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The ONE solution to 99% of composition issues Jun 15, 2024

"I have a catchy melody that works really well, but then I have no idea how to harmonize it. The chords I put with it all sound cliche and weak."

"I can come up with cool chords, but can't figure out a melody to go with it that doesn't sound cheesy..."

"My arrangements are all over the place. I...

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Re-learning How to Electronic Music... Jun 08, 2024

I'm taking some time off this summer (and working on other cool stuff for you). So, this and maybe a few other newsletters might be a bit shorter than usual for the next couple of months.

It's been a while since I've taken any scoring jobs. And since I've been mostly talking about foundational...

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How to make music with computers... Jun 01, 2024

 

I make a living in two primary ways.

  1. Playing a pipe organ.

  2. Making/releasing music with a computer.

But I have exactly zero formal training in music production, recording, mixing, all of that stuff I do for a living now...

The goal of this newsletter is to help you...

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Worse Composers Make More Music May 25, 2024

 

If we've spent years or even decades working on our musical skills and craft, sometimes we look down on others making music who may not have spent as much time learning as we have.

"He doesn't even know how to read music," or "she can't even play a REAL instrument." And yet, those people...

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New Composers Worry about the Wrong Things May 18, 2024
 
As a young, inexperienced composer, I remember going into my first composition lesson and asking a man who had studied with Gian Carlo Menotti, Scalero, and Samuel Barber "how do I make sure I end a piece in the same key signature I started in."
He paused, looked at me, and said, "why the...
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How to DRONE without Boring Everyone May 11, 2024
 
Drones are kinda boring, and that's kind of the point I guess.
There's a whole genre surrounding drones, and I have to admit, I love a tasty drone myself.
Wobbly tape drones. Buzzy synth drones. Low drones. High drones. Organ drones....
Yeah, I like drones.
But I also like harmony and...
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A.I. Just Changed Music... May 04, 2024
 
One reader of this newsletter, recently sent me this:
"What is the point in even trying to make music, if an AI is capable of creating in a few minutes a flawless Violin Concerto like one I just stumbled upon? It is 10 times better than anything I could dream to write."
"The questions...
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SIX RULES of Electronic Music May 02, 2024

 

Anyone can make electronic music. And that's awesome.

But also...ANYONE can make electronic music. So...there's a lot of confusion when it comes time to actually turn all those cool sounds into a track or arrangement or composition.

I know one thing about the internet: people love...

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How to Sequence without Boring Everyone Apr 20, 2024
 
I love a great sequence.
 
Lucky for me, a lot of electronic music heavily relies on sequencing. And like anything that's used a lot, sequences can start to feel stagnant, predictable, and cliché.
 
Today, we'll talk about some ways I've found to make my own sequences less...
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Failure is part of the process... Apr 13, 2024
 
Actor Michael Caine once told a story from his early days as an up and coming actor.
In rehearsal for a play, he was attempting to enter a scene through a doorway. There was a chair blocking his path.
He sheepishly leaned his head in and told the director "I'm sorry, I can't get in....
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How do I know when my music is FINISHED? Apr 06, 2024
When to Push Through and When to Pivot
 
One question I get pretty often is "how do I know when my music is finished?"
Or, "when do you know when you've hit that point where you start overthinking and making your piece worse."
Great questions.
In my own experience, "good enough" is a moving...
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How to NOT rip off your own music Mar 30, 2024
I've often sat down at the piano and improvised something I really like. But then a strange feeling will come over me as I realize....I've already done all of this before.
It can be a tricky balance between maintaining one's own musical voice/taste and simply rehashing all the ideas we've already...
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