Loop-based composition strategies One-shot vs. looping samples Complimentary layers Varying length of layered loops (2, 4, 8, 16) Equalization Build-up of layers [now playing: Quantic]
Loop-based composition strategies One-shot vs. looping samples Complimentary layers Varying length of layered loops (2, 4, 8, 16) Equalization Build-up of layers Breakdowns [now playing: Prefuse 73]
Loop-based composition strategies One-shot vs. looping samples Complimentary layers Varying length of layered loops (2, 4, 8, 16) Equalization Build-up of layers Breakdowns Pattern variation [now playing: MF Doom]
Loop-based composition strategies One-shot vs. looping samples Complimentary layers Varying length of layered loops (2, 4, 8, 16) Equalization Build-up of layers Breakdowns Pattern variation Contrasting loops/sections [now playing: Mentol Nomad / DJ Rupture]
Beatmaking Analysis NYC Bounce by Blockhead: How is the song built up from the beginning? How many layers can you distinguish? What new elements keep the song fresh? How many sections (scenes) do you hear in the song? NYC Bounce by Blockhead: How is the song built up from the beginning? How many layers can you distinguish? What new elements keep the song fresh? How many sections (scenes) do you hear in the song?
Time Unit Box System (TUBS) notation Dwarsky & Sanby Example courtesy of
Working With Rhythm 1. BPM/Tempo: speed of the beat 2. Meter: beat grouping 3. Subdivisions of the beat 3. Quantization 4. Common pattern lengths EXAMPLE: Hip Hop style drum pattern 90 BPM 4/4 Bar 1Bar 2 Beats: Snare Kick
BEAT-BASED ELECTRONICA Project 4 criteria Demonstrate variation (shifts, new inserts or deletions, etc.) to a drum pattern or several drum patterns. Drum patterns should be created from at least 3 individual short sounds (may be from a preset drum kit, or a drum kit that you create- either from a collection of found sounds or by slicing a single source sample). Create patterns by creating blank MIDI clips of various lengths (2 bars, 4 bars, etc.), drawing in placement of sounds as you listen to the clip on loop playback. Utilize various audio effects on individual tracks: compressor, EQ, reverb, etc. At least 3 other samples, longer than the individual drum sounds, should be brought in at different times. Place these samples on other audio tracks. Some of these samples may be additional loops of different lengths to fit rhythmically into your groove, while other samples may be "one-shot" samples (such as a snippet of spoken word, or a sound effect, brought in just once at a time). Creatively explore layering of different samples together, and vary the number of layers heard at once throughout the song. Maintain a sense of groove, but play with the listener's expectations a bit. minutes long.
For a free 30-day trial of Ableton Live (optional software environment for this project) go to
in-class work: beatmaking study (part 1 of 4: get some loops onto an audio track) Open a new Ableton project and set the tempo to 85 BPM. Go to click on the name Morton Feldman (list of artists is arranged in alphabetical order of last names), then option+click on the title Chorus and Instruments (II) to begin download of the track.http://www.ubu.com/sound/index.html Locate the file in the Ableton browser and drag into an audio track in the Arrangement view. Zoom in on the timeline so you can see each beat divided by 4 grid spaces. Select and loop (command+L) a portion of the audio that can be repeated as a loop (approx. 5 seconds or so). Export your selected audio as a.wav. Repeat this step with different loop-able portions of audio to export. Navigate to the folder where you saved your exported audio clips, then drag the.wav file into a clip slot in the Session view. Edit the audio clip to make it either 2 or 4 bars (feel free to adjust start marker, loop markers, or stretch with warp markers). Fill up at least 3 clip slots on one audio track with your different audio clips (some might be a copy & paste of the same audio clip, but starting playback at a different point in the clip).
in-class work: beatmaking study (part 2 of 5: create a drum rack) Import an audio file containing percussive sounds onto a track in the Arrangement view, then select a short loop (containing at least 3 distinct, unpitched sounds) and export the audio in the same manner as the previous loops. Drag the exported.wav into an empty clip slot on an audio track in the Session view. Warp the clip to fit the space of either 1, 2, or 4 bars, and place warp markers (by double clicking) at the beginnings (transients) of all sounds that you wish to use to create your own drum patterns. Control+click on the clip slot containing the audio you have been editing, and select “Slice to new MIDI track”. Select the option to create one slice per warp marker. On the new MIDI track that has been created there is a Drum Rack containing the slices of your sampled audio (each of the sounds where you placed a warp marker). Notice that a MIDI clip has been created in the Session view containing all of the slices in their original order. You can delete the MIDI clip containing the original ordering, if you like, or you can work off of this as you edit the placement of slices.
