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How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

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How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

Unread post by parametric »

We are all different, so it stands to reason our preferred MOs will be different?

I just thought it would be interesting to see how other people go about it :confusion-confused:

After some thought, my MO is like this:
Taking a step back and considering the WAY I write - I guess it's not dissimilar to sculpture . . . .

One or other of the GREAT sculptors once described it this way . . . .

It might have been Michaelangelo though I wouldn't be so Pompous as to place myself in his class :lol:
The Statue was always INSIDE the block of Marble . . . I just removed the irrelevant bits
Or something like that :roll:
I write in the same way. I guess, being primarily a Pianist, it is my NATURE to give as Full and complete a performance

as possible, whenever I sit down to play. This means Melody, Harmony, Bass and rhythm and twiddly bits - all together . . . .

OK - if PRESSED - I could probably play some sort of a Bass line that would be "correct", but without the rest of it,

the "context" would be missing and it would sound "Wooden" IYKWIM?

I'm pretty sure this is why most bands prefer to play AS A BAND in the studio -

but it is a nightmare for recording purposes. :roll:

The purely "MultiTrack" approach just doesn't do for me . . . .SURE - It'll be "correct", but devoid of any emotion

SO - I PLAY the whole thing on keyboard, and import the midi into Reaper . . . .

This first track will be the principal Keyboard Part - often Piano . . . .

I then duplicate the track a number of times - commensurate with how many instruments I have in mind.

I then start chiselling away at the midi, sometimes effectively creating keyboard splits, by filtering small ranges of notes,

sometimes taking out "ornaments" I have played in, and copying to a separate track to "voice" with a different instrument.

If I am going to have a Bass Instrument, I'll either extract it from the midi or play a new one in, if I'm feeling brave . . .

These extra tracks are then allocated different midi channels - so different VSTis can be applied . . .

I may then go into the Piano-roll and alter note lengths and velocities - to make it more "musical" or even draw-in

devices I'd not thought of in the original performance . . . .

The White-Note Glissandos on the Hammond in "Riders" were done this way -

I doubt I could have played them so accurately myself
:roll:

Vibrato and Leslie on/off were done by key-switching "notes" written in on the Piano Roll

Volume and Mute envelopes are created per track to aid arranging and to enhance expression where needed.

The whole-tone modulation towards the end, on NI "Session Horns" in "Riders" was simply done by judicious copy/paste of

the midi at that point - and then the rest of the track(s) suitable transposed in a similar way, to suit . . .

The Tempo slowdown was done in the Master Track - applying a ramp between two tempos over a certain time,

returning "àTempo" at the end of the ramp.

Once you get "Inside" - there is so much you can do . . . it's quite addictive . . .

The trick is to KNOW when to stop tinkering . . . :lol: :lol:

If it gets to the point where you are SICK of hearing it over and over - then it's time to back off, work on something else,

give it some SPACE - and return later . . . .
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Re: How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

Unread post by shelly0624 »

Thanks, Chris, for giving this topic a separate thread. I'm going to keep track of this one for future reference. Your music is far more complex than mine will EVER be, but there are things that all of us can learn. And the process is fascinating. (Kind of like a magician telling people how he does his tricks ;) ) I'm not recording yet but I will be at some point. As others share too, there will be other methods that will open things up as well. I need to find a good tutorial on Reaper..

Since I come from the prehistoric days of analog, microphones, and working with hardware ;) all of this is new and a little intimidating. When digital recording first came out, I had decided that it lacked ambience and "soul". It seemed "thin" even with sound processing, or maybe it was too much into it's infancy, or maybe the recording finesse was lacking when used by the only one I knew using digital. I don't think the software was anything like it is now. In retrospect the most significant thing actually lacking in analog was the tape hiss that even Dolby couldn't completely snuff out.. :lol: I'm still tempted to get a digital recorder with sliders and knobs when I'm ready to record, like the Zoom R16 16-track or something similar, but maybe reading the process will take some of the apprehension away. Besides my instrument now is digital (keyboard) and not acoustic guitar. So many adjustments.

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Re: How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

Unread post by parametric »

shelly0624 wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 7:06 pm
I need to find a good tutorial on Reaper..


Although Reaper6 is the latest version - I would definitely recommend you watch the "Reaper5 Explained" initially.

https://www.reaper.fm/videos.php

ALL that is described is good for Reaper6 . . . . Reaper6 has some enhancements besides, when you're further along .

