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planning components

July 05, 2009 By: Brian Crawford Category: Techniques

I’d be interested to learn how other musicians plan out their sequences.

I personally follow a certain series of steps, as illustrated in the following screen capture taken from the song I’m currently working on (a thorough makeover of the trance song Globules):

  1. I create a MIDI track for the instrument that isn’t there yet, and color it a certain off-white color (to be recolored after I track the sequence).
  2. I lay out the track using a software synth (I’m not too picky about which one, as long as it generally sounds like the instrument I’m eventually going to use, so a lead will become a lead, a bassline will become a bassline, etc). I change the color of the track accordingly, but indicate that I’m going to be using that track as MIDI out.
  3. I choose the proper instrument from one of the synths in my rack, insert another track atop the track I’m using as MIDI out, and record the track.
  4. For those clips within tracks that differ from the norm I use a certain bright orange color, so that I know generally where I’m “mixing it up”. That way if I want to copy a clip to use elsewhere in the song, I’ll know which clips are pure and which ones have been altered.

so far this routine has worked pretty well for me.  Theoretically it allows me to plan out entire songs to be recorded without having to re-record many tracks.  Of course, songs rarely tend to end up sounding as they’ve been planned, so a lot of tweaking and re-recording does tend to occur – but at least I know where it’s taking place.

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