Sunday, January 13, 2013

Process of making a beat

The Mechanics, Process, and Anatomy of Making a Beat

Here I dicuss the basics of building a beat from scratch.

Make your OWN beats!

You may have used loop-mased music creation software, but if you really want to get your hands dirty you will want to make your own loops & beats from scratch! Now, by "scratch" I mean samples, either purchased professionally, downloaded for free off the Internet, or created by noise-producing instruments you record yourself. I'd recommend downloading as many free samples as you can to start out. They probably won't be of the greatest quality, but they will let you know if you are ready to invest in some production-level sound libraries.

Now that you've got samples what do you do with them?

You'll need to purchase a software program capable of playing a sequence of samples over and over again while you tweak the sounds themselves and the times that they are triggered. I would recommend Fruity Loops. You will have to mess with the program on your own to get an idea of how it operates. (I am planning on eventually creating a tutorial of my own for that purpose.) Search Google for "Fruityloops Tutorials" to get a list of sites that can get you up to speed on the mechanics of the program. It will take some time to learn it, and even longer to master, but you should be able to pick up the basics quickly, since the timing of the sample triggering is visual.

A Quick Word on the Creative Process & Listening

Anyway, back to the music creation process. The first myth I'd like to bust, is the whole "vision" thing. Forget your hopes and dreams for what you want your music to sound like - for now. Creating music from a vision and interpreting it to reality is nearly impossible in the early stages. You need to master the process first. About all you can do at this stage is choose a genre. Once you've picked a genre, listen to as many similar beats as possible - this includes the pre-made loops that come with a lot of music programs out there. Now don't just jam out to them, really listen to what is going on. Do the hi-hats hit on the beat, between the beats, right before the snare, right after? Pay attention to what is going on between the beats, as well as the overall timing of the major components of the beat - i.e. hi-hat, bass drum, and snare. Develop a habit of this, and you'll start to notice cool stuff that is going on in everyday music that you can experiment with in your own music.

Sample Guidelines for Creating Beats

Now all you need to do is sit down and actually create a beat out of nothing. You've got a bunch of empty boxes in front of you, and you want them to come to life. Where to start? I'm sure everyone has their own way to start, but I've found a few ways to work best.
  1. Add something constant, like a hi-hat, on every 4th down-beat. This will serve as a timing reference until you get some rhythm going on.
  2. Grab a cool kick drum and snare and start to lay them down. Don't just place them randomly - trigger the samples manually, either with the keyboard or with your mouse, until you find something cool. Pay attention to your own timing for the desired location of the sounds, then trigger the sounds automatically in those places. It will take some practice, but you will soon learn to place the triggers on the first try. Until then, use trial and error until they sound how you want.
  3. Remove your reference hi-hat, and place new hi-hat sounds using the same method as the kick and snare.
  4. Now you've got a beat skeleton, and it's just that - boring and lifeless - although, it does have the form of a beat. Now to bring it to life. Most people would want to add some bass here and call it a day, but I'd recommend saving the bass for later. Beginners tend to add WAY too much bass to a beat, and too much bass will only give you the illusion that it sounds cool. Then, when the beat is played in some other set of speakers it sounds terrible, so remember to use bass sparingly. Instead of adding tons of bass, try going through your sample collection randomly. While your beat loops in the background, play sample after sample until one hits you as a match to your beat. I usually go through about 200 samples of so before I find one that works. Now layer this sound into your beat as you did the other elements.
  5. Repeat step 4 until you've got something interesting going on, while avoiding sounding too "busy". About now, you'll want to make sure there is something melodic going on. It doesn't have to be a full-blown song, just something that the listener be able to hum as they listen to your song.
  6. Now for the bass. Try to find a bass sample that is clear and defined, as well as one that fits in with the sounds you've got going on. Layer this into the beat as described before, possibly changing its tone to match the melody element you created in the previous step.
  7. Clean up! Some of the sounds you originally added might not sound as cool now that you've got other things going on. Drop these out of the beat and decide if you want to keep them or not. Delete the ones that are definitely bad, and save other ones for later use.
  8. Re-mix! At this point I like to drop out EVERYTHING from my beat, and re-mix the layers one by one. By re-mix, I mean simply adjust the levels focusing on JUST the level of the sound. During this phase, you will want to switch between at least 2 sets of speakers and a pair of headphones while you mix. This will ensure that the beat will sound good on ANY system.

Sequencing Your Beat into a Useful Track

Now that you've got a good beat going on, mess around with it by dropping out various layers and you'll see that you can create some very interesting variations in your beat without actually doing any more work. Once you've got a few interesting variations of layers in the beat, sequence these patterns into a track. Now you can layer in things like vocals, guitars, etc. to complete your masterpiece!
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P.S. if you are looking for a good beat making software this one has really done well for me DUBTURBO

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How To Be A DJ

Beat making program DUBTURBO

Edited by Whenhen, KnowItSome, Rob S, Travis Derouin and 78 others
A great disc jockey (DJ) can entertain a room with his or her extensive knowledge of music, and is someone who wants to share their passion for music with the world. Use this step-by-step guide to get started and develop your DJ career.

