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Author Topic: 607's Arrangements  (Read 156 times)

607

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607's Arrangements
« on: October 06, 2019, 06:20:33 PM »

(Edit: This OP is not up to date anymore)

Hi, it's me again!

I've wanted to contribute to NinSheetMusic for years, but I've always felt a barrier in that I'd have to get used to Finale Notepad, which is if I'm not mistaken, an outdated, free version of a music notation program.
However, I now once again have a specific reason to want to contribute: Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town, widely regarded as the best Story of Seasons game, is getting a remake for the Nintendo Switch. In combination with this, a few weeks ago I ran a batch file on all of my GBA games to see if I could rip their music (i.e. if it used the Sappy sound engine). To my great surprise, Friends of Mineral Town was one of the games from which the soundtrack was successfully ripped: this surprised me because I thought I would have tried in the past, as it is one of my favourite games, and I'd already learnt two tracks on piano.
So my plan: listen to all tunes (the used ones, at least... there are a bunch of themes in the rip that I don't recognise at all ???) and determine which ones could be easily played on piano, without too many musical sacrifices. For each of those, input the MIDI into MuseScore 3, and process/clean up the track (which could take an hour or two for some tracks maybe, but will certainly be a lot faster than carefully arranging by ear, and then inputting all of the notes). I will then print the sheets and play them; this will hopefully let me find inconsistencies or inconveniences in the sheets, so I can improve on them further where necessary.
And then of course I'd like to submit them to NinSheetMusic, because I bet some people will be looking for them, when the game is released for the Switch! (the music seems to have stayed mostly the same in the remake)
However, I could use some tips or encouragement on getting into Finale Notepad, and maybe advice on how to convert a MuseScore sheet to a good-looking NSM sheet. :)
I have been working on another project as well, and there are also older covers for which people might like the sheet music... this one, for example. But this Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons idea seemed like something good to start out on, especially considering the timing. :)
Edit: Listening to the rip again, I'm not sure if many could actually be arranged with all voices intact... but I know that for many games it is impossible (take a game like Super Mario Galaxy...), so that doesn't mean that I couldn't make an arrangement NSM-worthy... but it'd be more musically challenging. ;)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 08:59:46 PM by 607 »
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Dekkadeci

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Re: 607's Arrangements
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2019, 10:43:22 AM »

If you intend on importing MIDIs, I highly recommend reenteering all their notes manually into a separate file; bizarre things happen to note volumes otherwise, and added dynamics do not behave like you would expect.

(I once imported a MIDI file from a game that stored all its music as MIDIs and had that happen to me.)

607

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Re: 607's Arrangements
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2019, 09:51:43 AM »

If you intend on importing MIDIs, I highly recommend reenteering all their notes manually into a separate file; bizarre things happen to note volumes otherwise, and added dynamics do not behave like you would expect.

(I once imported a MIDI file from a game that stored all its music as MIDIs and had that happen to me.)
Ah, thanks! I had noticed that all the notes except those that I had redone seemed too loud, and I couldn't change it. Huh. That seems like a lot of extra effort, so I'll look into another way to fix it first. ;)
Edit, half a minute later: it was extremely easy to fix. :P https://musescore.org/en/node/277424
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 09:53:56 AM by 607 »
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607

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Re: 607's Arrangements
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2019, 10:40:05 AM »

I finished the sheet. :) Making it from the MIDI certainly improved the accuracy: I had not heard the extra voice playing an E and an F# at the end, nor the high D being sustained there. I also hadn't realised that in the first section sometimes the same note is played by both hands, and in those cases, it matters which hands actually plays it, because in the way I used to play it it became an 8th note instead of a quarter note in most cases.
Anyway, here's the draft! :)
I suppose I should get Finale Notepad now, right? ;)
Edit: In measure 7 or 8, depending on if you count the anacrusis, I took the merit of moving the right hand note to the left hand for ease of playing. Is that a good choice, because it doesn't matter as far as the sound is concerned, or should, for whatever reason, the upper of those two notes on the left hand be played by the right hand as is the case in the original theme?
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 10:44:56 AM by 607 »
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LeviR.star

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Re: 607's Arrangements
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2019, 02:25:35 PM »

Ok, I need to interject here; 607, you need to know that this is all entirely wrong.

