Rhythm Creation - Music Production and Sound Reocording

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Sometimes we find a great sample that we really want to use but unfortunately there is a click at the beginning or end of the sound. For this tutorial I am going to be using Audacity which is free to use and can be downloaded from the Audacity Website for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux. You should be able to use any similar software to do the same technique.

Here is a simple kick drum sound and if you listen carefully you will hear a click at the end once the sample has finished.

If we was to put this into a drum beat we would get unwanted clicks all over our drum pattern. If we look at our sound in Audacity we can see that the reason this click is heard is because the last section of our sample ends while the sound waveform is either above or below 0.

We can solve this very easily by highlighting the last few milliseconds of the sound and going to Effect > Fade Out which will make the waveform fade down to 0 and eliminates the sudden stop which was causing the click. If the click is at the start of a sample we can instead highlight the first few milliseconds and choose Effect > Fade In and this will achieve the same thing but at the start.

Here is our new click-less drum sample using this technique.

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I used to make a lot of hard house music and one of the most common sounds in hard house and similar types of hard dance music is the hoover sound. Even though it is used a lot (sometimes too much) some people have trouble recreating this sound themselves and end up using samples. The original sound was made on the Roland Juno Synthesizer and I’ve even heard of people buying that synth just to create this type of sound and spending hundreds of their hard earned cash in the process. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to make a basic hoover without a Juno. If your not sure what a hoover synth is then play the sound below.

Click Here To Listen To The Final Hoover Sound

I made that hoover style sound above as an example for this tutorial using the Malstrom and the NN-XT sampler in Reason within a few minutes and I’m going to show you how to get that style of synth sound so you can make all the hoovers you require without a Juno and also so I don’t have to hear a hoover sample that I’ve heard hundreds of times before next time I listen to some new hard house/dance tracks.

The following tutorial is done in Reason but you should be able to reproduce this sound using any synthesizer or softsynth which is good at making some sort of nice fat lead sound.

Creating the Starting Sound
First we need to create a fat lead type sound, I shall leave you to choose one yourself here as most synthesizers should be able to create sounds which are good enough. Here is the sound I used, so you can get an idea of the sort of sound that you need to start off with.

Click Here To Download The Starting Sound

As you can see it’s nothing special, it is in fact just 2 x Sawtooth like waves with one of them an octave lower than the other. There is nothing special about this sound and you can find samples of this sort of sound all over the internet for free. Experiment with different sorts of lead synth sounds as your starting point for the hoover, but to get a real fat hoover you need something that sounds quite fat to begin with. You want to aim for lots of high and low frequencies in there as it will make the hoover sound fatter and more Juno sounding.

Making The Hoover
This is the bit which most people who try to make hoover sounds and fail don’t know about. We need to use a sampler such as the NN-XT in Reason which allows you to use a mod envelope (ADSR) to control the pitch of the sound. I’m sure that there are many other samplers that can do this too.

For this you need to first export the sound from your synthesizer and save it as a sample to reload into your sampler. You want to create a very long sample or create a loop in the sampler so you can hold the sample down for a long time without it ending.

Once you’ve loaded the sample into you’re sampler, you need to make the mod envelope affect the pitch of the sample. For the example I set the mod env to pitch setting to +600cents (about the 2-O-Clock position) on the NN-XT. I increased the attack on the mod envelope to about midway up and the decay just that bit higher than the attack. The sustain, release and hold were set to none.

I also made the sound play three notes at one time to give it more substance, these were C3, C4 and C5 on the MIDI keyboard and placed a notch filter on the sample with the frequency set about half way. Now we have the basic hoover sound, you can now go and add some effects on if you want to make it sound even better.

See it isn’t that hard to create a hoover once you know how it’s done. Hopefully this has shown you that you can create Hoover type sounds very easily and quickly within Reason. You don’t need a Roland Juno or other fancy kit to create one. You can also achieve this with most synthesizers and a sampler with the mod envelope to pitch ability. Experiment with the hoover sounds too by starting with different starting synths, there are loads that can be made. If you use Reason there are some great ones that can be made with the Subtractor and Malstrom as a starting point.

Tutorial written by Edward Cufaude for Rhythm Creation.

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Sine, Square, Triangle and Sawtooth are the basic waveforms (a graphical representation of a sound) used in most popular synthesizers. Most oscillators (The part of a synthesizer which generates the basic waveform) can produce all four of these basic waveforms. All are very different sounding and have their own characteristics which can greatly affect the mood of the sound synthesized.

