Tracking Principles


By yosfits



August 05, 2005

The headings of these personal principles have been listed below in case the reader doesn't feel like reading long explanatory content. However, reader's off-reading inferences should be then taken as completely subjective and, therefore, subsequent interpretations should be discredited.

Before presenting my principles I shall make clear that their main objective is concerned with the composer's later contemplation and enjoyment of his own melodies.

In this list, there is not a fix hierarchy, though the principle I consider always comes first is Inspiration.


  •   Inspiration.
  •   Meticulous crafting.
  •   Creation of Tracking Atmosphere.
  •   Aesthetics.
  •   Length.
  •   Self-realization and Self-aim.
  •   Arising sentiment aspect.
  •   Unforced elaboratesness
  •   Tracker selection.
  •   Title/Name.
  • Final Comments


    1. Inspiration.

    It is the basis of any valuable melodic composition. With it, the piece of melody created is the means for any imaginative or unimaginative frontier. Without it, nothing of high expression can be contrived. Inspiration comes along with Spontaneity; in higher or lower degrees. Spontaneity provides the moment of composition and the arising tune itself with a sense of unbeatable highness and a fake everlasting melodious sentimental expression.

    In Inspiration, an arising spontaneous tune or piece of melody becomes the nucleus of its eventual development (a song). If inspiration doesn't transcend the creation of the nucleus, this tune can be stored for future development. If the Sentiment involved in the creation of the nuclear tune is sincerely true, its recovery in later development is guaranteed, though, probably, it will not return by its composer's forced retrieval. This initial Sentiment shall rather return in the adequate moment, neither sooner nor later.

    The Tune will be passively stored until something triggers the composer's Composing Willingness . Nevertheless, The tracker (1) can force things or events in order to help the triggering happen.


    2. Meticulous crafting.

    When Inspiration and Melodious Sentiment are present, the act of tracking is unavoidable. The following step is a Meticulous Crafting, in which the tracker will apply all his tracking techniques as long as they are needed.

    The perfection (as regarded by the composer) in a MOD can be ultimately achieved by technical reasoning on whatever piece of melody that has been arisen from inspiration.



    3. Creation of Tracking Atmosphere.

    When composing, it is often intuitively required to create a suitable composing atmosphere.

    - Program/visual, colors.

    Self-stylizing the tracking program visually is aiding . Through the nuances of colors a best suitable atmosphere can be originated, as could be, for instance, a nuance of dim violets mixed with green or yellow fonts and dark/black background for a cosmic atmosphere, in tracking a song arising from the contemplation of stars.

    Color interpretations are subjective to the composer's State of Tracking.


    - Fonts

    Along with colour-stylizing, selection or creation of font styles increases the tracker's tracking performance. If a gothic ambience is intended through a MOD, then, a gothic stylized font would be appropriately beneficial. Of course the tracker needn't create or change fonts whenever he starts a new MOD. I rarely do so myself.

    - Room.

    It is the place where the tracker's State of Tracking will be further developed into a complete piece of music. Its organization, tidiness or untidiness will serve for provoking the State of Tracking. Its lightness, dim or bright, is essential for creating an adequate tracking atmosphere.


    - Daytime/day-night

    Many trackers, I have come to learn, prefer tracking at night/midnight. I do so myself. I have experienced that, when tracking at night, results are higher than when at daytime. I have to acknowledge that the State of Tracking is indifferent to any day-period; i.e. when Inspiration comes, it comes at any time. Notwithstanding, I consider the darkness of the night, midnight and after midnight, an enthusiastic-imparting atmosphere. In such darkness there's aloneness and calm, mystery and ‘suggestion'. It helps expand creativity potential.


    - Weather

    It contributes to Inspiration raising in the tracker. A grey, calmly, rainy afternoon tends to raise sad feelings, boredom, monotony, etc. Such human emotional aspects can be translated into melody.


    -Scents and perfumes.

    Unbelievable or not, scents or perfumes contribute to the act of composing and the raising of Inspiration. Most interesting, they are not permanent, and you can resort to them at any time for a reload of Inspiration. If they were permanent, their initial pleasantness would fade away.



    4. Aesthetics

    It is what makes of a MOD an expanded universe.

    Not only combination of sounds convey sentiments or emotions, but also every visual around.

    - Sounds selection / loops / sounds combination / ripped sounds.

    Selection of sounds should be made consciously, not by chance. The sounds selected need to be pleasant to the tracker's ears. But, a not so pleasant sound can be made acceptable by crafting it through sample and instrument properties of the tracking software, thus matching the character of the piece of music being contrived. Vibration, fading, or instrument envelopes may serve the purpose. An experienced tracker will try to get at the best loops he can create. However, I dare say that, in some occasions, looping a sample does not involve avoiding sonorous “peaks” in looping convergence. Everything will depend on the tracker's purpose of the sound.

