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How to compose music in cheap and legit way

2012-08-17 12:36:48 by dem0lecule

NOTE: This is an open post. If you find/use any free/cheap software then you are free to share it on here! YOUR NAME WILL BE POSTED, WITH LINK TO YOUR PROFILE! Help me improve this post!

I know today generation of teenager/young-adult is all cyber pirates (nuff said!). However I would like to think of those poor bastards that made the software you guys pirated. Not fair, men! Let's do this in a legitimate and cheap way.

Next week, I'll do VSTi/DXi and tracker samples in legit way

UPDATED: Added 4th family of software, Scorewriter.

BIG thanks to Samulis, CamoShark and NimblekidX.

Thanks to WingoWinston, BenjaminTibbetts, skipspace and FightingSeraph.

Do you realize there are open-source/free software which as good as your pirated version of FL Studio XXL 10?

I'll go with 4 different families of music software:

1. Tracker
= Tracker itself is a type of 'vertical' sequencer that uses module files functions with monaural channel. (Src: wiki)

# Pro:
- Is the oldest audio software known to man (over 25 years) which means it has large support communities such as ModArchive, BitFellas, Modplug and Pouet (there are discussions for tracker stuff but just think this is a silly hangout haven...)
- Approach you with an all-in-one feeling. Such as a few attempt of 'wave drawer/manipulator', a sample editor, an instrument modifier and a mini mixer (we call it channels)
- Module file itself is a work of marvelous. It contains both notation, effects and samples. It represents the meaning of openness.

# Con:
- Must use with samples. Although there is a selection of MIDI instruments.
- Sample copyrights - if you ripped it from elsewhere... do not post on here!
- Steep learning curve - Don't expect you can learn it all in one day. Tip: find a key that is B#, be sharp my friends!
- Stupid workflows - why does the sample volume doesn't work within the channel I arranged???
- Bugs - can't export without custom command, mate. Oh wait, FU xm!

Trackers I recommend:
$ Free: OpenMPT, MilkyTracker, Schism Tracker, SunVox, Psycle.

$ Paid (cheap): Renoise

2. Sequencer
= Sequencer is a notation software that works as MIDI arrangement. (Src: wiki)

# Pro:
- Learning curve is excellent.
- Usually bundle with extra instruments (VSTi/DXi)
- All-in-one function - audio editor, mixer, instrument generator (limited)
- Decent & mainstream support community.

# Con:
- DAW discrimination between users. See SoundsOnline Forum & KVR. Grown people constantly compares DAWs like a bunch of 2 years old with fake jewelery.
- Rare free yet good programs.

Sequencers I recommend: Rosegarden, Reaper Free, Ardour, Anvil Studio, LMMS, Magix Music Maker MX Free, Presonus Studio One Free

3. Audio editor
= Audio editor: the kind of Swiss blade you need around your music studio to edit stuff.

# Pro:
- Record your guitar wannabe sounds in real time!
- All kinds of effect you can use on your audio.
- Usually mix within a loop sequencer.
- Some comes with sequencer-like function.
- Fancy spectrum/diagram which make your life easier in audio editing (of course if you really understand how stuff works!)

# Con:
- You will always need to use it beside a sequencer...
- Medium learning curve - Smart man learns in a day. Down man learns in a month...
- Small support community - ya on yar owna, brotha!

Audio editor I recommend: Audacity, Power Sound Editor, Wavosaur, WavePad Sound Editor.

4. Scorewriter:
= Scorewriter: is software used for creating sheet music. A scorewriter is to music notation what a word processor is to text. (Src: Wiki)

Finale NotePad

# Pro:
- human playback to make boring MIDI sound great and ability to easily visualize and prepare music for live performance.
- the amount of detail you can add to your scores make it nice
- there are a lot of plugins you can use to your niche
- you can make a score so refined it looks impressive vs. official scores
- in-depth manipulation of the score layout
- Bundled with Garritan Personal Orchestra

# Con:
- buggy and often has issues with liking to crash.
- playback system is just too tedious.
- clunky and unintuitive
- keyboard input is really competent
- Very hard to spot mistakes made by user.
- Unlike Sibelius, there is no auto corrector.
- awkward placed keyboard shortcut

Sibelius FIrst($199)

# Pro:
- Complex and compact workflow that gives fairly experienced user very precise & real time control over the score.
- Has a very useful feature calls Magnetic Layout; which semi-auto correct and cleanup overlapping mistakes run-on-mill that made by the user with quick and functional feature, much better and faster to work with than Finale.
- Big feature in layout design.
- Sibelius goes for a very slick category menu with hierarchic arrangement, such as the score is divided in groups in organic and intuitive ways.
- extremely competent such as coming with adjustable volume, reverb and panning for each tracks.

# Con:
- Very clunky interface with parts of the graphic such as score notation often overlapping.
- Auto corrector prevents Magnetic Layout users from having as much freedom in customization.
- doesn't come bundle unless you buy it as a bundled edition
- Full version costs $600!!!

Better information on here

2 be continue!


You must be logged in to comment on this post.


