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Hello! I am still very new to Cakewalk and just music producing in general, so forgive me if this question is dumb, etc.

I've always loved music but recently I've been really into experimenting with music production and just figuring out what I can do from home. I'm working on a project right now where I want to make my own cover of a song, but first I really want to work on making my own instrumental for the song from scratch instead of editing out the vocals from the original track, although I'd like my finished product to sound as close to the song's original instrumental as possible.

So in short, I was just wondering if anyone had any tips for making a brand new instrumental to match the instrumentals of an already preexisting song! For example; what instruments am I hearing in the song and how do I find the correct ones to use in my instrumental, how do I give the instrumental a more "full" ambiance and the same atmosphere as the original, what sound FX are being used, etc.

Again, sorry that this is such a broad, open-ended and newby question, but I just thought it would be helpful to get a dump of advice from various people so that I can improve! Especially since I don't know anyone around home that could really help me with this.

Thanks in advance!

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Posted (edited)

I suggest you take some time and look through some of the posts in the Tutorials section of this forum. You don't need to read everything but there is a lot of good advice and tips there that would allow you to have a better understanding of how Cakewalk works and what you can do with it. Focus on threads for beginners.  One problem you may have on this thread is people offering you advice using terms that you won't understand. I also suggest you download a copy of the Cakewalk Reference File so you can look up things that other users may post here, to give you a better understanding of what they are referring to. Everybody here wants to help people get started, but the terminology involved is often a stumbling block to meaningful communication.

https://discuss.cakewalk.com/index.php?/forum/35-tutorials/

https://bandlab.github.io/cakewalk/docs/Cakewalk Reference Guide.pdf

 

Edited by Chappel
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Wow, that's a pretty tall order!

Do you play an instrument? If you do, you probably already know how to listen to a recording and pick out the instruments that were used. And if the instrument you play happens to be a keyboard (like piano), you have access to synthesized and sampled sounds that can mimic what you hear on a recording. But it seems to me if you're just starting out you should tackle something easy to begin. Play and sing a song as best you can, with whatever instrument(s) you can, examine the results and see how you can make it better. Don't give up. Ask questions here. It's about the journey.

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Learn to use MIDI.

If I'm building a backing track of a popular song ( ie "I Thank You" - Z.Z. Top) I can usually find a free MIDI file that has all the basics. Some are way better than others so you have to learn how to work with MIDI to sort them out. In the past I have purchased MIDI tracks built by companies that really know their stuff. This might be the best option if you're new to all this.

Once you figure out MIDI there's a ton of stuff you can do. An example is over on the Gilmorish site (David Gilmore - Pink Floyd) there are a bunch of free Pink Floyd MIDI file backing tracks that are very good. Your favorite artists may have something similar.  Check around, you'll find some decent stuff to work with.

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Posted (edited)

Correct.  The MIDI and Karaoke tracks you can purchase online do a great job of utilizing the same instrument tracks as the original, BUT you have to evaluate them for yourself before buying.  Some are really bad. The companies selling these files always have a short sample of the file you are buying so you can listen to and evaluate it.  Some companies have several files of the same song, created by different production companies (some are better than others), and then too, I have found I had to buy more than one of the same song, and cut & paste parts out of one  and paste into the other.  One song sounded better overall, but lacked the detail of other parts.  So I had to buy 2 files and work on it manually to make it sound better.

Here are a couple of pay sites I have used.  And there are a few free sites out there, too.

https://www.midi-hits.com/

http://www.midiking.com/cgi-bin/store.cgi?aID=;_tc_=1

Edited by Toddskins
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16 hours ago, ellie o'beirne said:

Hello! I am still very new to Cakewalk and just music producing in general, so forgive me if this question is dumb, etc.

I've always loved music but recently I've been really into experimenting with music production and just figuring out what I can do from home. I'm working on a project right now where I want to make my own cover of a song, but first I really want to work on making my own instrumental for the song from scratch instead of editing out the vocals from the original track, although I'd like my finished product to sound as close to the song's original instrumental as possible.

So in short, I was just wondering if anyone had any tips for making a brand new instrumental to match the instrumentals of an already preexisting song! For example; what instruments am I hearing in the song and how do I find the correct ones to use in my instrumental, how do I give the instrumental a more "full" ambiance and the same atmosphere as the original, what sound FX are being used, etc.

Again, sorry that this is such a broad, open-ended and newby question, but I just thought it would be helpful to get a dump of advice from various people so that I can improve! Especially since I don't know anyone around home that could really help me with this.

Thanks in advance!

I have done this for quite a while converting commercial tracks to MIDI files - using a yamaha MU series module as the playback synth.

To do this, you gave to listen intently to each instrument to get the right sound.  Of course, it helps if you have deep knowledge of the synths that your using to reproduce the track.  If you are using hardware synths, as well as getting to know the patch list, be prepared to scrutinise the SYXEX commands and controllers available for that synth.