    Sometimes, the tracker finds necessary to “rip” sounds from other trackers' MODs. I venture to say it is not a sin to rip samples; but sampling is also an interesting task –if having all the necessary tools. Personally I prefer ripping due to the fact that it is faster. I sample when I want to create something sonorously different from what is at my hand.


    -Speed/tempo (standard values)

    I believe there tend to be a correlation between the MOD's style and its speed/tempo. For instance, a rave style is interpreted as “fast”, “fluid”. The speed that best conveys the idea of such “velocity” is 3 , and the tempo will vary according to the necessity of “ fluidness ”. A sad, slow song is better transmitted through a speed value of 6, varying its tempo. But this is not absolute, of course.

    And advantage of high-speed usage should be stated here. High speed like 3 or 4 helps to set effects in deeper detail than in slower speeds, and it leaves room in channels to combine more effects. For instance, the number of rows to be taken by the progression of two notes in a channel on speed 3, will be higher than in speed 6, and, therefore, more rows will be available between one note and the next one. The more rows available between two notes, the more capacity for effects.

    In conclusion, a slow-rhythm song can be created using a speed of 3 in order to combine more effects in each channel. Therefore, taking speed and tempo into account when elaborating the MOD's singularity is important, but not absolutely necessary.


    - MOD's traits, samples' names and composer's information.

    Once the piece of music is completed, the tracker should state down the MOD's traits, samples' names and author's information in order to give a sense of completion.

    Most modern tracking programs should contain a message section. There the tracker can include written information of any kind. In the sample and instrument sections the tracker can name the sounds of the MOD as he wishes.

    MOD's traits refer to the structural characteristics of the MOD, like number of patterns, channels, samples and instruments; origin of sounds (also whether ripped or not), standard speed and tempo, composition date, length, name, software/s used, etc. MOD's traits can be included in any of the tree sections above mentioned. I generally include it completely in the message screen section and sometimes I also give a brief account of the traits in the instrument section. Samples' names tend to be included in the sample section; though sometimes this section is also used to show MODs' traits. Author's information can be included in the message section. Nickname or real name, scene, greets, comments and others look appropriate in the message/commentary screen. Advertisements of web-sites, web pages, etc, are also common in the message screen, sample or instrument section.



    5. Length

    Length is chiefly important in a song because, depending on it, the song's sentiment is completely transmitted or not. If the song is too long, any pleasurable endurance is, at last, lost. None high emotion can be maintained for too long. When the main aim of the MOD is to convey a particular Melodious Sentiment, then, the whole MOD should aim at it; speed, length, sounds, melody, etc. Length must be appropriately premeditated to the MOD's sentiment aim so that such Melodious Sentiment will be ultimately attained. Sometimes, a MOD's length can be certainly settled at the first steps in the composition. Some others, length will be settled as the tracker considers that he has tracked enough on those melodies and has obtained what he sought.

    If the intention is not entirely to do with the conveyance of a Sentiment, then, length falls into a secondary degree. For instance, in composing ambient songs, I consider repetition of melodies important. The aim of my ambient songs is to transport myself to somewhere else; but transportation may take long; or I want it to be pleasantly endurable. For so, I feel compelled to make some of their melodies redundant. This, inevitably, leads the MOD to extend beyond the appropriate or exact length, which would convey the ultimate Melodious Sentiment. But, as I have already stated, length comes to a secondary degree as far as ambience creation is involved. Nevertheless, I also consider excessive length degrading even in ambient songs; so I generally try not to extend beyond 5 or 6 minutes in ambient songs. That is the extension of time in which, I believe, a Melodious Sentiment, not wholly ultimate, can be pleasantly endured. Beyond that, the sentiment starts inexorably to decay. If in such excessive extension of time melodies are completely or almost completely changed so as to prevent melodious decay, then, what the tracker creates is two (or more) songs (that look as turns in melody) into one file, which may share or not sounds, style or sentiment. Though sometimes good, experienced, trackers are capable of giving such turn in a MOD keeping pleasantness. I personally do not believe in composing too long songs, no matter their variety of sound, elaborateness or musical-technique magnificence.



    6. Self-Aim and Self-realization. Feeling pleasant with one's own composition.


    A tracker, I consider, should primarily compose for his own ears, not for random listeners'. He is not –as far as I consider what a true tracker should be– composing for commercial purposes; at least, not primarily. If he publishes his songs on the Internet, for example, it is because he wants to share his creation with random listeners; perhaps, as a payback for pleasantness found in other trackers' MODs.


    When the tracker listens to his songs over and over again, he has to feel that the sentiment(s) he felt at the creation of the MOD returns at some degree. This is what I call self-realization .



