MTV Music Generator 2 (PS2)
"Strategy" Guide

Document written by PyroFalkon (pyrofalkon@hotmail.com)
Current version: v1.0d
Last update: 1 November 2003



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||LATEST UPDATE||
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v1.0d (1 November 2003)
It's been nearly a year, but unfortunately my site is down for the count. 
Luckily, IGN has decided to host my FAQs too, so it's all good. A new copyright 
notice is the only change.



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||TABLE OF CONTENTS||
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1. Intro
2. Music: All Right, It's Time to Get Creative
   a. Pyro's Two Theories of Getting the Juices Flowing (creative juices!)
   b. The Four Types of Tracks
   c. Intros, Verses, Choruses, and Bridges
   d. Crawling Before Walking
      i. Repetition
      ii. Breaking up Boredom
   e. Putting It All Together
   f. Adding Effects and Comments
   g. Song Samples
3. Video: The Quickest Way to Epilepsy
4. Jam Session: A Waste of CD Space
5. Connecting Your PS2 to Your Computer

6. FAQ Version History
7. Copyright Info
8. Contact Info


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||1. INTRO||
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While it's a stretch to call MTV Music Generator a "game" (and therefore a bit
of stretch to call this a "strategy" guide, hence the quotes), it's no question
that this is one heck of a program, and certainly unique to the PS2, or any
other console for that matter.

I'm going to assume that you read the manual... if you haven't, I seriously
recommend that you do. Unlike conventional games, this one is not exactly
something you can just jump into. Besides, the book has a very good tutorial
that you can use to get warm with the controls and all that.



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||2. MUSIC: ALL RIGHT, IT'S TIME TO GET CREATIVE||
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+------------------------------------------------+

The game -- er, program -- has three modes. One is Jam Session, which is a
waste of good memory. There's also Video Creation, which you can tack onto your
songs. Of course, you can't make a good video without a song to go with it.

+-----------------------------------------------------+
|2a. Pyro's Two Theories of Getting the Juices Flowing|
+-----------------------------------------------------+

Whenever I write, be it music or words, I have two ways I go about it.

The first is to do what every single teacher ever taught you. That is to plan
ahead of time what exactly you're going to do before doing it. That can involve
pre-writing (even for music), or brainstorming, and can involve a bunch of
notes.

I typically do not do that, however. I like to sit behind my computer or the
PS2 and just start going. I toss any piece of anything together, then go back
and check my work. The beauty of technology in this age is that you can always
redo and undo things that you may or may not want.

The second way may start more chaotic, but on the other hand, it can end up
being better. I was writing a song, for example, and just sampled random
tracks. I accidentally found a melody that ended up fitting better than if I
had gone with my original plan.

Sometimes, I end up doing a mix between planning and just improvising. I go
through a list of tracks and find one that I like. Then, I imagine a tune that
goes with that rhythm or melody. I then finish up the song by grabbing the
closest tracks to the ones I hear in my head.

Whatever way you use to write is the right way. Some people NEED to take
hundreds of notes before doing anything, others think note-taking is a waste of
time. Either way, once you find something that works, go with it.

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|2b. The Four Types of Tracks|
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MG uses four classes of tracks: rhythm, bass, melody, and vocals.

The book says that bass is the foundation of the song, but I disagree. I've
written many songs that have no bass at all and sound fine. The foundation of
songs, in my opinion, is the rhythm, because you hear it during all parts of
the songs (aside from bridges). You may be able to get away with having only
one rhythm during the whole song, and you can repeat it all the way through the
entire thing.

The bass tracks do provide SOME foundation to your song, just not as much as
the rhythm. The bass section can be slower than the rhythm, and most ears pick
up the bass more than the rhythm, so this may serve as the beat that people tap
their feet (or whatever) to.

The melody is the actual main tune. It should be loud enough to be heard over
any other tracks. Generally, you'll have one constant melody (no matter how
long it is) through the verses, and a different one during the choruses.
Tossing in a third melody for bridges adds variety to your song, too.

The vocals, at least the ones that come with the game, pretty much blow. If you
have the USB capture device, you can record your own samples, which can
probably serve worlds better. Vocals in and of themselves, if used as an
instrument, can add a lot of spice to your song. They can also severely damage
the song if used incorrectly. To paraphrase the book, often it's the way the
words in a song work that can make or break it.

You can use any or all of the tracks in your song, although realize that you
pretty much need a melody and rhythm for every song. However, bass is less
important, and vocals are even less important.

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|2c. Intros, Verses, Choruses, and Bridges|
+-----------------------------------------+

Knowing the types of tracks is good, but if you don't know how to use them, you
won't get anywhere. Music typically has three or four parts to it.

The song introduction comes at the start of the song, of course (and the award
for the most obvious statement in any FAQ goes to... PyroFalkon!). Some intros
can be as short as one measure to as long as thirty seconds or more. Intros
normally are either a few instruments or a huge amount of noise.

