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markstyles

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markstyles last won the day on July 4

markstyles had the most liked content!

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About markstyles

  • Rank
    Advanced Composer
  • Birthday 11/24/1948

Profile Information

  • Biography
    Been playing music since the age of 10, writing music since 12.. I took 'church music' lessons for a couple of years, then studied privately for 6 years. But most of my knowledge is self taught, reading, studying, on my own.. My greatest teachers were 16 track recorders from the 70's on. Then jumped on the DAW bandwagon, as soon as they came out. Worked for a few of those software companies.. I took Berklee online music courses. (concise, modular, and expensive). Songwriting, arranging, techniques for various popular styles.

    My experience had always been 3 minute pop tunes, In the last several years, I've aimed at larger ensembles, (using a lot of Virtual instrument synths, Kontakt, and UVI libraries). I inject a fair amount of synth instruments, which don't necessary have any organic instrument equivalent. The Beatles, and Brian Wilson have inspired me a lot. And as I've aged and with the internet, I've searched a wide variety of musical styles, learning what I can from various genres.
  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    New York, NY
  • Occupation
    Musician
  • Interests
    photography, art
  • Favorite Composers
    Lennon-McCartney, Brian Wilson. Bach
  • My Compositional Styles
    easy listening, quasi pop
  • Notation Software/Sequencers
    Logic Pro
  • Instruments Played
    kbds, computer

Recent Profile Visitors

3,850 profile views
  1. Hi Escapad: I like the 30's feel of the trumpet in there.. Very well done.. a couple of fine points to consider. You might consider a bass sound that has a bit more definition. I got the point of your longer and shorter bass notes (and that was cool) An overall shorter decay and release, of bass sound in verses will leave a bit more space in the song. I would make your sister a bit louder in places..(also roll off some of the bass on her voice) Also she might move up to the next higher harmony. or some lines she sings in a different harmony. The section where she sings alone, and you EQ your voice with a 'telephone' type sound is effective.. Because you have a lot of lyrics that move rather quickly, you want to get them as tight together as you can. I would move the vocal tracks adjacent on your DAW display, and zoom in. so you can 'massage' the vocal timing or her delivery to match yours. You have tighter more consistent rhythm in your vocal delivery. I would slide some of her words (use the visuals of zoomed in screen) to tighten her delivery with yours. Also you might consider she doesn't have to sing every word you do. The human brain likes consistency in the sound data it hears , but you also need surprise and variety, to keep you brain engaged.. It's a careful balance.. A good technique is to listen a lot to other songs, that are in a similar genre, or even has qualities that you might like to incorporate into your work. To analyze a piece, I use graph paper (small light blue squares) and different colored felt tip pens. I mark out each instrument and part, with a different color of where parts come in/drop out, fade up/down/. This gives me a better overview of how the piece was constructed. Or sometimes I'll just listen to the whole song, and figure out how many different rhythms a kick drum used etc. For years I worked at DJ remix label (Discount). For a while we were doing a lot of hi-NRG music. The rule back then for our mixes, every 4 bars had to have some kind of change.. These might be as simple has hi-hat getting more complex, snare drums having some ghost notes etc. Not sure of your recording process, (are these are all samples, some virtual instruments, drum machine etc?). I often find as I get a piece near completion. I might go back and pick out different patches instruments to get a more cohesive sound. My personal taste would be, that you pick a snare drum higher in pitch, perhaps moved earlier (1/64) to get a tighter sound. Hip hop jazz is not my genre, so you have to take in my comments, as what relates to your goals. etc. Good work though..
  2. markstyles

    Looking for feedback on composed pieces

    Hi Corglathan: I liked Beats me more. My comment for 317, is I would like to hear more variety in it. Writing Music is something, you spend a lifetime learning more about. Each piece you compose is an exploration. I try to listen all different types of music, I search out music that is similar to the genre I am currently working in. They give me ideas. Keep going, and congratulations.
  3. markstyles

