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Digital Music Production

Part One: Loops

Explore the origins of modern digital music production and learn how to create loops that will form the basis of your original music.

Your First Assignment

  1. Based on what was presented in the video, answer the following questions:
    • How can loops act as the building blocks of a new piece of music?
    • What makes a good loop? How do you know where to start and stop it?
    • Where else can looping can be found in the world? In music? In visual arts? In architecture?
  2. Review this list of key music production terminology.
    • DAW (digital audio workstation): application software used for recording, editing, and producing audio files
    • audio track: an “instrument” in your digital song, an audio track contains a recording of sounds that can be edited and adjusted
    • MIDI track: a track containing data that tells digital instruments what to play, like a score that the computer follows to create sound
    • transport: the menu where you can control the playback of your song (most common functions found in the transport window are play, stop, record, tempo, metronome/click)
    • tempo: the speed at which your digital song progresses
    • bar: a way of organizing the written music in small sections where each bar is a small amount of time

Your Second Assignment

  1. Login to SoundTrap to start exploring the tools of digital music production.
  2. Watch this basic tutorial to get started creating music in SoundTrap.
  3. Open up a new file. Save the file as “Loop Experiment.”
  4. Create an original four-bar loop in this file using materials available in the software or samples from other programs.
  5. Listen back to your new loop.
    • What style of music does your new loop sound like?
    • What would you want to add to this loop to make it more of a complete piece?

Explore Other Parts of Digital Music Production

Charles plays drums.

Digital Music Production | Part Two: Drums

Groove along with Charles as he breaks down the parts of the drum set and uses a digital sequencer to create new drumbeats.

Charles plays bass.

Digital Music Production | Part Three: Bass

Establish the foundation of your original piece of music with a bassline that connects with the drums and sets up the harmonic space for your new tracks.

Charles plays piano.

Digital Music Production | Part Four: Melody and Harmony

Find the perfect hook as you try out different approaches to creating melodies for your new song.

Screenshot of a digital audio workstation

Digital Music Production| Part Five: Arrangement

Put all of your new digital loops together into a structure that tells a compelling story and provides surprises for your listeners.

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