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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
  • 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

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  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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..
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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,
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. markstyles

    New Oldschool french hip hop song

    For a first rap song, the ideas are very good. The vocals are excellent, along with sound EFX, back ground vocals etc. I have no idea of how you created the music bed.. Hopefully it consists of individual tracks, instead of a 2 track stereo sample. But it needs, break downs, drop outs.. Just kick and scratching for a measure, the flute alone, or glock etc. The music remains too dense too much of the time.. Because like a lot of rap music, the music bed, really just consists of 4, 8 bars, repeating over and over, you need alter the mix of things, drop out etc. Even some 2 bar breaks of the riff alone, without other instruments.. A helpful tool, is too analyze pieces you like or are similar to the genre you are doing.. I use 'graph paper'.. (paper has horizontal and vertical lines, so there are squares). I listen to each instrument, and graph it out with lines, so I can see exactly where the bass plays, drops out, plays a different riff etc. Do this for each instrument.. I use colored felt tip pens, different colors for different instruments, different riffs.. You end up with a 'piece of art' in a way. The visuals of of the parts, is another way for the brain to understand, what someone did or what you have created. Then re-work your piece, to incorporate some of those ideas. It's a great way to expand, your musical tools and processes.
  12. markstyles

    Weird mix of things

    Yes, some good ideas. I agree with Ken320. The drummer is overplaying, and should be working more with the bass player to make the piece more cohesive.. LOVE the end downslide..
  13. I've used fewer tracks, and replaced with more melodic development this time.. It's sort of EZ listening. I don't know how to really define this genre. It's got a bit of several aspects in it. I continue to explore the vein of music for aging Flower Children. Think of it as Jefferson Airplane, 50 years later, minus Grace Slick, and a guitar, replaced with a couple of traditional woodwinds. There's still one or two imaginary 'synthesizer' instruments, along with musical sound EFX.. The last couple of pieces have taken significantly longer to compose.. Because I listen many, many times, and refine a part, or toss it out. I was originally somewhat bothered the composition process is so long. But when I finally get the 'part right' - it really feels right to me. Using untraditional instrument libraries, I find sometimes, if I select a new patch for a particular previously finished track, (The scratchy almost pan flute), I feel that changes to the notes, rhythm, etc, make it better, or more meaningful. Sometimes when I add an additional part, I have to go back and rewrite, some previous (keeper) tracks, to make everything 'fit' better.
  14. markstyles

    Lead Guitar - Cold Redemption

    I love the atmosphere and the feeling you created here.. haunting, a sort of musical 'indifference'.. odd mood. good work.
  15. markstyles

    The Blue Forest

    The Blue Forest Welcome to The Blue Forest.. No, it’s not sad. everything is just covered with a sheen of blue. Again, a lot of exploration, and re-doing of parts to make things ‘fit together’.. Once I got it to a certain state, I found it easier to delete a number of tracks, which really weren’t contributing much.. This still carries the essence of what I wanted to do. Actually better, because it is not so cluttered. It might seem strange, but I have been influenced a good amount by some of the postings here, because of the directness, and clarity and brevity of the musical statements. So although this piece apparently has nothing to do with ‘classical music’, I have gleaned some important lessons here. I was trying to create some ‘blue animal sounds’. but alas, ran out of patience, so we only have a few ‘bluebirds’ twittering here and there.. I replayed many of the tracks a few times. As I created more parts, I realized re-doing one of the earlier ones, ‘entertwined’. better.. Also a few times, I condensed 2 parts into 1 by just playing the important part of each.. A lot of thinning of sections, so that the desired motif at the moment wasn’t ‘fighting’ to be heard.. I seem to have to create an atmosphere or territory, before I can get down to the real meat of writing the melodic motifs.. It will be a good lesson for me to do a future piece, with a couple of musical motifs in mind first, and then design and build a chord structure around it, or even just add counterpoint/harmonic lines. Then the chordal structure will become evident. What has been insightful for me, is that the way I make music is kind of the way I have lived my life.. Wandered a round a bit, before, I got real clear about what it is I wanted to do.. My compositional process of late has been the one I read Prince used.. He repeatedly over-dubbed and ‘re-dubbed’ parts.. So that as I added a new part, say a flute, I would go back and re-do other parts to make the flute part ‘fit’ better. Motifs were created, and then re-enforced this way.. These exploratory pieces, start with only a determined and well worked out chord progression. With enough complex chords, to ‘open up’ the harmonic possibilities as the piece develops.. Often later I will remove instruments sticking closely to the original chord structure.. Additional melodies and lines, will then alter the chordal implications. I like the effect, plus it is a great challenge to alter parts to give the piece ‘coherence’.. I think that like life, when we refine, reprocess, things we create complexity (sometimes too much).. Since I am the only one, performing, it is somewhat hard to be ‘spontaneous’. Yet I attempt to by playing sever ad-lib’d parts at the end of session.. The next day. I listen to them, and glean out anything useful, or which moves the piece to new, previously unthought of territory. I was recently in a ‘music workshop therapy group’. Instead of traditional psychiatric talking therapy.. we were a group of eight musicians. There were a large number of percussion instruments available, with some chromatic instruments, including individual pitched tuning fork type hand devices. The beauty of them were they all were notes of the Dorian mode.. (so you could do no harmonic damage). For almost all of us, percussion was not our instrument.. The moderator played guitar, and we were encouraged to use the percussion and our voices. We weren’t trying to create a performance, there was no melodic right of wrong, it was more about expressing emotion. It was very interesting and therapeutic. Being seasoned musicians (all in our 60’s or over). We did listen and respond to each other. I found it challenging to depend and co-operate with 7 other strangers.