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  • check Chuck - music programming language
  • Ideas of setup
    • for session view Launchpad (Quneo) should be enough
    • for arrangement view keyboard and/or pads
    • checkout launchpad95 script
  • Arturia
    • seems to make pretty cool devices fairly priced. Most have VC/Gate output.
  • Books
    • The Secrets of Dance Music Production
    • Making Music - 74 Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers
  • Links
  • Magazines
    • Future Music
    • Computer Music
  • Audio Interfaces
    • Behringer UMC204HD
    • Novation Audiohub 2x4
      • 4xRCA outputs, 3x USB hub,
    • Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 (2G)
    • ESI UDJ6
  • songs to sample
    • Et si tu n'existais pas (Joe Dassin)
    • Black Betty (Tom Jones)

What do you need

  • DAW, for example Ableton Live
  • MIDI Keyboard
  • Studio Headphones or Studio Monitors
  • Audio Interface, for example Focusrite (optional)
  • Microphone for instruments and/or voice (optional)
    • dynamic microphones used for live gigs, loud sounds, low sensitivity, they don't require power source
    • condenser microphones commonly used in studios, they require power source (48v)
      • phantom power through XLR cables
  • Other intruments, for example a Synth (optional)


Controllers don't play sounds they only send sound information, usually through MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface), to a device that generates the sounds and an audio interface can play those sounds.

Instruments can play sounds, therefore they can have some or all of the devices: MIDI Controller, Synthesizer, Sequencer, Audio Interface, they are an "Appliance". They do need to be paired with a PC.

Pads and Knobs

There are 2 types of knobs, endless rotary encodes and fixed-position or control knobs. Encoders are used to increment or decrement values. Jog wheels are a kind of encoders. Control knobs or Pots (short for Potentiometers) are used to set absolute values, they can have center detent.

  • Quneo
  • Arturia BeatStep -
    • controller and step sequencer
    • 16 pads (2x8) and 16 encoders (2x8)
    • 16-step analog sequencer
    • connectivity: USB, MIDI, CV/Gate
    • price: 100 E
    • Pro version: ~250 E
  • Akai LPD8 (Laptop Pad Controller)
    • 8 pads and 8 Q-Link knobs (they look like Control Knobs)
    • price: 50 E
  • Akai APC mini (Ableton Performance Controller)
  • Akai APC40 (Ableton Performance Controller)
  • Midi Fighter Twister
    • 4x4 clickable encoders
    • Center Detent function so it can be used like a potentiometer with middle LED indicator
    • price: 280 E
  • Novation Launchpad & LaunchControl


  • Arturia KeyStep
    • keyboard controller and polyphonic step sequencer
      • each sequence can have 64 steps, each step can have up to 8 notes
    • can be connected to Novation Circuit
    • connectivity: USB, MIDI, CV/Gate
    • price: 120 E
  • Arturia MiniLab Mk II
    • comes with Analog Lab Lite, Ableton Live Lite, UVI Grand Piano Model D
    • 25 slim keys, 8 RGB pads (x2 banks) and 16 encoders (2 clickable), Pitch Bend and Modulation touch strips
    • keys and pads and encoders, but no step sequencer like with Beat- or KeyStep
    • price: 100 E
  • Akai APC Key 25 (Ableton Performance Controller with Keyboard)
  • Akai MPK mini (Music Performance Keyboard and Pads)
  • Novation LaunchKey (mini)



  • Novation Circuit
    • Hybrid Synth-Drum Machine, Sequencer, Controller
    • allows sample uploading
    • 4 tracks
  • Korg Minilogue

Drum Machines

Drum machine is used to create drum patterns outside of your DAW sequencer. As a side note, if your drum machine supports sample upload, most don't, than it can basically become any instrument you want, it gets closer to a sampler.

  • Novation Circuit
    • Hybrid Synth-Drum Machine, Sequencer, Controller
    • allows sample uploading
    • 4 drum tracks
    • price: 290 E
  • Arturia Spark LE
    • price: 200 E
  • Elektron Analog Rytm
  • Elektron Digitakt
    • can sequence up to 8 external synths
    • allows sample uploading
  • Korg Volca Beats
    • entry level
    • can be connected to other Volca synths
    • real analog sound, but not fully analogue (hybrid)
    • only one drum kit, it can be modified in many ways
    • single audio output

* works only with computer


Capable of creating long phrases or whole tracks (as opposed to a drum machine which is capable of creating drum patterns or short phrases). NI Maschine MK3 is an example of a notorious modern (as of 2018) sampler (or Groovebox), usually used as a drum machine. It only works connected to a computer.

  • Korg Volka Sample
  • Novation Circuit
  • Elektron Octatrack


To Check

  • Mixbus
  • EnergyXT
  • Qtractor
  • Tracktion 5
  • Mulab Free
  • Ohm Studio
  • PreSonus


Ableton Live


  • unlimited evaluation


Linux MultiMedia Studio



  • Synth1
    • Virtual Analog Synthesizer
  • TAL Plugins (Togu Audio Line)
    • TAL NoiseMaker
  • W1 Limiter
    • simulation of L1 limiter by Waves
  • Rough Rider
    • aggressive compressor
  • Magical 8bit Plug
  • Alchemy Player
  • iSpinner
  • LoudMax
  • Serum
  • Synth1



Use quneo's vertical slider to control LPF of the filter knob:

  var "$shift" ? nothing : param_multiply 0.5 & param_greater 47% ? deck left eq_low 50% : deck left eq_low

Serato DJ

See file.