Let's take Nirvana's famous song "Smells Like Teen Spirit." That intro is
actually both soft and loud. First, you hear a guitar riff, followed by an
intense drum riff WITH the guitar riff, then the drumming calms down into a
steady beat.

For intros, I typically use a verse from later in the song, but remove most of
the instruments. For example, I may lead with just the rhythm, then add one
melody. After that, I'll add the rest of the tracks to get the first verse
going.

Verses are, of course, where the main melodies are. Most songs have two to four
or more verses. Melodies are prominent here.

Choruses (also called refrains) are, on paper, just short verses. They can be
very different than the verses, or quite similar, depending on which sounds
better. The rhythm of the verses is normally the same for choruses. Most come
between verses and only occur once, though sometimes choruses are doubled up.

Bridges are lines of music that are used to break up the redundancy of verse,
chorus, verse, chorus. Placing a bridge anywhere makes any given song less
boring. Bridges can be simple, such as taking a verse and removing a melody or
bass track. They can also be complex, perhaps writing a whole new stanza of
notes.

+---------------------------+
|2d. Crawling Before Walking|
+---------------------------+

Unless you have certain God-given talents, seldom can you just write a song
from scratch from beginning to end. You'll normally have to write one piece at
a time, then combine.

What I typically do is write each piece, then listen to it seperately before
saving my work. I'll write the intro, for example, and see if it has the effect
I want. Then I'll write the first verse and start the music player where it
begins to hear if everything works in tandem. If it does, I then listen to the
intro AND first verse, and see if it has the silky smoothness I expect. Then
comes the chorus, which I listen to by itself before hearing it with the rest
of the song.

Doing this will minimize mistakes. Also, you can correct problems on the fly if
two sounds just don't mix the way you want them to. Don't forget about that
little undo button. It can be quite helpful while composing.

+---------------+
|2di. Repetition|
+---------------+

As the book says, all songs have some form of repetition. That could mean you
have multiple verses, multiple choruses, or simply one constant rhythm.

Because of that, you may only have to write one or two minutes of a song, then
copy it. From there, you can edit it as necessary to make it more interesting.

Don't be afraid to repeat things in your song several times. Just remember
though that more repeat, the more boring it is, unless you do other things...

+-------------------------+
|2dii. Breaking up Boredom|
+-------------------------+

Full-blown lyrics automatically defeat a good chunk of music that's too
repetitive, but you can't have that much in MG without the USB capture device.
To make songs more interesting, you need bridges.

Bridges need to be placed strategically. You shouldn't put a bridge in before
you repeat something twice, or most people won't KNOW it's a bridge. Let's say
you have three riffs: The verses are Riff A, the choruses are Riff B, and the
bridge is Riff C. A good format is ABABCB, or maybe ABABACA. However, you
shouldn't arrange it as ABAC or ABCA, because then it's not clear what's the
chorus and what's the bridge.

Another way to add variety is to add another rhythm as a build up. My personal
favorites for that are 909 Fill (Garage) and Bounce (Trance). Good places to
put it are at end of intros, choruses, and bridges.

Finally, a very easy method is to include a rest. Just put nothing for one row,
and it will make the next notes more accented.

+---------------------------+
|2e. Putting It All Together|
+---------------------------+

So, you've written the intro, verses, and choruses, and maybe a bridge? Now's
the time to try the whole thing.

Sometimes, things sound great alone or in pieces, but just plain suck once
they're combined with other things. Make sure you listen to the entire song a
few times before stamping your name on it, because things may not turn out as
well as you initially thought it would.

+-------------------------------+
|2f. Adding Effects and Comments|
+-------------------------------+

Ah, the song is finished (or at least almost finished)? Sweet! One last thing
to do.

The first four columns after the row numbers are, from left to right: comments,
volume, tempo, and sound effects.

You can tag any row with a comment. You'll probably want to put your name as
the author for the first row, and you may want to mark where certain changes in
the song are. Volume effects are generally used to fade the last few rows so
the song doesn't simply end (although sometimes that's the desired effect). The
tempo, set at 130 beats per minute by default, affects how fast the song is
played. MG isn't exactly designed to have slow songs, but that doesn't mean
it's not possible. The sound effects are echoes which can be altered to the
theme of the song.

After finishing up all the effects, play your whole song again. The effects may
improve your work or totally wreck it. No way to know for sure without hearing
it!

+----------------+
|2g. Song Samples|
+----------------+

Now that I've been approved my MP3.com, I've uploaded all the songs I've ever
made with MTV Music Generator 2. To check out the music I've made, go to
http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/431/pyrofalkon.html



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||3. VIDEO: THE QUICKEST WAY TO EPILEPSY||
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The video engine is far weaker than the case may have suggested, but it still
adds a bit of flair to a song.

