Fate of Io
Titan City under Martial Law
2005/06/07 13:44:38 PDT by Stix [0/49]
Awards: 7 from Dev
[Stix's avatar]

One of my many collections. I was reading the plotline..and figured this is a good song for Titan when Dell and Syne first arrive and talk to the people, hearing about their greivances...or just about any tense situation if you want to use it. (P.S.I'm sorry, but all of my songs are midi since I have no capabilities of making them otherwise.. if this somehow makes it harder to use them, I will submit no more songs.)

2005/06/07 14:13:16 PDT by Temporal [manager]
[Temporal's avatar]

MIDI is actually easier for us to use in the end... but it's harder for people to review your music because MIDI sounds different on different systems. In fact, on most systems, it sounds rather bad. (Dev, you should write a how-to on converting MIDI to MP3.)

Despite the format, I do think both of your submissions so far are pretty good. But, I'll leave the in-depth reviews to Dev.

2005/06/07 14:30:06 PDT by Stix [0/49]
[Stix's avatar]

I've been listening to my collection again... (literally, these are years old..I'm surprised my disk hasn't disintergrated into a million pieces)... and I think I've got one for Trosene... I'm reading the entire plot because for me, it's good to know what's going on in the game before I choose a music... So far, I haven't been able to write a single song. My creativity has gone out of me..and most of it that is left is devoted to hopefully my future job - writing stories.

Anyway - thank you. You don't know how many times I've kept coming back here to see if you've checked it out yet. I appreciate the feedback!

2005/06/07 16:04:51 PDT by Dev [manager]
[Dev's avatar]

I'll put most of my commentary here (as opposed to your other recent submission).

My first reaction to both pieces was, wow, these are well-arranged. Your choices for instrumentation are a little nonstandard (not that anyone just casually listening with a GM bank could tell), but you use each one appropriately, with varying degrees prominence and function. This is very good. This piece, for example, makes good use of a dominant pedal that never resolves to build tension, that's explicit in the piano but reinforced through your harmonic choices. Having said that, I think the driving percussion and general tone of this one is too "imminent" for any location music ... it's an odd mix of reflection and anticipation. Not sure where else it would fit.

My main gripe for both pieces is that they lack clear direction melodically, and to a lesser extent, harmonically (you at least manage to establish a clear harmonic progression here). My advice would be, when you next feel inspired to write, let your initial idea lead you either into patterns of harmonics, or into a melody that you can develop. Right now, it just seems like--even when you find a harmonic progression you like--you don't go much further and simply improvise other parts over it. This isn't always bad, but it steals coherence from the overall work.

Hopefully those comments will help, and realize I'm being pretty critical. My opinion is that your work shows a lot of promise; even right now, without any improvement, you'd probably be able to do an excellent job at arranging the thematic material that others (including myself) are working on if you aren't feeling particularly inspired yourself. The project is a collaborative effort, so don't be afraid to "hitchhike" off of others' work.

Now, about MIDI: I personally prefer to see this format being used for submissions. I want to be clear that contributors should also be reviewing the music, not just how it happens to sound (though execution is an important part of the final product). MIDI is excellent, because I can go back and look to see what exact notes you decided to use, or see what it might sound like with a piano instead of a guitar, etc. The problem, as Temp said, is that the sample quality varies from system to system. Unfortunately, converting MIDI into a wav format is not particularly easy if you don't have the hardware to do it. There are also several software solutions to try, but in my opinion, none of them do a particularly good job of it. I'm fine with doing most of this myself, in the end; it might be a good idea to keep the "feel" of the music generally consistent anyway... but this is another topic I'll bring up elsewhere at some point. Bottom line: MIDI is perfectly acceptable.

2005/06/07 16:17:35 PDT by Stix [0/49]
[Stix's avatar]

Thanks. I know most of my stuff doesn't go anywhere. It basically tells a story that doesn't end... you can kind of listen to it over and over - except I eventually get sick of it. Heh. The longest songs I have are really a bunch of medleys that came to me all at once. I'm 18 years old..I wrote these when I was 13 or 14.. and a great deal of my best stuff was done at that time, even if it isn't suitable.

I think I know what your saying, too: "It sounds good, but it meanders."

I'm almost the same way with my stories... only my stories turn out better (I hope). I think the real challenge I have with working with others music is trying to think of something that *I* could stand listening to loop over and over as I play a game. When I wrote before, it never occured to me that i'd find this place and want to contribute! I really do! I think this is a great way to feel good about yourself.

