Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig FromScratch Techno Tutorial Bitwig-5.1.6

Simple Steps to Complex Music - Melodic Techno from Scratch

Tutorial | Mar 20, 2024

In the video, I address someone named trendcast who commented on my videos, expressing frustration with making music and comparing themselves to others. I encourage them to reach out to me on Discord to discuss their thoughts and feelings. I then demonstrate how to start making music with simple elements in Bitwig, gradually building complexity over time.

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

In my response to "trendcast," I express understanding of the frustration that comes with comparing one's work to others and the evolving nature of personal art. I highlight the importance of not giving up on music as a form of self-expression, despite the challenges. Here's a breakdown of how I approach creating a track in Bitwig, emphasizing the process of starting simple and gradually adding complexity:

Throughout, I stress the value of starting simple, using what's available, and focusing on gradual improvement and complexity. Finally, I reiterate my invitation to "trendcast" to reach out for a discussion, underscoring the shared experiences and challenges in the music creation process.

Questions & Answers

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

How can I start making music even if I feel discouraged?

You can start by realizing that comparing your art to others will only lead to frustration. Expressing yourself through music is a great way to channel your emotions. Start with simple elements and gradually build complexity over time, using the tools and resources available to you.

Can I use basic sounds and stock devices to create music?

Yes, you don't need fancy equipment or plugins to create music. Using basic sounds and stock devices can be just as effective in creating a unique and engaging piece of music. It's more about how you use and manipulate the sounds rather than the tools themselves.

How can I make my tracks sound more interesting and expressive?

To make your tracks more interesting and expressive, consider adding characteristic sounds, vocals, or instruments that give your music a unique flavor. Experiment with different melodies, rhythms, and textures to create a distinct and captivating sound.

What should I do if I feel discouraged or stuck in my music-making journey?

If you feel discouraged or stuck, reach out to others in the music community, like the person who commented on your video. Connect with them on platforms like Discord and share your tracks. Talking to other artists and getting feedback can provide valuable insights and encouragement to keep going. Remember that every artist goes through moments of frustration, it's part of the process.