    Fear No Fifth

    Thanx Glenn: I appreciate following the score. Reading scores is an invaluable teacher. A trick I used in Logic Pro was to create 'dummy tracks' that are for display only.. I might have the horns on two or horn three tracks, but a copy them all to a fourth track, that is for display, and not actually heard. Same with the drums, I might use 2 or more drum plug-ins, but copy all those tracks into one, just to see on score - this track is not attached to any virtual instrument. Sometimes I clean up slight 'smudge notes' (Hitting a note, and it's 2nd note for just a 1/64 note, for a more realistic sound). I copy that midi track to a nonsounding track, which is what I use for the score..
  4. markstyles

    Fear No Fifth

    Hi Glenn; It's really quite nice.. I'd love to see the score. It does sound pretty authentic to me (but jazz is an interest, not my particular area.. I might have liked the bass to 'wander' or walk more. All the solos and other parts, are really great.. The bass does get down to 'working it' toward 3:30. If it's pacing if there was more variety in the pattern, and rhythm it played, might be interesting.. (that's a minor point). I look forward to hearing more.. I would like to see the score, if it's not extra work. Especially in a piece like this, there is much to learn listening and following the score.
  5. markstyles

    Fire (Fire Fire)

    Hi JBegley - Very good work, Yes, you have a GREAT voice.. You're playing and riffs for each instruments are quite 'on target' If going for the James Bond feel, you got it. It sounds like you have a lot of experience in your composition. My comments are more stylistic tastes of mine, and you may feel totally not applicable for what you want to do. and these are 'fine points' You're soundstage is very uniform through out the piece. Everything has the same amount of reverb, and density of notes. etc. I might prefer a slightly drier soundstage, with some more 'in your face sounds'. Our single best tool is our ears and brain. To focus on only one aspect of the song at a time. As you learn to focus your attention more finely, you will begin to notice small details, not apparent to you before, which you can apply in your piece... And it's obvious, you've been doing some of this, consciously or subconsciously for a I sometimes like to have some instruments playing in a slightly different sound environment, or sound stage. I see music as a walk thru a garden, with some spotlights on certain aspects, that come up, and then fade into background.. Sort of like a tourguide pointing out certain singular highlights. A spot light is created, by simplifying some instruments for four bars, so one can stand out a bit. and this sound garden changes continually changes, morphed, thicker, thinner complexity of different instruments at certain times. The lone piano riff playing (Hit the Road Jack) might be a little cliche. you could alter the riff a bit, so as not to be so identify-able. Each instrument plays with about the same complexity thru the piece. Dropping out small sections in some instruments would give your music a bigger scope if some things come/go.. You could also accomplish this, if a couple of instruments got simpler. I often 'graph out' songs I really like. That is I get some high school graph paper (small squares). I graph out each instrument with a different colored felt tip pen. So that way I can see where each instrument comes in - drops out.. I also imply squiggly lines, to show more note intensity, of complexity.. You can make further details apparent, by employing your own kind of musical short hand.. You end up with a sort of art piece for each song. Or sometimes I will just focus on one instrument throat the piece.. Where it changes sound, effect used, notes get busier, or more sparse. a new different motif. etc. Again what you have done is quite accomplished, and you may feel these techniques might not apply for your style used in a song.. Keep up the GREAT work. I look forward to hearing more of your work.
  6. markstyles

    The Coastal Zone

    The Coastal Zone.. I played with developing/altering the melody, as the piece progressed, over the same chord progression, so it didn't sound too 'repeatable'.. At the end I did a little take on the Beatle's 'Hey Jude', that is repeating the same motif a number of times, but I added additional parts, made some alteration in motif, so hopefully it held the listener's interest. For some reason, the mp3 will play on Safari, or Firefox on my Mac, but you can click on the box below the 'play mp3 box' says The Coastal Zone 199. It's gonna download the mp3 (small) and use your computers mp3 play application. This never happened to me before - change made to website?
  7. markstyles

    You And I

    Another saying about music I've always loved, and it's so true for me.. I don't make music because I like to, I do it because I have to. I do love creating music (as obviously everyone here does).. But it is so engrained into me, at an almost primal level. I HAVE to do it.. Listening to your piece again.. Yes, it is VERY GOOD.. What I love about great music is - it gets you right away.. And on subsequent listens, you notice more details, you missed, which makes the piece even more dear.
  8. markstyles

