House music features the "four on the floor" beat, meaning a kick drum that plays on all four beats of most measures of the song. The "four on the floor," when paired with the creative placement of snares, hi-hats, and hand clap sounds, makes for an extremely catchy, very danceable beat that can forms the basis of almost the entire genre of music. Whether you are just starting out making house music, or are an experienced composer looking to return to the roots of house music, learning to compose an effective beat is an indispensable skill.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Music production software
Open your favourite music making software and begin a new project or open a song you're currently working on. If you don't have music making software installed on your computer, there are many options available to you, from free trials of Image-Line's FLStudio and Ableton Live, to inexpensive software suites like Apple's Garageband, to fully-fledged professional production software like Apple's Logic and Digidesign Protools. Luckily, most production software suites work in similar ways.
Create a new track on which to put your house beat by selecting "New track" from the program's menu bar, then choosing "Software Instrument Track." A new track will be created below any existing ones that allows MIDI input via the virtual keyboard in your specific program.
Set your new track to act as a drum track by dragging and dropping a drum kit from the sound library onto the track. Right click on the track's name and select "Piano Roll" or select the virtual keyboard from the program's menu bar to open a MIDI grid for that track. Click a few keys on the virtual keyboard to play the drum sounds associated with the selected drum kit. Locate the kick drum, snare drum and hi-hat sounds on the keyboard as they will form the basis of your beat.
Use the pen or insert tool to draw in a kick drum sound on beats one, two, three, and four. Press play, and you should hear four kick drum sounds, one after another.
Add a snare or hand clap sounds to offset the beat, and make it sound more syncopated and grooving. The most basic house beat will utilise a snare or clap sound on beats two and four, right on top of the kick drum. Use the pen or insert tool to draw in where you want the snare or clap to play. Press play to hear your beat with the added sounds.
To make the beat sound more complete, and to add even more groove and syncopation to the mix, add hi-hat sounds over the kick and snare sounds. Use the pen or insert tool to draw in hi-hat sounds to play throughout the beat. Many house beats have four closed hi-hat sounds for every beat, and an open hi-hat sound on beats two and four. Press play to hear the complete beat with kick, snare or clap, and hi-hat sounds.
Experiment with the sounds you choose, and add, remove or move sounds in the piano roll to make your beat truly your own. Adding sound effects like Bass Boost, Reverb, and Delay through your program's effects modules can make your beat sound bigger and louder, or softer and more subdued to fit in with the rest of the song. Keep practicing and you can make beats that sound professional and polished.
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