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] So yesterday someone by the name of "trendcast" wrote under some of my videos, "Yeah, I quit
[00:00:06] making music.
[00:00:07] I never be able to afford anything like that and I literally try to do what you do in your
[00:00:11] videos and it never sounds anything even nearly the same.
[00:00:15] I give up.
[00:00:16] I let people like you who make it look super easy be the ones to create what you enjoy."
[00:00:21] So if you see this video, please contact me on Discord, send me your tracks.
[00:00:28] Maybe you can talk about it because I think making music is still a great way of expressing
[00:00:32] yourself.
[00:00:33] But I still, I get your point.
[00:00:36] It's the same for me and it's probably also the same for all the other artists.
[00:00:41] If you compare your art and maybe yourself to others, it always leads to frustration.
[00:00:46] It's always a frustrating kind of feeling.
[00:00:51] And there's also something like if you make a track one day and then you listen to it the
[00:00:56] next day, it sounds different than when you listen to it two weeks later or a month later,
[00:01:02] when you have some kind of disconnect between it.
[00:01:05] And it's always sometimes a weird feeling when you listen to your old tracks from five
[00:01:10] years ago.
[00:01:12] It sounds quite familiar, but kind of strange.
[00:01:15] There's something weird going on in the brain.
[00:01:19] It's maybe also the same effect when you listen to your own voice in a video or maybe in a
[00:01:24] podcast.
[00:01:26] And it sounds kind of strange because you're not used to it or you're not used to listen
[00:01:31] to your own voice from outside of yourself.
[00:01:36] So listen to your own tracks is maybe also something like listen to what's going on in
[00:01:43] your brain at this certain point in time.
[00:01:46] So I don't know.
[00:01:47] I'm not a, you know, I'm not a doctor.
[00:01:51] I have no idea what's going on inside of the brain.
[00:01:54] But yeah, if you see this video, please contact me on Discord, right?
[00:01:58] We can talk about it.
[00:01:59] Okay.
[00:02:00] So I want to take this video and make a bit of music and I want to amplify that you can
[00:02:05] actually start very simple inside of Bitwig and then get slowly complex over time.
[00:02:14] Or maybe let's say we stack some very simple things on top of each other and then you get
[00:02:19] something complex out of it, right?
[00:02:22] So let's say you want to start with a kick drum.
[00:02:25] You don't need to start with a kick drum.
[00:02:26] You can start with everything, right?
[00:02:28] But sometimes it's good to know what the result is dependent on how you start.
[00:02:37] So when I start with, let's say, some rhythmic elements, the end result is probably some
[00:02:43] dance floor stuff.
[00:02:44] And if I start with some chords or with some melodies, then it becomes most of the time
[00:02:51] something like chill ambient or some downbeat melodic stuff.
[00:02:58] So it depends on how you start on or it depends where you end up with how you how you start.
[00:03:05] So that's that's the that's the main gist of it.
[00:03:08] Okay.
[00:03:09] So we start here with the kick drum and I use my melodic kick preset here.
[00:03:16] I'm not sure I made a video about this.
[00:03:17] I linked this in the description below.
[00:03:19] I'm not sure if this is a free preset.
[00:03:21] I think it's a free preset.
[00:03:23] So that's just a melodic kick drum here.
[00:03:26] And I start by using here a note clip, just double clicking this here.
[00:03:34] And in here, I just lay down one note and it doesn't matter where I just use C2.
[00:03:39] It's all the same.
[00:03:41] It's the same pitch, right?
[00:03:43] And then I bring down the sloop marker here just to one bar.
[00:03:47] So this is exactly one bar, right?
[00:03:49] So it loops just in one bar because sometimes people ask me how do they do it?
[00:03:54] That's the kick drum, you know, plays in exactly one bar.
[00:04:00] I didn't do actually a one bar loop or yeah, they didn't get what I do.
[00:04:07] So this is what I do.
[00:04:08] I just make this loop marker here shorter and then I can hit play and it plays exactly
[00:04:13] in one bar.
[00:04:14] Then I go here to the BPM to one, two, three.
[00:04:20] It looks kind of nice.
[00:04:22] Then I hit here the loop markers we have here in the ranger some kind of loop.
[00:04:30] Then maybe I do here the rate a bit shorter.
[00:04:37] Then I put the peak limiter on the master so nobody gets mad at me.
[00:04:44] Okay.
[00:04:46] So then on top of that we use some samples.
[00:04:51] I want to use some hi-hat samples, maybe an open one.
[00:04:56] And inside of Bitwig we have some three packages and I really like the acoustic drum packages.
[00:05:06] So maybe search for acoustic or maybe let's search for a drum machine a six or six and
[00:05:13] then an open ride, open hi-hat.
[00:05:19] That's something like this.
[00:05:28] So it's just a sample here and I do the same.
[00:05:30] I just pull this down, hold control down and then drag this down.
[00:05:36] And in here I want to emphasize basically the offbeat.
[00:05:40] It's probably here, right?
[00:05:44] Let me see.
[00:05:45] Yeah, right.