    You And I

    Hi Bryla: I guess you are right. On a lot of sites, you can 'edit' your post again, and there is a 'delete' function.. But I guess there isn't at YC.. Oh well, sorry for the false info. Keep making music, it's good for you and good for the planet.
  9. markstyles

    This I Tell You

    Again very nice. I'd like to hear the electric guitar; it's too soft.. As in your other piece, I'd suggest, breaking up the electric piano to more variety, than just 1/4 note chords. LOVED the ending with tempo slow-down.. You might consider, cutting some sections of different instruments, so the sections are more defined, by instrument change. I use 'tracks view mode' and score page in Logic to see, where I have instruments coming in, and exiting. Sometimes, I will even color the different riffs in a track.. The visual data, can be helpful, in helping you vary up arrangement more. Don't get the point of the Startrek intro.. but that's just my opinion.. Lately I have been thinking about the 'psychology' of parts, individual motifs/riffs, and instruments chosen. For instance in The Beatles 'Norwegian Wood'.. the sitar just totally 'tops' off this song. I think your instrumentation choices are very good. Hope this is helpful
  10. markstyles

    You And I

    Excellent - you transitioned between different techniques so effortlessly and smoothly. It has a happy, smiley feel. Just what I need as I listen to the 'soul crushing' news on TV.. Played fine for me. I didn't get what you mean by your 2nd post - mistake.. You can go in and delete that 2nd post to avoid confusion..
  11. markstyles

    Where to begin

    It's very lovely, One thing you might consider is to alter bass part a bit.. Have it hold some whole notes here and there. Pacing (rhythm of notes), altering a part to have whole, half, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16ths. So with a handful of instruments, and they are altering around with the pacing of their delivery. You constantly hold the listener's attention.. ALSO, it is PERFECTLY fine the way it is. Sounds very Beatle's.. (which I consider a high complement).. Love the 'slide guitar' like instrument. Excellent parts.. Great chords too, their sophistication, matches the playing.. Quite good work.
  12. markstyles

    Does location effect your compositions?

    I think that what ever interests you, despite geography will have an effect.. Yes, easily location could play a part, But it requires consciousness. If I moved to Ireland but disliked jigs, I doubt it would have an effect. I live in NYC, birthplace of rap and hiphop. It has had very little effect on me. I do like some hiphop, but I would not write in that genre, and sometimes put a bit of that flavor. Sometimes we are not always 'conscious' of factors affecting us.. it might take some time for us to become aware, our viewpoint, or creative processes are changing, growing. I do think that one should take in new geographies, types, of music etc. It will help us to become more individualistic in our approach to music
  13. markstyles

