrangement that's between the two with just a touch of beat to mask screwups so to speak. The base, the snare and the arpeggio tracks combined in an pleasant and totally unexpected way to 'rock' the piece just a touch, and that's the second song out of my first 4 where I luck into something like that. Very happy.

The subject title wasn't intended to be tongue-in-cheek it just came out that way. When I wanna be abrasive I know how, believe me, I get thrown off of forums :-) It just hit me to what extent this one isn't about music but about musical tools. It's not a problem, I just wasn't aware of it. If the admin decides to create a theory or academical forum I'm sure he'll find a name for it.

Later

fretski
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Re: *Music* anyone?

Postby fretski » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:11 pm

Somehow I always thought that chords were supposed to be harmonic i.e. they were NOT supposed to be just repeats of the lead in 3 or more notes. With a couple of exceptions these chords (copied from a guitar tab sheet) seem to pretty well just follow the lead track. I don't know enough about music mind you to have right to an opinion :-)

As per previous I use Rosegarden as my midi composter, seen here in the beginning, ZynAddSubFX as dssi plugin as well as standalone synths, ffmpeg for screen capture, and Jack_Capture for he Rosegarden output.

http://trixtar.org/temp-pub-buffer/LeadChords.mp4

Nachei
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Re: *Music* anyone?

Postby Nachei » Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:35 am

fretski wrote:With a couple of exceptions these chords (copied from a guitar tab sheet) seem to pretty well just follow the lead track.


Yes, I agree. I guess that's the charm that makes guitar so popular, but it can also be a limitation; you read a simple "G" on a tab sheet, you set your left hand in place accordingly, and with one strum you have six-notes-six that are guaranteed to make sense and you can show off at parties... Even the inversion of notes is taken care of, because the order of the notes that compose each chord will be different depending on which position you play, and that adds up variety without you having to do anything (it doesn't sound the same to play a G chord as GBD or as BDG or as DGB...)

And that's a kind of content that you lose when you transcribe those chords into keyboard. Looking at your transcription, all the chords are "linear", i.e. base note + two notes upper + two notes upper. This makes the piece sound a bit mechanic, even though the notes are right.

Still speaking of your original question, what to improve in the performance to make it closer to the original, another two possible opportunities for improvement that I see are:

1) I'd swear the melody line is played with no changes in velocity; all the notes sound with the same force and duration. You mentioned this is a song "you're learning", so I assume you're playing it with a keyboard. Does your keyboard have sensitiveness to velocity? Maybe it's a parameter you have to tweak somewhere. If your keyboard does not detect velocity, then you would have to modify each note's manually in the editor, something that I don't recommend because I do it with programming drums and it takes a lot of time.

2) The instrument chosen for the chords is one of those where the note takes a bit to "grow" from silence. That introduces a bit of a "lag" that may cause confusion. Maybe choosing a different instrument, at least until you settle completely the chords? (This is what I hate of using keyboards; it always takes me more time to find the instrument I like than to play actual music...)

Anyways, I hope you find some of these suggestions useful.

fretski
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Re: *Music* anyone?

Postby fretski » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:13 am

Nachei wrote:
fretski wrote:With a couple of exceptions these chords (copied from a guitar tab sheet) seem to pretty well just follow the lead track.


Yes, I agree. I guess that's the charm that makes guitar so popular, but it can also be a limitation; you read a simple "G" on a tab sheet, you set your left hand in place accordingly, and with one strum you have six-notes-six that are guaranteed to make sense and you can show off at parties... Even the inversion of notes is taken care of, because the order of the notes that compose each chord will be different depending on which position you play, and that adds up variety without you having to do anything (it doesn't sound the same to play a G chord as GBD or as BDG or as DGB...)


I was aware of this but somehow forgot, AND until now I thought that keyboard chords were not laid out staggered but I guess they 'could' be played exactly the same as on guitar with some tinkering because the digital tools make things possible that would be hard to do on a real keyboard. Good point.

Sorry, I forgot to comment the lead track in the video, it's just a place-holder to help me put everything together. It sucks big time and as soon as done it gets removed! And yes, the real lead I play on guitar does have 3D :-)

As for the choice of instruments (for the chords), that's a real bugger. There are about 1000 in the ZynAddSubFX dssi plugin bank that I use in Rosegarden none of which impress me 'for this track'. The Aaah choir thing is from a General Midi bank and is merely the *least offensive*; all of them have a bit of that ding-ding packman game character that's so hard to get rid of in amateur digital synthesis. For now I do not have a better candidate. What I'm trying for in the final cut is lowering the volume on the chords that don't sound too good and I'll go with that if need be. I expect to make the final video within a week or two and then it's on to the next one. This is my 4th song learned, I have about 50 others to learn and while I could and would love to spend a year learning each, I don't think I have that luxury :shock: :lol:

BTW many thanks, goes without saying.

Nachei
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Re: *Music* anyone?

Postby Nachei » Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:12 am

fretski wrote: I expect to make the final video within a week or two and then it's on to the next one. This is my 4th song learned, I have about 50 others to learn and while I could and would love to spend a year learning each, I don't think I have that luxury :shock: :lol:

BTW many thanks, goes without saying.


You're welcome, I'm glad if I could help in some way...

As for your policy of "keeping on moving", I completely agree (even considering that this is the 21st century and I hope you'll be aiming for centenary, at least!) The way to learn is closing loops. Otherwise perfectionism stagnates you horribly. I just realized a few days ago that certain song I'm working on has now been with me for a whole frickin' year; I discovered a better way to program the drums, so I redid them, then I moved to a different DAW, then I discovered a new technique I wanted to try on guitars... I'm so embarrassed... So this post will serve me as a new reminder; thank you and happy music making...


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