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Create a Song from a Drum Beat - Part 1

Lesson 35 from: Music Theory for Electronic Producers

Tomas George

Create a Song from a Drum Beat - Part 1

Lesson 35 from: Music Theory for Electronic Producers

Tomas George

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Lesson Info

35. Create a Song from a Drum Beat - Part 1

<b>In this lesson, I show you how to create a song starting from a drum beat and then building a track from there.</b>


Class Trailer



Basic Music Theory Terms


Keyboard Layout and Octaves


Working out Major Scales


Perfect 5ths


3rds - Part 1


3rds - Part 2


Perfect 4ths


Chords and Inversions - Part 1


Chords and Inversions - Part 2


Chord Progressions - Part 1


Chord Progressions - Part 2




7th Chords


Chord Extensions


Suspended Chords


The Circle of 5ths


Minor Scales


Chords in the Natural Minor scale


Harmonic and Melodic Minor


Write the Chords, then the Melody


Write the Melody, then the Chords




Writing Bass Parts


Writing Bass Riffs and Adapting Melodies


Song Analysis - Chords, Part 1


Song Analysis - Chords, Part 2


Song Analysis - Melody


Song Analysis - Arrangement


Song 2 Analysis - Arrangement


Song 2 Analysis - Chords


Song 2 Analysis - Melodies


Song 3 Analysis - Chords


Song 3 Analysis - Melodies and Arrangement


Create a Song from a Drum Beat - Part 1


Create a Song from a Drum Beat - Part 2


Create a Song from a Drum Beat - Part 3


Create a Song from a Drum Beat - Part 4


Create a Song from a Chord Progression - Part 1


Create a Song from a Chord Progression - Part 2


Create a Song from a Melody - Part 1


Create a Song from a Melody - Part 2


Modes Intro
















Dorian Mode Example


Pentatonic Scales


Lesson Info

Create a Song from a Drum Beat - Part 1

Hello. In this lecture, I'm going to show you how I build a song from scratch. So there's one thing knowing about music theory, but there's the other thing actually putting this into practice building your song. One of the most intimidating things can just be seeing your daw or digital audio workstation completely blank with nothing to work from. So I'm going to show you a few of my techniques that I use personally for actually building and writing your own music. So these techniques are going to be building a song from a drum beat, building a song from a chord progression and building a song from a melody. We're going to start off with a drum beat and I'll show you the technique I actually use for creating a song, the digital audio workstation that I'm going to be using will be Ableton Live. But really all the D Aws have a similar kind of thing. So if you're using Ethos Studio or maybe Cubase or Logic Pro, it will be similar to this, the main difference in Ableton Live, you have the s...

