Archive for the ‘Music/Photography Stuff’ category

Making Amazing Music in FL Studio

October 1, 2007
Yeah, I wish. More like, “Making sub-par tunes that some people might not spit at”

So, a few months ago I picked up FL Studio XXL. I had become interested it in FL studio (also known as “Fruity Loops”) when I learned that a user on a site that I frequently visit used FL studio to make some great sounding music. I then did some extensive research, meaning I went to You-tube and typed in “FL Studio”. What I found was a few videos of some guy apparently starting up FL, throwing a few notes in, and ending up with a great sounding song in less then 10 minutes. I was shocked; it looked easy to use, required little time and effort, and required no history or background in music or composing. It was perfect for me! Several days later, I had FL Studio installed and I was ready to make my first great masterpiece.

Reality is like a sack of bricks being swung at your face

After opening up FL, skipping through the “if you’ve never used Fruity Loops, read this first” tutorial (which in hindsight was a bad idea), and starting a new blank project, I was finally ready to begin. I selected what instruments and samples I wanted to use, set a drum loop, and arranged notes in the instrument’s “piano roll” in such a way that I thought would sound good. 4 minutes and 15 seconds later, I had a respectable, decent sounding tune.

Haha! Of course I am joking. 4 minutes and 15 seconds later I had what sounded like a recording of me filling a room with various frogs and toads, and then stomping around the room while banging on a metal pan. If I had closed my eyes and just randomly clicked around to select the notes, it would have pretty much sounded the same, if not better. In fact, my computer itself seemed almost angry that I forced it to render the horrible noises, and threw in a few clipping and scraping noises as well. My plan at making movie-quality music with little time, effort, or knowledge of the program had, shockingly, failed. I considered suing Fruity Loops for false advertising, but seeing that I got the program from a Torrent site in the first place, I decided not to.

The long, ugly-sounding path to becoming less horrible

After several hours of experimenting with FL I steadily improved, in the same sense that a brutal serial killer can “improve” into a guy who just occasionally kills people. By the end of the day, my music quality ranged from “Horrible Ear Rape” to “On Hold with Tech Support” to “Mildly Unpleasant, Please Make it Stop”. It occurred to me that since I had no background in music or music composition , shockingly, I didn’t know what notes sounded good together! So I did what any other respectable, aspiring artist would do: I stole somebody else’s tune.

I mentioned in the beginning that a guy from YTMND originally got me interested in FL Studio. His name is Keaton, and after browsing around his site and listening to several of his awesome songs, I found one that seemed relatively easy to replicate. He called it “Climb the Musical Ladder” and it pretty much consisted of 4 notes played over and over while slowly adding in different instruments, eventually sounding pretty damn sweet. My version sounded significantly less sweet than “pretty damn sweet”, but at least it wasn’t offensive to listen to anymore. It could confidently be labeled as “something that you would rather listen to over getting beaten with a blunt object”, which is more then I could say about my previous works.

So now that I’ve created a mediocre tune based off of somebodies good tune, I can start making original songs, right? Wrong! Being able to copy another person’s work and make something that sounds similar hasn’t changed the fact that I’m have about the same amount of talent as a non-vascular sponge when it come to creating original music. Actually becoming good at that would require a lot of time, effort, and possibly musical classes, so I’ll just go with my original choice: re-creating other people’s music. Hopefully I will suddenly have a musical epiphany and be struck with the knowledge and ability to create good music right off the bat, but that might take a while. If you are ever walking around and suddenly hear what sounds like a combination of a cat and a chalkboard being put through a food processor, that would be me. Walk away, quickly.