When I first started with Reaper I came across Kenny's videos at https://www.groove3.com/ and I purchased some of his

packs from there. Groove3 carries videos for MANY packages (not just Reaper) by many experts including Kenny.

However, Kenny started to make his Reaper videos freely available on the CuckOS website, which is great . .
shelly0624 wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 7:06 pm
Since I come from the prehistoric days of analog, microphones, and working with hardware ;) all of this is new and a little intimidating. When digital recording first came out, I had decided that it lacked ambience and "soul". It seemed "thin" even with sound processing, or maybe it was too much into it's infancy, or maybe the recording finesse was lacking when used by the only one I knew using digital. I don't think the software was anything like it is now. In retrospect the most significant thing actually lacking in analog was the tape hiss that even Dolby couldn't completely snuff out.. :lol: I'm still tempted to get a digital recorder with sliders and knobs when I'm ready to record, like the Zoom R16 16-track or something similar, but maybe reading the process will take some of the apprehension away. Besides my instrument now is digital (keyboard) and not acoustic guitar. So many adjustments.
Digital is the way to go Shel - has been for along time now . . .

You CAN make convincing Lo-Fi using FX if you want to :wink: , but the principles you understood from Analog still hold good

in the digital world, apart from recording levels - where you could "bang-over" into the RED - and the resulting distortion

just sounded kind of "mellow" :lol: We became "tuned" to the sound - and largely liked it . . . .

With Digital you should NOT exceed 0db or it will Brick-Wall and you'll get a digital "Click".

Once you understand that and manage it - there are no problems . . . .

Chris
Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

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IT'S TRUE - "MONEY TALKS" - TO ME, IT MOSTLY SAYS "GOODBYE" ;-)
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Re: How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

Unread post by shelly0624 »

Thank you Chris.. as always! This, with everything else you've shared, will be saved. A little bit now I can use and even more in the future. Maybe I liked analog because it was so forgiving for voice. Smoothed things out a little. :D I'm already at a point where I'm going to need to record piano so I can practice singing to it. I can play with some flow finally, but trying to sing and play means I'm not practicing full-voice because I'm concentrating on playing. I also need to figure out if there is too much arpeggio.. (you don't know what is going to fight with the melody until you sing with it). I'm still learning to shift between chords quickly. If I don't start belting it out soon, I'm going to have a hard time getting my voice back.

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Re: How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

Unread post by Saul »

Excellent thread Chris! ((i)) ((i)) ((i))

I have moved on a little since we last broached the subject but only because I started doing the videos. Everything I play is still live and unedited straight into the mixer and then out to either Logic or Traktion. Sometimes though I just use the audio as is in Final Cut Pro.

My biggest mistake when starting all this was having the mic audio up way too high in the camera which resulted in a background hiss. It took me ages to figure out where it was coming from.

The first couple of videos were done recording the audio separately into the DAW and then syncing in Final Cut. I found eventually that it was not only much easier to record into the camera but also the audio was fine when using good quality mics.

I also have LoopCloud which I have been meaning to review for a while. So might start incorporating that into some recordings.
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Re: How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

Unread post by parametric »

Saul wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 10:40 pm
Excellent thread Chris! ((i)) ((i)) ((i))
Thanks Saul. I thought it would give us all a break from the present nightmare and get us back <On Topic>

(blimey - did I say that :lol: :lol: )
Saul wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 10:40 pm
I have moved on a little since we last broached the subject but only because I started doing the videos. Everything I play is still live and unedited straight into the mixer and then out to either Logic or Traktion. Sometimes though I just use the audio as is in Final Cut Pro.

My biggest mistake when starting all this was having the mic audio up way too high in the camera which resulted in a background hiss. It took me ages to figure out where it was coming from.

The first couple of videos were done recording the audio separately into the DAW and then syncing in Final Cut. I found eventually that it was not only much easier to record into the camera but also the audio was fine when using good quality mics.

I also have LoopCloud which I have been meaning to review for a while. So might start incorporating that into some recordings.
Mind you, in your case the MO is different when filming for a Review. It's not a performance in the usual sense,

but a demonstration - so what you do is absolutely fine for the purpose . . . .
((i))

Yeah, mike on camera is usually disappointing unless you are right on top of the subject.

Plus there is always the problem of recording the autofocus motor activity, if you're moving around . . .

