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Intro to Ambient-Infantry Bitwig 5: Creating Atmospheric Music with a MIDI Keyboard

Tutorial | Jan 15, 2024

In my video, I explore creating ambient-infused music using Bitwig 5 for absolute beginners who have a small MIDI keyboard. I start with a demo version of the M1 synth and sample its sounds to create a wave table oscillator. I then demonstrate how to manipulate the wave table position, polyphony, panning, and random modulation to shape the ambient sound. Finally, I add effects such as reverb, delay, and a convolution reverb to enhance the overall atmosphere of the track.

You can watch the Video on Youtube - support me on Patreon

Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:

What is the main focus of the video?

The main focus of the video is to create a more-parted Ambient-Infantry Bitwig 5 project for absolute beginners using a small MIDI keyboard. The goal is to explore different techniques and tools in Bitwig to create ambient music with rhythmic elements.

What software and equipment does the video utilize?

The video uses Bitwig Studio as the main software for creating the music. The MIDI keyboard used is a small one, but the size doesn't matter as much as the technology. The video also showcases the M1 synth and the Supermassive plugin for additional sounds and effects.

How does the video approach creating ambient music with rhythmic elements?

The video demonstrates how to sample sounds from the M1 synth, manipulate them using the Sampler in Bitwig, and create rhythmic textures using Cycles mode and voice stacking. Various modulations and effects like reverb, delay, and filtering are used to shape the sounds and add movement. The video also explores techniques for creating drone and bass layers to enhance the ambient composition.

What are some key takeaways from this video?

Some key takeaways from this video include: using samplers to create and manipulate sounds, utilizing voice stacking and modulations for rhythmic textures, exploring different effects like reverb and delay to add depth to the music, and experimenting with bass and drone layers to enhance the ambient composition. The video also emphasizes the importance of creativity and experimentation in creating ambient music with a small MIDI keyboard.