in-class work: beatmaking study (part 3 of 5: create rhythmic patterns in a series of MIDI clips) Try planning a drum pattern on a grid using Time Unit Box System (TUBS) notation, on graph paper or by drawing your own grid containing 16 columns (1/16 notes to a bar) & 3 rows (for hi-hat/snare/kick drum, or their equivalents using found percussion sounds). Mark placement of sounds by placing X’s in the boxes where they should occur. 4 boxes divide the space of one beat. 4 beats in each bar = 4/4 time signature. Note: you can deviate from this formula later on! Double click on an empty clip slot on the new MIDI track. Notice the sideways piano keyboard on the left side, and immediately above it click on the little round button with a “headphones” symbol on it- this enables MIDI Editor preview so you can hear the sounds when you click on the keyboard. After clicking on the piano keyboard to locate which key rows contain which samples, double click on the grid to the right of the keyboard to place notes into your pattern. After placing some notes, press the little play button on the clip slot to hear the pattern. Your clip is created as a one-bar loop by default. Drag the end loop marker to make the pattern whatever number of bars that you want. Zoom in to the grid & scroll up and down the keyboard as needed. Copy and paste this clip into a new clip slot and make some changes (additional notes or new layers, shifts in timing, subtractions). Repeat this step to create at least 3 variations on your drum pattern.
in-class work: beatmaking study (part 4 of 5: create a bass line) In the browser, click on Live devices, and in the Instruments folder navigate to Instrument Rack > Bass Synth. Drag any one of these (whatever sounds promising, as a starting point) onto an empty area of the Session View to create a new MIDI track with this instrument. Double click on an empty clip slot, enable MIDI Editor Preview as before, and begin clicking on keys of the sideways keyboard to find the pitches to use for a bass line. Begin searching for notes in the area of C1 to C2 (low pitches are desired). If you don’t like the sound, you can replace the particular bass synth by dragging a new one on top of where the instrument controls are displayed in the lower window (track view). Test the different controls on the instrument. Tip: listen to the loops and patterns that you have already created to find pitches that support your other loops. Double-click to place notes in the MIDI clip, as before. Up & down direction controls pitch, left to right controls timing in relation to the beat grid displayed at the top of the clip view. Going to the Options menu you can opt to “Narrow Grid” when you want to edit or place faster notes. Copy and paste into empty clip slots to make a series of variations, just as you did with your drum patterns. Consider moving the same rhythmic pattern up or down in pitch, expanding patterns, and inserting silences.
in-class work: beatmaking study (part 5 of 5: record yourself launching individual clips & scenes, muting tracks, adding effects, etc.) Press the Global Record button in the transport and go at it! Launch clips individually by clicking on the “play button” to be found on the left side of each clip. Only one clip can play at a time in each audio or MIDI track. Clicking the little box on the left side of any empty clip slot will cause any audio playing on that track to stop. Launch a group of clips in the same row together by clicking on the Scene Launch buttons. The Scene control area is to be found on the right side of the Session view, under the Master Track title bar. Mute and Solo individual tracks at different times. Apply audio effects selectively by turning the Send knobs to direct audio to any return tracks containing effects that you have set up beforehand. After stopping your recording you can edit your performance in the Arrangement view.
Digital DJ techniques Beat gridding (“Warping” in Ableton Live, enabling automatic beat matching) Cue point juggling (Moving rhythmically between different moments in a song. In Ableton these are mapped out as different clips from the same audio file) Beat repeat effects, live looping, etc. Pitch transposition Standard DJ techniques Beat matching Blending Cutting/scratching EQ/filtering
turntablism workshop needle drop needle drop back-cueing back-cueing basic scratch basic scratch tempo (pitch) slider tempo (pitch) slider Dj mixer techniques- crossfader, kill switches, EQ knobs, etc. Dj mixer techniques- crossfader, kill switches, EQ knobs, etc.