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Hyphen-ated's WIP and advice (hopefully)


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#1 Hyphen-ated

Hyphen-ated
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Posted July 31, 2020 - 05:45 PM

Howdy. I just got started with charting. My first project is Morcheeba - The Sea.

I've done bass, drums, and the first verse of the vocals, with no overdrive phrases anywhere yet. I'm hoping to get some feedback about whether I'm doing stuff right, before I sink too much effort putting polish on top of stuff that might need to be changed.

 

Reaper project file: https://drive.google...iew?usp=sharing

Alpha version of the con file: https://drive.google...iew?usp=sharing

 

Specific questions:

1: Are the vocals acceptable? I'm kind of struggling with exactly where the notes should start and stop. I know that I'm supposed to only be charting the vowel sounds, but sometimes it seems kind of ambiguous where that is. It seems alright when I playtest it but I'm not amazing at vocals so I'm not really sure.

 

2: Is the drum part in measures 63-70 reasonably playable on a standard kit? (second half of "verse 2" segment)

I can do it on my e-kit by reaching over to the ride with my left hand while my right hand hits all three toms. It's been a while since I've used the plastic rock band drums, but it seems like this might not work very well on those. In the measures right before that, I put in an alternate version where the left hand plays the hihat and the right hand can hit only two toms (because of how things line up and you can't have cymbal+pad of the same color at the same time). This version sounds significantly worse, because in the song it's clearly a ride and there are clearly three descending tom sounds. But if I have to chart it this way to make it playable, oh well.

 

Any other critique would be super helpful as well



#2 Kloporte

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Posted July 31, 2020 - 10:24 PM

Hey!
 
I reviewed your custom and wrote some feedback.
 

2: Is the drum part in measures 63-70 reasonably playable on a standard kit? (second half of "verse 2" segment)[/font][/color]
I can do it on my e-kit by reaching over to the ride with my left hand while my right hand hits all three toms. It's been a while since I've used the plastic rock band drums, but it seems like this might not work very well on those.


Usually what you would do is use your right hand to play the ride while your left hand moves around the kit (tom 1, tom 2, floor tom), you can see what I mean in the drum animations I've added. I'll come back to it later.
 

RPP

 

First, you can use Fugg's template which fixes some issues with the current "official" template.

Drums:
It's kind of hard to hear if it's a hi-hat or a ride because of the mixing and the tambourine. You can hear the ride slightly in the right ear during verses, and I think it's quarter notes, otherwise it would feel a little slow.
You can hear it better if you slow it down or use scrubbing, for instance at 35.4 or 37.4. You actually switched to quarter notes at M51.

You used yellow+green at M35 and M43 but I think it's a single crash. It wouldn't really make sense in that song to have a double crash here.
At 52.3, you have placed a single snare with a yellow tom marker. I'm thinking you thought it was a flam, decided it wasn't but didn't fix it, I'd just keep it to ride+snare, nothing special going on.

M55: it's actually a ride (you used yellow then blue at M63) (you know that apparently). In these situations you can choose between using blue or green for the ride, blue is more realistic but it's a bit harder for people with a standard kit (especially blue cymbal+ green tom).
I changed it to green in my version but I wouldn't care at all if you used blue and would have the left hand doing the crossover to a green tom at 56.3; I actually prefer it that way but I'm sure it's a bit frowned upon.
You're also missing kicks in that section.
This section repeats from M127 until the end but it's better to ignore it, at least until M207.

M172: Again, I think it's just a regular snare (+ride), you're probably overthinking. What's nice about that section is that now that it calms down, you can actually hear the ride cymbal!

M207: Since it's a fade-out, you can use this tutorial to learn how to reverse a fade-out:
http://customscreato...=+fade +reverse

For now I've made my own version (I'll send it to you as a PM), it's not perfect but feel free to use it if you want!


Bass:
What you have as red in M3.1.1 and as green in M5.1.1 are reversed compared to the notes in M19 and M21. It's always good when placing notes to go back and compare if they're the same notes or not. You can also open a tuner app on your phone or PC and sing notes while you're charting guitar/bass/keys/vocals, it helps.

M35: a few notes missing but seems accurate!
Be careful with bassists because it's not always copy-paste, sometimes they get bored and like to add some notes.

M175: you can hear the same part as in the intro so just copy-paste that



Vocals: I'm no vocal expert by any means, but it looks pretty good (and all pitches are correct)
I think you should leave some more space between "scav-" and "enge" (28.4.50) or between "van-" and "ish" (32.4). If the note tubes are too long, especially between notes, it's uncomfortable or unnatural to sing while maintaining a good score (of course if it's sustained, sustain)

"my" at M34 should have a slide from G to A.