Arrangers do not make sheets from MIDIs imported directly from games; the transcription process is the main factor that distinguishes real musicians from... whoever else. 607, listening to the music and writing it down is the most important part of the arranging process, and if you're skipping that part to save time, well, at the moment I'd hardly call you an arranger at all. Sure, it may seem convenient and spare you the embarrassment of someone finding an possible errors in the transcription, but straight to the core, it's not your sheet. Yes, we on NSM might use applications like AudioStretch to listen to songs slowed down, or Audacity to increase the volume of the bass. We may even, on rare occasion, use emulators to listen to separate tracks when they're too muddied together. But importing MIDIs is another story; not only is it failing to improve your own skill, but if you ever decided to use someone else's MIDIs, submitting sheets using them would get you into some trouble.

You need to take the time to listen to the songs by ear, and practice writing the notes down manually; this helps to train your ear and help you become a better musician overall. That's the only way we grow here; along with understanding the capabilities of the keyboard performer and dynamics of proper sheet formatting, writing down what you hear, even if it's hard and takes years of practice, is essential. Arrangers who don't do this or don't bother to polish every factor of their sheets are missing the point.

I don't mean to sound harsh, understand that. But I need to make it clear at your beginning that you need a new approach. The many others and I all around you are willing to help you through this and make your arrangements look professional, as well as distinguishable from imported transcriptions. Feel free to reach us privately if you need to; we're all here to help, (which is why some of us are even still here at all).
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607

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Re: 607's Arrangements
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2019, 06:29:05 PM »

607, listening to the music and writing it down is the most important part of the arranging process
Why? I think it's the result that matters, not anything in the process, as long as the process doesn't include plagiarising someone else's sheet. Sure, I'm using the original tune without permission, but so are all NinSheetMusic arrangers.
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, and if you're skipping that part to save time, well, at the moment I'd hardly call you an arranger at all.
That's fine, I just called this topic "607's Arrangements" in line with the others. :P
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Sure, it may seem convenient and spare you the embarrassment of someone finding an possible errors in the transcription, but straight to the core, it's not your sheet.
It is my sheet. I imported the MIDI, cleaned it up, and made slight changes to make it nicer looking or nicer to play. I didn't create the MIDI, but again, none of the arrangers here created the tunes themselves, that's not the point.
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But importing MIDIs is another story; not only is it failing to improve your own skill
It has in fact improved my skill. Doing the arrangement by ear I failed to notice a few things, as pointed out in my previous post, and noticing them in the sheet, checking them against the original tune and deciding how to represent them in the sheet, I all learnt from.
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but if you ever decided to use someone else's MIDIs, submitting sheets using them would get you into some trouble.
Obviously. :P I have used fan-made MIDIs years ago, when I couldn't yet arrange by ear well, but my skill quickly transcended the skill of the average MIDI creator. There's no point in using a fan-made MIDI, as it might have mistakes, just as my arrangements done by ear might have mistakes. If, however, the MIDI can be ripped from the game, it should be used, I think, as it will be accurate (of course there could be exceptions to this, which is why I did carefully check if those extras I hadn't noticed were actually in the tune).
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You need to take the time to listen to the songs by ear, and practice writing the notes down manually; this helps to train your ear and help you become a better musician overall.
For sure. I have done this often, and will do it forever. Well, listening to the songs by ear, at least. I'm not sure if I'll write down notes forever, as the better a piano player I become, the less I need sheets; however, if I have fun contributing to NinSheetMusic and/or others benefit from my work, I will keep doing that as well. ;) (I'm using 'forever' colloquially here, I doubt I'll be arranging video game music in eternity :P)
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That's the only way we grow here; along with understanding the capabilities of the keyboard performer and dynamics of proper sheet formatting, writing down what you hear, even if it's hard and takes years of practice, is essential. Arrangers who don't do this or don't bother to polish every factor of their sheets are missing the point.
... Why? To me, a sheet should be as accurate to the source as possible. Of course some sacrifices can be made to make the tune work better on piano, or be playable by someone as skilled as I, but I think one shouldn't add notes just because it sounds nice, or remove notes just because they don't like them. To me, sheets should deviate as little from the source material as reasonably possible.
...
But you might disagree. And it seems like you specifically do disagree, but I meant the NinSheetMusic community in general. In that case that'd be good to know, and I'd like to hear your alternative vision explained. ;)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 06:32:41 PM by 607 »
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MaestroUGC

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Re: 607's Arrangements
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2019, 06:51:50 PM »

Hey there, just thought we'd chime in here real quick:

@Levi: While the intent of your post is well meaning it is rather hostile towards newer arrangers trying to get into the craft. The overall tone is dismissive of the effort 607 has made, and can be read as shaming him for not following our standards. You have some good advice in your post, but calling him out for his methodology and repeatedly asserting he was wrong for doing so is not the way to encourage newer members here.

