suomeksi norsk

Make a song

Drum beat

Let’s look at how to create a simple drum beat, consisting of a kick drum, snare and hi-hat. You’ll get to know two new things: live_loop and sample.

Start with a empty buffer and create a live_loop called :drums. It could be named anything, the names is just for quickly identifying what the loop does. live_loop is an endless repeating loop that can be synchronised with other live_loops (a live_loop has to have at least one sleep):

live_loop :drums do
  sample :drum_heavy_kick
  sleep 1
end

Hit Run to hear your first live_loop playing a nice kick drum every beat.

Let’s do a simple backbeat with kick drum on 1 and 3, snare on 2 and 4. Instead of playing notes, you will be triggering samples. It’s as simple as writing sample :sample_name. Here’s an example drumbeat:

use_bpm 100

live_loop :drums do
  sample :drum_heavy_kick
  sleep 1
  sample :drum_snare_hard
  sleep 1
  sample :drum_heavy_kick
  sleep 1
  sample :drum_snare_hard
  sleep 1
end

That’s a steady backbeat. The :drums loop starts with a kick, plays snare on the two, kick on three, then a snare on the four. Then the loop starts again:

Now, try changing the tempo (the number after use_bpm) and play with the samples. When you start writing the sample name, you can browse different samples with the auto-complete feature. Try different samples and check out what they sound like. Notice that you don’t have to hit stop to change the sound - just change the code and re-hit Run - the sounds will change automatically on the next loop without losing a beat!

Add hi-hat

Now add a hi-hat. Create another live loop called :hihat and add your hi-hat samples. You could do for example straight 8th or 16th notes like this (this is 16th notes):

live_loop :hihat do
  sample :drum_cymbal_closed
  sleep 0.25
end

But it doesn’t have to be so square. You could also go for a bit more funky like this:

live_loop :hihat do
  sample :drum_cymbal_closed
  sleep 0.25
  sample :drum_cymbal_pedal
  sleep 1
end

The polyrhythmic hi-hat pattern was fist a “mistake”. The loop is 1.25 beats long instead of the supposed 1. But it sounds cool! So remember to make a lot of mistakes to find something you weren’t even looking for.

Now the song looks something like this:

use_bpm 100

live_loop :drums do
  sample :drum_heavy_kick
  sleep 1
  sample :drum_snare_hard
  sleep 1
  sample :drum_heavy_kick
  sleep 1
  sample :drum_snare_hard
  sleep 1
end

live_loop :hihat do
  sample :drum_cymbal_closed
  sleep 0.25
  sample :drum_cymbal_pedal
  sleep 1
end

You might be wondering how the live_loops would translate to music sequences in popular music-making apps? The following video might help you to understand their relation.

Now play around with different samples and rhythms. You could also add a third live_loop for percussions or other effects. Next you’ll create a bass track for your composition.