[00:05:46] So we need to disable here the key tracking.
[00:05:50] At some point I introduce that the key tracking is always on.
[00:05:53] I don't know why but it really annoys me at some point when you want to just use some drum
[00:05:58] samples and you don't need kick-racking.
[00:06:00] So something like this we make it a analog bit shorter.
[00:06:10] And that's basically it.
[00:06:11] Then we duplicate this here by using control and D or duplicate.
[00:06:17] And then in here we want to lay down some closed hi-hats.
[00:06:22] So here, here and here and we don't need this because that's the open hi-hat and the other
[00:06:29] thing.
[00:06:31] And we want to use a bit of velocity here, something like this and we want to exchange
[00:06:38] here the sample for a closed six or six maybe.
[00:06:43] There are some like this.
[00:06:47] It's the same sound but it's closed.
[00:06:55] Bring the volume down a bit.
[00:06:57] Okay, nice.
[00:07:00] So then we want to use here some kind of snare and I also want to use acoustic snare drum.
[00:07:09] So you can see here it's the package acoustic drums and percussion.
[00:07:13] It's in the repository from Bitwig.
[00:07:18] So you can download this for free.
[00:07:21] So this is a complete drum set here.
[00:07:25] Let's go for a sample.
[00:07:30] Acoustic snare, snare, snare, snare.
[00:07:44] Could also maybe use some kind of clap maybe.
[00:07:48] Maybe a clap is better.
[00:07:51] Acoustic or maybe a 9-0-9 clap maybe to old school or 6-0-6.
[00:08:18] There's no clap for 6-0-6.
[00:08:26] Maybe this one here.
[00:08:27] Yeah, something like this.
[00:08:31] Yeah, that's good.
[00:08:33] Okay, so pitch tracking off and then we do the same thing here.
[00:08:38] But this time we use two bars and here we put a clap in the middle maybe.
[00:08:45] No, that's completely off.
[00:08:49] Need this one here.
[00:08:55] Perfect.
[00:09:02] Let's group this together called drums and what else can we put in there?
[00:09:08] Maybe some snares, some acoustic snares again.
[00:09:24] Maybe something like this.
[00:09:28] Ah, something like this.
[00:09:38] And here I put something down.
[00:09:44] Some kind of drum roll.
[00:09:50] So we scale, now we duplicate this here two times.
[00:09:56] And then we bring in a bit of velocity scaling.
[00:10:15] Something like this.
[00:10:38] We put this also here in the drum group.
[00:10:40] So this is the drum roll.
[00:10:42] It's the best techno beat ever.
[00:10:50] Then we want to maybe use bass sound.
[00:10:55] Make it pretty straight.
[00:11:02] Go for a saw here.
[00:11:06] Voices is monophonic.
[00:11:09] And use a very simple pad on here.
[00:11:26] At least it's something.
[00:11:42] We call this bass.
[00:11:44] I put this also here in the drum group because I probably want to use my new compressor by
[00:11:56] Tegeler.
[00:11:59] Looks like this.
[00:12:01] And yeah, I just put this here out.
[00:12:07] Schwerkraftmaschine.
[00:12:10] So this here goes out basically to the compressor and here it's getting back in.
[00:12:17] So it sounds like this.
[00:12:28] I can also use here a plug in to actually control this from my PC.
[00:12:53] This is without.
[00:13:20] Maybe a bit too much.
[00:13:26] But I don't care.
[00:13:29] So now that we have this here put through the compressor, I probably want to use some
[00:13:33] kind of clipper.
[00:13:36] So this time I'm using here the, what's the name?
[00:13:42] Free clip.
[00:13:43] And I push this until it sounds quite ugly and then I just pull it back a bit.
[00:14:06] So we have drums and we have a basic groove already running.
[00:14:10] And then I want to go over to some melody sounds.
[00:14:16] So I'm using a Polymer here.
[00:14:19] Also saw probably.
[00:14:22] And I want to use Unison, FAT, detuning.
[00:14:28] I want to use reverb, convolution, that's enough.
[00:14:33] Delay, delay two.
[00:14:37] That's enough.
[00:14:38] And again here pretty basic, very simple sequence in the scale.
[00:14:55] So that's it.
[00:15:20] I
[00:15:48] want to put this more in the background.
[00:16:05] Yeah, something like this.
[00:16:21] So this is more like a pedal tone that gives the scale or hint of the scale away and then
[00:16:32] another Polymer here.
[00:16:35] And this one, let's say this one plays a chord maybe.
[00:16:41] So minor chord, seventh.
[00:16:53] So I feel like this a bit more resonance.
[00:16:59] Low cut.
[00:17:16] Maybe not on the one here.
[00:17:30] And maybe not in this default root position.
[00:17:34] I don't know.
[00:17:39] Kind of cool.
[00:17:48] Kind of like it.
[00:17:51] Maybe reverb on this also.
[00:17:55] And then we want to make this longer.
[00:17:58] This is one bar long, I make it two bar long.
[00:18:12] Yeah we just modulate here this thing, this modulation amount, the random mode just slightly.
[00:18:20] So three, let's use note.
[00:18:25] It's not polyphonic because I want to have the same value for all of the notes.
[00:18:34] And then every time I trigger this with a note, I get a random value and then I end
[00:18:38] up here on a different position.
[00:18:56] Nice.
[00:19:22] So this is the chord.
[00:19:26] Maybe you can switch here to a different chord at the end here but not all the time.
[00:19:44] So one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
