Beatmaking with GratuiTous Round 4!
Making a Beat From Scratch in FL Studio
Welcome to Beatmaking with GratuiTous Vol. 4! My thoughts behind this round were to show you that you don’t always have to make music one way. What I mean by that is you don’t always have to start with the drums. — If that works for you, great!
In this round, round 4, I started with my instruments, built slowly off the piano chords I recorded, and added a simple horn just following the progression of the piano (could of just clicked it all in by hand!).
From there, this is where the creativity starts to take place; where I feel many people start to get stuck. Now what?
This is why it’s so important to know your scales. If you don’t, then it’s pretty hard to improvise like I was doing in the video. Since I know the scale I was playing in, it’s just a matter of what suites the song! Learn your scales here!
Instruments are Added, Now What?
Now time for the part that makes the beat! Your kicks, claps, and percussion!
Once I have a bunch of instruments that sound decent together, this is where I’ll start to add my drums. But I won’t know if my instruments are complete until I start to add my drums, and other one-hit elements. This is because once I start to arrange the beat, I may feel I need to add some more instruments in.. or take some away; but I don’t know until I start arranging the beat.
Personally, when it comes to sound selection, I don’t usually waste much time searching for sounds. I’ll pick a sound, play it on different octaves to see if the sound suites the song, then it’s just a matter of playing a catchy part — knowing those scales help!
I Feel my Beat is Full — Now What?
Build the beat! This is the only way, how I can tell, if I feel the beat is doing great, or missing something. Here’s a helpful video regarding arrangement.
Once I start to build the beat, I will try out different combinations of instruments to see what sounds best together. I usually find it hard to have one instrument carry the whole beat on it’s own, so I’ll try combinations of two instruments at first, and if I feel that isn’t full enough, or the sound I’m going for, I’ll try combinations of three and so on until I get that perfect fit.
Also, by doing this, you get an idea of what instruments go well together, therefore, allowing for a different sounding verse from one to two, or just change up the track every once awhile with a different combination of instruments!
In the video, once I started arranging the beat, you can see how many times I tried to get the intro just right. I pretty much went through all the instruments and finally found a nice fit between the piano and the bell!
So that just goes to show, try out your instruments and loops, until you are satisfied with the blend they are giving you!
Some of your instruments aren’t going to blend nice with each other, but in the chorus they may sound great! (So this is where you have to try out what sounds best then make your decision!).
More Tips on Arranging!
Arrangement will only take time to get better at. I still feel at times I have much to learn on the arrangement side. This is because with arrangement, less is more. It really is! But sometimes you gotta give it that more ;).
One thing to learn about in arrangement is when to get rid of things. Sometimes it’s really hard to cut something out of the production. You feel you like it so much, but inside, you know it’s not doing anything for the track. And if anything, it’s either taking up too much space in the mix, or really, isn’t adding any power to the production at all. So, knowing when do take control of your arrangement, taking, or adding things in, is something you will learn over time.
The arrangement in this beat was pretty basic. I just tried out what instruments sounded good together, then kept building.
Transitions were very basic for this video as well! However, transitions are SO important for your productions. Transitions, sound effects, risers, what ever you want to call them, the paint the picture for your listeners, letting them know if something is going to change in the beat, such as coming into the chorus!
Surprisingly, a real powerful type of transition is silence, when the beat is moving along great, then all of a sudden no sound is there at all. This can be a huge transition into the chorus, but it’s just one of those things that you gotta feel out through your beat!
This doesn’t work for all beats, but when beats are building up to something big, then all of a sudden stop, you’ve painted that picture with many bright colors!
In this video I used a reverse cymbal, then got a bit creative on that automation clip, using Harmor‘s Prism function.
Mixing would be your next step after all the above. Some people mix as they make the beat, I personally like to finish the beat then start mixing. From there, I sometimes start to add some more transitions as I take more time out to hear the beat!
And then there’s mastering, taking your mix, making it loud, and fine-tuning some EQ, and maybe a bit of compression. Mastering can be a very tricky process. It’s all about the subtle differences, that have a huge impact on the beat in the long run.
I’d highly recommend watching my video on How to Make a Song!
Beatmaking With GratuiTous Vol. 4 — FINAL THOUGHTS,
Beat making takes practice. How I’m able to make a beat on spot, and teach, haha, it’s from the Lord!
It also takes originality; be yourself. By that I mean, when I make a beat, I try not to think, “I hope people like this beat”. No, it’s, “Does this beat sound good to me? No.. I feel that synth is going in the wrong direction from the bass line. Let’s try to change this note!”. That’s how I try to work; this leaves me feeling much more relaxed, and allows the creativity to flow!
Be yourself, do what YOU THINK sounds good, and if you make it in the music industry, you’ve then brought your own sound.
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