Recording a gig this way is never good, getting the whole stage in shot - as you DON'T want the mics that far back -

picking up THE ROOM . . . .

Always better to beg a feed from the desk and use that . . . .

Problem is that you have to go to serious pro gear to get "Pro" inputs for serious Mics/Lines - on a Camera . . . .

I realise this is somewhat simpler with a DSLR - and I would say that your existing rig works VERY WELL.

It's ALWAYS going to be better if the mikes are NEAR what is being recorded - and if they are quality mics, so much the better.

Your videos are getting better and better . . . . (Y)

Chris
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Re: How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

Unread post by Rara »

I need to have an idea otherwise I am just noodling away with no direction.

I haven't been really creative for the last six years as if i have a huge
"writers block" or "phobia" of playing away on my keyboards.
which comes from me once being in my own little world
headphones on (which i don't like) then I'd be interrupted.

When I was interrupted and I realize there is someone else standing near me I literally go
through the roof (full on adrenaline fight or flight response) and the shock of realizing
someone is there means I have lost what I was doing. This happened so frequently I rarely
turn anything on now. If there is inspiration then music of some type will happen.
At the moment it seems as if the inspiration I had has left. It has become so bad
I can't remember how to play anything I made or learnt.

Sometimes I was so focused on what I was doing it would appear as if everything around
me disappeared. There were a few times I felt like I was on autopilot I improvise something
then realized what I did afterwards. luckily there was a tape recorder ready to go.

Sometime I'd have a clear picture of what I wanted and I'd have it all done there and then,
later go over it again and fine tune what ever I made

When I was creative sometimes the ideas spark from making sounds, then all of the sudden
there is a riff, from that a bass riff and so on. Sometimes I'd dream music and very
rarely quick enough to write it down before its gone.
Sometimes there's a picture or a feeling in my mind and try to paint it with sound.

I might use a tape recorder to record rough ideas on (because its instant on, no boot up or blue screens no windows)
then later transcribe them on to my pc. (Sometimes plain old paper will do)
after everything is done recorded the song using another
pc to record the session. My setup is a bit old school in its working. its almost like 1940/50's recording.
the whole lot done in one take if there is a mistake go back and start again.

Rara 0-)

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Re: How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

Unread post by shelly0624 »

Rara;
I hope you have privacy to work now. You might feel inspired if you have your own space and are assured you won't be bothered. Creative projects are like priming an old water pump. Inspiration will come naturally, as you already know. It does feel pretty intrusive to have someone in the same space when you are working on music .. if it's not a collaborative effort, it's pretty much impossible.

Performing songs, well, that's different, but composing music requires puzzle-solving, lots of concentration .. the right climate .. because songs are not just a clever manipulation of sound, they are a product of the soul and usually fairly complex. To find someone suddenly in your space would get on every nerve. Hope you can put a lock on the door.. :lol:

I went through a dry time for awhile because I write songs late at night. I thought I might be bothering people in the house, so I stopped for awhile even though I had done it for decades. (Weird I should be self-conscious all of a sudden). Then, my son mentioned how it was a special childhood memory to hear me sing and play late at night right before he went to sleep.
I'm a little more mindful of making noise now because I'm learning a new instrument and the sounds are not as pleasant sometimes .. but Andy built me a she-shed (a little cottage outside). I look forward to lots of quiet while I work on things .. probably painting too.

Your studio should be yours alone .. I've seen your awesome keyboards, at least the ones you've posted. That would be a playground. And I've heard your music, very rich. Maybe it's time to just have fun on those amazing machines with no expectations on yourself. Stuff you already know.. just wanting to encourage you to push through the dry time. We love hearing what you come up with..

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Re: How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

Unread post by Saul »

It would be a problem if I was going directly into the camera Chris but the mics go into the mixer first and that is then fed to the camera so I don't have any noise from the autofocus :)

I think doing video is the only way I will record anything these days. I just don't have the time or patience to sit down and "compose" something. That always feels very constricted to me. I don't like rules or form, I prefer to flow with the moment. Doesn't always work of course because as soon as I sit in front of the camera my fingers turn into great blocks of lead, fretboard feels like glue and my brain turns to jelly :lol:

It's getting better but always a work in progress. (Y)
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Re: How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

Unread post by phdwebdev »

My usual way of working is to start with a drum track and then play along on piano until I think I have something. It may only be a few bars long but I will then generally add a bass line and maybe strings before trying to extend the piece. I don’t worry about verse, verse, chorus, verse etc. and just keep adding ideas as I go along. I don’t worry about bum notes or mistakes, I just keep going until I run out of ideas. Bum notes are easily fixed in your sequencer.

