How to Make a Song in Reason

Written by robert godard
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How to Make a Song in Reason
Your song's melody will stick to the key you determine. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Propellerhead Reason is an audio editing software that can be used to make beats, sample music and create synthesised sounds. It records everything as MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) data, so it can be edited after it is recorded. If you want to make a song using Reason, you have to move through it methodically, recording tracks layer by layer until you get something you like. Remember, you can always go back and change a previous step, so it is OK to experiment a little.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Start with rhythm. This is the layer that will carry the rest of the song and act as its foundation. Load up either "Korg Drum Designer" or "Redrum Drum Computer" if you want to program your own beats. This will allow you to add kick drums, snares, high hats and other percussive elements to your song.

  2. 2

    Use "Dr. Octo Rex" if you want to use sampled drums instead of MIDI drums. The difference is that sampled drums are actual recordings of drums that are then laid down according to your song's tempo, and may sound more realistic. "Dr. Octo Rex" has hundreds of samples to choose from.

  3. 3

    Create a melody to go with your rhythm. You will most likely want to use a synthesizer such as "Thor" or "Malstorm," which uses a sine or sawtooth wave and a series of oscillators and effects to create music. This enables you to get virtually any kind of sound you want out of it. The best way to use it is to just experiment by changing oscillators and effects until you obtain a desired sound.

  4. 4

    Choose your song's key. A minor key will produce a song with a more sad undertone, while a major key will produce a more upbeat feeling. Whichever key you choose, stick to it throughout the song. Record your melody on a synthesizer.

  5. 5

    Add a bass line to the track using another synthesizer. The bass line bridges the drums and the melody. It should follow the same key as the melody but the rhythm of the drums. Generally, bass lines are a much lower pitch than the melody.

  6. 6

    Add sampled sounds to your song using samplers such as "NN19" or "NN-XT." A sampled sound is a piece of something that was previously recorded that you mix into your song. Reason has several preloaded samples to choose from, but you can also create your own sample.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep your song simple to begin with, then add more and more layers until you get your desired sound
  • As you add more elements, make sure that the mix does not become too busy and muddy. Add effects to separate them out.

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