[00:19:58] Switch here more open.
[00:20:23] Something like this.
[00:20:24] Then we say this one here, we want to play only on the every second iteration of the
[00:20:32] loop.
[00:20:52] So we have a chord, we have a pedal tone and now we probably need some kind of lead
[00:20:56] melody on top or something that just brings in some character.
[00:21:10] So make this longer, we need of course, a little bit of delay.
[00:21:18] So you don't need to use here the internal devices, right?
[00:21:20] You can use whatever you want to like.
[00:21:22] Just want to highlight that you don't need to use a lot of VSTs or stuff like this.
[00:21:31] You can just stick with the stock devices.
[00:21:44] Okay let's play something on the keyboard and it's the scale of D# minor.
[00:21:48] You all know it.
[00:21:49] You can just stick to the black keys, to the black notes, which is bandatonic, which is
[00:21:56] perfect for melodies of course.
[00:22:21] It's not perfect.
[00:22:22] So we make this eight bars long.
[00:22:27] I quantize everything, so I select everything with control and A and then I hit Q, which
[00:22:33] is quantization.
[00:22:34] You can see it's a pretty simple melody.
[00:22:38] Not much going on.
[00:22:39] I'm going to release a bit longer.
[00:22:56] Maybe I bring the chord here, one octave lower.
[00:23:14] Let's see how this sounds.
[00:23:42] Maybe you knock the floor.
[00:23:50] Maybe I don't like the melody, so let's record another one.
[00:24:11] Or maybe I make the melody longer.
[00:24:41] Something like this.
[00:24:47] Slightly better.
[00:25:27] - I'm gonna just copy this all I am.
[00:26:12] - The worst melody ever.
[00:26:14] The worst melody ever.
[00:26:36] - I think that's better.
[00:27:05] Let's try this melody again.
[00:27:15] It's actually better.
[00:27:29] Okay, that's just the old one.
[00:27:31] The best idea is most of the times,
[00:27:33] always the best idea for some reason.
[00:27:36] Okay, so then I want to use a transpose,
[00:27:41] a note transpose here in front of the synth.
[00:27:46] And then make a macro on the project level here, bipolar,
[00:27:53] and call this transpose.
[00:27:55] And then I modulate this here by,
[00:27:58] let's say seven semitones, exactly.
[00:28:01] And then I just copy this from the melody to the chord,
[00:28:07] to the pedal tone, the bass.
[00:28:12] And yeah, that's it for all the melodic stuff.
[00:28:57] Okay, here for the melody and for the chords,
[00:29:00] you can use, of course, I don't know,
[00:29:01] diva and some pristine presets.
[00:29:05] This is like very basic sounds,
[00:29:08] but I like to use basic sounds for some reason.
[00:29:11] That's some of my jams.
[00:29:14] But you don't need to use these basic sounds, right?
[00:29:18] You can also use your piano or something like this.
[00:29:20] But you can see here,
[00:29:21] most of these clips are not very complex.
[00:29:25] You can also do something like this here in the kick.
[00:29:28] Use a second kick and then say,
[00:29:30] this is at the end, every eighth iteration here,
[00:29:35] we get the double kick.
[00:29:36] For the hi-hats here, maybe,
[00:29:41] let's use here,
[00:29:44] every four iterations at the end.
[00:29:50] Get something like this.
[00:29:57] Let's use also here, eight.
[00:30:10] Compressor is still working.
[00:30:24] I need to use the plug-in, okay?
[00:30:45] And here for the melody,
[00:31:03] I want to change this modulation amount,
[00:31:07] slide and slowly.
[00:31:09] So use random mode.
[00:31:12] Smoothing all the way up, bar,
[00:31:15] and then I use 16 bars.
[00:31:17] It's not polyphonic.
[00:31:21] Maybe use sync.
[00:31:26] Then I bring this in here.
[00:31:27] (upbeat music)
[00:31:33] And then it fades in and fades out slowly over time.
[00:31:43] Maybe a bit of proof.
[00:32:05] A drum roll, I want to high pass probably.
[00:33:16] Nice, kinda like it.
[00:33:18] So yeah, I want to explain that you can just use
[00:33:21] some simple, very basic clips, audio clips,
[00:33:26] audio sequences, or note sequences.
[00:33:31] Then also very simple sounds,
[00:33:33] then you can build up and create much more complex
[00:33:37] things out of it.
[00:33:39] As you can see here, there's not a lot of notes going on.
[00:33:42] It's just using a bit of different length of the clips.
[00:33:47] Polyrhythms maybe.
[00:33:49] And also the operators here of Bitwig Studio.
[00:33:52] And yeah, creating these kind of tracks then, okay?
[00:33:57] So this is maybe something you can save for later, maybe.
[00:34:01] And then in a week or so,
[00:34:03] you bring in some more characteristic sounds,
[00:34:05] maybe something assembled,
[00:34:08] or maybe you sing something on top or some vocals.
[00:34:11] So, you know, to bring it out of this generic,
[00:34:14] generic state and make it more like a real song,
[00:34:19] something that expresses something.
[00:34:21] But yeah, that's basically it.
[00:34:24] And back to the initial idea here,
[00:34:27] "trendcast", please write me in discord.
[00:34:29] Let me know, okay?
[00:34:31] So that's it for this video.
[00:34:33] Leave a like if you liked the video.
[00:34:35] Subscribe to the channel.
[00:34:36] Thanks for watching.
[00:34:37] And I'll see you probably in the next video.
[00:34:40] Thanks for watching and bye.