@607: We are always excited when newer members show an interest and desire to start arranging, but as Levi has pointed out there are some requirements we have here to ensure NSM has the highest quality sheets. First and foremost is the fact we do not tolerate plagiarism which we identify as using the work of people as the basis for arrangements, such as: MIDI arrangements, rips directly from the ROMs of the games, or copying of any officially released materials. This helps us to avoid overstepping any copyright infringement and maintain our reputation. As such we do require that anything submitted for review be made entirely of your own efforts, or that of collaboration with other arrangers. That said we do have a number of resources to help you get started, as well as a community of great arrangers to ask for help both here on the forums or through our Discord server. We do want accurate sheets, but we also want honest arrangers who put in the work. We look forward to seeing the kind of arrangements you make!
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607

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Re: 607's Arrangements
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2019, 08:08:29 PM »

@607: We are always excited when newer members show an interest and desire to start arranging, but as Levi has pointed out there are some requirements we have here to ensure NSM has the highest quality sheets. First and foremost is the fact we do not tolerate plagiarism which we identify as using the work of people as the basis for arrangements, such as: MIDI arrangements, rips directly from the ROMs of the games, or copying of any officially released materials. This helps us to avoid overstepping any copyright infringement and maintain our reputation. As such we do require that anything submitted for review be made entirely of your own efforts, or that of collaboration with other arrangers. That said we do have a number of resources to help you get started, as well as a community of great arrangers to ask for help both here on the forums or through our Discord server. We do want accurate sheets, but we also want honest arrangers who put in the work. We look forward to seeing the kind of arrangements you make!
Thanks.
Interesting. I frankly had no idea of that (which should be obvious from the OP :P). I will not be able to submit this sheet to NSM then (which seems quite strange, because legally I don't seem to have infringed more copyright by ripping and reusing the data than I would have by listening and replicating it, and because the end result is indistinguishable except in my case by accuracy), which will lower my motivation from doing such sheets at all. Although... at least I don't have to get into Finale Notepad. ::)

I did think of one issue with my vision, however. One year ago, I arranged the Lucky Luke soundtrack for GB and GBC, composed by Alberto José González, for piano, and I have been practising the themes since (6 out of 14 arrangements have been recorded). In that case, I take a bit of pride in having arranged everything by ear. It was a fun challenge, and although it took me a lot less time than the actual practising, I did put a lot of effort into it.
However, it must technically be possible to convert GB tunes to MIDI. I just did a Google search and found a tutorial for a work-around way that may or may not work, but I'm sure it is possible. And that poses an issue... if I were to want to upload the sheets, according to my ideology, I should first attempt to get the MIDIs to check if I haven't made any mistakes in hearing, or missed things. However, I have already recorded (and even uploaded) some performances, and moreover, it is cool to be able to say "I arranged all of these by ear", which I cannot fully do anymore once I've compared my arrangements with the actual note data. So I've got a dilemma... :-\
With the availability of new technology, one needs to consider whether one should use it. ;)

PS: By the way, does this mean that if someone takes a look at my sheet, they can't submit the tune themselves to NinSheetMusic anymore? ??? I get some of your argumentation, but at the same time I don't get it at all, because all sheet music on this site infringes copyright.
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Re: 607's Arrangements
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2019, 08:21:45 PM »

I'd like to apologize for the particularly bitter aura from my post from earlier, 607; on my part, that was inexcusable. Maestro is right; my interjection was hostile, and too intimidating to serve as any use to you or any other new arrangers in the community. I thank you for your composed reply, which I did not deserve; and yes, I would be willing to share my alternative vision, albeit less aggressively:

Maestro's explanation of the NSM rules above is a perfect outline to follow, and I agree with it wholeheartedly. While I am in no position to defend my previous post, I will say that part of its forceful nature came from my wish to dissuade you from using this method anymore. That's not to say your process was unprofessional or lazy by any means, but admitting to it in submissions would stir up some conflict (and none of it in your favor). My very much misguided explanation was trying persuade you to try the more genuine (or as Maestro put it, honest) process from the start, and let the updaters or more experienced arrangers help you find the smaller slip-ups here and there. We all have those, but we help each other find them; that's why we're a cooperative community to be proud of.