My main suggestion if you don't do it already would be to add @ at the beginning of each of your phrases, use the import lyrics command and use CAT to create phrase markers, it would save you some time and your phrase markers would be better (it's better to add them on a quarter grid when possible)


Honestly it looks pretty good! Drums are pretty accurate, especially kicks, which is something a lot of people struggle with. Just go back and forth between parts and compare them to see if they're the same cymbal, etc., for consistency. You can also chart kicks first, then snares, then everything else.

Bass and vocals look good as well. Also I like the song so that's a plus! :)
 



#3 BornGamerRob

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Posted August 1, 2020 - 03:02 AM

You've picked my absolute favorite Morcheeba song, so I'm going to probably be overly critical from a vocal perspective as it was a song I would have eventually charted. The drums I agree mostly with the above with the exception of a blue tom mixed in with a blue cymbal. I don't think I can recall a single instance of a HMX song doing that, and even on a pro kit, it's still awkward to hit.

 

Overall, your vocal notes are correct. Though, you have them charted an octave too high. This will matter if she sings higher in parts later on, as you will run out of ceiling since you are in the very upper range. Again, not inaccurate, just something to watch as you continue to chart as you'll end up having to move everything down anyway.

 

Biggest issues I see are:

 

You stop short on a lot of the notes. The very second one she is still singing, "ing" and you've cut it off. It will feel odd for a singer since we will want to keep singing the note but the tube will be gone. Same with the next word, "sea". She is still singing, but it's well cut off. I'm not saying go to the bitter end of her note, but some extension will be more accurate when singing this. That's pretty consistent throughout so I'd hold out a lot of those type of notes just a bit longer.

 

You might be early on some notes as well, but since I had to use my own music file to align it to your template, it would be a matter of that. But on the scav- enge note, the "enge" enters way early and won't give me enough space for proper breathing.

 

You are missing slides in places where we'd want a slide:

In the "ice- cream", the "ice" could benefit from a lower slide, but it would be fine if it didn't (this one is nit picky).

In the words "van- ish", "van-" should slide from E to G.

In the words "with- in my", "my" should slide from G to A (and should slide earlier than your note is placed currently).

 

Good luck with the rest!


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#4 Hyphen-ated

Hyphen-ated
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Posted August 1, 2020 - 08:58 AM

Wow, thanks for all these great details!

 

 

It's kind of hard to hear if it's a hi-hat or a ride because of the mixing and the tambourine. You can hear the ride slightly in the right ear during verses

I heard a clear transition from hihat to ride at 55, so I figured 55-70 were on the ride and the rest of the song was on the hihat.

Listening again today, I think the entire song is on the ride except the tiny section at 51-54 on the hihat.
 

and I think it's quarter notes, otherwise it would feel a little slow.
You can hear it better if you slow it down or use scrubbing, for instance at 35.4 or 37.4. You actually switched to quarter notes at M51.

Yeah I switched there because I hear the song switching there; before that spot I think I can hear the ride only on 1&3. I don't think I can hear the ride on 35.4 or 37.4, just a shaker or tambourine or something. Compare to the section at 127, where I hear the ride on every beat.

Is it better to just chart the ride on every beat starting from the beginning, because the tambourine sounds so similar? More variation across the song seems kinda better.
 

At 52.3, you have placed a single snare with a yellow tom marker. I'm thinking you thought it was a flam, decided it wasn't but didn't fix it, I'd just keep it to ride+snare, nothing special going on.

It sounded to me like the hihat drops out on 52.3, 53.3, and 54.3, as well as in 172-206 on the 3.

Initially I thought "oh maybe it's because there are flams there" and tried having them be flams. But then upon further reflection I didn't really hear any flamming, so I took the flam off. I intentionally left the not-functioning yellow tom gem up top as a marker to more easily find these beats again, since it was likely I was going to revisit them, and it doesn't seem like it hurts anything leaving those up there.

I now think I was just not easily hearing the hat at 52.3 with the snare drum on top of it. I was comparing to the beats in previous measures where the snare played and going "ah, I can hear a difference there, the hat must not be playing now". But that's because in the previous measures that was actually a ride, and of course snare+ride sounds different from snare+hat.

But in 172-206 it still totally sounds to me like the ride doesn't play on the 3.
 

M55: it's actually a ride (you used yellow then blue at M63) (you know that apparently). In these situations you can choose between using blue or green for the ride, blue is more realistic but it's a bit harder for people with a standard kit (especially blue cymbal+ green tom).
I changed it to green in my version but I wouldn't care at all if you used blue and would have the left hand doing the crossover to a green tom at 56.3; I actually prefer it that way but I'm sure it's a bit frowned upon.

