Here I will show you, quite easily and simply, how to make your own music beats
This is a most valuable exercise, as to make your own music beats is to have freedom in producing more variety into your own songs and to give your own songs your own stamp. It may seem basic, but the fundamentals of ALL beat making is here:
Beat point 1.
The most important fact you should know is: In techno, your beats are one of the defining factors in track saleability and grasping audience attention. For example, in a club the DJ will mainly play a techno song with a good beat- people want a good time and a good thumping track is the key for crowd pleasure- guaranteed.
If you make your own music beats and your beat is similar to everyone else's why should the DJ play yours? If on the other hand, you have made your own beat, and it is a bit different- having some cool sounds interwoven with the common beat- it will arouse interest.
Your own beat can also be the basis of a good idea. There has been many artist that have said "I started off with a good bass drum".
To make your own music beats could also BE your own track. Adding various effects and various sounds could carry the track all by itself. Underworld's "Born Slippy" is a testament to this idea. I know it has some chords at the start, but utilising their own beat, with various effects added, made this a club classic.
Beat point 2
So how do we actually make our own music beats?
There are plenty of books out there that tell you 101 different ways, but I have found a simple, and easy way to mastering this important concept.
With this small guide I will use a free bit of software, a Drum Machine. It is called HammerHead, and can be downloaded from here. It is a small file- 1.47MB.
Make Your Own Music Beats Stage #1- The Title Screen
Once downloaded and unpacked, load up the software and you should have an image like the one below.The "Title Screen".
As you can see you have instruments listed as 909 BD, the 909 refers to the Roland 909 drum machine, and BD is bass drum and is the "default" setting for all the channels. So we have 6 channels to put in 6 types of instruments.
Make Your Own Music Beats Stage #2- Adding a Kick
First we need to add a lovely, pumping kick drum. This is done by clicking on channel 1 and selecting the kick drum, or bass drum (BD), because it is default it is already selected. So for a normal dance line, we add the kick to the tabs, these are yellow and blue, but in an order...By kicking the left mouse button once on all the yellow tabs we shall then have our thudding kick line. Press play when you are done, and press play to stop. See below at the kick layout.
Congratulations, your first beat! Now to add extras to the kick.
Make Your Own Music Beats Stage #3- Adding a snare
Next is to add a snare. The snare is mostly follows the kick. So we add the snare by clicking on channel 2, click on the little pull down box (to the right of 909bd in channel 2), scroll down the various samples we can use, until we get to 909Snare. Now left mouse click on every other yellow tab, to apply the snare. This should look like the picture below:
so we will have- kick, snare, kick snare. Sounds pretty boring, so we need to add some percussion.
Make Your Own Music Beats Stage #4- Closed HitHat
The hit hat will add some crispness to the beat. So, click on channel 3, and then find the 909 Closed HH (like we did when we found the snare). I have decided to add the closed hihat at odd intervals- this gives the beat a little difference compared to others- a huge factor when making yourself known within a crowded field. Apply the closed hihat like the picture below:
Make Your Own Music Beats Stage #5- Open HitHat
The open hihat is a dance favourite and is essential to give some adrenalin to your beats. It is usually applied to a beat inbetween the snare and the kick. So click on channel 4, and then find 909 Open HH. Apply the open hihat like the picture below:
This is the basics of a beat. Congratulation that you have got this far, you have done well! Now what we shall do is add a little bit of flavour to our beat, just to make it more interesting.
Make Your Own Music Beats Stage #6- Adding the clap
Just by applying the clap to any beat just gives it a best of zest. You can apply the clap ontop of the snare, or before the kick. So click on channel 5, and choose the 909 clap. I have placed it like the picture below:
Make Your Own Music Beats Stage #7- Adding a Loop
To make your own music beats, one rule is needed: A perfect music beat is never usually around. By adding other aspects to a beat you will always find the perfect beat, and also you will make an original beat. Most professional artists add various "other sounds" to their work to make that perfect beat. It is not uncommon for layering up a beat upto 6 times. So, I have chosen to use a loop that comes with HammerHead. It is called Funky Drummer, click on channel 6 and the loop can be found at the end of the samples list. I have placed it not in the usual way, i.e, on the first tab and let the loop run. I have placed it so it fires in combination, and in sync with the kick. I have placed it like the picture below:
More examples can be found, if you go to "file" then "open track".
If you want to go further, you could extend the beat range itself, so instead of 16 lines, you could have 32, or even 48. In the first 16 you could have the kick drum and open hi-hat, then in the next 16 (up to 32) you could add the snare, then in the last 16 (up to 48) you could have the closed hi-hat come in- or any combination of your choosing.
I hope that you like this basic introduction to make your own music beats. How easy was that! That is how hard beat making gets! By just using different free software applications you can create more professional beats, and then use them into your techno songs...easily.
Beat point 3
Your beat making possibilities are truly endless. Adding various effects like shouts, various "hits" and such that come in on the snare lines is in-itself a hook. If you want anti-boredom effects, the best thing to do is add loops to your basic beat. This is a technique that is commonly used, with 3 or more extra loops being added. The loops however must be complementary, light percussion such as tambourine, hi-hats etc are good loops to add. Extra kick and snare loops can interfere with the main loop and sound strange and will become out-of-sync with each other.
Make your own music beats Top Tip: If you like an artists beat, sample it, then slow it down- see how it is made up, see what sample goes when or where.
If you want to expand even more, Hammerhead is very limited- with sounds,effects, quality and performance. There are however a few things out there that will help you out. First I would get the hang of Hammerhead. there are alot of software and hardware music makers that are based on the principles layed out here, and it is best to get to grips and term with them. I have nailed down the best 3 ways to make your own music beats. Your sounds will become more professional, more unique and more than likely you will not need anything else. Remember though to practise, and use a variety of combinations.
When you do find some great drum loops what most artists do is add singular hits. In most loops the kick and the snare is caught up within the general loop. So what we do is to add single snare samples and single kick samples to the loop. This is easily done in a sequencer. It hightens the loop, makes the beat more thumping, also it allows the audience to respond more to your track.
This type of adding extra sounds and samples to the loop is very common in the techno field. It is not uncommon to hear 3-5 loops attached to one drum sequence. Why? Because it is virtually impossible to find one specific loop to fit your drum needs. You have to make your own music beats. Most if not all the loops that you hear in any techno artists songs are either built from the ground up or they have been added upon and mangled.
Click here for the 5 tips to make your beats more professional
To make your own music beats, and then to apply them to a track is another stage. Fortunately, using the above method is one of the easiest ways to make a beat, and there is no other that is as simple. To progress, and to apply this knowledge into a track, click here to see how to apply the theory to a chart track, professionally.
If you would like to further your beat knowledge that little bit futher, you can continue with the beat making tutorial. Click here to make your own music beats- advanced.
What are my favourite sound generators? Click here to see a review of the best there is.