How to Make Music Using a Computer: 13 Steps

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How to Make Music Using a Computer: 13 Steps
How to Make Music Using a Computer: 13 Steps

In the past, making studio-quality music required a lot of money and years of training in composition and instrumentation. Now, however, you can create beautiful songs from home, using nothing more than a computer, some audio program, and a little practice.


Part 1 of 3: Get the Equipment to Make Music

Make Music Using a Computer Step 1
Make Music Using a Computer Step 1

Step 1. Choose a “DAW”

The word DAW comes from the English “Digital Audio Workstation” (digital audio workstation). Different DAWs will have different system requirements, so knowing which DAW you are going to use will help you choose the type of computer to build or buy. There are many DAWs available, so you will have to do your research and find out which one is the best for you, although among the most popular, we have:

  • Image-Line FL Studio. This is one of the strongest options from the Fruity Loops brand. As a bonus, this DAW generally includes free updates.
  • Ableton Live is also a very popular choice among songwriters and performers. This integrates well with supplemental hardware, such as synthesizers and the Push 2 controller.

    The controllers represent the physical interface to the DAW. You will be able to generate a sound in the DAW, by pressing a button on the controller

  • Steinberg Cubase Pro is a well-balanced DAW, which brings specialized digital tools, such as the color adjustment function in the “Sampler Track” interface.
  • Avid Pro Tools is perhaps the most recognized DAW among seasoned producers. This is a very reliable DAW, and you will find it in many studios.
  • Apple Logic Pro is relatively easy to use, has clear labels, and an intuitive user interface. However, this DAW is only available for Apple products.
  • Reaper is a DAW that you can download and use for a 60-day trial period. After that time, you will be asked to make a payment of $ 60 or make a donation, but even then, you will have the option to decline the payment and continue using the program.
Make Music Using a Computer Step 2
Make Music Using a Computer Step 2

Step 2. Build or buy a computer

You can save money on computer costs if you get a low-end video card, as you won't need to work with sharp graphics to produce music. If you plan to use workstations like Pro Tools, GarageBand, or Logic, then consider purchasing a Mac, as these workstations only work with Mac products, or run optimally to Mac specifications. Additionally:

  • Prioritize laptops when performing live. If you don't plan on playing live, then a desktop computer is likely to be cheaper, works better, and lasts longer.
  • Choose a computer with a high processor speed. Your computer should have a minimum 3.0 dual processor core.
  • Equip the computer you will be using for music production with at least 8GB of RAM and 500GB of hard drive space. This will ensure that you have enough space to house a library of sounds, and also that your computer runs the programs without problems.
Make Music Using a Computer Step 3
Make Music Using a Computer Step 3

Step 3. Get the equipment and accessories for the production

While workstations can digitally reproduce many instruments, live recording samples will often sound more authentic. For this reason, you are going to need to buy equipment, such as keyboards, synthesizers, microphones, controllers, electric guitars, and more.

  • These kits can be very expensive. Prioritize equipment, from the most useful to the least useful. Save money over time, and buy one piece of equipment at a time, and thus build up an arsenal.
  • When evaluating the usefulness of a team, consider your personal skills and abilities. If you are an experienced drummer, for example, a digital drum kit will likely come in handy for you.
  • The production equipment can also reduce the load of processes and emulation that your computer must carry out, which can help the program run in a fast way on your computer.
  • Controllers and synthesizers can make physical interaction with the DAW much more intuitive and natural.
Make Music Using a Computer Step 4
Make Music Using a Computer Step 4

Step 4. Find out about your DAW and your equipment

Watch YouTube tutorials depending on the DAW you have chosen. Familiarize yourself with its functions. Take notes from the most experienced users and tutorials on how to produce music in your DAW in the most efficient way.

  • Each DAW will be different and will have different functions. Even if you are already familiar with the general design of workstations, it may take you some time and training to get to use it skillfully, in a natural way.
  • There may be free online courses that teach you how to use your chosen DAW. Professional workstations often come with owner-oriented tutorials. Search online to find and use these resources.

Part 2 of 3: Producing Music Using a Computer

Make Music Using a Computer Step 5
Make Music Using a Computer Step 5

Step 1. Plan the track

Although there are certain exceptions, in general, you should keep the number of parts (including vocals and instruments) on your track around 5 or 6. Having too many parts could create a muffled or oversaturated sound. Set the metronome (sometimes you will find it marked “BPM” or “beats per minute”) to choose the tempo (speed) of the music.

  • Do your research on the genre of the track you are trying to create. Some genres have specific characteristics, such as the typical 90 BPM tempo of pop songs, or the 120 BPM range of “House” music.
  • What would it be that you, as a listener, would like to hear in the musical genre that you are going to create? This can be a useful guide to the instruments you choose and the tone of your track.
Make Music Using a Computer Step 6
Make Music Using a Computer Step 6

Step 2. Establish the base of the track using a bass line

The bass line comprises various bass notes and percussion instruments, such as drums. This should be fairly simple and repetitive without tiring the ear. The trick to creating a solid bassline is to make it repetitive but catchy.