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

[00:00:00] Hey guys, I'm Polarity and I thought I'd make a new video here.
[00:00:04] By the way, someone named 0815, by the way, asked me,
[00:00:09] "Would it be great if you make a more-parted Ambient-Infantry Bitwig 5 for absolute beginners
[00:00:14] for people who only have a small MIDI keyboard?"
[00:00:17] And that's not the case with the size, but with the technology.
[00:00:22] I only have a small MIDI keyboard and it's totally okay.
[00:00:26] You don't need a huge keyboard, but it's not bad either.
[00:00:31] Okay, so you can try more-parted Ambient-Infantry Bitwig 5.
[00:00:37] So I can start today. I have a empty Bitwig project.
[00:00:40] And I'll start with 010, because I'll take 85 out of some unassailable reason.
[00:00:48] The reason for that is that it's exactly the same as 010, from 070.
[00:00:52] I'm actually a drum bass producer and I think,
[00:00:57] "If I make 85 BPM and there's something cool coming out,
[00:01:01] and I don't want to use it in front of Ambient or in front of something in the environment,
[00:01:09] I can still use the whole thing and then I can knock down a drum bass beat
[00:01:14] and then I have a nice intro for drum bass."
[00:01:17] So that was the initial idea and it somehow came to my mind that I either work 85 or 172 BPM.
[00:01:29] I'll take it for techno or for dub 118 sometimes or something, but it doesn't matter.
[00:01:34] So 85 is the speed of my choice.
[00:01:38] And when I start with Ambient, it's not that easy to define, because Ambient is something different for everyone.
[00:01:50] For many, Ambient is something musical where there are no beats at all.
[00:01:56] But I can't do it without beats. It's a bit boring. I have to have something rhythmic in it.
[00:02:04] But for some it's not Ambient anymore.
[00:02:08] But I can show you some basic things.
[00:02:11] What I showed on my English channel is that I took a synth, for example the M1,
[00:02:20] and that's a demo version.
[00:02:23] You can download it for free and it works for 20 minutes.
[00:02:29] You can use it for 20 minutes without anything else.
[00:02:35] So here I just start the demo.
[00:02:37] And then I already have the presets of the whole thing.
[00:02:40] And the M1 is a mix of a rompler and a synth, from the 90s or 80s.
[00:02:49] And there are all the classic sounds that were used in the 90s in the whole Rave Tracks.
[00:02:56] And here I have something like pianos.
[00:03:01] For Collins I think I used it for a while.
[00:03:05] It sounds directly after the 90s.
[00:03:11] So you know the whole presets, actually, rather than 90 tracks.
[00:03:15] And in the tutorial on my main channel I showed how I sample this sound.
[00:03:21] I think I took this Revine Sampler for this.
[00:03:27] It's a recorder that records the sounds all the time.
[00:03:32] And then I just press C4 and switch the presets.
[00:03:39] And then I have several sounds in C4 in a wave file.
[00:03:46] [Music]
[00:04:01] So, that's enough for now.
[00:04:05] And then I can sample what I have here.
[00:04:08] I can take that and just put it in the sample.
[00:04:12] Just mark it.
[00:04:16] Just put it in the sample.
[00:04:20] Now I can delete the M1 and focus completely on this sampler.
[00:04:27] And in the sample I can say that it's C4, so you can already find it.
[00:04:36] And then I switch the sampler here in Cycles mode.
[00:04:41] This is a bit like a wave table.
[00:04:45] So I then divide it into small cycles.
[00:04:48] Small cycles.
[00:04:51] Then I can do this on Freeze, Playhead.
[00:04:54] And then I can go through a wave table like this.
[00:05:01] It works like a wave table oscillator now.
[00:05:05] Only that the wave table is much, much, much bigger than a normal wave table.
[00:05:13] So, I'll do a little attack here.
[00:05:21] And now I can activate voice stacking on the left side.
[00:05:26] I want to have 8 voices.
[00:05:29] Which only means that I can multiply this sampler in the save or virtual mode.
[00:05:36] So, if I press one note now, I play the sample at the position with the settings exactly 8 times.
[00:05:44] There are voice stack modulations, for example Stuck Spread.
[00:05:50] And I take -1 to +1.
[00:05:56] And if I modulate something here, you can see on the left side, I get different values for the different voices.
[00:06:04] I set 8 voices, so 8 voices.
