Mediocre Mario Brothers Process

I was honestly very frustrated working with just MIDI. If my Mac had enough room for more than three MIDI loops in GarageBand, I think I would’ve had a much more pleasant experience. Despite this, I was forced to try Soundtrap and was able to get familiar with a different program. I downloaded the Super Mario Brothers theme song and the underground theme (my two favorites) from a sketchy looking website and one of my drum patterns from Groove Pizza. I used the Dubstepper drum kit to create basic, shorter, non-looped beats. The Mario Brothers themes were defaulted to the Rhodes and 1984 synthesizers, which I kept to keep that classic video game timbre.

Despite my frustration throughout everything, I’m still relatively happy with the way the song turned out. I wasn’t planning on using an already-known theme – and a very popular one at that – but because I didn’t have enough MIDI loops in GarageBand and I couldn’t create my own loop-style song like last time, this is where my creativity turned. If I did have unlimited room to download more content into GarageBand, I would’ve used that only. If I had the patience, I would have also tried learning other techniques that I don’t even currently know about. I’m positive there are much better remixes and plays on Super Mario Brothers music, but as far as my circumstances are concerned, I’m not upset with my result.


Brooklyn Nights Process

When I was creating Song 1, Brooklyn Nights, I didn’t know what type of sound I was going for. I started off by listening to various beats and percussive loops, but I wasn’t getting hooked with that approach. I knew I wanted something melodic, so I decided to listen to synth and mallet percussion loops. I came across Moving On Bell Lead and made that my first loop. To add contrast to the high pitched melodic line, I then looked for a bass line and decided upon Sharp Dressed Bass. Trying to avoid a staggered entrance, I lined up these two loops to start together. Then I revisited beats, looking for something that would fill up the song a bit more. I used Bell Ringer Beat and put it after four measures of just the melody and the bass line. I didn’t want to keep using Moving On Bell Lead as the melodic line though, so I looked for another one that wasn’t as high pitched and found Digging Deep Synth. Looking to introduce this as a new idea, I added it in at measure nine and took away Moving On Bell Lead.

From here on out, I worked left to right. I know in class it was said that a good way to approach this project would be to just add blocks and blocks of loops and to then take away where we deem fit, but my ideas were coming horizontally. I could hear how I wanted my song to progress. That being said, I knew I wanted to try some stuttering in the melody so that listeners wouldn’t get bored of the same runs going on. Moving On Bell Lead became more of a descant to newly prominent Digging Deep Synth. Shortly after experimenting with stuttering for a bit, I decided I wanted two more loops – ones that weren’t as “in-your-face” as my previous ones. I chose the titular Brooklyn Nights Synth and Under Pressure Beat to finish out my loops. After this I rearranged certain loops, pulling them out or plugging them back in measure 29 introduces much more stuttering and heavier focus on Bell Ringer Beat. The texture here is pretty different from the rest of the song, so I would consider this to be the bridge or the breakdown of my song. A two measure Sharp Dressed Bass line feature leads to a 12.5 measure build up back into what could be recognized as the chorus. The build-up starts with Brooklyn Nights Synth, added gradually with Digging Deep Synth, Under Pressure Beat, and Sharp Dressed Bass. The chorus right after this uses all six loops at once (the first and only time this happens in the song), with a hint of stuttering used earlier on. There’s a coda type of ending as the texture thins out a bit and it ends with one half measure of an isolated Moving On Bell Lead loop.

I definitely feel like this is a legitimate form of musical creativity. I was honestly skeptical at first, but I was making creative decisions the entire time I was working on this song: What type of texture do I want here? Should I add a new loop here? Should I cut up this loop a bit? What percussive beat do I want for this section? Every time I placed a loop in its place, I had to make a creative decision. Not only did I create something, I honestly had a fun time doing so.