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Pick a Speciality

  1. 1
    Decide whether you want to be a crowd pleaser or a music specialist.

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    • Crowd pleasing means playing songs that would, most likely, hit the taste of the biggest number of people in any given crowd. This style of DJing is best suited to private events, such as weddings or small parties.
    • A music specialist sticks to a particular genre of music, regardless of what the crowd demands. Usually, these DJs play nightclubs who have specific genre standards or they have an established following based on a certain type of music.

Gather Equipment

  1. 1
    Know what you need. If you plan to play for a venue that already has a DJ setup, you might only need a laptop with music mixing software. Some music mixing software may be hard to learn, but there are some people who love to use dubstep software. If you plan to play in private venues, you'll probably need to provide your own equipment. Scope out what you need and what you don't for your particular job.

  2. 2
    Start with the basics. A basic DJ setup includes two turntables (or two CD players), headphones, and a mixer. Later on, you can invest in speakers, a monitor, a MIDI controller, an audio interface, a mic, and various plug-ins.

  3. 3
    Augment your performance with software. These programs will enable you to access a library of MP3s on your hard drive to compliment your vinyl and CD selections. More often than not, these programs provide live looping and scratching capability, delays and reverbs, real-time control and video and karaoke options.

  4. 4
    Don't forget your home studio. Most DJs record demos, playlists and original music at home. Make sure the equipment you bring to the club compliments the equipment you use at home. For example, if you're a hip-hop DJ, you'll probably want to invest in a scratch/battle mixer at home to simulate a competition environment.

  5. 5
    Be economical. Don't invest in top-dollar equipment right away. Most of your money should be spent on turntables and a mixer. Forget the other stuff for now. And spend wisely. Buy your decks used and your mixer new.

Learn the Craft

  1. 1
    Observe. Find a DJ whose style you admire and observe him or her as much as possible. Pay attention to how songs are constructed and how the crowd is managed. After you've watched them a few times, approach the DJ after the show and ask for a few tips. Most DJs will be happy to help guide you if they know you're serious.

  2. 2
    Gain inspiration from the DJs that hit it big
Sometimes it can help to look up to professionals such as Tiesto,Avicii,Knife Party,Sebastian Ingrosso etc. Get some inspiration
  1. 1
    Learn to mix beats. Beat mixing involves maintaining a constant beat while moving from one song to another, and can be done with varying degrees of complexity. Some DJs pre-record mixes at home, while others mix beats live. Either way, the goal is keeping the music constant so that dancers can keep going without a pause.

    • Know the BPM of your songs. The beats per minute (BPM) of a song will determine how smoothly or easily you can mix it with another song. You can calculate BPM by counting the beats yourself and using a stopwatch. (Some mixers will have a BPM counter on the board.)
    • Learn the intros and outros. Most dance songs will have an intro, in which the music is going but the vocals are not, at the beginning of the song, and a corresponding outro at the end. Mixing usually means blending one song's intro with the outro of another. Knowing when an outro starts and an intro begins is critical to live beat mixing.
    • Cue up the second song. Have your second song ready to go as your first one is winding down. Use one hand on the turntable or CD player's pitch to adjust speed (if your BPMs don't match) and put the other on the crossfader, so that the first song's volume decreases as the second song's volume increases.
    • Keep it simple at first. When you're starting out, make mixing easier by sticking to two songs that are within 3 BPMs of each other. You can also use two songs that are in the same key.
  2. 2
    Learn about all genres of music. Often you may know of a couple hit songs in a few genres, but that is not enough. You need to be a music expert. Here's a list of genres to explore:

    • House
    • Trance
    • Techno
    • Electro
    • Progressive
    • Breakbeat
    • Hardcore
    • Downtempo
    • Dubstep
    • Drum and Bass
    • Jungle
    • Hip-Hop
There's alot more but just know all of them.

Start Performing

  1. 1
    Find a gig. Depending on how you want to advance your career, you could start playing small, private events for a low fee, or take a slow, weeknight shift at a club or bar. Ask a friend who's hosting a party if you can DJ. Be aware that if you're inexperienced, you won't make much money at first and you'll probably have to keep a second job.

  2. 2
    Know the crowd. Having an idea of who your crowd is before the event begins is critical to successful DJing. If you're playing a wedding, for instance, be prepared to play more slow songs than usual and try to get a grasp on the bride's musical tastes beforehand. If you're playing a nightclub, get familiar with what the club owner prefers and what his or her regulars like. The regulars keep the club afloat and, by extension, pay your fee; learn how to keep them happy.

    • Be careful with requests. If you're playing a nightclub that caters to a hip-hop crowd and you have a tourist or someone unfamiliar with the scene requesting a song that doesn't fit with the genre, consider carefully before you play it. Remember, your aim is to keep the core of the audience happy and coming back.
  3. 3
    Use the music to manage the event. Divide different styles of songs into different sections. Play slower, quieter songs at the beginning of the party. Slowly slip into a jazzier groove, and pull out the heavier songs at the end. Above all, read the crowd and notice what they're responding to.

