Libre Music Challenge #16: Begin then finish

Practical tips for recording, editing, and mastering.

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Thomas Lord
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Libre Music Challenge #16: Begin then finish

Post by Thomas Lord »

Libre Music Challenge #16: Begin then finish

Welcome to the Libre Music Challenge, a very serious silly competition. You can win. You can lose. There are no real prizes. Have fun playing and seeing what others enter.

Win or lose, your recording will be archived online for the long haul.

In this competition, we goad one another to create a new musical recording using only Libre Software. Libre software (also confusingly called Free Software and sometimes Open Source Software) is software that respects the freedom of users by ensuring that users are free to study and, if they like, modify the software source code; free to use the software however they like and to share their modifications with others. Can’t beat all that. One place to learn more is https://www.gnu.org/. (Please note: many libre music programs run on all popular operating systems, not only GNU-based systems.)

Why enter? The goal of completing a track with only 4 weeks to do it is a great way to gain experience, learn more about the software tools available for creating music using libre software, and to show off what you can do in a safe and friendly competition.

To enter the competition, all you have to do is post a new musical track made using only libre software, according to guidelines that change with each new round of the contest.

This month’s guidelines are given below. This post is also an entry form: copy and paste the form below and fill it out when you post your track.

After all the tracks are in, who votes? The entrants themselves.

Guidelines for “Begin then finish”

The core of this challenge is to begin a brand new track and finish it up and post it in only 4 weeks. Budget your time carefully: if you spend all your time recording, you’ll have no time to produce a mix. If your musical idea is too complicated, you won’t get it done in time.

Begin and finish what, though?

Prompt: Tell the audience a story

Your track should tell a musical story in A-B-A’ form.

This means that first, at the start your track should introduce a solid home base: a groove, a beat, or other singular musical idea. Call this A.

Second, your track should make an interesting shift to a second musical idea. This could be a chorus, or a breakdown, or an interesting modulation and second melody - anything like that. This is B.

Third, you should return to the home base of A, but a little differently this time. Maybe you include elements from part B or maybe not. Whatever you do, it should wrap up with a satisfying ending. This is close to A but not A, so call it A’.

Contestant: If you feel like it, say a word or two about your A-B-A’ structure:



Voters: clear A-B-A’ structure? [yes/no]

Voters: if you have to pick only two entries to share with your friend to convince them to join the contest next time, might this be one of them? (It is OK to vote for more than two). [yes/no]



Do a decent production and mix

If you are not skilled at this yet, congratulations: you’re far from alone.

Try to give each musical voice (each separate instrument or whatever) a distinct space in the mix where it can be heard cleanly. Try to create an overall spatial feel.

Contestant: If you feel like it, say a word or two about your mix:



Voters: would you say, of the mix:

[ could be improved / fine / very nice ]

Voters: regardless of your answer above, have you got any links to pages that help teach mixing basics? or other suggestions?



Optional Categories: use of featured software:

This month, we’re encouraging people to check out these programs. If you are unable to use these or are just uninterested, don’t sweat it – these are separate voting categories.


Optional Category: use of Bespoke

For information about the bespoke synthesizer and sound processor see: https://www.bespokesynth.com/

Contestant: Are you playing in this category (using bespoke)? [y/n]

…any notes you want to add:



Voters: What do you think of this use of bespoke?

[meh / neat / hey now! / wow!]




Optional Category: use of Cardinal

For information about Cardinal see: https://github.com/DISTRHO/Cardinal

Contestant: Are you playing in this category (using Cardinal)? [y/n]

…any notes you want to add:



Voters: What do you think of this use of Cardinal?

[meh / neat / hey now!/ wow!]




Optional Category: check out my chops!

This category is for people who want to show off their chops using traditional instruments (flute, guitar, drums, keyboards, and so forth).

Note: This is not a “who can shred the best” category. In other words, if someone enters a really easy to play one-string guitar solo that is just so well processed and so tasty and in just the right place, and another contestant gives a kind of technically correct but lifeless performance of a difficult piece by Rachmaninoff, guess who should win.

Contestant: Are you playing in this category?
[y/n]

What instruments (and any other note you’d like to make)?



Voters: What do you think?

[ nice / I really like that / now you’re just showing off and I like it ]




Entry Submission

Entries must be submitted as high quality audio files, preferably FLAC format, and posted or linked on this thread at linuxmusicians.com:

viewtopic.php?f=40&t=24523


Deadline is Saturday, 4 June 2022
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Re: Libre Music Challenge #16: Begin then finish

Post by d.healey »

Any minimum/maximum length the track should be?
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Thomas Lord
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Re: Libre Music Challenge #16: Begin then finish

Post by Thomas Lord »

Sorry for the delay. I forgot to check here for a few days. No, we talked briefly about min/max times but it was already getting too complicated so I left those out.
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