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markstyles last won the day on March 5 2019

markstyles had the most liked content!

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34 Excellent


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
  • Location
    New York, NY
  • Occupation
  • 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

4,385 profile views
  1. Be patient with yourself.. Take part of the melody, and repeat it with some melodic variation. Listen to pieces that are similar to or you aspire to. Get very analytical and study what they do. Find a midi file of something you like, play with it, mute the melody and write your own, notice the chord changes. rewrite some parts. You may never play this for anyone, OR you may come up with something great. Make enough changes, so you don't infringe on copyrights (usually doesn't matter on very old pieces) I didn't find any compositions by you, are they here?.. Post something, and see what response you get. People here are pretty decent. And the fastest way to learn is to 'expose yourself' Musically of course.
  2. I totally agree with you on the coffee.. I love to have a cup and work on music.. Oh yes..... the music..... Nice piece, clear smart arranging. I like the piece a lot - my only criticism is I would like to hear the drums a bit louder, horns EQ'd a tiny bit (shelve low end). A very old trick, is to listen your piece, and very gradually at a consistant speed lower the volume.Notice which instruments drop out first, and how long it takes each instrument to drop out. Go back, and adjust volumes (very gently).. You are never going to get them all to fade out together. Make mixes of each, then decide which works best. Great piece and arrangement
  3. Music is excellent.. Felt the music and video worked together well in this presidentation
  4. The music is VERY nice.. Things move along, and transition perfectly into the next seqment etc.. Lots of variety in techniques used, all excellently executed.. I don't really feel the video has anything to do with the emotion of the audio however (and the music is quite good).. Never the less, I urge you to keep up on the video's.. For the last couple of years, I've been reading as much and pondering the the psychological effect of different instruments/ instrument combinations/ or virtual instruments, with selection of harnonic overtones, (either additive synthesis or combining different VI's) combined with the motifs, and modal scales they use to effect the emotional state of the listener. You are obviously moving there also, whether it is conscious or subconcsious.. it is quite good. The harmonic overtones of different instruments combined together, do have emotional impact.. I work with an amount of virtual instruments (that don't exist in nature) combined with traditional Kontakt libraries.. I think you have discovered a fair amount of knowledge in this area. which makes your music stand out. Keep up the GREAT work Had a bit of a problem with playback. Safari on Mac Mohave (both latest versions) would not play at all. Worked better with Firefox. Clicking on link did not work, but opening link in new window, took me to Facebook and worked fine. Nice work.
  5. 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..
  6. 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.
  7. 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..
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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?
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. 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..
  15. 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.
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