Nowadays, electronic music production has become far more advanced than expected earlier. This is due to the innovation of new digital technologies that can do amazing things with sounds. Professionals use high-end consoles, samplers, synthesizers and software to produce electronica music. This does not mean that electronic music cannot be composed using a keyboard and a simple software.
Composing Electronic Music Using Software
Some of the commonly used software are Steinberg Cubase Cakewalk Sonar, Digidesign Pro Tools, Fruity Loops – FL Studio, Reaper, Ardour, Zynewave Podium, and many others. These applications are referred to as Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs). To include effects of instruments, you would also need to download Virtual Studio Technology (VST) plug-ins that serve as virtual musical instruments.
Plan the format of the song with regards to beats, types of effects, and sound. You will need to buy and install the Reaper software. You will also require VST plug-ins which can be downloaded over the web. Select these plug-ins as per the effects and sounds you require in your composition.
After downloading, locate the folder, copy the files and paste them in the ‘plug-in’ folder of Reaper which you will find in the Program Files folder of C drive. This will make the virtual instruments available in the Reaper software interface. On the interface, click on access the Insert > Virtual instrument link and various virtual instruments will be displayed. Select the instrument you want to use on a new track.
Now access the Insert > New MIDI item option and a blue box will appear on the main track. Double click on this box, and you are all set to compose electronic music. If you have selected drums instrument, you will be able to set rhythms. After setting the beat and tempo, access the Insert > Virtual instrument link again to add synth and sound effects in the same manner. You can even play around with effects using the FX button on the interface. You can add new sounds by using the Insert > Media file option.
Composing Electronic Music Using a Keyboard
To make electronic music on a keyboard is a very simple process. You simply have to get familiar with the related functions on the instrument. Generally, a keyboard comes with a floppy drive or a USB connection for saving the music you make.
First, access the music database and rhythm section on the keyboard, which can be usually done using buttons. Select a beat you want, and press the record button. As the beat is being played, you can access the effects button from where you can select synth and sounds. Select one as per the set format, and play it along with the beat. Here, you need to be good at the keys, chords, and scales. You can include the onboard effects with the played music. Stop recording and save the file in MIDI format. Read on to know about using MIDI keyboards and applications for creating.
You can play music using a combination of a keyboard and a computer. You will need to use a MIDI keyboard for this purpose. Connect the MIDI keyboard to the computer and open the interface of the audio software. After setting a rhythm on the software, you can use the real MIDI keyboard instead of the virtual keyboard plug-in to create sound effects. If you have a good MIDI keyboard, you can combine effects on the DAW software as well as that on the keyboard. Some of the effects are pitch bender, modulation, octave change, sustain, etc. If used properly, you can come up with great sounds with these technologies.
Experimenting with loops, effects, and modules can be real fun if you become familiar with the technology. Advanced digital software have helped many beginners to compose great music by just using a computer. Since these software offer innumerable choices of experimenting with electronic effects, you will always end up creating a new piece of music.
By Stephen Rampur Published: June 18, 2011