ession view, which is this view here, but you also have the arrangement view which looks like this, which you're probably more f familiar with if you use any other digital audio workstation. So I've just created a few different tracks, created a drum rack. So we have a few different drum hits, like a kick drum snare Cymbals, that kind of thing. A bass sound with a synthesizer called Serum. Don't worry if you don't have this synthesizer, you can use other ones, but I like this one at the moment and then a keyboard part with Serum, a pluck sound and a riff. But it's all gonna be based around a drum beat. So that's the main way I write music is around drum beats. And there are a lot of people that use different techniques and different styles. But for this example, I'm just gonna be doing it with a drumbeat really? So like I said in Ableton Live, you do have a session view and an arrangement view. I normally write in the session view, but I thought I'd do it in the uh arrangement view cos this is what most people will be using if they don't use Ableton Live, if they don't use Ableton Live. Don't worry, I still use Logic Pro and actually started off using a digital audio workstation called Cuba, which is kind of a really basic version of Cubase. And then I went on to Reason and then garageband and then Logic Pro and now Ableton Live also. So it doesn't really matter. I know a lot of producers who use pro tools. But if you want to make electronic music, it doesn't really matter which digital audio workstation you use. It's all about what the music sounds like. And a good foundation of music theory will really help you. So I'll be using some of the techniques that we've been using and I've showed you in this video class, this video course, but hopefully I might be able to teach you a thing or two about my technique and how I actually create music. Yeah, there's one thing just learning tone, tone, semi tone, tone, tone, tone, semi toone and about the scales and some of the theory. But there's another thing actually creating music. You might be the best person in the world at memorizing theory, memorizing different patterns and workarounds. But it's actually about creating music. If you want to be a music producer, if you want to be a music composer, you have to write music, that's really what it's about. So I'm gonna stop this drumbeat. I've also got a Midi controller here. So it's a midi keyboard. It's am audio. Oxygen. 25 people ask me all the time, which Midi controller do you recommend? I like the Oxygen series just because it's really easy to use. And in Ableton Live, it's really easy to map. So you can basically assign some of these pads and uh dials knobs really easily for different sims effects and automation that kind of thing. But if you don't have a midi controller, don't worry, I'll show you how you can do it in musical typing as well. So you can type in the parts. So I've got this drum rack case, I'm just gonna arm this one. So here's my kick drum. Youve got a snare. Hi hats. Open, high hat press symbol, R symbol, a rim shop and a clap. So, one thing I like to do is just Dra jam in a pattern. But it's one thing me saying that and another thing actually you doing it. So just think of the kick drum rhythm to start with or if you're really stuck, you can just have a straight, what's wrong with them. So an easy way to do this and able to live or any digital audio workstation is to just record a pater. Obviously, you might wanna put the metronome on and increase the tempo to 122. So you heard that it might not, it wasn't exactly on the beats. So let's just have a look at what I actually played. So having a look at this rhythm, it wasn't 1234 because if we look on here, we have 1234 and the kick drum isn't quite on that. Just gonna quantize this hit command and Q oh Commanding U. That's the thing about using multiple digital audio workstations. A lot of the time you can get some of the key commands mixed up. I use the key command for logic pro there rather than able to. But let's work out what I did with this kick drum baton. So if you count 123412341, OK. Let's loop. That's 1234123412341234. So I'm actually playing it on the one and on the end of the two. So if we count, if we split it up, so it's one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four and one and two and three. You hear that, that second kick drum lands on the, and one and two and three. And so I'm not just counting 1234 because we have four crutches or four beats in the bar. I'm splitting up basically to 12345678 or one and two and three and four and, and the, and is in between the beats one and two. So one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four and one and two and three. So there you can work out. I'm using the kick drum on the one, the two, the, and of the two or the four. So that's the pattern. One and two and three and four and one and two and three. And four. And so we can just write this in. We don't need to play it in. We know now that it's one and then two ands and then four, so 12 and then four, one. So, and then two and so there's two and in between two and three is this be so 12 and let's drag this back to the right place. And now when I play this back, it'll be one and two and then the two, the and of the two. So you can either play it in any midi keyboard. You can see it's blinking there because I'm playing it or you can draw it in. Now, we can put the snare in. So same again, you can play it on your midi keyboard or you can just write it in. I'm gonna have the snare on, let's try it on the three here. That sounds because there's a bit of space there, there's no kick drum on the free. So I thought if I put the snare in there, it'll allow the snare to be heard and the kick drum. And also I'm gonna try the snare second time round on the end of the one. So just the second time round. So it's one and so we have space as well and at the end, we're gonna have the four and just to mix it up to add a bit more and I'm gonna add another kick drum here on the one end of the third bar. So here we have bar one, bar, two, bar three and bar four. So this isn't too repetitive. We have a strong pulse but slightly different if we tell off the metronome. So a lot of it's about just experimenting, building, allowing space for each instrument to be heard. Actually gonna replace some of these with a rim shop. This one, hey, OK. Add in some rims now just where the space and I think it give a good groove. It's all about allowing each instrument to be heard and also writing something that's repetitive and writing something that's kind of memorable and catchy but not too predictable. Not too cheesy really? So I'm just looking for space. So here we have it on Beat two and the, and a four bit two and a four bit two, split up even more and split the beat up even more. So not on the Ands on the Anne Ando. So the another part of the beat further along. So I'm just allowing space really. Let's try this. So it just kind of pushes it a bit more because it's not exactly in the right place or in the bang on the bang on the beat. So it's kind of allowing a bit of a shuffle, allowing a bit of flavor to our music. Now, I'm gonna add some hats. These are just gonna be really straight and I gonna zoom in a bit here. They create a few rolls as well. It's this kind of trap feel. I like to write has a lot of rolling high hats so you can kind of build in this kind of thing as well. We could add a few more high hats. So we have space here so I can add in a few more. Maybe not that small. But let's try this. I think that's a bit too busy. I might save that right for the end. Look for some more space. It's all about creating space. So we've got some space there. We have that there. I'm gonna copy this rhythm over and then I'm gonna mix it up a bit. So basically, what we've done is we've created a strong kick drum rhythm. So it's the one, the, and the two and the four added in a few extra ones to kind of mix it up and the snares pretty much just on three and every other time, the end of two and then they've added this rim just wes some space. So it's about creating something that's unique, different but also repetitive at the same time, cos you want the strong pulse that's repetitive. That basically for dance music, you want people to dance to it. So it can't be too over the place. I'm gonna copy these hats now, just have these repeating really the last time gonna have this role. So I'm just gonna paste this in slowly one bit at a time. Fourth time's going to be here and I'm also going to add open high ups and then I might add in a crash. Have a day just on the one. I'm gonna turn that symbol down a bit. I thought it was a bit too loud. So this is the kind of drum rhythm we've got so far just from playing around with that. Add in some more roles in these high hats here. It's a bit of space. So I'm just gonna add in a little bit more. I'm just gonna get rid of that last snare and put a few rolls here just to create a bit of space. A lot of this is about creating space. Lets try that. So drum beat might look super crazy and super complicated, but it's just about building layers starting off with a kick drum and adding the snare, adding the high hats and then adding effects like rim shots and Cymbals. It's a bit too busy at the end. OK. So there's the drum beat. It's built up around this kick drum. Really? So it's one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four and put the match there. Mum one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four. And the first thing to do. Let's count 123412341 and two and three and four and one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four. And, and there you can find the end of the beat. So you don't want to just stick on the kick drum. It is a bit boring. You can add a bit more. So that's the drum beat. I don't really like to use drum loops. I like to write it all myself. I find it a lot more satisfying. And now we've got a bass part. So let's arm the bass track. And now I'm gonna be listening to this kick drum. You could either lock in with the kick drum or play where the kick drum isn't playing to create a bit more movement and space. And of course, you need to think about what notes you're playing. I'm gonna use the key a minor. So it's basically the white notes but starting on the A. So it's the relative minor of C major. So it's C major which is tone tone, semitone, tone tone, semi toone, all the white notes, the sixth note up jo. So I'm basically just trying to play in the spaces. So we have a look here. So I'm landing on the fourth beep, but I'm playing in the spaces here and here. So you can even play. And if you use a midi keyboard or you can just manually go in and draw it in. So it's really up to you. I'm just gonna record this in. This is the technique I like today. Just record it in.

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