The nice thing about the video engine is that you can set the objects to react
to certain musical things, such as drum beats or pitch changes. If you do
decide to use videos, try to use one that fits into the theme song. If you're
making a song about space, using large rock-type things for planets and things.
Imagination is the only limit, or some junk.



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||4. JAM SESSION: A WASTE OF CD SPACE||
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Finally, if you want to waste a bunch of time, you and up to seven other people
can play Jam Session, a mode that lets you assign riffs to buttons and sticks
on the controller. By hitting the buttons and pad, you can loop beats; and with
others, they do the same to create songs. It's fun for about thirty
milliseconds, after which my friends and I play TimeSplitters or StarCraft. But
hey, you may get some enjoyment out of it.



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||5. CONNECTING YOUR PS2 TO YOUR COMPUTER||
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+-----------------------------------------+

As I said earlier, my songs are on MP3.com. I realize now that not everyone may
be aware of how to get songs from the PS2 to their computer, so I've written
out these 7 steps to inform all how to do so.

1. First you need a sound recorder, preferably one with editing abilities.
Goldwave is available for purchase for $40 at http://www.goldwave.com/. If you
can't afford it, you can STILL use the Microsoft Sound Recorder that's on all
Windows versions. You won't have any editing tools that way, however.

2. When you record music, it will first be in WAV format. MP3 is far better, so
you'll need an MP3 encoder. You can find one at http://www.mp3-tech.org/, and
it's totally free. Despite the name "LAME," it's very good.

3. Next, you'll have to head to Radio Shack or the like and purchase a cable.
Depending on the size of your computer or laptop port, you'll need a specific
Y-adapter: you need two mono females to one 1/8th inch or 1/16th inch stereo
male. 1/8th inch is the standard port size for headphones, and MOST laptops
have that size.

4. Slide the AV cable into your PS2 if it isn't already. The yellow end goes
into your TV if it has a port, or your VCR's Video In if the TV cannot take it.
 The white and red ends go into your new Y-adapter, and the other end goes into
your laptop's microphone port.

5. Open your computer's volume properties, and make sure that the Microphone is
unmuted AND the recording object. (Test it a couple times by playing the song
and seeing if it comes out your computer.)

6. All right, then you need to open Goldwave or sound recorder, then hit
Record. Then, on MTV Music Generator, play the song. Once it's done, stop the
recorder and trim it if you wish (to get rid of any trailing silence that you
didn't intend). Save the file as an MP3.

7. If you wish to put it on a CD, use any CD-burning software to add the
song(s) to the CD, and then tell it to burn. Nero is free at
http://www.nero.com/, although any other (like Roxio) will work.



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||6. FAQ VERSION HISTORY||
|+----------------------+|
+------------------------+

v1.0d (1 November 2003)
It's been nearly a year, but unfortunately my site is down for the count. 
Luckily, IGN has decided to host my FAQs too, so it's all good. A new copyright 
notice is the only change.

v1.0c (25 December 2002)
No new information, but I've changed my legal info. I'm now carrying my guide
on my own website; you can find the URL at the bottom of the document.

v1.0b (10 December 2002)
I've added a section that tells you how to set up your PlayStation2 so you can
record your audio through your computer. You can then upload them to MP3.com or
another website, or burn them on a CD.

v1.0a (09 September 2002)
Now that I've been approved by MP3.com, I've added the URL in the new 2g
subsection. Check it out for MTV MG2 samples that I've made.

v1.0 (24 May 2002)
If you've read any FAQs before, you know what v1.0 is. ^_^



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||7. COPYRIGHT INFO||
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This document is copyright 2002-2003 for J. "PyroFalkon" Habib. If you plan to 
use any of it as part of another FAQ, you need my permission first. However, if 
you plan to post it on a website or e-mail it to someone or whatnot, you may do 
so without my permission AS LONG AS IT IS NOT ALTERED IN ANY WAY. I'd like you 
to drop me an e-mail so I know where you're going to take it, but I will not
require you to do so. You may download it or print it at your leisure.

The most updated version will always be found at these sites:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/
http://faqs.ign.com/

Other sites may have up-to-date versions, but check GameFAQs or IGN first.



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||8. CONTACT INFO||
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If any information is incorrect, or you wish to submit something, please e-mail
me. My address is found on the bottom of the FAQ. Credit will be given where
it's due.

If you submit something to me, I will credit you by the name you signed in the
message body or by the name attached to your e-mail. I will also post your
e-mail address unless you specifically tell me not to.

If you wish to be e-mailed when this FAQ is updated, send your request to me.
If you have a junk mail protector on your e-mail program, make sure you put my
e-mail address on the safe list, or my messages may not get through.

http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/431/pyrofalkon.html

pyrofalkon@hotmail.com

Have fun with MTV Music Generator 2, and try not to raise too much hell about
how stupid Jam Session is!