    • Don't play mostly fast songs at a wedding. This will take away from the romantic atmosphere.
    • Don't play mostly slow songs at a gathering of kids. They will get bored fast.

Develop a Following

  1. 1
    Build your charisma. As a DJ, you are responsible for entertaining a large group of people all by yourself. The music you play is important, but you also need to pay attention to how you act on stage. Don't just stand there hunched over your decks. That's boring. Try to be someone who attracts attention in a good way. Also, learn when to step back and let the group dynamic take over.

  2. 2
    Be professional. Show up to your events on-time and fully prepared. Give each gig your best effort. Have fun with the crowd, but keep your interactions professional and respectful - you never know who's watching.

  3. 3
    Keep a busy schedule. As you're gaining a fan base, play as many shows as necessary to get your name out there. Book yourself on a tight schedule at first to keep your interest alive and your creativity fresh.

  4. 4
    Develop a Web presence. If you don't have the time or money to build your own website, start an account for your DJing career on Twitter or Facebook. Promote your shows, and make time to connect with your fans and personally respond to their messages.

    • Make playlists. Build playlists on iTunes or Spotify and share them with your fans. This allows them to sample your musical tastes, and lets you introduce people to new music you want to incorporate into your shows.
    • Also if you want a great beat making program I recommend DUBTURBO 

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watch and listen carefully

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How to Stay creative with beats.

Beat making software - DUBTURBO

Here are my 10 methods to avoid producers block, and remain creative with making your music.
10 Tips to stay creative with beat making and avoid producers block

1. Try out new sounds

Look online for free samples and VSTs. There are tons of websites where you can get free samples, and free virtual instruments. Spend a weekend downloading and organizing your new sounds, and try them out.

2. Listen to different music

Personally, in the past I had never liked rock music, but then I played Guitar Hero. Playing the bass in the game made me appreciate all the melodies, and variations upon those melodies. As I played I could only think about how I would have changed the song into a hip hop beat, using a lot of similar elements, but would have made it altogether different. So now, I listen to different types of music, not to sample, but to get inspired. Whether it’s the melody, or how they break down the verse and the hook. It’s all different from what I usually listen to, and this gives me lots of new ideas.

3. Seven minute switch

Sometimes I have the tendency to stick with a beat for 30 minutes, and the final result may be something I don’t like at all. So try this, make 3 to 4 beats, and only spend 7 minutes on each of them. For each one of your beats, try a different tempo, different sounds and different drum patterns. After you make the 4 beats, go back and focus on the one you see the most potential in. I say this, because a lot of the time, for me, the beat that I do very fast may not have all the elements I want in it yet, but it may have the right feeling I am looking for and can turn out very well.

4. Write lyrics first

Whether you are a rapper or a singer, (or even just a producer, because nowadays, a lot of beats are sold with hooks for rap songs, and rough draft vocals for R&B songs), try starting with the lyrics first. As your lyrics get laid out, the feeling of a beat should stand out to you, and give you ideas for the intro, hook, etc.

5. Do something different

Every once in a while, try to switch up your routine. If you don’t sample, sample! If you only use hardware, try out software and take advantage of all the resources out there. There are a million different ways to do what ever you’re doing now, but differently, and I’m saying give them a try. No one should ever be stuck in their ways, because the industry changes a lot, and you should be able to change with it.

6. Collaborate

Work with others, whether it’s a fellow producer or song writer/singer. Everyone I know loves music, and can provide input on a track. If the other person has an idea for a melody, play it out, or let them play it out and vibe off each other’s energy. This entire process can be fun and can be a learning experience. The other person may pick sounds you wouldn’t usually pick, but work around this, and push your self as a producer and make the track work.

7. Make some noises

I honestly feel that since I can’t play any instruments, my best instrument is my mouth. Humming is good for me because I can come up with endless melodies in my head. So I get an audio recorder or record directly into my computer, and hum the melody for a song. Then I attempt to remake it with my keyboard or software.
I would suggest recording yourself humming the beat before you try to start making it, because if you have that perfect melody in your head, you may hear a sound when you’re searching through your sound collections that may inspire an entirely new melody. This is good obviously, but you don’t want to lose your first idea either. So just record it, and you won’t have to worry about this.

8. Watch Youtube (Or any other video site) has millions of producers out there just like you. With more or less knowledge. Watch them, learn from their mistakes, and learn from their skills. This should be a big source of inspiration, because online you will see all types of people across the world using different equipment and utilizing different techniques.

9. Remake professional beats

Test your skills and remake a song you hear on the radio. Put yourself in the producer’s head, and figure out how they got that certain sound and that certain feel. In the long run, this will make you more versatile, because when an artist asks for this producer’s type of sound, you’ll be able to provide them with something similar, but also to add your own style.

10. Learn a musical instrument

This is probably one of the most beneficial things that you can do as a producer. But it’s probably the hardest thing on this list. It takes time and patience, but when you take some time to learn some chords and train your ears, the possibilities are endless.
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P.S. if you are looking for a good beat making software this one has really done well for me DUBTURBO