  • The low notes of the instruments, apart from the drums, can become part of the bass line. Try including bass chords and bass notes solo, on guitar and piano.
  • Loops through the main theme of the bass line so that the bass line is consistent and played for most of the track. The main theme may pause during the bridge, or change slightly at transitions, such as when moving from verse to chorus.
  • The vibrant and repetitive bass line of the hit musical "Money" by the Pink Floyd band, and the simple, but insistent, low note rhythm in the song "My Generation" by the band The Who, represent excellent examples of bass lines. famous.
Make Music Using a Computer Step 7
Make Music Using a Computer Step 7

Step 3. Compose a melody

The melody is the main part of a track, which people often hum. Often the lead voice plays the melody. In general. an instrument, a voice, or the combination of an instrument and the voice, will create the melody.

  • There are many instruments that you can use to create the melody, but among the most popular options are the piano, guitar, trumpet, trombone, flute, violin, and more.
  • Try to create the melody, so that it has nuances. Increasing and decreasing the volume and pitch of the melody will make audiences better connect with the track.
  • If you plan to include voices, the most common is that the voices sing along with the melody. Write the lyrics for the vocals, in case you plan to include them in your track.
  • Some of the melodies that might interest you to find inspiration when composing your own melody include "I Want to Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles, and "Respect" by Aretha Franklin.
Make Music Using a Computer Step 8
Make Music Using a Computer Step 8

Step 4. Add a harmony

Choose a new instrument or two to add harmony to your track. Include these instruments at various times throughout the track. Use a note, a series of notes, or a chord with these instruments and this will create tension, lift or emphasis on the important parts of the song, or also do it to highlight the lyrics.

  • Add supplemental instruments, on an occasional basis, to your track. Adding too many or having too many backing instruments playing quite frequently can weigh down your track and make the sound quality sound off.
  • You can also add some voices as supplementary “instruments”. Using a backup voice or second voice, or chorus, especially during the chorus part or empathic parts, can be effective.
  • Listen to the operatic harmony found in the internationally known song “Bohemian Rhapsody” by the group Queen, or the equally impressive harmonies in the song “I Get Around” by The Beach Boys.
Make Music Using a Computer Step 9
Make Music Using a Computer Step 9

Step 5. Emphasize the most enjoyable parts of the track

During the rise in the middle of the song, you may want to increase the volume and add instruments little by little for the duration of this part. Add an instrument to highlight your favorite part of the lyrics. Put a lot of emphasis on the last chorus, using a backing chorus, and this will add a sense of weight and depth.

  • When it comes to putting emphasis on the track, it will be entirely a matter of preference. Explore different techniques until you find the one that best suits your tastes.
  • Unusual sounds, such as air raid sirens, rain, and the sound of traffic, can sometimes have an unexpected and positive effect on the runway.
  • The resentful chorus of the song “Mr. Brightside”by The Killers group is emphasized by means of certain instruments. Don McLean adds and removes some instruments throughout the song “American Pie,” in order to change the mood of the song, increase the excitement, among other things.
Make Music Using a Computer Step 10
Make Music Using a Computer Step 10

Step 6. Finish the hint

Mix the track. Bring together all the different parts of the track within the DAW so that they fit together perfectly and sound like one product. Master the track to ensure that the volume is balanced between the parts. Check for the presence of fades and the overall frequency of the song. Moderate the extremes, so that the transition and quality between sounds sound pleasant.

  • Keep the volume low when finishing the track. You may spend many hours making small modifications to achieve the sound you want. Moderate and high volumes can spoil your hearing over time.
  • Workstations generally come equipped with completion tools, such as those used for compression. As an example, when it comes to comprehension tools, they are used to keep the volume constant throughout the entire track.

Part 3 of 3: Expand Your Sound

Make Music Using a Computer Step 11
Make Music Using a Computer Step 11

Step 1. Build your sound library

Your phone can become a powerful tool for capturing unique sounds. Take samples of natural events, such as rain or birds, snippets of interesting conversations, and sample music that is being played from a distance on a quiet day. Download sound packs from your DAW manufacturer's website. Ask local bands for permission to sample their music, check with your musician friends, and others.

  • Organize your music library according to an orderly system, much like how you would organize your physical files. Use titles such as "brass instruments," "percussion," and "acoustic guitars."
  • Due to the great variety there are in some categories, you may want to add subcategories below the "main" headings. For example, you might make a distinction between "cymbals" and "backing cymbals" under the main heading "percussions."
Make Music Using a Computer Step 12
Make Music Using a Computer Step 12

Step 2. If you are a beginner, use plugins and thus save money

Plugins will add new features to existing programs, as well as extensions in search engines of web browsers. Music production plug-ins can be used for many purposes, such as sound editing, as a DAW, as a supplemental synthesizer, and more.

Make Music Using a Computer Step 13
Make Music Using a Computer Step 13

Step 3. Familiarize yourself with the audio editors

Audio editors can help remove static from recorded tracks, modify sound parameters (frequencies) to reduce or modify distortion, add effects, and more. Some of the most popular free audio editors, and that are useful to get familiar with them, are:

  • Audacity is a powerful sound editing program, which, despite being free, is better than some paid editing programs. It comes equipped with a detailed manual, and is accessible to beginners.
  • Free Audio Editor has a simple interface, which makes it less intimidating. This program has a range of filters pre-designed to treat things like breathing and reduce background noise.
  • Free MP3 Cutter and Editor is an excellent choice when looking to make simple edits or light finishes. Although slightly less robust, this editor is great for things like splitting a large mp3 file into multiple segments.

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