[00:06:07] And the first voice gets -1 and the voice gets +1.
[00:06:12] So, I can define what is different on each voice.
[00:06:18] For example, on each voice the position is a little different in the wave table.
[00:06:24] If I press Play, you can see that each voice is in a different position.
[00:06:28] And then I can say, I don't want to have a different position in the sample of each of the voices.
[00:06:38] I want to distribute this in the panorama.
[00:06:41] So, I can modulate the panning with exactly 100% to the right.
[00:06:49] That means, voice 1 gets complete left and voice 8 gets complete right.
[00:06:56] And the other voices, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, etc.
[00:07:00] They are distributed in between, evenly.
[00:07:10] So, that means, you can distribute this in the panorama.
[00:07:14] Now, everything sounds a little static, because it is Cycles and it only plays this one position.
[00:07:21] So, I take a random modulator and say Free, Bipolar, plus/minus, Polyphonic, and of course Polyphonic.
[00:07:33] Then here is the smoothing, all the way to the right. You can see that I speak English again.
[00:07:39] It is so in there, because I do it every day.
[00:07:42] Then Heart, that means that it is not dependent on the BPM.
[00:07:47] I want it to swing freely.
[00:07:49] And then I modulate this.
[00:07:57] [Music]
[00:08:09] Okay, that's something.
[00:08:12] I just put a reverb on it. I take a Revolution reverb.
[00:08:18] Then I can stay on it.
[00:08:21] I like the song "Peters Carthage Rolls".
[00:08:26] And then a delay.
[00:08:28] You can't hear the delay, because the Revolution reverb is already so strong that you can't even hear the delay tabs.
[00:08:37] I would like to play an octave deeper or two octaves deeper.
[00:08:45] [Music]
[00:09:12] Okay, I take a second random.
[00:09:15] I don't switch this to Polyphonic, but I do it monophonic.
[00:09:20] I smooth it up, put it down a bit and see how it works.
[00:09:26] [Music]
[00:09:53] There are also a lot of overtones in there and maybe a bit of rumble.
[00:09:58] I can use the filter unit here.
[00:10:04] It is a bandpass filter.
[00:10:06] It is a combination of a high pass and a low pass.
[00:10:11] Low cut and high cut.
[00:10:13] I can double click on it.
[00:10:16] Then it goes to the center frequency, 266. That is 262.
[00:10:23] That is C3.
[00:10:25] When I raise the key tracking, that means 100%,
[00:10:33] that means no matter what note I press on the keyboard, the center frequency goes to the note.
[00:10:42] When I press C3, it is 262 because it is 262 C3.
[00:10:47] But when I press C4 or an octave higher, it is the double frequency.
[00:10:54] That goes exactly to the frequency of the note.
[00:10:58] I can play with resonance here and increase the root tone of the note.
[00:11:10] [Music]
[00:11:17] You can hear that already.
[00:11:19] The note I press has a sinus swing through the resonance,
[00:11:25] exactly on the frequency of the note.
[00:11:30] Since the sample is polyphonic, I can press several keys.
[00:11:34] I have the right frequency for each key.
[00:11:37] That is awesome.
[00:11:39] If you have a bandpass, that is a 2-poly, I can go to 4-poly.
[00:11:45] It is a bit more steeper.
[00:11:47] It creates a sinus frequency even higher.
[00:11:50] I don't need to go up with the resonance.
[00:11:52] [Music]
[00:12:11] You can hear more overtones coming in.
[00:12:14] You want to leave some overtones in the sample.
[00:12:18] I don't want to create a sinus swing.
[00:12:21] That could be easier.
[00:12:23] [Music]
[00:12:31] Maybe I will add a delay.
[00:12:35] If you don't want to do much, you can use the Supermassive.
[00:12:39] It is free of charge.
[00:12:41] I go to space.
[00:12:43] [Music]
[00:12:47] If you want to make an ambient, you should have supermassive insulators.
[00:12:51] [Music]
[00:13:02] That is the drone I want to have in the background.
[00:13:07] I take an arranger or a clip launcher.
[00:13:13] I put the base layer.
[00:13:17] I take my main note.
[00:13:20] Diss3.
[00:13:22] [Music]
[00:13:24] Maybe I go down.
[00:13:26] Maybe I add a quintet.
[00:13:29] [Music]
[00:13:34] I say doubled.
[00:13:37] Now I double it.
[00:13:39] [Music]
[00:13:57] That is the fifth.
[00:13:59] That is the fourth.
[00:14:01] Quintet and...
[00:14:03] I don't know the German term.
[00:14:07] That is the root note of this.
[00:14:13] It is very simple.
[00:14:15] These are perfect intervals.
