- Helpful hints
There are many ways you might go about beginning an arrangement in Sound Infusion and there is no right or wrong way to do it.
You might, for example,
- begin by finding a nice percussion sample to create the basic rhythm foundation of your piece
- decide to explore instruments from a particular country or region or of a particular type
- decide on an overall structure, perhaps with contrasting sections or maybe a specific temporal arrangement
- look at combinations of samples that work well end-to-end melodically
- look at combinations that layer up well together
- decide whether you would like stark contrast or gradual change within the composition
- think about textures and the contrast between space and busy-ness
Matching syncopation and bar offsetting using visual cues
Despite all Sound Infusion Samples being at 80 bpm, the rhythmic content of samples is many and varied. It can be tricky to ensure that everything is sounding smooth and in time.
Of course, your ears are always the best guide, but it can also be useful to use the visual wave form representations to line up peaks in the waveforms to accommodate the “locking in” of rhythms.
Also, some samples have an upbeat (anacrusis) and so may not work so well snapped to the bar line. In these cases, wave peaks can be useful to identify where the ‘1’ of the bar is within the sample, so that it can be dragged freestyle to the sequencer bar line.
Remember there are no hard and fast rules here. Trust your ears.
In this example, the top sample is mostly off beat to the lower sample but the major accents are aligned, maintaining a rhythmic balance between the samples. (Insert image that is currently under ‘Keeping in time and sounding smooth’)
- Keys and modes
Although most of the pitched samples are in D, these are by no means necessarily compatible with each other. D Major and D Minor are well known examples of modal difference, but across so many musical cultures the variety of modes becomes ever richer and compatibility more complex. Consider the many Eastern forms to use a minor 2nd scale degree for example. It is, however, possible to tastefully move between modes across a horizontal timeline. Above all let your ears be the guide.
- Basic music terms
It might be helpful to understand some basic common musical terms that you can use to describe your music and processes to others. Remember that, although widely used, some of the description points here are constructs from a particular musical culture, and might actually be quite foreign to some of the musicians recorded in Sound Infusion. They represent an optional means for musical communication that can be shared by many, and are certainly not necessary to know to be able to enjoy creating music in SI Studio.
- Beat is the basic underlying pulse (as in heartbeat) of the music. In some modern music styles (eg hip hop) a repeating drum or percussion pattern can be described as a beat but this is a different meaning to the traditional definition of the word beat.
- Metre describes the perceived pattern of accents (strong beats) in the music. For example, do you hear the music in groups of 3 beats or 4 beats (these are the most common) or maybe even 5 or 7 beats (more common for example in some Eastern European cultures)?
- A bar is a segment of time that corresponds with a certain number of beats, to help us see the music in manageable chunks. Bar numbers are indicated in the Sound Infusion Ruler at the top of the “Arrange” window.
- The Time Signature traditionally tells us how many beats are in each bar and which note value (how long) each beat corresponds to.
For example, in case of the 4/4 time signature, there are 4 beats within each bar. The top number denotes how many beats, the bottom number what kind of note the beat is. So 4/4 means 4 x crochet beats (quarter notes) in the bar.
All Sound Infusion samples are in quadruple metre, which means they have a 4 beat metric cycle.
Many are in 4/4, but some are in 12/8, which means they have 12 x eighth notes (quavers) to the bar. However, the 12 quavers can be heard in 4 groups of 3, so each bar will still contain 4 strong beats and line up with the Studio ruler. The difference is that each strong beat is divided into 3 weaker beats, whether or not the instrument actually sounds on those beat divisions. Sometimes it the beat is implied (felt) rather than sounded. 12/8 is an example of compound meter because it has 2 levels of stress happening together:
Remember, the best musicians in the world at playing sophisticated 12/8 rhythms don’t usually use the above descriptions. They commonly learn through aural tradition. They internalise and communicate the rhythms through practice and sound. The music often has very complex musical structures and rules.
- Syncopation is the displacement of rhythmic accent across the metric pattern of the music
- Sample: A small selection of sound from another recording.
- Loop: A repeating section of sound material.
- BPM: This refers to beats per minute. In other words, it describes the speed of the music, commonly called “tempo”. Sound Infusion uses samples recorded at 80 BPM. This allows users to more easily combine samples to create music that is synchronised and in time.
- Volume: This refers to how loud or soft the music is. Also described as “dynamics”.
- Basic SI sequencer terms
The part of Sound Infusion where you can listen to and creatively combine sounds form our vast library of real recoded instruments from around the world
- Sample library
Where the sounds are located for you to listen to and select from
- Arrange window
Where samples can be loaded and moved around to create arrangements that can be played back as with any DAW
Parallel lanes in a sequencer allowing independent sound events to be aligned in time
Common sequencer controls such as Play Pause Stop Record. Here you will also find a time counter to give you the duration of your piece at the current cursor position
- Scrolling cursor
A vertical which moves left to right across the Arrange window as the music plays so you can see what you are hearing
- Function menu
Contains icons for the essential common functions such as Save, New Project, Undo as well as platform specific ones such as the magnet and snip tools
- Right side panel
The icons here enable you to instantly explore the sample library, your own saved projects and some example projects provided by us
- DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
An electronic device or software application used for recording, editing and producing audio files.
A device or application software that can record, edit, or play back music, typically by ordering electronic sound events.