Back to the point, I really wasn't expecting an "omfg this is the greatest thing EVAR!" nor a "this is terrible" (A little bit, though... I have a bad habit of expecting the worse out of any situation)... but this is in the middle, maybe even closer to "greatest thing EVAR" but not there.

This song right here I can work with... I think I know what you're talking about. If I can cut the percussion and make it slower so it sounds like a kind of eerie thing.. maybe that's doable.

Or maybe I could read through the story and find a place for it... I'm quite willing to do either one. But if fixing it means going back and writing it again (yay for copy-paste), then I will.

Thank you so much for putting up with me (ha, ha).

2005/06/14 20:03:01 PDT by mystik3eb [0/43]
[mystik3eb's avatar]

My thoughts are that from :36 - 1:06 (either wholly with or without percussion) sounds like it could fit at Pylos' desert eumonetics laboratories in Part III...a little bit, more than Titan City at least.

2005/06/15 08:44:08 PDT by Aetrus [0/15]

Converting MIDI to wav is not hard. You're all looking at it the wrong way. MIDI is simply a standard agreed upon to bring all music related products together. It was originally just a protocol invented in 1983-ish for connecting instruments together, and allowing them to 'speak' to one another, and control one another. It's more like a network protocol then a musical generator. The majority of the commands sent over this network were of course, note on commands followed by note value, velocity, aftertouch, modulation routings...etc. It wasn't until 1990-ish that they added General MIDI which is the standard wave table set that we all know and hate <cough> love. :)

So to convert a midi file to a wave file you have to specify which tone you want to use for what 'instrument'. In the olden days that meant what tone generator, or synthesizer you wanted. So for a string sound you might use a Roland synth, or some other tone box. This was all connected via 5 pin DIN connectors. They were used because that was the standard power cable in Europe at the time, and the cables, and jacks were readily available. (they only use 3 pins)

(argh I'm not explaining this very well)

MIDI is only a map. You need to point it to where you want it to go. The sounds we associate with midi are only intended as place holders. The original idea was to use it when composing so you could let your client hear the basic idea and comment on that instead of getting the band together, or the orchestra and then having the client say he doesn't like the arrangement! (what a huge waste of time)

So you all need a source of sounds that you like to use. Unfortunately these are generally expensive collections. The usual aproach is to buy a sampler program that will play back samples of the instruments themselves with the midi notes pointing to that instrument. One popular program is Tascam's Gigasampler. You can run an entire virtual orchestra using this. The basic program costs about $100, but and you can get decent libraries from about that on up to thousands of dollars. They have one orchestral collection that is well over 100 gigabytes of samples. Think of an entire orchestra with all the subtleties built into the sampling engine. You hear that particular collection alot more than you might think. Big movies use it all the time as well as real orchestras.

I'll clarify this later. I just woke up so nyaaah!!! :p

2005/06/15 11:15:21 PDT by Stix [0/49]
[Stix's avatar]

Wow! Um, I'll have to think about that. I downloaded Anvil Studios (This Sound placeholder) because A) It was free and B) I have no money, and C) It was free. XP.

Buying all that other stuff will probably end up taking time...

2005/06/15 11:53:06 PDT by Temporal [manager]
[Temporal's avatar]

Uhm... Aetrus' post made it sound way more complicated than it is.

Most sound cards will allow you to record the MIDI output of the card in the same way that you'd record the microphone input. All you really need to do is run a program that can record WAV files and have it recording as you play your MIDI.

2005/06/15 12:21:05 PDT by Stix [0/49]
[Stix's avatar]

Yay! No, I understood it..but it certainly was a lot to read...

2005/06/15 14:05:08 PDT by mystik3eb [0/43]
[mystik3eb's avatar]

I rather enjoy Aetrus' posts, makes me feel I'm taking an online course. He's quite the descriptive one, ain't he? =p

I can't figure out how to use Dev's Jazz-something-majiger program, so I'll try Anvil again...maybe I'm just retarded and can't figure out these programs very well...or maybe my laptop just isn't the best machine to make music on, but I'll think of something...I want to be able to save my projects!

2005/06/16 10:15:02 PDT by Aetrus [0/15]

Well yes Temp, but all you're doing there is recording the output. If you want any kind of quality then you need to specify a good set of samples. Most MIDI wavetable sets are a few megs at best for 128 instruments!

