Hey, so I’m grande1899. When note blocks were added to Minecraft in early 2011, I started experimenting with them and gradually built an audience on Youtube. I started getting better at making note block songs, and through the journey I also started learning about music theory and music production. Now apart from Minecraft note block songs, I also make piano covers which I showcase on YouTube using Synthesia, and I’ve also been recently composing and producing my own original songs, though I still have much more to learn.

Here are some frequently asked questions:

 

Where are you from?

I’m from Malta, a tiny independent island in the Mediterranean Sea.

 

Boy or girl?

I’m a 22 year old guy.

 

Why is your name grande1899?

When I was younger I had chosen the name “Grande Milan” for my RuneScape account (oh the nostalgia!) because I used to support (and still kinda do) the Italian soccer/football team AC Milan. But that name was already taken when I went to create a YouTube account, so instead of “Milan” I settled with the founding year of the club, 1899. Yeah not a very exciting story, sorry!

 

How did you start your YouTube channel?

I originally created my YouTube channel to post a few RuneScape videos. This was in around 2007. Although they are very cringe-inducing I never deleted them and they are still on my channel if you scroll down enough! A few years later I got into Minecraft and I was liking the game and the community creations that used to be made everyday. When note blocks came out, I didn’t give much of a thought about them until I saw a note block cover of Portal’s Still Alive by Tritex989. I was so amazed, I had no idea how someone could do anything like that. Until I managed to finish my first note block song a couple of days later. Admittedly it was pretty bad, but I guess this goes to show that if you really want to do something you shouldn’t give up before you even start, just go ahead and do it man! It got quite a good reception so I kept making note block songs and well you know the rest.

 

What software do you use to <insert_task_here>?

  • Record your screen?
    Fraps
  • Edit your videos?
    Sony Vegas
  • Arrange your note block songs?
    Minecraft Note Block Studio OR FL Studio
  • Make your piano covers?
    FL Studio for the arrangement and Synthesia for the display
  • Make that sound-wave-y thing in some of your videos?
    Audio Spectrum effect in Adobe After Effects OR ZGameEditor Visualizer in FL Studio

 

How exactly do you go about making a note block song?

I arrange all of my songs by ear. If I’m using Minecraft Note Block Studio, I’ll generally listen to portions of the song I’m covering over and over and select the correct notes by ear, until I complete the whole song. Note Block Studio then generates a schematic which I can import into my world using MCEdit. For wireless songs, see the following question.

For the note block songs that I do not build in Minecraft, I usually use FL Studio. I take Minecraft’s note block sound files and create a song with them. With FL Studio I’m not limited by only a few specific tempos and just a 2 octave range for each instrument, unlike with Minecraft, so I have much more liberty when I’m arranging a song. With FL Studio I can also add in some sound effects, like reverb, delay and compression, which make the songs sound nicer.

If you want to read more in detail how I make note block songs, and why I’ve never made a video tutorial about it, here’s a pretty long post of me trying to explain it.

 

How do you make wireless note block songs?

I have a video tutorial on my channel which describes this in detail. You can watch it along with some further useful information by clicking here. I basically use an MCEdit filter that I made to convert note blocks into command blocks. These command blocks will have /setblock commands set to spawn note blocks at specified locations at the correct time, where they will be activated by redstone blocks and play their note.

 

Can you please do <insert_song_here>?

Feel free to request songs that you like, however I receive a lot of song suggestions so I can’t promise that I’ll do your song unfortunately! By the way the best way to contact me is probably on Twitter (@grande1899).

 

Can I use your music in my video / game / parody / birthday party / wedding / funeral?

The short answer is yes, as long as you give me credit you can use my music wherever and however you like, though please don’t just re-upload my music as it is or claim that it’s your work, that’s just not cool. An important thing to know though is that for my cover songs, you technically don’t just need permission from me to use them, but also from the original song publishers. Basically I have no problem with you using my cover songs, but your video may get claimed by the song publishers so you won’t be able to monetize it (this should be rather unlikely though). As for my original songs then there’s nothing to worry about. If you ever receive a claim for an original song of mine please contact me, it’s probably a false claim.

 

How do I make an EDM song? I have no idea what I’m doing!

Well well well, this is a very hard question to answer. If you’re a beginner I recommend trying a DAW like FL Studio and just messing around with it, that’s probably the best way to learn. I’ve assembled quite a large collection of sound samples along the years. There are a lot of free resources on the internet, although high quality content tends to have a price. But if you’re a beginner you can just use the samples and plugin presets available in stock FL Studio. I try to synthesize a lot of my own sounds as I think it’s better to learn that way. I like using NI Massive personally, I just find it pretty simple to get the hang of compared to other synths. Regarding mixing and mastering, I imagine that practice and experience are what you need to get better results. But if you need help with something in particular there are loads of YouTube tutorials and written guides allover the internet, so don’t give up!

 

What are your PC specs?

  • Intel i5 4670K CPU
  • Nvidia Geforce GTX760 2GB GPU
  • 16GB RAM
  • 128GB SSD + 2x 1TB HDD’s
  • I also have a 144Hz G-Sync enabled Acer monitor which I’m pretty happy about 🙂

 

What other games do you like apart from Minecraft?

I like free-roaming, story-driven and aesthetically-pleasing games. Some of my favorite franchises are:

  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Assassin’s Creed
  • The Witcher
  • The Elder Scrolls
  • Tomb Raider
  • Half Life
  • Mirror’s Edge
  • Portal
  • Far Cry
  • Pretty much all Telltale games

Other standalone games that I really enjoyed playing are:

  • Life is Strange
  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
  • Undertale
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Fez
  • Rocket League
  • Stronghold Crusader (the good old times!)

I also like me some Fifa, Counter Strike, and Dota among other games.

And I can’t forget all the hours I spent playing RuneScape in the past!

 

What is undeniably the best video game ever to be created?

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

 

“They say it’s the game of kings. That chess teaches one to think strategically. What a load of rubbish! Both sides have identical pieces, the rules stay invariably the same. How does this mirror real life?”