Drop the Bass: Make Music Electronically

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Drop the Bass: Make Music Electronically

Everyone has a beat they like to listen to, be it jazz, pop, or dubstep. Each genre rocks someone’s soul. You know what you like, and you might listen to it every day. Like you, the musicians love that genre too, and they don’t necessarily have guitars or sing. The dawn of the new times has given rise to a new instrument: the personal computer. Because of this new development, music creation has never been so easy, professional and accessible. The average person can create a catchy tune!

Creating a 30 second clip of music is not difficult. However, creating a 3 minute long track that sounds decent is harder. Not surprisingly, there is a ton of work that has to be done in a slew of different software suites to bring everything together. It is also recommended that you study the genre of music that you would like to create so that you can determine what your track will ultimately sound like.

Before starting, you might want to consider getting studio grade headphones and/or a MIDI keyboard. Headphones are far clearer than speakers, and make it easier to detect audio mishaps that would otherwise be silent. Meanwhile, a MIDI keyboard is extremely useful. If you know how to play the piano, then you can hook up the keyboard to the computer and create music by recording the output of the keyboard, making your editing a little bit easier.

First, assuming that you want to make electronic music (read: you don’t want to record sounds via a microphone), you need to get a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). A DAW is a program that contains all or most of the tools you need to create music. For example, in a DAW you would arrange the sounds that you would get from various sources, like the MIDI keyboard, and create a tune.

Fruity Loops Studio (FL Studio) is recommended by most music professionals as the best DAW on the market, with intuitive and comprehensive toolsets. However, it is a very pricey option with the lowest costing package being $100. Thankfully, quality free open source software exists for everything, including Linux MultiMedia Studio (LMMS) for our purposes.

These programs alone are not enough to create music. You should also find various Virtual Studio Technologies (VST) and samples. VSTs and samples are essentially the instruments that you plug into the DAW that produces sounds and effects. These files are packages of sounds with notes of a specific instrument or type. You can find several packages online, for free or paid.

You would also need an all-around audio editing suite to encode and produce the final product, an .MP3 or .FLAC file. Adobe Audition is available on every campus computer in NJIT to every student, which is an excellent program to use to cut and edit the audio. A popular free, open source option is Audacity, which is useful for music creation and general audio recordings as well.

Should you create a catchy tune and want to proudly display it for all to hear and enjoy, then you need to upload it to a music sharing service. The most popular service for sharing user created music is SoundCloud, where many aspiring artists like you have their works.

Finishing a track is hard work. When you complete something that you don’t hate and like listening to, don’t hesitate to share it! Maybe the next party you go to will feature music from the next Deadmau5: you.

About The Author

Stephen Chan

Executive Editor of the NJIT Vector. A computer engineering student that loves writing, I took it to the newspaper.

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