Intro: Makerspace Final Project [Guillaume Montpetit]
My project is simply a song that I’ve created with Ableton Live 9 Suite.
You may think: How can a song help a real life problem? Well, the question is: Have you ever felt really bad in your life and listened to some good music and suddenly felt better? I’ve done a bit of research and found out that music could possibly cure numerous mental troubles such as depression, wanting to commit suicide and drug addictions. If I don’t have the grades to be a doctor or anything related to health, I could be a music producer and help people just as a doctor would do! Now let’s get back to where it all started. Until I was 10 years old, I didn’t really care about music; it didn’t have any meaning in my life. It was only the noise coming out of the speakers of the Civic. My dad finally introduced me to Trance, which is electronic music. I didn’t really liked Trance but there was something in this electronic music that caught my attention, and since then I discovered all subgenres of electronic music such as progressive house, deep house, dubstep, tropical house, trap, etc. Music became something part of me. I can’t live a day without listening to at least one song in my playlist. I then started dreaming (and I still do) of becoming a music producer, producer and mixing everywhere on the globe. Music became my biggest passion, and that is why I really wanted to make a song, my first legit song because, well, everything has a beginning. I will continue creating songs and try my best to realize my biggest dream. Music helped me a lot when my life was hard, so I feel like I want to help others who also have troubles in their life. Making music is the ideal: I love music and creating music is so awesome (and I guess it gets even more awesome when you produce something that is really good) and if it can help people who have troubles, then that’s even better! I have a friend (it’s actually my friend, not me) who had a really, really dark moment in his life. He even went to injure himself on purpose, and he told me after this bad period of his life that a song, one song in particular helped him and uplifted him during his darkest moment. It helped him get through his depression and his dark ideas. Music cures mental problems, and I would be pleased to help people like my friend. This is how music helps real-world problems. Sure, my song probably won't help anybody because it's not good enough and it will not get any popular; there is still a lot of work to do and lots of things to learn, but at least it's a great starting point. I hope someday my music production will help people and cheer them up.
Step 1: Tools, Materials and Files
There is not a lot of tools, materials or files that has to be used to create a song.
The two main tools used to create my song were the software to actually make the song, which was Ableton Live 9 Suite and the Push Pad which helped me to create the melodies of the different instruments used in my song. You can create a song without the Push pad, but the Push Pad makes it easier to created melody. The best thing would be a piano plugged into your computer, but like I said you can create a song only with the software. Another tool that helped me a lot was Youtube. Ableton Live 9 Suite is very complex software and it requires a lot of time to figure out how the basic things works. Me and my teacher (S/O to him for helping me) had to go on Youtube to see tutorials on how certain things worked and how to create certain types of sound because, like I said, the software is pretty complicated and there are so many things you can do! There is a tutorial included in Ableton Live 9 Suite, but you have to read long paragraphs of text, and this is pretty boring. Watching Tutorials on Youtube is a better and faster option to learn how to work with Ableton. Other than these tools, you only need yourself and your imagination! If you are in a big lack of inspiration and imagination, you can always listen to other songs and maybe you'll get inspired!
Step 2: Step 2: Fresh Start
First of all, I will not give you the instructions to re-create my song, I will give you instruction to create your own song.
Alright, now you don’t have anything prepared, everything is empty and new. There are many options at first; you may have no idea where to start. You can search an instrument you like the sound of and try to find a melody, or you can start with a simple beat that starts at the beginning of your creation. I took the second option, which is to just mess around and create a simple beat at the beginning. As you create your simple beat, you should start adding another instrument, or something that would make the song progress and evolve. Like I said, there are hundreds of ways to create a song, but here I’m only telling you how I’ve created my song. As you insert new instruments, you may even change your simple beat you’ve made at the beginning and adapt it to the new instrument you’ve added. Because I don’t really know anything about notes and chords, I only messed around with the Push Pad. This way, it’s easier to find a melody. Now, you might get angry and frustrated because you have no inspiration and nothing comes to your mind. Don’t get angry or frustrated, just relax, go take a walk and maybe something will pop in your head. If it does, just run like you are being chased by a puma and create the melody with the Push Pad or the piano. If you still have no ideas after taking a wonderful walk, try to find melodies or just chords for background instruments. If you hear my song, you see that there’s a piano playing in the background. You can also add bass to support your piano. Don’t add too much background instruments or else they will take the entire place and there will be no space available for your actual melody. You can even make your whole song with the background instruments and make the melody at the end, but I don’t really recommend doing this, because you’re kind of limiting the possibilities of creating a melody. Make sure that all your background instruments respect the chords of the song. It has to sound harmonious.
