Butchering Midi - How to use fragments from MIDI files
Lesson Summary - Why steal from midi?
Previously, you learn three things.
In the last three lessons, you learned that you can create a film score with:
1. A single note (or two or three) that creates a mood. Using a single note or chord, we create the sound of fear.
2. A repeating rhythm that creates a mood. Using a delicate repeating rhythm, we created the "sound of joy".
3. A melody that creates a mood or can even tell a story.
The big question:
Where do we get great sounding notes, rhythms and melodies?
The most important answer:
We steal them from classical music midi files.
That is the purpose of this lesson. You want to learn to borrow from the greatest composers of all times.
Why use classicial music?
There are two reasons why you want to use classical music.
1. It is old.
Most music copyrighted before 1923 is public domain.
2. It sounds like a film score
Most classical music sounds like a film score. For most movies, the traditional musical instruments for a film score are the instruments of the symphony orchestra. Many classical midi files use the instruments of the symphony orchestra.
It is a perfect match... almost. The only difference is classical music is designed to stand alone. We need music which is much simpler.
Therefore, all the cords, the rhythms and melodies of classical music are ideal for your film scores. We can easily steal them. No problem.
But then we have to thin the music to sound like a real film score. And even that is easy as you shall see.
Stealing chords and rhythms
Where to find great chords, delicate rhythms and melodies?
Classical music has great chords and rhythms. The composers spent decades learning how to create the perfect chords.
Rather than decades, you have about ten minutes to find a really good sounding chord.
Listen to classical music and find a chord or note or delicate rhythm which has the right mood for your movie. Then rip it out of the midi file.
Also look for delicate rhythms. Lots of classical music has these in the background. Great!
We all know great melodies from classical music. The pop quiz at the beginning of this course contains many tunes from classical music.
Simplify, simplify, simplify!
When you are pulling apart a MIDI file to get a melody, you must simplify the melody.
Locate great sounding midi files from classical music (before 1923).
Isolate a single phrase, usually one to three seconds long.
Isolate just one or two or three instruments from the entire score. You want the main melody without much else.
Built the music sound effect from these few notes (or chords) by assigning the elements to different instruments of the symphony orchestra which create the emotion you are looking for. This will always be different from the original musical instruments.
The goal is to get a professional sound which is simple and pure.
Here is the really great secret of borrowing from classical music. Classical music also contains counter melodies or background melodies that are not familiar. Stealing these is more fun since they sound great, seem familiar, but are not known to most people.
The next page
To work with Midi files, we need to get them into GarageBand.