Trifonic: Enhancing Your Tracks With Melodic Counterpoint

4 Oct

What do Bach, Stravinsky, and Trifonic have in common?

They all employ the technique of counterpoint to create kick-ass melodies and harmonies in their music.

In the video, Brian demonstrates how counterpoint works using examples from the Trifonic remix of Hecq’s With Angels.

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  • robvls

    Damn, I love your guys’ stuff. u00a0Thank you so much for sharing this with us. u00a0Do you have a composition degree, if so where’d you get it? u00a0If not where did you learn about all of the music theory stuff you’re discussing?nnThanks again!nnRob

  • Anonymous

    Thanks! re: education – I have a Bachelor of Music in jazz guitar u00a0from USC. Somehow I ended up in the electronic music world :P

  • robvls

    Cool… I think you may have said that in an earlier video (?) so my apologies if you already did. u00a0I’ve been composing/arranging (different genre: percussion) for about a decade now and while I like what I create, I would love to go back to school to get a better foundation for my writing,u00a0especiallyu00a0for my melodic writing as my primary focus has been rhythmic. u00a0I think I might write some jams out with your comments in the video as a foundation and see what I can come up with. u00a0Melodies have given me some challenges in the past but your idea of several less-involved melodies intertwining is fantastic. u00a0I remember as a kid with my Costco-bought keyboard I used to just sit there on the synth patch and make chords and slowly transition in and out of them (early trance? lol) so this is right up my alley. u00a0Thanks again!!!nnPS – Found the Trifonic album on Pandora a number of months ago,u00a0Parks on Fire was the !!! that moved me to buy the album. u00a0I know from this site that that album is a few years old, what have you worked on since? u00a0Would love to hear more. :-)

  • Anonymous

    Writing melodies can be challenging. It’s difficult to walk the line between memorable and out-right obvious/cheesy or to push it too far and over complicate it. Simple, singable phrases tend work best (at least for trifonic tracks) because of the density of the backgrounds. If I want to add complexity I tend to do it through harmony or other elements reacting to the melody or melodies.nnSchool is never a bad option, but I would try to find a school with professors or teachers that you admire their work and trust their aesthetic. There can be a lot of oppressive music snobs u00a0in many music schoola that can really leave behind a bad taste. I put down the guitar for a few weeks after I graduated college… I was burned out for awhile and it took me a bit to fall back in love with the guitar. Amazing how something so joyful and wonderful can become dreadful… and then go back to being joyful and wonderful :) nnre: trifonic musicu00a0nGlad you found us on Pandora! It’s been a busy year. I’ve been working with some other composers on several video game scores this year. Most of them I can’t talk about yet, but the one that is public info– I contributed electronics and ambient music to Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (comes out Nov 15th!) I’ve worked on several commercials and licensing bits. Working hard on another trifonic release. It’s a process of growth that takes time and reflection to complete. We hate to make everyone wait, but we don’t want to put out something half-baked or that doesn’t live up to our standards.n

  • robvls

    I agree on your points about melodies and thank you for sharing them. u00a0I will definitely think about this the next time I write a piece. :-) nnAlso great advice on the school/program/professors. u00a0I have wondered what it would be like to go back, already having my bachelors (in business, minor in computer science) I would hope that they’d let me out of the GE requirements! :-D u00a0The school thing is a bit off on the horizon for now, got too many responsibilities/bills at the moment… working towards it though for sure.nnI loved the Assassin’s Creed music and when I found out you guys did it I felt like I was having a V8 moment (old commercial reference, slapping the forehead?). u00a0Keep us posted on your next release, trust me, I know all too well the process of growth. u00a0It’s always better when you put it down and come back to it. u00a0Take your time, we’ll wait. u00a0If you’re ever in the east bay you’ve got a free beer offer open to you. u00a0Thanks for theu00a0dialogue, much appreciated.

  • Paul K

    Another wonderful tutorial, Brian! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, techniques and mixes with us.

  • Anonymous

    No problem, glad you are enjoying it!

  • Milan Wanek

    Wow! Great tutorial and awesome music.nI’m making amateur-electronic-music with Logic for about a year and a half, and about 1 moth ago I discovered Trifonic and I was really fascinated by this type of music, and when I saw that you are making Videos about your workflow it was like OMG How awesome is that?? It’s such a gift that you’re doing this for your fans. Your tutos teached me more than the DJ-School i used to visit ;) .nWhen i finished HighSchool I’m gonna make a schooling to an electronic music producer and after that I think about studying music. Would you recommend that?nGreetings from Berlin, Germany :-) PS I made a little Song with some of the sick Sounds you showed in your vids.. :)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks! I’m really happy that you enjoy the trifonic tracks and appreciate the videos.u00a0nnre: studying music or production -nThe more you study and practice music the more options you have as a producer. If I were you I would study music, wether that means taking private lessons, or going to school or learning on your own and setting aside a few hours a day to practice…. whatever makes sense for you. I highly recommend learning to play an instrument… or leaning how to play whatever instrument you already play even better. It teaches you the dynamics and instincts of musicality and instills the discipline and attention to detail that is necessary for high quality production. I think production skills are slightly easier to acquire, but they take a lot of practice and experience too. Ultimately though if you can actualize your musical ideas… that will carry more weight than just having production or engineering skills. Of course those two elements are intertwined and work together, but if you have nothing to say musically, than your production skills wont mean anything. That being said there is no one right path, so you’ve gotta do what makes sense to you. Good luck! Go for it! :) nnBriannn

  • Spence

    I love this remix you did dude, it’s so dark and sinister but uplifting at the same time!! And I love the fact your happy to share your techniques! God bless you!u00a0

  • Milan Wanek

    Thanks alot :) nnI have two more technical questions: In one of your videos, you used an output analyzer, that showed the actual wave. I couldn’t find it anywhere and I would be glad if you could tell me the Name :) nAnd the second one: In Parks on Fire, is that a lightning match at about 14,5 sec. ?u00a0nnMilan