Reconstructive Composition Techniques

Colorful NatureHere’s a technique I’ve used from time to time, especially when I’m traveling, as it’s an easy and interesting way to create new compositions while you don’t have a lot of tools and focused time available. I will use this in a week as our family will take a short trip to southern California, so that’s why I reminded me of this technique.

Start with spending an evening or two and generate lots of audio material, atmospheric sounds, melodies, bass lines, drum loops, mashed loops, effects, patterns and so on. Classify those with type and key, and also place them in specific folders on the disk. 20-50 entries in each should be fine. Remember to export them with the best possible audio quality, 24-bit. If you use Logic, make Apple loops, otherwise, with Ableton Live, just dump them out. Or export Logic audio and use Live for the second phase.

Then, when you are traveling or starting to work on the second phase, drag in various parts into Logic or Live, just pseudo-random, build tracks, and see what happens. If you have audio material consisting of drum sounds, melodies, patterns (sequencer loops), atmospheric stuff, odd loops, effects, you should always be able to get together something that has enough content to become a track. If you have voice tracks, or snippets of singing, even better or more intriguing.

With Ableton Live you could easily change the pitch if needed, or you could try to only write in phase one material in few keys, let’s say a minor/minor and e minor/major. With Logic it’s also doable for changing the pitch, but you need to use the built in tools to achieve this.

Sometimes these tracks evolve over time, I add new kick drums, replace the bass lines, and so on, but it’s good to have something to start with. And if this does not work, just start another experiment!

Sight, now I gave out another secret so others could be very productive…

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