Music Theory

Freq Guide

  • 20-50Hz Sub-bass
    • you feel this range rather than hear it
  • 50-250Hz Bass
    • here is usually the bass boost in most apps and appliances
  • 250-800Hz Muddy
    • between bass and mid-range
  • 800-6000Hz Mid
    • human ear is very sensitive to it
    • 4kHz mark - the most sensitive
    • very small adjustments here have a big impact
  • 6000-8000Hz Treble
    • control the brightness of the track
    • the magic frequency
    • 50-8000Hz is the most important part of the track
  • 8000-20000Hz Ultra-High Treble
    • high hats, the hiss
    • here you get the harshness
    • older people can't really hear this

Tonality and Atonality

Tonal music has a clear tonal center, the "goal note". It's called tonic or the key of the melody. Usually the first and the last note of a melody. It's the first note of the scale used to create the melody.

Atonal music has no clear tonic pitch or goal note.

When we say that a song has a single tonal center or tonic, we also are saying that it is in a single key. It is made from a set of notes that have the tonic pitch as the first note. This set of tones can be arranged in stepwise order as a scale. DO RE MI FA SOL LA SI DO is a scale. As example C MAJOR scale means the tonic note is C and the mode is major.

Harmonic Function

The most important chord in the key is called the tonic harmony and the tonic pitch is the lowest note of that chord. A chord is multiple notes played together.

Harmony is succession of chords to create a sense of harmony or a story, chords progress to control the creation and resolution of tension. Harmonic function is what the chords "do".

  • Tonic = Stable chord (at the beginning and end of the song)
  • Predominant = Connecting chord, a chord that prepares the Dominant
  • Dominant = Unstable chord (throughout the song and as the second to last chord)


Chromatic scale: 12 notes, at half step distance.

Middle C = 262 Hz

C4 is called the middle C.

A 7 notes scale has 8 notes, the 8th is same as the 1s up an octave. The interval between the 1st note of a scale and the 5th note is called the perfect fifth.

RMS = Root Mean Square

Major Key

  • all the white keys in a scale on a piano

Minor Key

  • most used in european music, especially dance music
  • T, S, T, T, S, T, T
    • T = tone, S = semitone

Measure and Meter Signature

Measure = Bar

Sound Quality

Online Resources

Music Production

A song has generally sounds in 4 categories:

  1. Drums
  2. Bass
  3. Chords
  4. Melodies


For recording using a microphone you will need microphone (duh), microphone stand, XLR cable, audio interface and a computer with a recording software (DAW or Audacity)

How to Create Chords

  • take a note (for example a tonic to get the tonic harmony)
  • major chord
    • copy the note 4 positions up
    • copy one more time 3 positions up
  • minor chord
    • copy the note first 3 and than 4 positions up
  • create a chord progression by copying the chord up on every note of the key
  • when creating a loop start with the tonic chord
    • and finish with the 4th or 5th chord
    • use any from 1 to 6 in between

How to Sound musical

Without knowing (too much) musical theory.

Stay in Key

  • mark all the notes from a scale in the pianoroll and fold it to see only those notes
    • copy the notes on all octaves
    • move the scale notes off grid so you only see them not hear
  • draw your melody, you'll be in key

Chord Progessions

  • open a chord progression and disable it
  • draw on top of it, you'll be in key and it will probably already sound good
  • move octaves down and draw your bass line
  • use just the base note for the bass line


  • find a piece of song you like
  • convert it to harmony, it will somewhat resemble the original song
  • edit the result until you like it
  • use the scale plugin to change the key
  • add drums or bass line

Use MIDI Effects in Abelton Live

  • Scale Plugin
    • use C minor for example
    • change the note and you will be in that key, for example chose F and you'll have F minor
    • combine it with Chord plugin
  • Chord Plugin (Chord Sets)

How to use Samplers

  • a sample is a piece of audio of any length between, let's say, half a second and a full song
  • it is usually a something like a drum hit, snare or kick for example
  • sampling tipically means to get some audio clips into a sampler, and trigger them using MIDI
  • you can buy sample packs, cut some pieces from entire songs and use them as samples, or you can create your own samples
  • for example in Ableton drag the Sampler instrument onto a MIDI track and an audio clip onto the sampler. Use your keyboard to trigger the sample at different pitches

How to use Synthesisers

  • Serum is a very popular and famous synth
  • for example to create a bass sound, you start with a squared wave from an oscilator
    • so you need and Oscilator
  • filter out the high frequencies using a filter, since the bass has only low frequnecies
    • so you need a Filter
  • use an envelope to setup the attack and hold, decay and sustain and release when a key is pressed
    • so you need and Envelope
      • attack = the time it takes for the sound to reach it's maximum volume or the fade in time
      • hold = TBD
      • decay = the time it takes to get from the maximum volume to the sustain volume
      • sustain = the main volume of the sound (in dB) when the key is hold
      • release = the time it takes for the sound to fade out when key is released

Mixing and Mastering

  • mixing means to balance out all the elements of your final track
    • balance levels
    • balance ferquencies using equalisers
      • take out what clashes
    • control the dynamic range using compression
    • use reverb to make it sound "somewhere" (in a room or in a hall)
  • mastering means polishing your final track
    • comes after mixing
    • import back the exported track as audio and polish it further

Music Genres


Sounds and Instruments

  • Ableton Live - Muted & Bell Unpitched