It always starts with the MELODY
It always starts with a melody that enters into my head. It comes from out of nowhere, spontaneously. I have to drop everything I’m doing and immediately hum the melody into an audio recorder app in my phone before I forget. I used to be hesitant about doing that because people would be around me in this moment of inspiration and I was scared that they would think I’m crazy, but nowadays, I sing into my phone in front of people, in the metro, even at work. There are already so many crazy people out there, drug addicts, murderers, thieves, and rapists, if they want to write silly singing into a phone as the same crazy, then go ahead.
Also, sometimes this happens in the middle of the night when I’m dreaming. I have to force myself to wake up and get my phone to record the melody, because I know myself enough to know that I WILL forget. I can’t afford to risk losing the melody because I thought I would remember it for later. I never do.
Anyway, then after I get the melody established, I write it out on music score so I can figure out the technical details.
The technical music details, ugh…
So now I’ve established that this song is in Am. And I decided that 130 bpm is the best speed for the song. After experimenting with the chords in this scale, I decided that these chords are the best fit. It’s simple, and it works. I added a few inversions to change it up.
Export & Import Midi
Now I export this midi and import it into my favourite daw. I am still working on my sound engineering skills, so I use one of the pre-existing templates that I bought that I thought would work best for the song. This took a lot of experimenting. I got mine from www.dancemidisamples.com. I don’t use any of their compositions or arrangements, I only need to use their combination of samples. By samples, I mean individual notes, I do not use any of their riff, or arpeggios, I just use their individual notes and drum samples. The template is helpful because its pre mixed and mastered professionally and its royalty free!
I just import my midi notes, change the velocities, add a bit of swing, play around with their automation and fix other details. Easier said than done, this process took months.
Sent many revised versions to my non-musical friends
I have a secret soundcloud account for friends to casually listen. I got their feedback and realized that I had to fix up the timing. There is a part of the song that I had to put in 2/4, and the rest was 4/4.
Also, one feedback I got was that the melody didn’t make sense to them, (just the Part A section). After taking a month break from the song, I thought I understood what they were talking about. I decided to gradually introduce the melody gradually note by note in each loop. Thats why in the first few repeats you hear three notes, then more, then finally you hear ornamentations to embellish the melody. It’s progressive trance afterall, isn’t it? It was important for me that people got the melody, it is the centre of this song.
Sent it for Mixing and Mastering
Augusto put the professional polish and added a few touches to the song, after at least five revisions, we get this result: