I don’t use anything usually when I write music.
Once in a while if I’m doing something very specific and complex, like a sort of counterpoint relationship between two instruments, then I might break out a different excel sheet I have for quickly visualizing a melody’s interval patterns in terms of degrees, but that’s pretty rare that I need that level of pedantic tracking.
Typically, I just write.
Stuff like that excel sheet, or song maps/charts like the one in the thread where @Brogner and I discussed my ways of writing a bit by breaking apart a song I wrote, are things that I use to articulate how I think to other people. Sometimes they also get used to help teach people.
For instance, if someone says that they’re struggling with harmony, I’d probably show them that excel file as a different way of approaching the thought process - it can be a bit more tangible or intuitive than cognitively thinking in degrees. But it doesn’t replace degrees, or normal theory.
When I write, however, I tend to think this way intuitively. It’s always been how I’ve perceived music - as waves.
So it’s rather second nature for me. I tend to inherently gravitate toward a sound that is something like a revving engine through gears that’s tearing the frame of the car apart; right on the edge of stability.
Even if it’s a soft song…there’s like a 95% chance the same pattern is embedded in there, but it’s just a soft version of that idea…like the cart ride in Year One, the film.
I tend to be voice_less_ because I’m melody heavy and so the bass, rhythm, and brass sections tend to make simple minor/major chords with a few diminished or augmented variations here and there for the tension - though I don’t think of them this way; I think more in a visual reference frame of a wave and it stressing and ripping and then stabilizing.
So the melody tends to get those attributes as transient moments passing over the other sections, rather than something that is pushed into the backdrop. This leaves me more room for the melody to flow wherever it wants - by keeping the backdrop chord simpler.
It also makes the overall sound stronger sounding.
Nope. You don’t misunderstand me.
I used to have a signature on the old forums that said that I wasn’t a producer, I was an electronic composer.
And, to me, that’s the one thing that I typically see folks do with EDM style music that I wish I could reach over the internet and slap a hand for. There’s a lot of, “here’s the bass, and then the keys which I make a chord of yada yada with a progression of blah blah, and here’s the melody of some simple kind”…and I’d wager that most of the time I see someone walking through making an EDM song, that melody sucks.
Even if it’s someone like Deadmau5…mou5e? moz25esilentQough…whatever. That guy.
He’s really damn good at what he does, and people love it a lot, but there’s little elbow room for his melodies because the keys are typically taking up a lot of room in his songs because he tends to make 5 or more note chords in polyrhythmic patterns.
That’s what I wish I could slap hands for. The keys having chords. As soon as you stop making these chords in one instrument, boom the whole yard opens up with a wide available array of options and bigger textures can be constructed.
So…yes. Orchestration is a big thing to me.
I’ll shoot you a link in PM to a library.