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Ruby Gold

Serious newbie trying to figure out how to make a song...

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Yes - I think it sounds okay - it's only a single notes melody line plunked out on the Yamaha just to see if I could get this to work before trying to add in chords or figure out how to do a good beat track under it, etc., so not entirely sure the flatness is just visual - I did an audio recording with a mic doing the same single notes melody line on my clarinet and the wave form was very visually dynamic. By comparison, this one is totally flat. So... not sure.

Can't honestly say I fully understand what you just said, above, lol, but I'll keep playing around with this and see how far I can get. Seriously - SO appreciate your time, good energy, non-judgy vibe and absolute helpfulness in your responses here.

Next, I'm going to see if I can find some already put together beats - something simple and dirge-y/ballad-y is what I'm looking for and then I'll have to figure out how to get it into the song (I'm sure there's some import function) and then get the tempo in sync with the rest of the song if I import some ready-made beat.  If you have anything to say about any of that - all suggestions are welcome. Thanks!

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Have you downloaded Studio Drums when you downloaded CbB? There are some patterns in there that may work for you. If you haven't there are also other Studio Instruments to download

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Posted (edited)

With being new, importing and tempo mapping audio might be more of a challenge. Joe's recommendation of using default instruments would allow you to do much of the work in the MIDI realm. The Studio Instruments that come with CbB cover most of the bases (soft synths), so you can sketch out a lot of material fairly quickly once you get the hang of things. The other advantage to MIDI is you can replace the soft synths the MIDI is driving at will, so sketching with something that doesn't sound "perfect" can be resolved later on (even collaborating with others can be helpful for this, since you may not own a soft synth you would prefer but someone else does).

Working with MIDI, the Piano Roll View (PRV) will become your best friend. Drum beat creation is simpler there, and many of the editing tools allow you to modify your work as notes, rather than as printed audio (which can be trickier, depending). For composition, MIDI tends to be quicker in some respects, then you can flesh out audio tracks as the song structure takes shape. There is no defined method to do things, so play around (and ask around) with things you specifically want to achieve. Many of the folks here have been around for years, and it is incredibly rare to not find someone who can answer a question. Sometimes it is as simple as knowing the term to search for.

Another resource that came to mind that you may find useful is a tutorial set from SONAR X2. It was called SWA Complete SONAR X2 and was made freely viewable on YouTube (9 hours of stuff); and the vast majority of it is applicable. Unfortunately, the chapters have no titles, but ShellstaX (from the old forums) posted them here. The nice thing about those is that they are structured by topic, so they are in more bite-sized chunks.

Edited by mettelus
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Great advice there mettelus and I repeat my suggestion of checking out the Creative Sauce tutorials I mentioned earlier - also Robert at Home Studio Simplified has some  excellent CbB tutorials here https://www.homestudiosimplified.com/2020/12/cakewalk-by-bandlab-tutorials.html

I must admit I seem to spend more tie watching tutorials than writing music at the moment!

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2 hours ago, JoeGBradford said:

Have you downloaded Studio Drums when you downloaded CbB? There are some patterns in there that may work for you. If you haven't there are also other Studio Instruments to download

Hey Joe - no - I don't think I have - just the drums that come with the CW install - which aren't bad. But for me to build a beat track from scratch might not be the best way to go... Thanks - I'll check out the tutorials you mentioned.

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1 hour ago, mettelus said:

With being new, importing and tempo mapping audio might be more of a challenge. Joe's recommendation of using default instruments would allow you to do much of the work in the MIDI realm. The Studio Instruments that come with CbB cover most of the bases (soft synths), so you can sketch out a lot of material fairly quickly once you get the hang of things. The other advantage to MIDI is you can replace the soft synths the MIDI is driving at will, so sketching with something that doesn't sound "perfect" can be resolved later on (even collaborating with others can be helpful for this, since you may not own a soft synth you would prefer but someone else does).

Working with MIDI, the Piano Roll View (PRV) will become your best friend. Drum beat creation is simpler there, and many of the editing tools allow you to modify your work as notes, rather than as printed audio (which can be trickier, depending). For composition, MIDI tends to be quicker in some respects, then you can flesh out audio tracks as the song structure takes shape. There is no defined method to do things, so play around (and ask around) with things you specifically want to achieve. Many of the folks here have been around for years, and it is incredibly rare to not find someone who can answer a question. Sometimes it is as simple as knowing the term to search for.

Another resource that came to mind that you may find useful is a tutorial set from SONAR X2. It was called SWA Complete SONAR X2 and was made freely viewable on YouTube (9 hours of stuff); and the vast majority of it is applicable. Unfortunately, the chapters have no titles, but ShellstaX (from the old forums) posted them here. The nice thing about those is that they are structured by topic, so they are in more bite-sized chunks.

Awesome Mettelus! Thank you again. What a wonderful community this is.

 

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3 hours ago, Ruby Gold said:

[...] But for me to build a beat track from scratch might not be the best way to go... [...]

Check out the "Step Sequencer" before passing judgement on yourself (Chapter 27 of the above video set). The fact is that many parts of songs repeat in one way or another, so the copy/paste capabilities of working with MIDI can greatly speed up the initial composition phase. With the Step Sequencer, it automatically enables "Groove Clip Looping," which allows you to drag the right edge of your simple beat to repeat for the duration you choose. Then you can add details by right clicking that track and "Bounce to Clip(s)" allowing you to surgically edit it in the Piano Roll View (PRV). You can even create initially in the PRV, right click a snippet to enable "Groove Clip Looping" and drag it out from there (or even the old standby of copy/paste).

The Matrix View (Chapter 26) is another way of looking at repeating loops in a song (similar to how Ableton Live does things), and can be used in tandem with the linear track generation of other tracks, or even recorded to linear tracks.

Being primarily a guitar player, my first experience with Cakewalk (20+ years ago now) was to create the drums from "Jack and Diane" in the PRV. Once I got the hang of things, it took me longer to figure out the nuances of the drum fill than to create the rest of the entire track, and I was brute forcing copy/paste wherever it applied.

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9 hours ago, Ruby Gold said:

Hey Joe - no - I don't think I have - just the drums that come with the CW install - which aren't bad. But for me to build a beat track from scratch might not be the best way to go... Thanks - I'll check out the tutorials you mentioned.

Those will be the drums I mean I think

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In my signature is a link to my tutorials. They are real easy to follow and take you through the basics of using midi. It easier than you think. 
 

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On 12/29/2020 at 3:32 PM, Ruby Gold said:

 So - this is what the port situation is on the Yamaha. The 'usb' port is so old I don't know that there is a converter to be able to play the Yamaha keyboard directly into Cakewalk.

check the Yamaha site for your specific model. there is a "Yamaha Steinberg USB Driver V2.0.4" which seems to work for a number of their older and less expensive keyboards. i have an old LK-90 Casio which actually uses a driver like this as well... you install the driver, then plugin your keyboard. in CbB go to your preferences and under MIDI you should see "a keyboard" listed which may be the driver name of the actual model. 

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