What I try to include is, obviously the correct sound - but you may need to apply LP or HP filters to get the sound even closer.  This can include individual drum sounds (If the synth is capable of that)

I have noticed that most commercial tracks track have subtle tempo changes throughout - so be sure to include these.  I have a program that grabs a tempo of a section of a commercial track at a time.  By the the I have completed the track, it includes a tempo map that pretty much matches the original.

Also, layers can help get that fuller sound.  Then there are effects - reverb would play a prominent role here.  Note: I usually do not put much reverb on the base track.  Also, if you have a strong base drum  -  lose the reverb on that as well - otherwise the track can get a bit muddy.

One last thing I can suggest is never quantise anything 100% (Unless the genre calls for it - like most EDM)

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18 hours ago, Chappel said:

I suggest you take some time and look through some of the posts in the Tutorials section of this forum. You don't need to read everything but there is a lot of good advice and tips there that would allow you to have a better understanding of how Cakewalk works and what you can do with it. Focus on threads for beginners.  One problem you may have on this thread is people offering you advice using terms that you won't understand. I also suggest you download a copy of the Cakewalk Reference File so you can look up things that other users may post here, to give you a better understanding of what they are referring to. Everybody here wants to help people get started, but the terminology involved is often a stumbling block to meaningful communication.

https://discuss.cakewalk.com/index.php?/forum/35-tutorials/

https://bandlab.github.io/cakewalk/docs/Cakewalk Reference Guide.pdf

 

Thank you so much!

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17 hours ago, Larry Jones said:

Wow, that's a pretty tall order!

Do you play an instrument? If you do, you probably already know how to listen to a recording and pick out the instruments that were used. And if the instrument you play happens to be a keyboard (like piano), you have access to synthesized and sampled sounds that can mimic what you hear on a recording. But it seems to me if you're just starting out you should tackle something easy to begin. Play and sing a song as best you can, with whatever instrument(s) you can, examine the results and see how you can make it better. Don't give up. Ask questions here. It's about the journey.

HAHA yeah, I tend to jump the gun and overachieve sometimes.

But thank you! I will do my best to start small and build my way up, what you said was very encouraging :)

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7 hours ago, davet said:

Learn to use MIDI.

If I'm building a backing track of a popular song ( ie "I Thank You" - Z.Z. Top) I can usually find a free MIDI file that has all the basics. Some are way better than others so you have to learn how to work with MIDI to sort them out. In the past I have purchased MIDI tracks built by companies that really know their stuff. This might be the best option if you're new to all this.

Once you figure out MIDI there's a ton of stuff you can do. An example is over on the Gilmorish site (David Gilmore - Pink Floyd) there are a bunch of free Pink Floyd MIDI file backing tracks that are very good. Your favorite artists may have something similar.  Check around, you'll find some decent stuff to work with.

Thank you! I'll definitely try this and do my best to improve my MIDI skills, haha.

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6 hours ago, Toddskins said:

Correct.  The MIDI and Karaoke tracks you can purchase online do a great job of utilizing the same instrument tracks as the original, BUT you have to evaluate them for yourself before buying.  Some are really bad. The companies selling these files always have a short sample of the file you are buying so you can listen to and evaluate it.  Some companies have several files of the same song, created by different production companies (some are better than others), and then too, I have found I had to buy more than one of the same song, and cut & paste parts out of one  and paste into the other.  One song sounded better overall, but lacked the detail of other parts.  So I had to buy 2 files and work on it manually to make it sound better.

Here are a couple of pay sites I have used.  And there are a few free sites out there, too.

https://www.midi-hits.com/

http://www.midiking.com/cgi-bin/store.cgi?aID=;_tc_=1

Thank you for the suggestions!!!

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1 hour ago, Promidi said:

I have done this for quite a while converting commercial tracks to MIDI files - using a yamaha MU series module as the playback synth.

To do this, you gave to listen intently to each instrument to get the right sound.  Of course, it helps if you have deep knowledge of the synths that your using to reproduce the track.  If you are using hardware synths, as well as getting to know the patch list, be prepared to scrutinise the SYXEX commands and controllers available for that synth.

What I try to include is, obviously the correct sound - but you may need to apply LP or HP filters to get the sound even closer.  This can include individual drum sounds (If the synth is capable of that)

I have noticed that most commercial tracks track have subtle tempo changes throughout - so be sure to include these.  I have a program that grabs a tempo of a section of a commercial track at a time.  By the the I have completed the track, it includes a tempo map that pretty much matches the original.

Also, layers can help get that fuller sound.  Then there are effects - reverb would play a prominent role here.  Note: I usually do not put much reverb on the base track.  Also, if you have a strong base drum  -  lose the reverb on that as well - otherwise the track can get a bit muddy.

One last thing I can suggest is never quantise anything 100% (Unless the genre calls for it - like most EDM)

Thank you SO much! You have no idea how helpful this is. I will definitely use your tips as I try to improve, thank you for your specific advice!!!

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