Green has a similar major downside to the way I charted it with yellow, in that you can only use two toms instead of three. Those three descending tom tones feels like the main focus of this pattern to me, so I want to avoid losing that if at all possible. Green is definitely better than yellow though.

Maybe it's just the way I have my kit set up, but right hand on ride crossing left hand on green tom is almost impossible for me. Left hand on ride crossing right hand on yellow tom is much more doable. Maybe I just chart the ride on blue and let each player figure out which cross they're more comfortable with? Maybe I swap the cymbal to yellow or green for that single beat to prevent the cross? Or even drop the cymbal entirely on that beat, even though it's clearly audible?

Rob mentions that having cymbal, tom, cymbal in a row on blue is awkward, and it definitely is if you're expected to do it with one hand, but I don't think that part feels bad at all with one hand chilling on the ride and the other hand doing the toms.
 

Bass: What you have as red in M3.1.1 and as green in M5.1.1 are reversed compared to the notes in M19 and M21. It's always good when placing notes to go back and compare if they're the same notes or not. You can also open a tuner app on your phone or PC and sing notes while you're charting guitar/bass/keys/vocals, it helps.


Oh, I see the problem, I wasn't really even listening to the r/g notes from 3-17, I was listening more to the blue and orange sustains. I charted that 2-measure lick and then assumed the whole thing just shifted up and down. But the intervals aren't the same in the two variations. The highest and lowest notes involved are in the first one, and they tighten together in the second one. I guess ideally I should be transcribing all the actual notes and THEN collapsing it down to 5 buttons.

I've got a little Korg tuner that I usually use for guitar tuning, but it was super helpful for charting vocals here.
 

M35: a few notes missing but seems accurate!

Hmm I can't seem to hear the notes you added here. I made a comparison video with the bass EQed up: https://drive.google...iew?usp=sharing
Am I crazy?

I have the same problem with the extra reds you added at 90. Good call with the extra greens between 90-100 though.

You removed a lot of HOPOs, like at 52-54. Why is that? When I listen to it slowed down, the HOPO version sounds closer to the actual rhythm in the song, and also I don't hear a lot of attack on those second notes, so HOPOs feel appropriate to me.

---

I will try to implement all these vocal suggestions.

 



#5 Hyphen-ated

Hyphen-ated
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Posted August 1, 2020 - 10:04 AM

Listening to the whole thing with the bass EQed way up is great, I should have done this to begin with. At 102 and 174 it does a variation I didn't notice before.



#6 Hyphen-ated

Hyphen-ated
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Posted August 1, 2020 - 05:48 PM

An updated project: https://drive.google...iew?usp=sharing

 

I figured out the drum crossover I was worried about isn't nearly as big a problem as I thought, the pattern is so slow it's easy to swap which hand is on the ride to avoid crossing. This can be made more obvious when sightreading by moving the blue cymbal to a yellow cymbal when it's hit at the same time as the green tom, basically forcing the player to swap hands. But my current thinking is that it's better to just chart it accurately, since for people who can tolerate the crossover it's better that way.

 

I've applied all the vocal changes mentioned (I think) and did several more phrases. I've decided to try forgetting that stuff I read about vowels and consonants and simply chart the note in the positions where I can hear the note while scrubbing. This seems to work much better.

 

I don't think I fully understand the suggestion to modify the fade-out. My understanding is that fade-outs are a problem if the game has you keep playing your instruments but you can't really even hear yourself anymore so it feels ridiculous. But in this song, the fade-out mostly has strings that wouldn't be charted, with a tiny bit of very simple cymbals. It seems to me like letting the fade-out just play like normal sounds the best and doesn't really lead to any problems. Is there something I'm missing here?



#7 Hyphen-ated

Hyphen-ated
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Posted Today

Latest rpp: https://www.mediafir...1wp05ojmr5/file

and con: https://www.mediafir...sygmo6tro7/file

 

I don't think I'll be charting the guitar. There's a lot of it and the guitar element of this game doesn't reaaaally interest me enough to do it.

 

I did all the vocals, added overdrive, added CAT EMH reductions, added practice sections. I guess I'm pretty close to release.

 

In playtesting I found the drum part to be pretty samey and boring. But there was a significant drummy element that I had left out: 8 times in the song there are these little tom fills, often with record scratch noises involved, that they layer on top of the main drum beat. I hadn't charted them previously because the main beat continues to play, it's impossible to actually play both parts at once, and I figured "well, we're playing the main part, so I'll chart the main part." But being boring is bad, so I decided to chart these phrases.

 

Right now I'm putting record scratch noises on the yellow cymbal, which feels kind of weird. I tried not charting the scratches at all, only the actual drum sounds, but it felt wrong and incomplete. I'm considering doing yellow+blue cymbal for scratches, just to make it more distinctly different from actual hihats, which are nearby to one of the fills.






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