Learn The Basics of Digital Music Making

OK, complete disclosure: I am old enough to have messed with drum machines and C64 music software, so I had a head stat on all of this Digital Music making.

I remember a time when MIDI was the ONLY way. It still is, but it’s a much wider tool. Looping a sample was something you had to hire Akai wizard to do. Or, if you were lucky, you had or knew someone who had an Ensoniq Sampling Keyboard (yes keyboard. Not everything with keys is a ‘synth’).

Inside of an 8-track

I remember spending a ton of time trying to figure out how to make a cassette tape loop. Trying to convert it into an 8-track cassette format because those 8 track cassettes are literally just a loop of magnetic tape inside. A continuous loop.

 

At the time, I was using a friend’s Tascam 4-track recorder and I didn’t have a sampler (I later purchased a Dr. Sample, but then got sick of music for a bit). I wanted to go out and record the sounds of humans going about their day and convert them to rhythmic loops.

I wonder how many ideas have been lost to time thanks to the lack of funds? I can only imagine where I would be if I had the money to get all the music equipment I needed (not even wanted, needed) back in the early 90s.

Anyway, just from looking at an 8-track, you can see how a continuous loop would work.

In the end, I never got around to finalizing a prototype version of a looping cassette, but there sure were a ton of monster attempts. Including one I strung around the whole room and hand cranked myself.

 

 

Anyway, back to now. In 2018, I can check my email, do some work, download a complete studio, play a game or two all in 1 hour and spend ZERO. The generation that I described above are now the guys and girls that are cranking out FANTASTIC software and hardware for the new generations. It’s really amazing stuff.

PSS-680

PSS-680

 

For example, I downloaded a FREE synth plugin that emulates the Yamaha DX7. Now, I just got rid of my DX7 a few years back. My back muscles thank me. That thing was huge, heavy and very touchy. And especially hard to program. At least for me. FM synths are a bitch to program. The easiest FM synth I’ve ever programmed was my Dad’s Yamaha PSS-680. And that was still tough, even for a consumer product.

 

A FREE VST piece of software that emulates (very well, I might add) the Yamaha DX7. I downloaded it in less time than it takes to turn your head to the left. LIFE IS EASIER IS SOME WAYS I guess.

Brings me to this weeks point.

IF you have been holding out on working with music on your computer, please don’t anymore. My generation have literally been handing you the keys to the kingdom. We have programmed the best software out there.

If you need help getting started, or have no clue where to get help. Here:

https://learningmusic.ableton.com/

Not only have Ableton written one of the most important pieces of software in the last few decades, they are trying to teach new generations how to get up to speed with things. Starting from the basics, you can build up your understanding of things (within the Ableton Live realm) digital.

With real time, hands-on examples, you’ll get a sense of what they are talking about and have a little fun in the process.

Go try out the first couple things, I guarantee you will love it!

Ableton is NOT a sponsor. I just use Ableton Live and LOVE it.