Part 1: The Idea

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This guide assumes you already have ideas of rips you want to make and just don’t know how to make them. If you don’t already have ideas of rips you want to make, I don’t think this is the hobby for you.

A typical melody swap will consist of a base track with one or more new melodies replacing parts or all of the original melody. Simply removing the original melody and pasting in the new one unchanged simply won’t do unless the songs are already very similar. Music is usually broken up into sections, such as verses and choruses, and you want the new material to fit the existing song structurally. If the section of melody you want to use is not the same length as the section of song you want to put it in, you’ll need to find a way to deal with that gracefully.

There’s more than just structure, though. Even if two sections are the same length, the new melody might not work harmonically. Generally, a rip will work well if you can lay the new melodies over the new song in a way such that the chords match up, or come near to it. If the chords do not line up, depending on your skill level and how editable the song is, you can change the chord progression of the base track to match the new melody, or modify the melody to fit the chord.

The insertion of a simple melody like The Flintstones into a video game song is a good starting exercise. It’s an easy kind of rip to do, and a good way to learn the skills and tools you’ll use if you want to make more complex stuff later on. The Flintstones often works regardless of the base song’s chord progression, and is a flexible melody that remains recognizable even when the rhythm and scale are altered. If you do not want to use the Flintstones, try another simple and highly recognizable melody for your first attempt.

Regardless of whether you know about chord progressions, you should try to hear in your mind’s ear, so to speak, what your rip will sound like. This step is crucial, as it will stop you from wasting time on a rip that will not work. So, once you’ve decided on a base track and the melodies you want to put into it, try humming the new melodies over it. As mentioned above, fitting the structure of the base track is important. Try to work your new melody into the song gracefully, merging the two into a cohesive whole instead of simply slapping the new melody in for the old one. Try wherever possible to preserve the rhythm and structure of the original. One thing you can try is to weave together your new melody with the original one, and even try composing transitions yourself, which may seem daunting at first, but is easier than you might think.

If you’re having trouble with this step, you can use some of the tools we’ll discuss later on to mute any channels playing melody (and any channels supporting them, such as echo or harmony), and hum your new melody over the backing of the song. You can even make a mock-up by laying the new melody on top in a simple MIDI instrument before you go to the trouble of creating an accurate reconstruction, but I personally have never done this.

Once you’ve got an idea, and a conception in your head of what the rip will sound like when it’s finished, it’s time to move onto the next step.

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