2012-08-17 12:46:29

LMMS IS AWESOME nom nom nom~!

dem0lecule responds:

Indeed it is bro. I just hate the laggy VSTi loading function.


2012-08-17 12:54:11

This is great!
not many people take so much time in helping the poor and unfortunate :P
but serious now, i bet this info will really help out for a lot of people ^^

dem0lecule responds:

You are welcome.

I went through all the pains of being a noob at music. From downloading pirated stuff to spending until out-of-pocket just for music. I don't want other to fall in the similar paths of mine again and I hope they won't do it.

I post 2-3 times of these stuff per year. It's also a legit reason (I am sounding like my platoon CO, everything should be legit!) for me to make a frontpage post.


2012-08-17 14:33:40

I personally use Finale (2011 atm) w/ EWQL + Audacity

Audacity is surprisingly good and I would definitely also recommend it. I could never part with Finale though... but Sound samples come and go.

Also I just realized you are definitely French. And I am more or less fluently bilingual, I should type to you in French more often lol.

(Updated ) dem0lecule responds:

Goddamn it! I forgot traditional notation program! Adding now! Thanks for reminding me.

French is actually my 2nd language. I'm a Vietnamese Canadian. But that's doesn't matter as long as we all understand each other conversations!

La phrase suivante est a droite... Cependant la phrase precedente est fausse!


2012-08-17 14:51:13

Reaper and Magix cost about 250-400 dollars, which is out of reach for who you're trying to help. However, SintheticVoice recommended Presonus Studio One.

(Updated ) dem0lecule responds:

The reason I list them because they both have free edition, which is good enough for starters. Paid edition is a waste of money.

Thanks for adding a new program.


2012-08-17 15:02:49

Thank you for drawing attention to this software. I'd like to also recommend Linux MultiMedia Studio.

dem0lecule responds:

No problem. I personally use LMMS as 3rd most used program (1st FL Studio & 2nd Renoise). The buggy VSTi loading function is the only thing that prevent me from liking it more. Lol one time all the mixer knobs disappeared after I load a Soundfonts plugin.

The amount of LMMS users on here make me really want to add extra stuff onto the post.


2012-08-17 15:44:26

Nice finally i can test out my skills with music! *probably going to be horrible...*

dem0lecule responds:

My oldest music is horrible. You are free to check out them (2008). In fact everyone's first creation is horrible.

All you need to do is practice, study and constantly explore your creativity. And one more critical thing: DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS. If you feel like asking bunch of stuff, just toss me tons of PM or post stuff on here! I am ready to reply everything to everyone.


2012-08-17 16:17:21

Music makes my head hurt :(

dem0lecule responds:

Music is a part of my life's blood vein. :)


2012-08-17 17:01:51

Mmm, i like OpenMPT for sketching out compositions but for actual production it sounds pretty bad. The provided instruments are quite painful on the ear. Helpful list!

(Updated ) dem0lecule responds:

It depends on what type of sample you want to get. 24 bit of WAV always sounds better than 8 bit. Also, what type of module file you would like to use.

In order of highest 2 lowest quality/difficulty-2-use: IT > XM > S3M > MOD.

Not just OpenMPT, most trackers' sample manager is odd as hell. Doesn't matter what sample you load, either you get blasted until deaf or you get no sound. Like I stated, tracker doesn't have a solid learning curve.

You ALWAYS have to set your sample to loop and cut-off in the instrument or else you will get over-dubbing sound in the channel notation.

If I find there are enough people who want to use tracker then I shall make a separate tutoring post for it.


2012-08-17 18:35:17

LMMS is a great place to start, it's extremely good for a free program. One of the first programs I've ever used. I also tried Milky Tracker once. I want to learn it, but it's just so complicated.

dem0lecule responds:

LMMS is a great alternative to FL Studio. It's one of my first programs too before I find Renoise and FL Studio.

Milky is a cool tracker. I'll teach you how to use it. You are a first person who want to use tracker. Good, if I get like 10 people then I shall make a post, just for how-to tracker!


2012-08-17 21:11:14

FL studio is what I mainly use now, but I'd love to learn how to use a tracker to make proper retro stuff. A proper tutorial would be great :D

dem0lecule responds:

Will do, I am writing a draft one on Gedit now.


2012-08-19 00:14:04

I'm pretty happy with the software I've got, but I'm sure this will help a lot of people out there! Thanks for the informative post. :D

dem0lecule responds:

No problem. :)


2012-08-20 11:30:59

Canaduhhhh, eh? What city?

dem0lecule responds:

Same as your. Torontonian, boy!


2012-08-20 11:34:23

BTW Magix is not allowed here. :(

dem0lecule responds:

Yes it does, as long as you don't use their sample then everything is fine.

If any motherfucker or mod fapper get to you and still say you aren't allow to use Magix. Tell them to talk to me and I'll shove their statement up their asses.


2012-08-22 20:40:09

Sidenote: FL has an option to export as pdf score.

VTSi side, DSK music is offering good things on the ROMplers side, also trancedrive is one of most complete one I've seen on the free market (but lacking on presets)

dem0lecule responds:

:) thanks for the info mate. I'm making a VSTi post now.