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markstyles last won the day on January 30

markstyles had the most liked content!

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About markstyles

  • Rank
    Intermediate 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

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  1. Why do you compose?

    I compose music, partly because I love to do it, but also I HAVE to do it.. It just wants to come out of me.. Occasionally when I write music, I get into a 'zone' where I feel the music is coming 'thru me'. I become a 'conduit' for some energy that is a vague feeling, and I translate it into notes.. Keith Richards summed it up very well, when asked, how he could write so many great rock songs. His reply, 'I receive - I transmit'. I was shy and awkward as a kid. My first ambition was I wanted to be a poet at the age of 8.. We got a Hammond Chord organ when i was 10, then two years later a Hammond A100 organ. (like a Hammond B3, with grillwork, instead of the four legs.. That with a Leslie speaker, was and continues to be one of the most addicting sounds I have ever heard. I started modifying my poetry into songs. And at 12, had a local band doing a couple of songs I wrote. At 14 I joined a band, several thru the years. We were very successful, and a lot of opportunities opened up for me.. By age 30 I quit bands, just to work in recording studios, and do my own material. I always did pop, rock music. I bought several 2nd hand instruments, and learned them well enough to play the various parts to my demo tapes. What I loved about composing and recording is I could create my own 'reality' and I was in total control of it. I jumped on the synthesizer craze by late 60's.. Having bought an ARP 2600 synthesizer, made me very in demand at Bostons 3 multi-track studios. I had access to all of them, to use when the studio was not booked. I spent 1000's of hours recording. There is nothing like playing something, then hearing it back immediately to teach you.. Music (and computers has always been my passion).. The first music I did was on Mainframe computers. Bought the first home computer, and wrote some simple melody type generator programs in basic.. Of course they were about useless. But it was fascinating.. In recording studios, I also engineered, head arranged bands, and produced, other peoples material, plus my own. I love creating some music, then jamming on it, exploring all the possibilities, of where it can go.. Then refining it. Creating a mood or atmosphere. Music serves many purposes. it calms, it excites, it creates a mood. it makes a statement. Of course, I go thru the range of emotions when writing.. (what the hell am I doing?, this is garbage, I am brilliant. etc) Mostly I love the process, of exploring, finding a kernel of an idea, and flushing it out, when to jettison a musical idea. I made a decent living doing music, supported myself the majority of my life just doing it music. Didn't get rich or famous, (but that was never my goal.. I did it for the joy of creating.. Like many musicians I've met, I also loved art, writing, poetry and music. I've met a number of musicians who were quite good at art too.. The reward seems to be 'creative expression'.. There is nothing greater, than being in the middle of writing something great, refining it. Then it is done. And you have to start over on a new piece. Like some musicians I've met, music came first, Loves, relationships, always took 2nd place. Most of my Lovers, left me, because they were always going to be 2nd in my life.. As I've aged, I realize that there ae all kinds of musicians, who treat it as a sometimes pastime, to an all addicting activity. Indeed as I've aged. I've realized I had to get a good perspective on it. You have to keep a roof over your head, make sound business decisions, in order to keep making music. Two strokes, lessening my finger dexterity, but that led to a greater thing. focusing on arranging and composition even more.. Which I am very grateful. Music brings great joy to many people, whether they create it, or listen to it. Any form of creative expression is necessary for the human soul.. I continually try to challenge myself and learn new things about music.. You can learn 3 chords on a guitar and be creating music in 15 minutes, and easily spend the rest of your life refining and perfecting it. For a while I went to mental health counseling that focused on playing music live.. 30 minutes of playing and singing Beatles songs (in my barely adequate voice) was a great mood enhancer. Music is one of the greatest, anti-depressesnt anti anxiety tools that exist. I've also come to realize that other non - musicians can be very creative, which makes them artists in their own right. We may never completely understand why music affects us the way it does. There is a free course at Coursera.org. called 'Biology as music".. It is rather dry, but presents a very valid argument, that the human bod seemed designed to crate and use music. It engages more of the brain than many activities. Even though being a musician is not an easy occupation, in many ways, it seems the most suited to me as a person.
  2. Glue

    Well it's intense for sure. Technically I would bring the drums up level wise.. Playing is very well executed.. With just bass, guitar, drums, it's imperative that each 'player' is a virtuoso. Which you are. Let us hear, how great the drummer really is. I think it's the bass, sounds like you have the bass strings ringing out? Making for a mushiness.. Now this might be exactly what you intended, and 'death metal' lovers might totally love it too. You might go back to the guitar sound used at the beginning, too, your choice. Your guitar work is brilliant, and it's got a fuzzed gutsy sound, but it is very clear what it is playing. The Bass or low guitar strings ringing out creating discord of course is your decision as a composer/performer. Loved the ending.. You might consider putting a complete stop in the piece once or twice more.
  3. I was already in a band (14 years old).. I did get to see the Beatles live in 1966 in Boston. And I met and spoke to John Lennon for 90 seconds in a small restaurant in Boston in the mid 70's. Yes the Beatles were a profound impact on me.. And George Martin's use of orchestra and other instruments to widen the scope of their music, was the path I followed for many years.. Only in the last 8 years did I really begin to closely study how Beatles songs were created. And yes, Ringo's drumming, really changed with Revolver on. He left a lot of space for the brilliance of the rest of music. Beatles rarely ever had any 'wasted' notes in their music. Everything was there for some purpose. Amazing what these untrained musicians did. Of course, years of doing good covers, taught them all they needed to know. Keep up the great work, I will look out for your posts now.
  4. Fire in Heaven (Heavy metal)