    My Lead/Rhythm Guitar Tracks

    Hi LostSamurai. Not really in my genre. Monarcheon brings up a good point.. Having had to emulate many different styles of music over the years for clients. I first find released material, which has the important qualities of a genre I must emulate... I will sit and listen to the song for 10, 15, 20 times. As much as needed. On each pass, I write down notes, or impressions. I use graph paper and different colored felt tip pens.. I draw in different colors, where each instrument comes in, drops out. I also use hatch, marks, squiggles, thick, thin lines to also define, where a particular instrument does something different, new technique, changed riffs, modified riff. By the time I'm thru I have almost a piece of art. It can give you a good overview of how to create music. The more you use this technique, the better you become and realizing aspects of the music, you missed in earlier listens and can incorporate in your own work. You get a nice guitar sound.. Perhaps you might consider, changing settings, as you play guitar.. (switch pick-ups, use different stomp boxes, settings on them etc).. You do have variety in, just make those changes happen quicker.. A technique, which is also a good exercise, is to take say a guitar solo, riffs, from some other song, and force it to 'fit' into you piece. change, notes, timing, syncopation etc. If you modify it enough, it will sound different enough; listeners won't realize you 'nicked' it from somewhere. It's also a good technique to make you 'play outside the box. I always was a big fan of the Beatles (I got see them perform live in Boston in 1966).. As their techniques, and abilities got better, I lost interest in their first few recordings which were basically live performances. After Ron Howard's movie, which were their live performances. I went back, and started analyzing what they were doing.. They very often changed things, every four bars, constantly changing harmonies, in voices. guitar parts, drums, varying.. This gave them the ability to get a full varied sound with 4 parts.. Same with Gypsy Temple, guitar/singer is constantly doing something different. Of course some songs, build their charm on repetition, it can become hypnotic. Michael Jackson had quite a discussion with QJ when recording Billy Jean.. No one but MJ felt, the beginning should go on so long, before vocals came in.. He had planned on his vocal ticks, his dancing, and emotional dance moves to hold your interest in this section. So even though it was a long intro, he had enough different things going on, to hold your attention. You do have some good guitar changes in your pieces, consider upping the timing of when you make these changes.. I used to work for Disco-net (first DJ remix service).. One of their 'Commandments' was something had to change every 4 bars, if I didn't do that, my production was rejected, until I redid that. Sometimes changes were as simple as high-hat part changing. Other times they wanted bass played some 'ghost' notes. extra snare bits, etc. Some changes were very subtle, but when enough were made, they gave the production, more 'listening durability'. By that I mean, you want to create something that gets listener's attention on first listen. AND you also want to have things in it, which the listener will discover on repeated listenings. So you get him 'addicted' to your song. This let's the listener 'participate' in the song more. It draws the listener in more. The human brain's job is to take in 'data' and make sense out of it.. It will attempt to draw conclusions and make sense out of things that sometimes don't do this.. So the brain likes repetition, and it also likes variety.. Your job as a music creator is to create a sound, which is fulfilling, because of the repetition, but also has enough change in it, to keep the brain paying attention. There is an interesting book called 'This Is Your Brain On Music'. It covers subjects, of what happens when you listen to music.. There is a fair amount of ideas in there to ponder,
  14. Really nice ideas, and put together well. You totally pull of your intention of an epic journey back home. I liked how well you packed these different 'processes, musical techniques or devices' together so well, to make a cohesive whole.
  15. markstyles

    Tokyo Birthday Party!

    This is very driving and intense. Good. Everyone here is working in genre's that appeal to them, and do pieces for different reasons. Some are songs, some are experimentations working out an understanding of a theory, or style. For instance, many of Luis's pieces. Although some are very simple, he is working out a particular technique, so that he can understand, the process more. I have been working on using a large number of sounds, instruments to create a musical landscape. Others are working on more classical approaches, developing their voice leading etc. We that post in this particular forum, are working in a somewhat different genre, and have different goals than those in the classical forums. I find when I get back to working on a 'song, per say'.. not an experimentation. I often study the arrangements of pieces I like that inspire me. I use graph paper and map out where each instrument comes in, stops, changes etc. I use different colored felt tip markers. Depending on the feeling, or goal you have there are many techniques, A lot of music has changes happening every 2, 4, 8 bars. This keeps variety, but you also want continuity.. The brain finds pleasure in recognizing a pattern, if it changes it focuses it's attention to another changing aspect of the music. When that first pattern comes back in, the brain finds continuity and gratification.. Your drums do that well, they have a lot of variety, but also continuity.. I would like if the other instruments, had a bit more variety, and change. Of course this is IMYO (in my humble opinion). Ultimately each musician/composer writes for different reasons. their own pleasure, want to be commercial, want to jar or 'wake up people' or get a strong reaction. so only you can decide, what is right for you. I recently met an accomplished composer (who went to music college).. She writes 50 piece orchestral scores for film work.. All she could talk about is 'how she is able to manipulate emotions' thru her work. That what was drilled into her in. I do not suscribe to that very strictly, I like to create a space, and let the listener interpret it as they may. Recently I have moved into 'musical landscapes' with some sound design.. I'm not particularly interested in making a commercial song (did that for many years of my life, I write for my own pleasure/learning now).. at some point perhaps, after working out some processes I'll go back to trying to please an audience by combining new techniques I've figured out. Since you piece is so intense, it's pretty obvious what you are going for.. I hope this makes sense to you, Keep working.. I really like your drive and dedication to create the music you do.
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