Monday, January 12, 2009

Etude 006: Sampling!

[Well, I finally kicked in for a PRO account at Soundcloud, the website that I'm using to host my audio. They had a limit of 5 uploads per month, and that was a bit problematic for my goal of posting every day. I got the "light" subscription at 9€, which gives me the ability to post 15 times a month, or every other day. It's not perfect, but it'll do.]

The mission for this one was to get to know Ableton Live's "Simpler" instrument (a software sampler). I recorded myself humming, snipped out some parts, and then threw it into Simpler. I tried to loop the clips to create a sustained sound, but it was hard to choose a section of the sample to loop, as my small deviations in pitch in my voice were magnified to a weird vibrato. I played with the start and end points of the loop and then jacked up the "fade" knob on Simpler to get a smooth-sounding instrument that actually didn't resemble my voice at all. Instead, I got an interesting electric-organ sound. So the melodic bassline and the reverbed chords are both made from samples of my voice.

To add more elements, I recorded myself knocking on my wardrobe and then snapping, snipped them up in Audacity (a free shareware program) and dropped them into Impulse (Ableton Live's drum machine), which created the percussive loop that appears in various forms through the track.

I also made a fair bit of use of Send channels, applying a soft PingPong delay on the chords (Send A) and a light but bass-heavy reverb effect for the percussion loop, which is used at the beginning and the end of the track, as well as occasionally in the middle of the track to mark the 4 beats before a major change in texture (a sort of "upbeat" bar).

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