Another inspiration is discovering a nice voice on the k/b. For instance, my Tyros 2 has a nice articulated acoustic guitar voice with the sliding over the frets effect. Genos and newer Tyros owners will laugh at it, but I like it so wanted to write something that featured the sound. So it’s just a case of finding a bossa drum beat, adding a few chords on elec. piano and then trying to figure out a melody of sorts for the guitar. You will soon feel where to bring in other instruments, strings, piano etc.

When adding other instruments I think it’s important to really imagine yourself playing that instrument. A common mistake is not allowing wind instruments when soloing to ‘breathe’. This ideally needs to be done at the playing stage, not something that is done in the DAW later on.

As for instrumentation, I’m the worlds worst for chucking everything in bar the kitchen sink so am still learning to go back over a piece and remove unnecessary parts. This makes for a better mix & listening experience.

One tip I would offer is not to automatically quantise everything you do as it will just sound too perfect without any realism.

When multi-tracking I tend to go over a section numerous times until it’s right, which is why I only mix on headphones or I’d drive the wife mad!

To anyone following this thread that hasn’t tried multitracking, for whatever reason, I think you should definitely give it a go as it opens up another world in making music. Once you have your basic midi parts down in a sequencer the world is your lobster! You can revisit the piece whenever you feel like it to add or change parts, extend the piece or even print out a score of what you’ve played.

Paul
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Re: How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

Unread post by Saul »

Rara, it sounds like what you need is a Roland Fantom XA, X or G. They all had this wonderful feature called 'Skipback Sampling'. What that means is the keyboard is always sampling everything you play from the moment you turn it on. The skipback sampling runs up to 45 seconds.

So any time inspiration strikes whilst you are playing you will never have lost it. Just hit the blue button and there it is, saved and ready to use in a song or assignable to pads or even re-sample it. It is such an incredibly useful tool and I really cannot understand why Roland dropped it from later keyboards.
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Re: How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

Unread post by parametric »

Rara wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:56 am
I need to have an idea otherwise I am just noodling away with no direction.
There's no shame in "noodling" . . . . . It's where I discover the little bits and pieces that eventually will come together

in one of my pieces . . . . Once I start - an hour goes by before I know it . . . .
Rara wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:56 am
I haven't been really creative for the last six years as if i have a huge
"writers block" or "phobia" of playing away on my keyboards.
which comes from me once being in my own little world
headphones on (which i don't like) then I'd be interrupted.
Writers-block - know it well. It's the reason I have a number of pieces ready to finish - just waiting for the words . . .

Once I'm in the mood and the moment - I'm usually quite productive, trouble is it goes away, and then I get fearful to TRY :o

Try explaining that?

Probably why I could never make a career of it . . . . I can't even meet my own deadlines (If I knew when THEY were) :roll:
Rara wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:56 am
When I was interrupted and I realize there is someone else standing near me I literally go
through the roof (full on adrenaline fight or flight response) and the shock of realizing
someone is there means I have lost what I was doing. This happened so frequently I rarely
turn anything on now. If there is inspiration then music of some type will happen.
At the moment it seems as if the inspiration I had has left. It has become so bad
I can't remember how to play anything I made or learnt.
I don't really mind passers-by as such. But I DO mind, when I'm actually trying to record - my vocals for instance . . .

As I've mentioned before in here, I have to record vocals in our conservatory at ~3am to avoid traffic noise - sirens etc.

Our house is right in the armpit of a T junction . . . Daytime noise is awful.

Thing is, Playing a keyboard DOES attract attention. There must be a growing number of people who have just never

seen it done up close - and it fascinates them in a Black-Art sort of a way . . . .
Rara wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:56 am
Sometimes I was so focused on what I was doing it would appear as if everything around
me disappeared. There were a few times I felt like I was on autopilot I improvise something
then realized what I did afterwards. luckily there was a tape recorder ready to go.

