Definitions & Music Theory Breakdown
Before using Sound Infusion it is important to understand some basic musical terminology and theory to guide you in using the application.
- Beat: A beat is a basic rhythmic unit that occurs within a bar.
- Bars: A bar is the segment of time that corresponds with a certain number of beats which is specified by the time signature.
- Time Signature: the term used to tell you how many beats are within each bar and which note value each beat is equivalent to.
- Example: In the time signature of 4/4, there are 4 beats within each bar. The top number denotes how many beats, the bottom number what kind of note the beat is (eg 4 = quarter note or crotchet).
- Sample: A small selection of sound from another recording.
- Loop: A repeating section of sound material.
- BPM: This refers to beats per minute. Also described as “tempo”.
- Volume: This refers to how loud or soft the music is. Also described as “dynamics”.
- Sound Infusion uses loops which are all 80 beats per minute (BPM). This means that all samples are within the same tempo making it easier for you to create music and stay in time.
When creating a composition, one way to begin is to start with setting out the structure of the song. Ask yourself: How many sections do I want in the piece? How many bars will each section go for? What instruments do I want to use in the piece? Which countries’ sounds would I like to use? Defining these parameters will help you create a strong foundation for your song.
- To begin, try starting with the main rhythm of the song. In the case of Sound Infusion, this means starting with samples from the membranophone family to begin filling out the rhythm section of the composition. The looping function in Sound Infusion makes it easy to repeat the samples multiple times. However, try not to loop samples too many times as it will become repetitive, losing the interest of the listener. Try looping a sample for a maximum of 4 to 8 bars and then switch this for another sample.
- The next sample can be something similar, from the same instrument type or even the same instrument, as long as there is a variation in the pattern. This will create a new part for the song. After you're happy with the foundational feel of the song, you can move onto finding samples that create a melody for the composition. This will create something that the listener can latch onto and recognise as the main theme.
- Adjust the volume levels of each sample so that there is a good balance and both parts can be heard. You may like to make the melody line louder to make it stand out. As you begin layering more samples, keep in mind the concept of balancing sound and silence, and try alternating thin and thicker textures with occasional bars of complete silence for effect.
This could mean using a repeating chordophone or electrophone loop in the song that is used multiple times throughout the song to create a familiar part to return back too. This is not limited to a single sample. In fact you could have two or three different loops from the same instrument to create a longer, more fleshed out melodic theme. Once you feel like you have established a basic rhythm and melody for your song, you then have creative freedom in what you do next. This could mean adding multiple instruments from multiple countries and instrument families, expanding the tonal colours of the piece.