6th September 2012 - EML Preview


Well, now you guys have probably created your own mixes of audio samples, that conform to one of the many song structures out there. However, this means you are still limited by what samples you have. In addition to simply downloading more samples that you can add into your combinations, in this upcoming lesson, we will go through how to create your own tunes that you can add into your mixes.

Or if you prefer, you can create tunes using samples all your own, without using anyone else's loops. Sound good?


  • Reporting time: 10:00 AM
  • Ending time: 12:00 NOON
Things to bring:
  • Computer with downloaded and installed VSTi (Virtual Studio Technology Instruments) and installed (trial?) copy of Ableton Live! 8.
  1. The collection from TAL: e.g. Ele7tro, Noisemaker, U-no-62: http://kunz.corrupt.ch/products  
  2. Superwave P8: http://www.superwavesynths.co.uk/downloads.htm
  3. Greenoak Crystal: http://www.greenoak.com/crystal/indexDesktop.html
  • You may want to experiment a bit with the VSTi before coming. To install a VST, download all (yes, all) your VSTs to the same folder. It's up to you where to place them, but do put them in the same location. A VST is usually run from a .dll file. Thereafter, open Ableton Live! 8, then go Options=>Preferences=>File Folder tab=>Plug-In Sources, then turn on the VST Custom Folder option, and click Browse to tell Ableton where your VST folder is. After this first step, in future after you download new VSTs, you only need click on "Rescan" to install them. When this is done (with at least one VST installed), if you click the power plug icon on the top left corner of your screen it will show you all the VSTs you have installed as 'Plug-in Devices', and thereafter you may drag and drop them onto your tracks as if they were sound samples or MIDI instruments.
  • There are two types of VSTs: VSTi and VST effects. The former works by taking notes from a MIDI track and playing them with a particular set of sound samples/synth presets (as if they were Ableton instruments, essentially), and the latter works by changing the sound output from the Audio/MIDI tracks (as if they were Ableton Audio Effects). In a way, the Ableton versions are simply VSTs that are included in the price of Ableton itself.
What to expect:
  • A primer on MIDI usage, VST introduction and usage and basic audio effects.
  • Time to practice on composing your own melodies using MIDI instruments and VSTi.
  • Time for you to ask questions/advice on how to write your own tunes.
How to prepare:
  • Think of a melody you might want to write into a song. Or a bassline. Or a rhythm. Then during the session itself, you can write that part you have in mind into your track. Inspiration takes time, so it is better to start thinking earlier than to draw a blank during the session.
  • Revise on the previous lessons at http://electronicmusiccourse.blogspot.sg/2012/04/lesson-1-groove.html and http://electronicmusiccourse.blogspot.sg/2012/04/lesson-2-structure.html if you need to. We will still be writing according to one of the structures you choose, so the foundation is still necessary.
  • Listen to music you like, and observe what effects they use to change the sound from one part to another (say, between the second and first verses of a song) to create variety. Or to transit into different sections of a song. That will help you to decide what kind of effect you might want in your own track.
And then:
  • Stay back for lunch thereafter, this week's lunch is a little special... don't miss it!