I believe that by learning what each of these basic waveforms sounds and looks like can be a great way for anyone starting out using synthesizers to be able to start learning to hear a synthesized sound and then go on to reproduce that sound on their own.

Below are images of these four basic waveforms as well as audio examples for each.

Sine Wave
The wave that most of use will visually imagine when we hear the word wave. Can be great for producing very low bass sounds that sound smooth.

Sine Waveform

Download a mp3 of this waveform.

As the name suggest the waveform looks square and this creates a unique sound compared to the other four waveforms.

Square Waveform

Download a mp3 of this waveform.

A triangle wave is a very basic waveform where the pattern rises and then falls by the same gradient creating a triangle shape.

Triangle Waveform

Download a mp3 of this waveform.

The dirtiest sounding of the four basic waves, it is named sawtooth because it looks like the teeth of a saw. You can also get a reverse sawtooth waveform where the slow gradient and steep fall are swapped around.

Sawtooth Waveform

Download a mp3 of this waveform.

Hopefully this article has allowed you to see and hear the basic waveforms so you can begin to identify them when you hear sounds that have been created using these waveforms as a starting point.

All images of the waveforms are made using Audacity Article written by Edward Cufaude for Rhythm Creation.

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I came across this article today complete with audio examples, about a psychology science experiment devised by Jessica Phillips-Sliver and Laurel Trainor looking into whether movement itself (dance) may affect the way in which we perceive music and sounds.

I thought I would bring this little experiment to your attention not only because I thought it was rather interesting scientifically speaking, but because it also shows how accenting different specific beats within a rhythm can affect the overall sound of the drum rhythm. All three sound examples on that page have exactly the same rhythm just different beats are more pronounced than others. This is a technique that you can use in your own drum beats to give different feelings at different points in your composition.

Visit the article on Cognitive Daily

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ADSR. You may have seen these letters on synthesizers and samplers. This tutorial is a quick guide to what ADSR is and how you can use this section on your hardware or software to shape your sounds. It is an extremely powerful section, and should be one of the first things you learn when learning how to program synthesizers or samplers.

ADSR stands for Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release and does a very important job of shaping our sound from as soon as the note is pressed until you can no longer hear it.

A is for Attack
Basically this sets the amount of time after a note is pressed that it takes the sound to reach the full volume level, attack starts as soon as a sound plays when a note is pressed. Setting this low will mean the full volume will be reached very quickly, a snare drum has a very quick attack as it reaches full volume straight away. Setting this high will mean the sound fades in slower like for example a cello would. As you can see the attack is a very powerful in shaping the start of your sound.

D is for Decay
As soon as our sound has reached its full volume after the attack, it moves on to the decay. Decay basically sets the amount of time it takes for the volume to reduce to the level of the sustain after the attack section of the sound. If we set this to a low setting (less decay) the sound will minimize in volume slower to the level of the sustain (next section). If we set this high your sound will drop almost instantly to the level of the sustain.

S is for Sustain
ASDR Image - Image from Stock Xchng (www.sxc.hu) User:matthias Our sound attacks and then decays to the level of volume set in the sustain section. If you set this to nothing, your sound will not have any sustain and so won’t carry on further than the decay section (even though the note is being pressed). If you set this higher your sound will maintain the volume for the amount of time you pressed down a note. A snare drum has no sustain, where as something like a trumpet is being sustained for the amount of time that it is actually being blown into (note being pressed).

R is for Release
As soon as we release our note the release section takes over (provided our sound didn’t die away completely because of a high decay setting) . The release is by how long you can still hear a sound after the note finishes being pressed, if this is set to a very low setting our sound will finish very quickly and no audio will be heard. If we set this to a high level our sound will continue to sound for much longer even though we are no longer pressing down on the note. A Gong has a long release (We are no longer hitting the gong, but it’s still vibrating creating sound)

Quick Recap
  • Attack - The amount of time after the note is pressed it takes for the sound to reach full volume.
  • Decay - The amount of time it takes for the sound to decay to the volume of the sustain section.
  • Sustain - The amount of time our sound stays sounding whilst the note is being pressed.
  • Release - The amount of time we can still hear the sound after the note has been released.
Hopefully after this tutorial you can fiddle around with the ADSR section of your synth or sampler whether hardware or software and visualize in your head the settings you need to achieve the sound shape you require and therefore feel you have much more control over the sound coming out.

Tutorial Written by Edward Cufaude for Rhythm Creation.

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