    I see Monarcheon's point about the 'downtime'.. I don't hear a lot in the drums.. Hear the splash (somewhat over-used, and a snare).. Some complex drumming would fill this piece out quite nicely, and will fill in for the downtime.. In fact, I think it would make it very interesting. When you have a three piece band, Each member has to be outstanding at their instrument, when to play, when to lay out, how full/sparse.. It's a constant juggling act. You let the focus of activity move around between the three players, and you've really got something. The guitar is great.. Bass strong too. Just stronger, in your face drums, with kick, toms, hat, snare. The splash is a bit overwhelming. Very nice composition..
  5. Little Italy

    Very nice. The percussion is excellent. Nice different sections. I'd like to hear your voice a bit louder, and a bit brighter to homogenize with the music. Don't be afraid to let you voice stand in the spotlight.. The ear will always ground itself with the human voice, as long as it's good. and your voice is good. regardless of how outstanding the music may be.. The music is excellent too
  6. Exposition

    Quite a great piece. I love it.. A bit hard to classify; I love it. It covers some great territory. excellent. It flows seamlessly and with ease into different parts. Excellent..
  7. Seismic Melody

    Man you are a GREAT guitarist.. yes.. Like Luis, I love when the lead guitarist get's a bit twisted, and let's it get a 'bit sour or a bit'. It adds to the emotion.. Lots of nice guitar techniques.. Fine.
  8. Revealing My Conviction

    Strong work. Yes, a get a feeling of guilt or remorse from it. Great as the lead guitar is, he is overpowering, the drumming, and other parts. All the other parts sound quite solid and well done too.. Let the spotlight shine on them too.
  9. It's Then or That

    Yes, great. The walking bass, gets me a little dizzy at first, but does set the mood. Excellent break downs, Beginning Part seems like 'controlled chaos, or madness'.. I totally love when you get into the fuller orchestration.. A mastery of choice of chords also.. Well done.
  10. Two pieces for violin and piano

    Take one; yes I like it, find it interesting. Take two - a bit harder on first listen. I must admit the Phrygian mode is not the most comforting of modal scales for me.. On the 3rd listen, I was adjusting to it more, and rather liking both piece considerably more (more than just appreciating it, for the knowledge it took for you to create it). My ear (or music appreciation part of the brain) can adapt more quickly more quickly now. I remember as a younger man, trying to expand my musical horizons. Try as I might, I could not get to like Elvis Costello's music.. He was pretty big in the 70's. , I felt I 'needed to like it' because he was mainstream in the music field I was working in. There were whole genres of music, which just sounded 'alien or uncomfortable' to me, when I was young.. In high school and college, I took some 'music appreciation courses'.. Yes they were a lot more fun than trigonometry. AND they did 'open my mind and heart' to be willing to listen and let myself 'like' something, I was previously 'close-minded to'. Being a senior citizen now, I have outgrown some types of music, that greatly excited me when young. And I do appreciate and 'like sometimes a lot' music that is different from what I have been previously aware of. Cause I want to hear more complex musical ideas, or harmonic movement. I applaud you in your seemingly never ending quest to explore new and different concepts and precepts of music. Thank you..
  11. A very nice piece.. Might lend itself very well to acoustic guitar lead and and acoustic rhythm guitar .. Or the lead sound a little smoother muffled jazz guitar sound.. I don't care for the distortion in the rhythm guitar; it distracts from the piece. Compositionally, harmonically, melodically - very fine though. I've been listening and reading about the Beatles recordings a lot lately (my favorite band).. One thing that took a while for me to realize was how Ringo started to play drum parts more orchestrally, in their later songs. Fills, Cymbals, sometimes just clapping on his thighs for certain songs. You might consider a different approach for the drums, to be more symbiotic with the guitar notes. I like how you bought the drums, in/out. also the build up/down of arrangement, very professional. Loved the little fingerings you did on lead guitar You have a very delicate and beautiful melody, You could also make another section, and do this like a prog-rock songs with a live electric band sound too.. Regarding the video.. I understand the the using of programs like that, rather than getting into heavy video ending.. This sort of video is interest for a bit, sort of video moving wall paper.. If you perhaps superimpose some somewhat transparent still items, fading in/out.. or slow panning of another object over it. In short, I'd like to see a more complex, and human organic quality to it. because your music is very organic, with the classical feel. I know how much work it is too make videos.. I haven't even attempted to it. A nice video can make meld with music and make a 'thing' in itself. Keep the videos, see if you can find something else to incorporate into it. If your music was all synths, with oblique melodies, parts etc. this type of video would fit better with it. But keep it up. AND what your video person did do is good. I don't mean to detract from his work.
  12. Improvisation on ‘In The Air Tonight’ I always wanted to do a cover of Phil Collins ‘In The Air Tonight’.. I think it is an extremely powerful sounding song. It has a haunting quality to it, it almost sounds like it might be a ‘holy’ song. Part of that is a low drone of A through out the song.. It ‘holds’ the piece. As I worked with the song, I realized how important the quality of Phil Collin’s voice and the lyrics were to the piece.. He has a rather plain, slightly nasal quality. But it adds to the emotion. It is an ‘everyday voice, an ‘anybody’s voice’.. He also sings the same melodic phrase quite a bit, which adds to it’s hypnotic quality. Without the lyrics and his voice, the melody wasn’t as attention grabbing. So I took considerable leeway with the melody and let a few instruments take turns sharing and improvising on the melody. I also continued to explore the avenue of sound design. Many of the instruments at the bottom of the score are only one staff, because they really don’t have a real designated pitch center.. And I could never fit all those staffs on one page. I searched for, created, and modified interesting (to me) sound patches, from Kontakt libraries, UVI Libraries, and a number of virtual instruments. I also layered some of the parts, with 2 or 3 different patches, at softer volumes, to create a richer tapestry on the one track. I tried to juxtapose a few traditional instruments, with totally ‘unreal’ instruments, and sound collages which I created. I did a fair amount of audio processing, using various audio mutation plug-ins to change the sounds and instruments into something different. I am trying to use created sound/ sound collage as an instrument in itself. It is more the strange harmonics, and processed rhythms to create an emotion. The Acoustic Guitar picking part is a function of the ‘Sunbird Guitar’ by UVI. It plays a picking pattern to blocked chords, hence I could not notate it properly.. Like wise there are a couple of patches, which have soft arpeggios build in (some of the UVI libraries) so without the MIDI out, there is not a proper way to notate them.. (maybe in next life, I’ll have perfect pitch).. This and the last few pieces I’ve done, are more an exploration in an area I want to explore. Eventually I hope to compose a huge piece with pieces more traditional (for me) and more exploratory.
  13. Neo-baroque suite

