How To Make Your First Beat

How To Make Your First Beat

A lot of people make the mistake of considering art and math mutually exclusive.

While it might be partially true for some art forms, it’s definitely not the case for music.

There is a substantial correlation between music and math, and one of the things that genuinely signify this relationship is a beat.

What Is A Beat?

What Is A Beat?

One of the most common ways of describing a beat is that it’s the part of the music which you tap your foot to.

Even when you can’t audibly distinguish it from the rest of the music, you can feel the beat.

Because, while being deceptively regular and straightforward, the beat is what most music is based upon.

Beats make up the foundation for a musical piece.

If we look at music theory, the systematic study of music, the beat is the basic unit of time.

It’s the uniform pulse that the rhythm is based on.

If you isolate the beat from a musical piece, it will sound like something considerably non-musical, like the beating of a heart.

If you hear it through a stethoscope, it will just be a sound playing over and over in equal intervals.

And that’s all that beat is. A pulse played in equal intervals.

On its own, a beat wouldn’t sound like music, but almost any type of music you want to make will require an underlying beat.

The beat is often confused with the rhythm. Rhythm is the actual flow of musical sounds that is based upon a steady pulse (beat).

How to Make Your First Beat?

There are a few ways you can go about it.

The simplest of which is to use a digital audio workstation, that’s software on your computer. The most commonly used is the FL Studio. It has both a trial and a paid version.

But if you are new to this, we would recommend going with a trial version first, get the hang of it, and then if you can afford it, buying the full software.

Still, a lot of people manage to make some fresh beats using nothing but the free trial version of FL Studio, or similar software.

Though the software is usually enough to make any kind of beat you want, many people still prefer to make music the old fashion way.

If you already have and you play a musical instrument, it can help you get more creative with your beat making.

You can also buy a keyboard, a MIDI controller, an audio interface, a pair of monitors, or a ton of other things to help you make beats. But for starters, let’s simply go with free software on your computer.

Download and install the trial version. When you open the software for the first time, it might look confusing.

You may want to go through a tutorial video to make sense of all the tools, or at least the necessary tools that will help you create your first beat.

It is essential to understand that you can start making simple beats without understanding music theory.

But your understanding and approach will be severely limited. If you want to start off on the right foot, it’s better if you go through some basic music theory.

Now, if you have a beat in mind, or you are familiar with the basic keys of a keyboard, you can just start working on the piano roll.

Even if you don’t have the slightest clue about what you’re doing, start experimenting with the piano roll on the FL studio.

You can set the Beats per Minute to 120, which is the standard number, and it’s something you will unconsciously be familiar with.

In piano roll, you can start by simply clicking around, place notes, and keep playing them repeatedly.

You can add and remove the notes by simply clicking the left or the right buttons of your mouse.

his will give you an idea of how a single not will sound, repeatedly, or how different notes will sound in conjunction with each other. 

Keep it simple at first. Just place notes using one simple key. Space them around equally.

This will make a straightforward beat or a basic timeline that you can build your overall beat around.

You can change the interval of a single note (or channel rack, if you are using that instead of piano roll), seeing how different variations work.

Then, try adding another note, at either the same intervals or different intervals. Make sure you create some sort of patterns first.

By default, you will be using the four-beat window of the FL studio.

When you place a note on the beat, you can expand its length to cover the whole beat, two beats, or even all four beats.

Beat Recording

You can also cut it short to part of the beat. That way, you will be able to control for how long you will hear a particular note.

So, a straightforward pattern would be you using one note on every alternating beat.

Now you can place a second note in a similar way i.e., overlapping notes. Or you can space them around differently.

Like if you placed C minor on 1st and 3rd beat, you can put B major on 1st and 3rd as well; to hear how two simultaneously pressed keys would sound like.

Or, you can set the B major on the 2nd and 4th instead. This will just create a straightforward tune.

Unless you have a specific tune in mind or a musical hum that you want to build your beat around, you have to experiment or draw inspiration from existing beats.

The benefit of creating your first beat in software is that, even if you feel bogged down by the plethora of options, they will allow you a higher degree of control that actual instruments wouldn’t be able to.

If you are patient and not worried about experimenting with the software, you will learn a lot about music and patterns.

Another great thing about working on software, instead of an instrument to make your first beat, is that in a musical instrument, you have to nail the timing when you are playing, to get the perfect sound.

This level of expertise could take a lot of practice.

In software, you can place the notes wherever you desire, and with a precision that may take years to achieve on an instrument.

And you get to make the music you want, without having to learn a musical instrument.

But be warned that it can also feel a lot more mechanical or mathematical than you might have expected.

So if you are more about the feel of the music, get a plain or a MIDI keyboard.

This might not sound like very put-together advice, but the very first beats you will be making will simply be experiments, literally by clicking around.

If you are having problems making simple patterns beyond two or three notes, you can replicate the most uncomplicated beats you can find on video tutorials.

Once you have them playing on your software, make small variations in them, and see what works. You can delete some notes, lengthen or shorten them, or you can add more notes.

When you think you have an excellent beat, even if it’s merely a slight variation of someone else’s beat, save them.

These beats can mark your progress, and you will be able to improve upon them as you progress.

What Are Some Tips for Beginners in Music Production?

What Are Some Tips For Beginners In Music Production?
  • Don’t get discouraged if you can’t make fantastic music on your own, right from the beginning. You might have to mimic and copy a lot of beats till you get the hang of it, and start making your own beats.
  • Invest smartly, and only in the equipment that you will need. Spending too much early on, with nothing to show for it usually discourages beginner music producers.
  • If you are making music simply because you love it, go with your taste. Pick the samples that attract you and try to mimic the patterns of your favorite music genre.  
  • In the beginning, when all you are doing is learning from others and following experience music producers, it’s easy to lose your individuality and style. Never lose track of what motivated you towards music production. No matter how many experts and pros you learn from, when you finally start producing music, it should be yours, not a reflection or shadow of someone else’s.
  • You may not find it to your liking, but always try and learn from popular music, even if you find it shallow for your taste. This is especially true if you want to make money out of your music production. If you have a good grasp of what people like listening to, you can make beats and music that people might find catchy.

Conclusion

Don’t set high hopes for your first beat.

It will be simple, fundamental, and not at all as excellent as you might have dreamed it would be.

It will also take a lot more time and hard work than you would have thought.

But by the end of it, you will know if you genuinely love making music, or if it’s just a casual fling.

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