[00:14:18] I don't know if it is a door or a mall.
[00:14:23] Both can be.
[00:14:26] [Music]
[00:14:28] With this note it would be a mall.
[00:14:32] [Music]
[00:14:37] A door.
[00:14:39] [Music]
[00:14:44] You can do that.
[00:14:46] [Music]
[00:14:48] I double it.
[00:14:51] I can cut out some frequencies.
[00:14:54] [Music]
[00:14:56] It depends on how much you want to do.
[00:15:00] If you want to do a drone ambient,
[00:15:04] you can do that too.
[00:15:06] You can do that with a drone.
[00:15:09] It is cool if the drone covers the frequency spectrum.
[00:15:15] If you want to add a bass,
[00:15:18] you can cut out some frequencies.
[00:15:24] The space is for the bass.
[00:15:28] [Music]
[00:15:33] Let's build a bass.
[00:15:36] I will take a pooly synth.
[00:15:39] I like it better for this kind of sound.
[00:15:44] I will also take the root note.
[00:15:48] I want two voices.
[00:15:54] [Music]
[00:16:00] I will go down there.
[00:16:03] Two voices.
[00:16:05] I can't tune them.
[00:16:07] One or two voices are on the left and one on the right.
[00:16:12] I will turn it down.
[00:16:14] It is monophonic.
[00:16:16] Not enough.
[00:16:18] I will take a tool and turn the width down.
[00:16:22] It is monophonic.
[00:16:24] It was so nice.
[00:16:26] They are not in tune.
[00:16:29] One is in tune with the other.
[00:16:31] I can get the wobble pattern.
[00:16:34] They can be canceled and not canceled.
[00:16:38] But there is a typical sound.
[00:16:42] [Music]
[00:17:01] I will duplicate it.
[00:17:04] I have two notes in here.
[00:17:07] I will make a double note.
[00:17:09] I have four notes in here.
[00:17:11] I can go up here.
[00:17:16] [Music]
[00:17:43] I can make a little swing.
[00:17:49] With a glide.
[00:17:51] It means that it doesn't go straight on the frequency.
[00:17:55] It goes up slowly.
[00:17:59] It is also on the monophonic.
[00:18:05] I will set it on mono.
[00:18:12] [Music]
[00:18:38] The pad is a little quiet.
[00:18:42] [Music]
[00:18:51] We have a drone running.
[00:18:54] The drone is playing only on the scale.
[00:19:00] Everything is open.
[00:19:03] The bass is playing a melody.
[00:19:06] It is a chord that is played on every note.
[00:19:11] The root note is the main thing.
[00:19:15] The bass decides what is played for chords.
[00:19:19] If the keyboard player plays a chord,
[00:19:22] the bass player decides if he can play it in a different direction.
[00:19:28] The bass player does a lot of things.
[00:19:34] There is a harp.
[00:19:39] I can play it in a polymer.
[00:19:44] I will do it very easy.
[00:19:48] [Music]
[00:20:14] Everything is played on the scale.
[00:20:20] [Music]
[00:20:24] Nothing is complicated.
[00:20:29] [Music]
[00:20:39] I will turn up the volume.
[00:20:43] [Music]
[00:20:48] Let's see.
[00:20:52] [Music]
[00:21:11] I will play the octave 12.
[00:21:16] [Music]
[00:21:23] That's OK.
[00:21:25] After that, I will play a convolution reverb.
[00:21:30] And a delay.
[00:21:34] I will use this filter envelope.
[00:21:41] [Music]
[00:21:45] I will use a step mod.
[00:21:50] I will randomize the step.
[00:21:55] I will use this amount to increase the filter amount.
[00:22:00] [Music]
[00:22:03] Let's see.
[00:22:06] [Music]
[00:22:15] I like to use wave tables.
[00:22:20] I want to use something more overtoned.
[00:22:25] I want to use this step mod.
[00:22:30] I will use a step size mod.
[00:22:35] I will use a step size mod.
[00:22:40] [Music]
[00:22:49] If you don't like this sound,
[00:22:53] I will use this one.
[00:22:57] I will use this wave table.
[00:23:01] [Music]
[00:23:05] I can add the lowest note with a sinus swing.
[00:23:11] [Music]
[00:23:15] Or an octaver lower.
[00:23:19] [Music]
[00:23:23] [Music]
[00:23:28] [Music]
[00:23:33] [Music]
[00:23:38] [Music]
[00:23:43] [Music]
[00:23:48] [Music]
[00:23:53] I will use two step mods.
[00:23:57] One modulates a bit.
[00:24:00] The other modulates a bit.
[00:24:04] But they multiply.
[00:24:07] I will use this one for a step size and other values.
[00:24:11] [Music]
[00:24:15] [Music]
[00:24:20] [Music]
[00:24:25] [Music]
[00:24:30] [Music]
[00:24:35] [Music]
[00:24:39] I can change the velocity a bit.
[00:24:43] [Music]
[00:24:48] [Music]
[00:24:53] [Music]
[00:24:58] [Music]
[00:25:03] I will use the last plus.
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[00:27:01] I can try out a supermesse 4.
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