My view on these NSM sheets is relatively simple: the arrangers that produce them should strive for as much accuracy as possible, while still keeping the playing difficulty within manageable boundaries, and taking artistic liberties minimally, yet, if they wish, creatively enough to make their work distinguishable. No, I don't say that you should "add notes just because it sounds nice", or "remove notes just because they don't like them". I'm saying that I, as well as many of the others on here that taught me a thing or two, know that this site is about distinguishing performer-friendly arrangements from straight transcriptions. Those standards may not hold up in all of our sheets, given our site's age, but our views are set on the future: always improving, always challenging ourselves, and never settling for less than what we're capable of.

If you'll allow me, 607, I'd like to help you in any way I can, and so would everyone else. If you have questions on what does and doesn't work, what sheets you can arrange, or how you can contribute in anyway, we're here, and we're all learning together. I could get you started by reviewing a sheet of yours and readying it for the submission process if you wish.

NINJA'D EDIT:

PS: By the way, does this mean that if someone takes a look at my sheet, they can't submit the tune themselves to NinSheetMusic anymore? ??? I get some of your argumentation, but at the same time I don't get it at all, because all sheet music on this site infringes copyright.

This... is a debate that might be too long to have for your PA's own good. It's long and complicated, and honestly, mostly over my head. But if you need answers, some others could help and chime in, and possible take your question to another thread.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 08:24:46 PM by LeviR.star »
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Re: 607's Arrangements
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2019, 08:29:08 PM »

Perhaps it'd be better to consider arrangements to be interpretative rather than transcription. Part of our process here is to not only recreate the original music but also edit and modify it for the purpose of performance. Therefore in many cases our sheets aren't 100% exact copies of the originals. We also exist in a grey area regarding copyrights, so we have these measures in place to make sure we try to stay on the favorable side of the law.

Aside from that, as both Levi and myself have stated we as a community can help you train these skills. Even if you don't want to prepare written arrangements for NSM, or even at all, these are important skills to have a musician and would be things you'll be taught anyway should you pursue music beyond a hobby.
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607

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Re: 607's Arrangements
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2019, 08:58:28 PM »

Thanks for your more constructive reply, LeviR.star. :) (what's that name for short? :P)
Perhaps it'd be better to consider arrangements to be interpretative rather than transcription. Part of our process here is to not only recreate the original music but also edit and modify it for the purpose of performance. Therefore in many cases our sheets aren't 100% exact copies of the originals. We also exist in a grey area regarding copyrights, so we have these measures in place to make sure we try to stay on the favorable side of the law.

Aside from that, as both Levi and myself have stated we as a community can help you train these skills. Even if you don't want to prepare written arrangements for NSM, or even at all, these are important skills to have a musician and would be things you'll be taught anyway should you pursue music beyond a hobby.
My view on these NSM sheets is relatively simple: the arrangers that produce them should strive for as much accuracy as possible, while still keeping the playing difficulty within manageable boundaries, and taking artistic liberties minimally, yet, if they wish, creatively enough to make their work distinguishable. No, I don't say that you should "add notes just because it sounds nice", or "remove notes just because they don't like them". I'm saying that I, as well as many of the others on here that taught me a thing or two, know that this site is about distinguishing performer-friendly arrangements from straight transcriptions. Those standards may not hold up in all of our sheets, given our site's age, but our views are set on the future: always improving, always challenging ourselves, and never settling for less than what we're capable of.
Okay, these two parts do make sense to me. ;)
I realise that doing arrangements by ear is both more fun and more educational. Inputting notes into notation software, I'm not so sure about, but I suppose I might get more efficient at it. ;) I have always had a standard of being as exact as possible (courtesy of my autism, I suppose :P), and now that I realised I had the MIDIs available I got excited with being able to get 100% exact. I now see using such ripped MIDIs however poses issues: both apparently some copyright problem I don't understand (but that's fine, I'm not in charge of this website) and the dilemma I explained in my previous post.
So I think that I will decide on not using the MIDIs. In that case though, I do have an issue with this one specific song, as I have been wanting to cover that for years (I think I first tried arranging it four years ago, then again one and a half year ago, and then again last week). I can do it accurately now, and I don't think there's any reason to go back to a simpler arrangement I had done by ear - after all, I have also got quite some performances on my YouTube channel that use NinSheetMusic sheets instead of my own arrangements.
But what to do about the sheet? :P
I suppose I could redo the Winter theme from the same game first, one that I learnt five years ago, from... a fan MIDI. ;) I would like to redo it, though, as there might be some mistakes in it, and although it'd be a challenge, I think I could do it (challenge is good!).

There's more I'm considering, but it's getting late here, so I'll sleep a night over all this first. ;)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 09:02:14 PM by 607 »
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