The Hornet Archive
Music Contest 5
Foreword by Necros
Intro by Snowman

Contest Rules

Changes Since MC4

Contact Information
MC5 Updates

Cool Links

Foreword by Necros
"I don't suppose I could convince you to write the Music Contest Rules Foreword again this year? :)" - Snowman / Hornet
Yet again it's time for that wild and crazy Music Contest mania to begin. Since this is the fifth episode of the torrid mini-series, I thought it would be best to skip the flowery introduction and get right to the point. People keep mailing me and asking me how to track cool tunes, so I figured this year I could come up with a 5-step program which is guaranteed to put you in the top rankings. It won't help you win, though; I haven't figured that out yet (hey but you can at least get second place over and over again!)
Top-Secret Clandestine Tips To Writing a Good MC5 Song
5. Find songs you like on the Mods Anthology, and rename them to something else. Then change a few notes here and there, and replace one of the samples with something off your hard drive. This way you can get a brand new song, without actually having to compose! Oh, and also make sure to erase the original guy's name and put on your own name. Make sure your name uses mixed caps and lots of 'el3eT' capitalization. Judges love that.

4. Judges like it if you keep the song interesting. Try to change motifs every other pattern or so. Sometimes you'll also want to experiment with lots of random key changes and chord progressions. One of my favorites is going from F minor to C# major, over and over again. If you're really daring, you can also try the opposite approach, which is to make the song really catchy and ingrain it into the listener's mind. Try repeating the same pattern, 8 or 9 times in a row. Good patterns are like fine wine, you can't ever get enough of them.

3. Make sure the song is long enough. Nobody wants to download a 800k tune and then only get 45 seconds of tune! Try making it as long as you possibly can. I usually try to get it to about 15 minutes in length or so. Making a song that long is pretty tough work too, you know. Here's a trick, though... re-use those patterns! In fact, you only need about 5 patterns for a really good song, just experiment with putting them in different orders.

2. Judges like nothing more than hearing original samples. So here's some places you can get those fresh new sounds which will make your friends go, "Hey is that a new WAVE song?"

  • Take your pets, squeeze soft parts of their anatomy, and record the unique sounds they make. You can get great leads this way!

  • Tape your car's exhaust, loop it, and use it as a drum sample! Heck, use it as a bass sample too!

  • Borrow a friend's 1985 Portasound and get lots of samples of that Harmonica patch. It's really groovy if you play it an octave or two above what you sampled it at.

  • Sample at 44khz, 16bit, and resample in CoolEdit down to 4khz to save space. This also gets rid of that annoying high end on your samples.

1. Write orchestral. Everyone loves orchestral. In fact, try to emulate every Danny Elfman score you've ever heard. Some people also like to sprinkle in some samples from UNREAL.S3M, but that's strong stuff and I'd be careful.

If you follow these tips, you are guaranteed to make a song that will be remembered for years! Well, I have to start working on my tune. This year I had a new idea (secret!) that involves Arabic chanting and some Doug-E-Fresh ghetto beats!

Until next time...

Necros / Five Musicians -
16 May 1997