Step 3: Creating the Main Melody and Make Your Sound ''Opened''
For your main melody, find an instrument that you think will fit in you song. Now, I know that on Ableton there are pretty much only instruments and there is little electronic sounds. Don’t panic. Take the instrument you feel that will fit in your song and if you want to modify the sound of the instrument (if you want to give it a more electronic twist), go check the Audio Effects. There are a lot of audio effects and they all have specific ways to change the sound of your instrument. This is where you can waste a lot of time, because if you do like I did, that means going through every audio effect available and playing with them, it’s quite long. Always remember to never give up. Now you will have to find a suitable melody for your song. This is also very time-consuming. Just mess around with your Push Pad or your piano and I’m sure you’ll find a melody that will fit into your song. I suggest you put the ‘’reverb’’ audio effect on the sound of your melody. This way, it ‘’opens’’ the sound of your melody. It makes it more echoed and harmonious. Now, you can also put ‘’reverb’’ and ‘’ping pong delay’’ if you want to make your song more echoed and, like I said, more open. You don’t want your song to sound like a trashcan; you want your song to be clean and opened. Now that you have your melody and your song is pretty much set, you can add snares to make your song more aggressive, more uplifting, or you can add any instruments in the ‘’Drums’’ section, like Bongo, Claps, Tambourine, etc. Make your song bouncy and uplifting (only if you want to; maybe you want to make a more relax song).
Step 4: Finishing Your Song and Creating a Video
Now that your song is practically finished, the only thing that’s left to do with the song is mastering it. I have no idea how to master a song, but you can go on Youtube and check quick tutorials on how to master your song yourself. Because I had no time left, I wasn’t able to master my song, but one thing you can do is: when you export your song in a wav. Format, you can put the option ‘’Normalize’’ off, so your song will still sound clear and clean. To convert your wav file into an mp3 file, you can check a quick tutorial on Youtube on how you can do it quickly on Itunes. This way it’s free and quick! Now, to create your video, you can either take a video of someone else (like I did) and give this person the credits at the end of the video, or you can create your own video. If you create your own video, let your imagination find what and how you will film your video. If you take it from someone like I did, make transitions when your song changes and progresses. This way it makes the video and the song better. Other than that, you’re all done!
Step 5: Conclusion!
The biggest problem that I encountered during the making of my song was the song for the drop. As you can hear, the sound of the drop is not very good, something is wrong with it. Ableton doesn't have a lot of electronic sounds unlike other softwares such as FL Studios, so I had to use many audio effects on my guitar sound (yes, the drop is a actually a guitar). The audio effects didn't render the sound that I wanted, but because I ran out of time, I didn,t really have other possibilities, so I just went with this. At first, the sound of the drop was a piano sound that I had modified with audio effects, but after hearing it at home, I realized that I really had to change the sound of the drop, and that's what I've done, but I still didn't get the result I wanted to. At least it's better than my previous sound.
The second problem encountered was the mastering of the song. I checked several videos on Youtube on how to do it, but I didn't understand how they did. They were puting their song in ''freeze tracks'', something that I didn't and still don't know what it is and they were puting audio effects on their ''freeze tracks''. I also ran out of time, so this didn't helped, but to counter this situation, I disable the option ''Normalize'' when I exported my song into a wav Format. This way, the song was (sort of) mastered.
The first thing that could be improved would be the sound of the drop of course. I really don't like the sound it has, and I am sure there is a way to transform an instrument's sound into a more electronic sound on Ableton. I would make it more clear and more echoed. I would also like the sound to be more intense, less soft. This summer I will be working with my frind on new tracks and hopefuly we will have more electronic sounds.
The second thing that could be improved would be the lack of melodies. There is basically one melody in the entire song. I would've really liked to make more different melodies, but unfortunately I ran out of time, but putting more melodies would be a big improvement. The song repeats itself a bit, so having other melodies with maybe different instruments would be really great.
Thank you and any tips/feedback are always appreciated!!