Check out what the old guys did without sequencers then use your ears more than your machines.

Too often I see students bring in work done solely on the computer that doesn’t work or has no definition or color. It just lays there. There are countless reasons why but I think one of the main culprits is the reliance on the artificial sounds and a false sense of fullness based on the playback.

I have some experience in this area as I started “way back when” with the Commodore 64 and then Fairlight CMI. Talk about rotten sounds (although there are those that will still try to defend the Fairlight. The percussion wasn’t bad considering the sample rate). You just can’t get the real quality of a combination of instruments with sampled or synthesized sounds and so a lot of orchestral & voicing possibilities are ignored. If you replicate some the great scores of any idiom on even the best setup (and there’s a lot of computing power and heavy samples out there) you’re still not going to hear the true overtones and the colors produced by various voice combinations of accoustic instruments.

If you rely on your ear you might take chances on clusters and ½ steps.

If you rely on your ear you might come up with a less cluttered background or counter line. With a sequencer or notation program, thecut & paste capability, while great for mechanical moves, makes it too easy to become redundant.

If you rely on you ear you might just dumb luck into something really special.

This could be a thirty page rant but let’s just leave it with “use your ears more than your machines.”