Anyway, if that's all you want to do then all you need is a full duplex card (you'd be hard pressed to find one that isn't FD anymore) And some sort of mixer software that can route the midi out to the line in. Most can do this. I can do it with my craptastic SBLIVE! card. You can sequence your midi and set your recorder to record it as it is played back by your sequencer. (some programs can do that automatically using a 'render' command) Then you have a wave file. All you need to do after that is encode it to mp3. Even Winamp has an encoder so its not hard to find. Standard settings are 128kbps, 16 bit stereo. You can save some space, and lose minimal sound quality by encoding it at 64 kbps in mono. It's important that you specify mono because if you don't you will have a really crappy sounding file. (even in mono...a purist like myself hates even 128 kbps stereo...no top end at all)

That's the cheap and easy way. It can sound quite good if you have a decent soundfont, but if you don't then you'll just have an mp3 that sounds like a cheap midi. (IE: a waste of space)

Mystik: thanks! ;) And don't worry the Jazzware sequencer doesn't fit my way of doing things either. It's totally counterintuitive to the way I work. You just have to find the tools that work for you.

I guess you all have to take into account that I deal with pro audio gear pretty regularly, so I am accustomed to hearing the upper range, and higher end sound. To me midi sounds like a $20 mini keyboard. (hey! I had one. A yamaha 37 mini key MIDI board. I played it so much I blew out the speaker!) MP3 files sound terrible to me. They kill the top end that "no one can hear anyway". I can hear all that, and it sounds like a load of upper harmonic distortion that just strains the ear so much that I can't listen beyond a few hours at best. (my last hearing test put me in the upper range of people who can hear well above 12khz, and possibly higher than 18khz.) So for me, I'm going to automatically use the higher end methods since that's what I do all day. whatever :D it's all for fun anyway.

For you Temp, it would be like seeing a program with sloppy code that does that job, but barely. You know? blargh it's lunch time....:p

2005/06/16 14:13:37 PDT by Temporal [manager]
[Temporal's avatar]

If the MIDI was originally composed using a poor-quality sample set, simply slapping a high-quality one on it and playing won't necessarily produce good results. A lot of Dev's old work, for example, which was originally composed using the default 8MB bank that comes with the SB Live, sounds wonderfully crappy with the 88MB FoIFont.

I think the most important thing is that the final MP3 comes out as the composer intended it, and the best way to do that is to record using the same sample set as you do while composing.

Of course, if you have a nice sound card, you can use a high-end sample set while composing and have the best of both worlds.

2005/06/16 16:12:22 PDT by Stix [0/49]
[Stix's avatar]
Quote from Temporal:

If the MIDI was originally composed using a poor-quality sample set, simply slapping a high-quality one on it and playing won't necessarily produce good results. A lot of Dev's old work, for example, which was originally composed using the default 8MB bank that comes with the SB Live, sounds wonderfully crappy with the 88MB FoIFont.

I think the most important thing is that the final MP3 comes out as the composer intended it, and the best way to do that is to record using the same sample set as you do while composing.

Of course, if you have a nice sound card, you can use a high-end sample set while composing and have the best of both worlds.

I don't normally think about these things when I work with Anvil Studios. I just do it because it's the only thing I have, and possibly the only thing I ever will be able to work with for a very, very long time...

It's very depressing. :( But I do understand what all of you mean. I once tried to commit a MIDI file to something like Fruity Loops stuidios or something like that, and it didn't work out well because it all got a bit weird and overloaded.

2005/06/17 07:40:12 PDT by Aetrus [0/15]

It's not always the size of the sample set that dictates quality. It's how its implemented. Sample choices are more important than you think. Personally I don't really like the 8 meg font, but it's better than most of the fonts I've heard.

Stix: Fruity Loops is a good program for electronic music. I use it occasionally. You can import the midi data, but it won't know what instrumentation you wanted with it. You'd have to manually asign that.

My major issue with midi is that there are so many better sounding ways to render your work. I liked the music for FF7, but the midi engine they used sucked so badly. That and a few other things that are not worth mentioning here really took that game down for me. (especially since they got such great synthesis out of the SNES...)

As the composer intended it....yeah that's is the most important thing here. Maybe I can try to rearrange one or two midis using my synth as a base tone generator. I'll see what I can do. It'll be a bit though. I'm busy trying to find gainful employment here Myrtle Beach.

fateofio.org © Copyright 2001-2005 Sam Pierce, Kenton Varda, and contributors
Powered by Io Community Manager, Evlan, and FreeBSD