Upon initiating my research I figured the most basic thing to start with would be creating a beat loop. As most forum goers said “start with a beat and work up from there.” So after searching for a good explanation of how to do this, I came upon the little jewel I linked below. It is a basic tutorial on how to make beat loops for different genres utilizing a “step sequencer”. It goes over what bars are, where you should place certain sounds and has been an excellent introduction piece for me. It is based on fruity loops, but if you are following in my footsteps, the Caustic 2 equivalent is the beat box machine.
So to get started, I first set off to understand the concept of how a beat (also known as a measure) and a bar are related. It seems that a bar is just the technical term for a section of your composition. In the case of the beatbox machine, there are 4 beats in every bar. In Caustic you can fill each beat with 4 notes from each of the drum samples provided. Despite the freedom, as the tutorial below suggests, there are some basics you can stick to as a beginner. Also keep in mind there is a lot of trial and error and there is never truly a set standard you HAVE to stick to.
In terms of hip hop beats (something I’ve always found myself interested trying to make) it seems as though there are 2 main things to keep in mind: sample placement and bpm. I always wondered “hey why can’t I get my beat to sound remotely hip hoppy?” Well it turns out I was generally on the correct track, but my amount of Beats per Minute (or BPM) were to high! I always had it set at around 120 BPM (Caustics default), where it should have stayed around 90BPM.
As for where to place what sample in what beat, there appear to be 3 basic sounds for most music composition: Drum Kicks, Snare Drums and High Hat Cymbals. When researching where to put each sound, I found people confusingly telling me to place a specific sample in 1, 2, 3, or 4. If you’re a novice like me your thinking “what the hell does that mean?” Well it simply refers to which beat to place them in. The basic hip hop beat formula is to place a kick in beat 1 and 3 with a snare in beats 2 and 4. I need to double check but I believe if someone tells you to place a kick on 1 – 3, they would be referring to placing the sample in beat 1 note 3.
I am going to goof around with the beatbox machine today and hopefully have something basic to post online in the near future.
Feel free to read the source where all of the information I just blogged about came from. It will most likely make more sense coming straight from a pro. Good luck and I’ll be back soon.