Sometime I'd have a clear picture of what I wanted and I'd have it all done there and then,
later go over it again and fine tune what ever I made
Yes, it does happen like that too. Tunnel vision so to speak . . . . People who know you should recognise that look,

and come back later :lol:

If you get an idea that REALLY grabs you - then it CAN take over - and rush you to the finishing tape . . . .
Rara wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:56 am
When I was creative sometimes the ideas spark from making sounds, then all of the sudden
there is a riff, from that a bass riff and so on. Sometimes I'd dream music and very
rarely quick enough to write it down before its gone.
Sometimes there's a picture or a feeling in my mind and try to paint it with sound.
Yeah, I've had that a few times too. First time, I just rolled over thinking "I'll remember that"

The following morning - it had GONE - never to return :(

Now, I have a pad and pencil - and will at least write down the chord sequence and the Bass notes . . .

My Fusion is only 2' away from the bed - I've even turned it on before now to CHECK what I've written down . . . .
Rara wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:56 am
I might use a tape recorder to record rough ideas on (because its instant on, no boot up or blue screens no windows)
then later transcribe them on to my pc. (Sometimes plain old paper will do)
after everything is done recorded the song using another
pc to record the session. My setup is a bit old school in its working. its almost like 1940/50's recording.
the whole lot done in one take if there is a mistake go back and start again.

Rara 0-)
I DID used to sneak into our Performance area at the Uni - after work sometimes - and open up the Steinway and furtively

record some of my Piano-based numbers on my little M-Audio MicroTrack, but there was always to much "ROOM" in them

to be useable in a MultiTrack, later . . . Still they were a useful reference if I found I had forgotten how to play them. :shock:

You do NEED to replay earlier stuff to keep it fresh in you mind. It's all too easy to forget . . . . :roll:

ATB

Chris
Last edited by parametric on Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: corrected typos
Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

NI Komplete11 Ultimate

Sector101 2x SYEMB06 / 4 x EXM-E3 128MB DRAM Module

BRAND NEW DSDD (720k) FLOPPY DISKS FOR SALE - http://www.yamahaforums.co.uk/forum/vie ... =22&t=9217

Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

IT'S TRUE - "MONEY TALKS" - TO ME, IT MOSTLY SAYS "GOODBYE" ;-)
http://www.chrisnmiller.co.uk/Chris

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Rara
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Re: How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

Unread post by Rara »

@Shelley

Thanks the the encouragement :-)
Late at night is when I am usually creative as well
often it can be the only time when when there is quiet with no interruptions.
Bass guitar on the other hand, apparently mine can be heard
through the wall of the room I'm in without it being plugged in to any thing :roll:
I would love a place to set my self up properly

I have had sometimes, some really spine chilling noodles which where
lost when I was interrupted, the kind of stuff that makes hair on
the back of the neck stand up. When I was interrupted in time like this
it was really quite frightening.

you mention painting, I should get back into my pictures I have many I have
not finished (CG pictures) I wonder how many others here are visually
inclined as well, they do go together well.

@Parametric

It is good to know I am not the only one, with things i described.
I have a huge backlog of unfinished songs. There has been a few times
I have made something sounding like it's going somewhere and then
abruptly I run out of steam and the creative train stops dead,
so begin repeating the last four bars and fade out.

@phdwebdev

"When adding other instruments I think it’s important to really imagine yourself playing
that instrument. A common mistake is not allowing wind instruments when soloing to ‘breathe’.
This ideally needs to be done at the playing stage, not something that is done in the DAW later on."

Good point this, and works very well. I have done this with a few songs I have done. When using
all electronic instruments it does add humanness to the music and adds to the emotion of
the song as well.

Rara 0-)

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Derek
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Re: How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

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There is one way/method for me.

It may be a chord sequence.

It may be a melody.

It may be a sound or a combination of sounds that inspire me.

It might be keyboards or guitar.

It will always be me messing about, as I do not read music (well I can, but veeeerrrryyyy slowly whilst running through EGBDF or FACE mnemonics! :) ).

Sometimes it is me taking a song I like, finding the chord sequence and then trying different arrangements of the chords, so I am not ripping the source song off (how the current song I am working on started off.....).

To maintain standards I do not progress everything. I record noodles when I have some time spare (noting VSTs used, external synth patches), then leave them. I then look at my "backlog" occasionally and decide what I will work on if I think can do something with it.
Regards
Derek Cook

http://www.carregddu.co.uk
http://www.echoes-music.co.uk
http://www.xfactory-librarians.co.uk
http://www.ex5tech.co.uk

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shelly0624
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Re: How do YOU go about creating YOUR Music?

Unread post by shelly0624 »

My songs always started with lyrics. I created the music to fit the words and the words could be modified then, to better fit the music.

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