I said I would have at least a preset up for peeps today, so here it is. The sample I used is from the tone bank on my Casio. I was flipping through it looking for sounds for future projects and thought that this sounded fairly unique. Also the scratching sound from my headphone jack seems to disappear as tones are transmitted, so it came out fairly clean.
To add this to your preset archive copy the .pcmsynth file into the pcmsynth preset folder. You will need a file explorer to do this and I would recommend looking up the app “ES File Explorer” on Google Play. Enjoy.
CASIO VOICE BS.PCMSYNTH
I will also have a new page archiving samples as I make them soon.
As time has progressed over the past three weeks I have come to realize that even regarding basic hip hop production, it is very difficult to produce anything without some sort of musical training. So while I continue to experiment and post stuff on here I will also be learning to play piano (pretty sure I mentioned that earlier).
Since I don’t really know what I am doing I have decided that teaching myself out of a book or off of youtube might be a little difficult. So after a little research I found an interesting computer product called “Piano Marvel.”
Piano Marvel is an online music teaching program set up with a subscription fee and requiring a Midi enabled keyboard controller. From what I have read online it is a fairly viable way to learn the basics. The Midi component allows the program to track errors you are making and provide you with dependable feedback. It costs about $12 or $15 a month and allows you to take unlimited lessons while subscribed. I have the link to the website below as well as a nice review I found on it. Have a look, I’m going to at least try out the free demo month to see how it works.
Well I finally finished that track. It’s kind of boring in the beginning, but I don’t think it is too shabby for a first go. Unfortunately I can’t upload it… There appears to be something wrong with my soundcloud account. I’ll have up as soon as the problem clears.
Until then, does anyone have a suggestion of a track to chop?
Been working on that track for a while today. Brought the subsynth up an octave and you can already hear it better. Honestly though, I’m getting a little bored with it. I would like to and probably will just put an ending on it and call it good.
In my next project I am going to try something a little different. Instead of starting from scratch I am going to use the app “Sonic Chop” from the google app store to chop up a song I like so I can try to do a remixish type deal. It sounds like just chopping tracks into samples is very time consuming, so this could take a while just to get rolling. I also need to add Sonic Chop to my app page, which I will get around to eventually.
In other news during my job hunt I have been researching small midi keyboards, besides the Akai MPK Mini. I am actually thinking about getting a Korg Microkey 37 key controller. I’ve found that with the constricted space in a studio apartment a smaller keyboard would be good and I am getting more interested in playing piano, so something bigger than a 25 key would be nice. Also if I ever work with a desktop DAW there is an Android app I can use as a midi drum pad, making that part of the Akai less necessary.
Here’s a link to the specific model I am talking about. I wish I still had access to amazon, being in Australia now. This sucker will end up running me $109 if I end up getting it.
So I finally have some progress for my first track. I originally thought that I was going to start a completely new project, but decided against it and built off of that loop I posted way back.
I was having issues trying to get a melody going with anything other than a piano sample, so I tried to use the Subsynth to make a bass melody (if that is even possible). So far the song is about half as long as it should be. The intro is only 2 bars, the verse is 4 bars and the chorus is 8 bars at the moment.
To help with visual aid I have the pic below to help break down which part of the song is which.
It’s VERY basic, but I don’t think it’s too shabby for a first try. Also I noticed if you aren’t using decent headphones you can’t hear some of the subsynth. I need to go back and raise the frequencies so anyone can enjoy it properly. WIP.
Still nothing to show! I have been trying to figure out a good melody, learning theory, watching videos, reading tutorials. I think I have chords, scales and all that good stuff down, but it’s hard to put it to practice! So here is a big link on melody tips to keep you busy.
P.S. I think it may be easier to build a melody off a beat than a beat off of a melody.
*Edit: I thought I already posted about scales, but I guess not.
This is important to learn so pay a little attention. Here are some cheat sheets for learning the Major and Minor Scales on the go. In the following information T=Tone (two keys over) S=Semitone (one key over). Also for these examples my root key will be C. Have a play with a synth or piano or midi keyboard to listen for the differences.
Major Scale: Root Key – T – T – S – T – T – T – S or C -D – E – F – G – A – B
Natural Minor Scale: Root Key – T – S – T – T – S – T – T or C – D – E Flat – F – G – A Flat – B Flat – C
Harmonic Minor Scale: Root Key – T – S – T – T – S – T+S (a tone and a half) – T or C – D – E Flat – F – G – A Flat – B – C
Now comes the tricky one. The following is the Melodic Minor Scale. Unlike the other scales, this one is not played the same in reverse.
Chromatic Minor Scale Ascending: Follow the “Natural Minor Scale” but raise the 6th and 7th note a semi ton
i.e. Root Key – T – S – T – T – T – T – T or C – D – E Flat – F – G – A – B – C
Chromatic Minor Scale Descending: Same pattern as the “Natural Minor Scale”
Last day of moving so I should have a post up tomorrow with some media content (hoping to have a base melody laid out for my first track). In the mean time, I want to direct your attention to a VERY useful website for researching Android Music Apps.
The creator and author of musicalandroid has a vast collection of reviews regarding Android Music apps, a couple of which I haven’t even heard of. The author does regular updates as new new apps are released or new information is launched of upcoming apps. There are also some fun competitions for creating music on Android devices!
Definitely worth a read, I’ll be checking it out on the regular.
Last night I attempted to start work on my first full song, but I realized that I am stuck with just making VERY basic beat loops. In other words I had no idea how song structure worked. So, here is a little explanation.
A song is arranged into 6 parts
• Middle 8
Since I am currently focusing on hip hop construction, I will be using the following arrangement as a base.
1. Introduction: 8 Bars
2. Verse: 8-16 Bars
3. Chorus: 8 Bars
4. Verse: 8-16 Bars
5. Chorus: 8 Bars
6. Bridge: 2-8 Bars
7. Verse or Chorus: 8-16 Bars
It seems to be tough to get in writing how to construct a verse and a chorus etc, so I am going to do a little home research and analyze some of my favorite tracks.
Here are my reference links. Time for me to get back to moving.
A little busy prepping for the move to my new place on Tuesday, so I haven’t been able to get any progress done on that track. I have however found some affordable hardware that will increase your productivity, even through Android.
USB Digital to Analog Converter
The first is a device called a USB DAC (Digital to Analog Converter). As I mentioned in a previous post the headphones jacks found on android devices, PC’s and other media devices just barely deliver what is considered acceptable sound quality . These devices are superior stand alone sound cards/amplifiers that connect to your device via USB (who would have guessed). They supply much better sound quality and can be very beneficial for production, especially if you are restricted to using headphones. I may shortly invest in a VERY budget one since I have noticed that Bass comes through much stronger on my PC than it does through my Kindle Fire, and I would at least like some more continuity.
Midi controllers can come in many different forms: mixing boards, keyboards, drumpads etc. They hook up to your Digital Audio Work station and immensely help streamline music production. Instead of clicking where you want to sequence notes, they allow you record in real time. There are plenty of resources out there on how they work and why you want them. I specifically would like to get an Akai MPK Mini. It’s an affordable midi keyboard with drum pads. Midi keyboards work with Caustic 2, but I understand that Drum Pad mapping will be available in future updates. Don’t know what drum pads are? Check out the Su-Preme MPA app in my Apps page.
Note that Midi controllers are not viable unless you have a low audio latency device. Right now with my Kindle Fire it is at 160ms, which will not work for live recording. You want closer to <20ms.