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Unread Apr 22nd, 2008, 04:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Complete and utter newbie, would appreciate a push

Lately I've been toying around with a Yamaha keyboard I have and I'm trying to teach myself some piano. I'm really enjoying it and I'm thinking I would like to take it a step further by maybe trying to make my own stuff with hardware and software synths.

I have a very low budget so I hear that it is best to start with software. My question is, how import is music theory in relation to this? Meaning...should I stick with toying around and getting better on my keyboard before even beginning to try stuff like FL Studio? Like I said, I'm a complete newbie and have no background in music. Also, I don't want to spend a ton of money (which I currently don't have :P) and then not have a clue what I'm doing.

I did read the stickies like a good boy, but I'd like to personal opinions back from you guys How did you get started? By starting with software, do you mean I only play with software, or would I need something like a M-Audio Oxygen 49? What's a good route to take without feeling too intimidated?

thanks. It's just hard to process all of this info I'm trying to learn about :P
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Unread Apr 22nd, 2008, 05:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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learning music theory will only help more..in concept you dont really need to know it to get started, but it'll definitly help.

as far as getting a controler or not is totally up to you..it really depends on wether you'd like to have more hands on control vs. just using a mouse..me personally i prefer the hands on approach. there are tons of midi controllers that will work with the programs.
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Unread Apr 22nd, 2008, 06:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks. Yeah I'd much rather have the hands-on feel to be honest.
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Unread Apr 22nd, 2008, 09:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm sure some music theory knowledge would come into play if you're doing classical music productions or writing movie scores. Anything where you're dealing with complex, harmonic arrangements of sounds, music theory would come in handy for sure. But like Jeremy said, it's not necessary to get started, especially if you're interested in electronic music. I don't think it's necessary in the long run either. There are some other folks on here who will probably prove me wrong. I think of it as another thing in your tool box. The more you know the better off you are.
As far as what you need to get started... just get a software package that is more suitable for you. You can get evaluation versions of Fruity Loops, Cubase, Reason and play around with each to see which one you feel more comfortable with. You probably want to have a midi controller with some keys. It makes things much easier to control on your screen.
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Unread Apr 22nd, 2008, 09:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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/agree ^^

I have played Trombone for 4 years in my school symphony, and despite all I learned, I really haven't had much use for my knowledge in producing EDM. Usually, all of the little loops and melodies I come up with come to me in the shower. Don't ask why, it just does . And the ones that don't, I usually just start with a simple bassline, then add from there. When you're making a tune you can usually tell what sounds good and what doesn't, so I pretty much just play it by ear when I'm building off something. It's a lot of trial and error, but it works for me

While it might help you move along faster from the newbie stage to the professional stage, having lots of musical theory under your belt is not a requirement. I'd say just download a demo of one of the products mentioned and just start playing around. Eventually, you'll become familiar with it and start making great music
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Unread Apr 23rd, 2008, 08:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think its a good idea to have some music theory behind you, and be able to play an instrument to some degree. I started playing bass before I had any idea of anykind of music software. Without that musical experience I dunno how I would have started writing a tune. By all means yeah, try out some programs that have been mentioned in this thread but to me playing an instrument is fun and very rewarding. You wont know where it can take you.
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Unread Apr 23rd, 2008, 12:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Some people use theory, some people don't. I can't write a melody without using the music theory I know. If I just try to dick around, it sounds like complete ass, but if I use the theory I know, I actually get something worth keeping. So it's all about you personally. Writing music is an extremely personal thing.
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Unread Apr 23rd, 2008, 03:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks a lot guys. So now I'll start trying out some of the DAWs mentioned. Anyway, if I enjoy it and stick with it, what would be my next step? Getting a MIDI Controller (which I'd probably like to do since it is actually tangible).

Some other questions though: Don't you need some piano experience to work with a MIDI Controller or a Synthesizer? I mean, they have piano keys and all

Also, what exactly is the difference between a MIDI controller and a Synth? A Synth actually play the music while a MIDI transfers the data you enter into it to your PC?

thanks
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Unread Apr 23rd, 2008, 07:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Try out some different software and the yeah get a midi controller. I use an M-Audio Axiom controller, it's pretty cool but the one you've mentioned is fine.

What kind of music are you planning on composing? You've mentioned controllers and synths a lot so I'm guess you want to use them a lot?

I think you'd be doing yourself a huge favour if you took some keyboard lessons or buy a keyboard tutor book. There are also loads of tutorial sites on the net. You can get books that have picture chords where the pianists hand is photographed at the piano (a kind of birds eye view) Go through them and learn them. See what ones work well together, to make up a tune. Get as much help as you possibably can on this.

Yes you do need some experience and that is where some lessons will come in very handy. If you keep at it then within some months you will have learnt a lot.

Having said that though there is another way you can compose, and that's by programing. FL, Cubase, Sonar, Reason or whatever enables you to program the notes without you having to play, this technique is called sequencing. I'd still recommed though that you learn some basic musical theory to get you started, and those keyboard lessons...hehehe.

The difference between a Synth and a midi controller is that a synth has built in sounds in its circuitery. A midi controller controls sofsynths which are installed onto your hardrive. Then you open them up in FL or whatever and play your controller with the sounds that are installed on your hard drive.

Hope this helps.
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Unread Apr 23rd, 2008, 08:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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That helped a lot. I'll just stick with pure piano for a while and maybe mess around with Reason (I really like that there is so much info on it such as videos and documentation).

It never is too late to get into something like this right? I've always believed that you have to begin with piano as a child. Or at least many professionals did that.

Last edited by g4rlik : Apr 23rd, 2008 at 08:13 PM.
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Unread Apr 23rd, 2008, 09:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g4rlik View Post
That helped a lot. I'll just stick with pure piano for a while and maybe mess around with Reason (I really like that there is so much info on it such as videos and documentation).

It never is too late to get into something like this right? I've always believed that you have to begin with piano as a child. Or at least many professionals did that.
Of course it's never too late! If you're dedicated enough and really focus on learning, you can learn piano easy. Get some good books (or even some lessons) and you'll have it in no time!
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Unread Apr 24th, 2008, 09:39 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Yeah, its never too late. I started playing when I was 24 and peeps used to tell me that I played that one note so well....lol.
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Unread Apr 25th, 2008, 10:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Just get hold of an Tutorial DVD for which ever software you choose to use. It will save you weeks of messing around trying to figure it all out for yourself.

Bearing in mind that most pros usually go somewhere & get professionally trained. A DVD is the cheaper option
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Unread Apr 25th, 2008, 05:53 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Bearing in mind that most pros usually go somewhere & get professionally trained. A DVD is the cheaper option
i disagree... most pros out there today are all self taught artists... the key is passion and dedication to learning all the knobs
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Unread Apr 25th, 2008, 06:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
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your still going to have to do this anyway, the tutorial dvd is only going to show you how everything works & basic usage of a program.


You will still have to play about with everything to gain more experience & get better & develop over time etc.
I was going on about use of the program not production techniques
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Unread Apr 25th, 2008, 11:42 PM   #16 (permalink)
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yes.. i agree, a dvd or youtube or tutorials or w/e you want to use is a good start on learning.
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Unread Apr 26th, 2008, 09:15 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
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yes.. i agree, a dvd or youtube or tutorials or w/e you want to use is a good start on learning.
Good, because I just picked up a dvd
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