Our starting point
We’ve created this entire project using only C notes. Go get the MIDI files, plugins and projects from FileSilo to follow along, and we’ll build the track up using theory…
GET THE FILES TUTORIAL FILES Download the files for this track from FileSilo ( filesilo.co.uk/computermusic) – they’re in the Tutorial Files folder. You’ll find the initial MIDI files for each track, plus the amended MIDI files for any changes we make in any given walkthrough – just replace the originals in your project when required. GET THE PLUGINS
You might already have the requisite Plugins installed on your system. If not, head to FileSilo or grab the installers from this month’s covermount DVD, then install them on your PC or Mac.
This track’s a fairly basic dance arrangement of nearly seven minutes. It’s nothing special, but it’s what you do with the notes that counts, isn’t it? Since we’re working in MIDI, the tempo doesn’t particularly matter, but keep it around 114–125bpm to get results like ours. Throughout our videos, we’re running at 120bpm.
02 NOTHING BUTC
Every single note in this project starts out as a C note – there are no other notes in the entire project (other than drums, of course). It might sound weird as you play through it for the first time, but this actually gives us a perfect blank canvas to show you how to use theory to build something from nothing – and something musical at that!
03 DRUM ELEMENTS: AUDIO FILES
We’ve used our own drums for this track, and we’ve included them in the Tutorial Files for you to get a rhythm going straight away. However, if you want to get your own beats in there instead, we’ve also included a MIDI file of our drum pattern for that purpose. We recommend using XILS-lab StiX CM – the excellent drum machine from Plugins – to get something started.
04 KEYS AND CHORDS: PHONECCM
With its drifting, retro, VHS-styled sound, Phonec CM has us covered for these sultry chords. Just grab the
Organics preset from the menu in the lower right. We’ll get going straight away on the next page, and start learning about how chords work with this lush patch.
05 LOW AND HIGH LEAD SYNTHS: THORN CM AND CURVE CM
There are two lead synths in our project that play similar parts. The ‘Low Synth’ is a patch from Thorn CM ( Lead >>
Pluck >> Warmer), while the higher synth is a preset from Cableguys’ Curve 2 CM: Bloopy (CG Edit) LE, found on page 2 of the synth’s preset library.
06 PAD SYNTH: ENZYME CM
Using the preset PAD Eerie, Enzyme adds an atmospheric synth layer that gives some texture at the start of the track, and comes back in towards the end to fill out the mix when some extra complexity is needed.
07 RISING SYNTH PART: PHONEC CM
This slow sound (Phonec CM’s Making Contact patch) rises up in pitch to the C note we’ve programmed. When timed right, it acts as both a riser effect and also a melodic note as other instruments come in to do their thing. Phonec CM’s not just used in the first drop and the following build – it’s also used to make some more interesting effects during the long second verse, too.
08 SYNTHESISED BASSLINE: BAZILLE CM
With the HS Max Bassroom patch loaded, Bazille CM provides low-end weight, plus attack and ‘definition’ when played with quick note combinations like the ones we’ve programmed here. When this bass part first comes in, it’s playing longer, sustained notes, but this quickly gives way to a rhythmic pattern that follows the main song whenever it does play.
09 NEW MIDI FILES FOR EVERY WALKTHROUGH
Anywhere that we amend an instrument part in one of our tutorials, we’ll include the new version in the Tutorial
Files folder. With this, you can either replace the original outright, or add it as an extra track then compare it against the initial version.
10 HIGH- PASSED MASTER
We’ve included several project files for a few leading DAWs. We’ve automated a couple of high-pass sweeps on the master channel. If you’re building the track in a different DAW using our MIDI files, you’ll have to program these sweeps yourself: the first creeps up slowly from the track’s start until bar 41, and the second goes from halfway through bar 175 and drops back in just before bar 179.
11 SIDECHAINED ELEMENTS
We haven’t given every element the full mixdown treatment, but we’ve added sidechain pumping (with the key input from a silent kick drum track) to help parts rhythmically fit together a bit better, and to help you make your chord choices with some context. If you want to recreate this yourself, route a (silent) kick channel playing on every beat to a compressor on the Chords (Phonec CM) channel and the Pad (Enzyme CM) channel.
12 THE REST IS UP TO YOU
Fancy restyling the drums, adding elements or swapping them around? Please do! Want to polish up the track and give it a proper mixdown? Go ahead! We’re focusing purely on music theory knowledge throughout this feature, but feel free to give the tune your own stamp.