    7. Arising sentiment aspect .

    A finished piece of music should not make its composer feel a vacuum inside her/his soul, when listening to it. It should raise a particular sentiment or emotion, perhaps the same initial sentiment raised at the starting of composing that came along with Inspiration.



    8. Unforced elaborateness

    When the tracker over-elaborates his piece of music, the resulting composition is dull; artificial. If the tracker needs to force the elaboration of melodies, it is because of two reasons:

    A - His loss of Inspiration.

    B - His unclear melodious aim.

    His melodies are empty, because he doesn't know where to aim his song. Neither sentiment nor feelings are being expressed through forced elaborateness of melodies.



    9. Tracking software selection.

    The software used for composing must be selected according to one's own tracking criterion and experience. Nobody, no matter his/her music prestige or music knowledge, can say what tracker (2) to use. He/she can only suggest, objectively, the adoption of a tracker (2) according to its technical composing features –for a sample-instrument software is superior to an old-fashioned non-instrument one. An initiating tracker shall need to try different programs, but he will probably start tracking with the first at hand, adopting superior-features trackers (2) as he gains tracking experience.



    10. Title/Name.

    In the title, the Melodious Sentiment, ambience and melody mixed up to foreshadow the melodic content of a piece of music. I often leave name creation for the last step in the completion of a piece of music. The representation of Melodious Sentiments (the sentiment arisen from listening to a melody) is the song's name, which is the “cover” of a song.It can be meaningfully attained after beholding a piece of music in its ultimate melodic completion .





    Final Comments

    Whether these principles may serve you as a guide in your tracking initiation or tracking improvement, I don't know. I didn't write them for such purpose. I just wrote them in an attempt to express what the creation of a piece of music imparts to me.

    The best thing you can do –though all this stuff being a suggestion– is to keep away from foreign rules or strict imposed patterns. Follow your intuition and you'll be walking the right path.

    Don't take these principles as oracles. They are just the evolution of moments I've spent thinking (‘unforcedly') about tracking. The only thing you need is certainty on what you are about to compose. Composing Willingness is essential for getting at whatever melody you seek. Don't track at any time; when you don't feel like tracking. Wait for the appropriate moment. You'll intuitively know when it'll be.

    I don't know a damn thing about music reading or music composing, rhythm or harmony. I just compose following my ears... and my willingness. Music is art and art is the expression of the soul plus mind (sentiment, feelings, emotions, thoughts or/& whatever), to my consideration.

    Only track when you feel like composing; and with Composing Willingness. My best songs, as considered by my own sentiments, are undoubtedly those in which my Composing Willingness was at its highest.

    Craft, meticulously, melodies arising from Inspiration, but do not try to elaborate them beyond lack of inspiration in an attempt to make your song impact through raving of notes and melodies without sentimental intention.


    Any subjective or objective analysis, criticism or judgement of these principles is irrelevant; for they (principles) are only a one-among-thousands of tracker's composing “regime”, which is continuously but unconsciously re-shaped and re-organized by every new composition.



    * * *


    Appendix of words with meanings as used in the above content.

    Composition: The act of creating melodies. Back

    Composing Willingness : The evolution of initial Inspiration in a song in advanced composition. Back

    Melodious sentiment: Whatever feeling or emotions and/or ambience a song raises in the soul and mind (the sentiment arisen from listening a melody) Back

    MOD: I consider and use “MOD” as the standard concept for referring to a tracked melody or song by means of tracking computing programs. Back

    Nucleus: The origin of the song and the part/section where all its melodies should aim at. Back

    Piece of melody = tune : a series of musical notes played in a particular orderto form a piece of music. ( Oxford Dictionary 2005 ) Back

    Piece of Music = Song. Back

    Sonorous Skill : The ability to combine sounds in a whole, pleasant melody.

    State of Tracking: The innermost highest sentiment/feelings/thoughts/moments or period of time which the tracker undergoes prior to or during the act of tracking . Back

    Tracker (1) = a person who composes music by means of a computer program. Back

    Tracker (2) = a computer program for composing music, primarily instrumental. Back

    Tracking: The act of writing down melodies in a tracking software. Back

    Melodic content: Everything that a piece of music contains and transmits to a listener. Feelings, emotions,thoughts, ambience, illusions, etc.

    Ultimate completion: When the mod is finished so as not to be modified again, the song has been ultimately completed; it satisfies the tracker's maximum pleasantry. Back


    More info including my personal reasons for publishing these principles on the web will be given.


    End of File. August 11, 2005

    Document initiated on August 05, 2005.

    Originating idea: August 03, 2005.

    Update/correction: October 23, 2005; February 20, 2006.

    Title correction: May 11, 2006. Thanks Xous from XousLAB.   yeah!! this is a link

    Update/correction: June 20, 2006.                                         And ThIs is anOther!

    Update/correction: February 19, 2007.                                     ...coming soon. Beta is already Here!