    Very nice.. I marvel at what you accomplish with grace, and not an over abundance of notes. Thanx for the chords too. it helps me to understand what is happening. I start a composition with blocked piano chords, in my DAW, which is removed/muted after a few tracks.. As I add individual parts, I notice I change the original chords. The chords become more complex, and sometimes mutate into a related, but different chord.. Thanx
  14. When I get writers block.. I to a 'cover' of a song.. Sometimes I start the cover.. Throw out the melody, embellish the chords a bit (you can't copyright chord progressions). and I go from there. So I get to learn something knew by exploring another's work.. I of course mutate it into my own. Sometimes I search online for chord progressions, and write a piece using them. Especially using complex chords I wouldn't come up with on my own. A few times years ago.. I took to throwing dice to create a chord progression (had to do a bit of altering).. It's an old technique some one came up with long ago. Even if I have writers block, I write something. Even dribble, can be modified into something better later on The Beatles wrote what they called 'bits'.. That is they were song ideas, a verse part, a chorus, a bridge. and just saved that, not having the inspiration to finish the song. Later they would use these tidbit to fill in on their or each others song, when the song got stuck. The Abbey Road Medley on Side II is that. Lennon was losing interest in the whole project.. His contribution to the medley were just song parts, McCartney and George Martin very laboriously strung them together to create a fitting final piece for the Beatles career. I heard one outtake of John Lennon's off a 'basement tape'. He sang the same 4 bar phrase, in every way imaginable.. changing the melody, phrasing, etc. until he settled on the proper way.
  15. Paul McCartney wrote 'Yesterday' that way.. Although It was called 'Scramble Eggs' for a while cause he didn't have the lyrics.. He constantly played the melody for everyone he know. Cause he wasn't sure if he came up with it, or had just heard it before.. No one could identify it. George Harrison, and Lennon got sued, (and lost) for 'unconscious plagiarism'.. Harrison had to pay a hefty fine.. Lennon recorded an album of old rock covers, that the publisher owned all the rights too. Worked out well, Lennon got a classic album, the Publisher made a ton of money because a 'Beatle' had done versions of all these great rocker tunes from late 50's - 60's. I hear Tv ads for cable stations, were it really feels like conscious rip-offs of earlier melodies. Because it's local cable, I doubt the copyright holders, ever got to hear it. One of John Legend's earliest hit was a 'direct ripoff' of a 60's song by 'The Classics IV'. Of course Sony probably owned the publishers to the earlier song. My attitude is, as long as it is not a obvious rip-off. use it. if it ever becomes an issue.. A publisher is not going to spend the lawyer and court costs, to wheedle a small amount out of you. Having a strong mind, and 59 years of musical memory.. I can point out a lot of situations, where a melody fragment, resembles (sometimes closely) to something earlier.. Truth is there are really only certain combinations of notes which work well and are membeable l with a certain chord progression.. so there is always going to be similarities, even close ones, cropping up.