How to produce your own music

Getting started with music production
– here's how it's done.

"What do I need to start producing music using software instruments?" Keep reading to learn everything you need to produce music.

  1. Download Music Maker Free, install the free program and start a new project.
  2. On the right side, all the included soundpool loops can be found for your production. Drag & drop a few loops onto the tracks and arrange them into a new song or backing accompaniment for your own live recordings.
  3. Click on the onscreen keyboard to activate it. Use the top row of keys on your computer keyboard to play. The default is a piano. In the dropdown menu at the top of the onscreen keyboard, you can select another software instrument.
  4. To record your playing, switch the red record button in the track header to "MIDI REC". This will make the track ready for MIDI recording. Then, click on the red record button in the transport control to begin a MIDI recording and play the instrument. At the end of the recording, click stop.
  5. To record your own vocals or a live instrument, switch the red record button in the track header to "AUDIO REC". Then, click on the red record button in the transport control to begin an audio recording. During your recording, the accompanying arrangement will be played back. It is advisable to use headphones while recording so that the accompaniment will not be recorded as well. At the end of the recording, click stop.
  6. If you choose, you can enhance your music with high-quality effects, which you can find by clicking the "Object effects" button and in the mixer.
  7. Finally, export your music with as a WAV or OGG file in the "File" menu.
Music Maker Free Edition

Simply create music: The new Music Maker

  • MAGIX Soundpools: Make your own beats – quick and easy. No matter whether electro, Latin vibes, trap, pop, movie scores or reggae – arrange all your loops and samples using drag & drop. All loops are available in 7 different pitches and can be automatically adjusted to a harmonious pitch.
  • Software Instruments: All you need is your mouse or a standard or MIDI keyboard to record captivating melodies full of feeling. Easily control software instruments such as strings, bass, guitars, synthesizers and lots more.
  • Recording: Easily record vocals, rap lines or instruments. No matter whether it's a mic, USB keyboard, drum pad controller or guitar – just connect it and get started!
  • Mixing & mastering: Without any previous production experience, achieve real studio sound with intuitive professional effects - simply using drag & drop: Learn how to fine-tune your final sound.

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How to start making music using software instruments

It is difficult to learn how to play an instrument; it is likely impossible to master all instruments. Nevertheless, you can move a considerable step closer to this dream using the modern music software Music Maker. That's because the software instruments in Music Maker can all be played in the same, simple way: either easily and intuitively using your computer's keyboard or more dynamically and emotively with a MIDI keyboard. The software instruments sound as natural as the originals, because they are not based on simulated sounds, but rather on high-quality, 24-bit original recordings.

The software instruments cover the full musical spectrum: Pianos, organs, woodwind instruments (e.g., flute, bassoon and oboe), "brass" e.g. trumpet, trombone, saxophone, bass tuba, etc.), strings (e.g. violin, viola, cello, etc.), acoustic and electric guitars, basses as well as percussion instruments ranging from complete drum sets to African drums. And if you're a fan of electronic music, techno beats or atmospheric synths, you're sure to find instruments that inspire you.

The included loops in the Soundpools offer an alternative solution for music production. They are not played note for note like a software instrument, but are arranged like building blocks using drag & drop. It is almost impossible to do anything wrong, because all the loops automatically fit together.

Both production methods, direct instrumental performance and loop-based music production, can be perfectly combined. Learn how it's done in this step-by-step guide.

How to produce music using your mouse, keyboard and MIDI keyboard

The PC revolutionized music production and Music Maker has been a major contributor from the very beginning. This successful software has been regularly updated and developed for more than 20 years. Today, Music Maker is an all-encompassing, modern platform for musical enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Music Maker offers two basic methods for everything you need to produce music: one is loop-based production, which uses the mouse to arrange samples into songs. The other is playing using software instruments, which is done using the computer keyboard in its simplest form, but made more enjoyable and musical with a MIDI keyboard.

In principle, you don't need any previous knowledge and you don't have to invest any money, because the most basic version of Music Maker is free and offers unlimited use. This allows you to try out how to produce your own music using a mouse, keyboard or MIDI keyboard.

Getting started with music production:

  • Download the software.
  • Double-click the installation file to install the program.
  • Double-click the installation file to install the program.

Afterwards, you're ready to go. Let's begin by learning about software instruments.

Playing the onscreen keyboard using the computer keyboard

Using software instruments to produce your own music

The first option for making your own music on your PC is to play the included software instruments. These instruments are based on short musical ("samples") and are played using the computer keyboard or, if you prefer, with a MIDI keyboard just like playing any keyboard instrument. Alternatively, melodies or chords can be programmed by clicking the mouse to draw notes in the MIDI editor and/or corrected there later.

At the bottom of the interface, you'll see a large keyboard with a piano keyboard. This controls the software instruments. The default is a piano.

  • Click once on the keyboard to activate it.

Letters and symbols will now appear on some of the keys. These keys can be used to play the corresponding notes on the computer keyboard. You can also press several keys simultaneously to create a chord.

You can play the normal C major scale using the top row of your computer's keyboard (starting on the left with the letter "Q" and ending on the right with the "[" symbol). It is the easiest to use this row of keys to play melodies when starting out.

Through trial and error as well as a little practice, you'll learn to play instruments with dynamically and accurately on the computer keyboard.

Arming a track for MIDI recording

To record your playing, you need an "armed" track, on which you wish to record. On track 1, everything has been set up properly. This is shown by the red "MIDI REC" button on the left side of the track header.

  • Click on the red "Record" button in the transport control.
Start the recording in the transport control

Now, the recording will begin on track 1. During the recording, a sound block will be created that will become increasingly longer as the recording continues.

If you click the "Record" button again, the playback marker will jump back to the position where it started. The recording will start again from the beginning and the previous take will be overwritten.

  • Play a piano melody on the computer keyboard.

If you make a mistake, simply click on the red "Record" button and begin the recording again.

  • When you're finished, stop the recording by clicking the "Stop" button in the transport control.

Now, you will see your recording in track 1 and can play it back.

Recorded MIDI notes

Additionally, any MIDI recording can be edited in various ways retrospectively. You can add missing notes and change the existing notes, for example, to correct the pitch or rhythm, and even program completely new parts. This is the purpose of the MIDI Editor.

  • Double-click on the MIDI object in the track to open the MIDI editor.

Here, you will find all recorded notes. You can select and adjust any note in the grid. Simply click on a note and move it horizontally to change the pitch or vertically to change the timing. A note's duration can also be shortened or lengthened by clicking on its ends. Simply use the pen tool to insert additional MIDI notes.

Working with the MIDI editor and learning the many settings available takes time. For a start, it is enough to become familiar with its basic functions.

Playing backed recorded melodies on the "Revolta" software synthesizer

Editing recordings of instruments

Now, you have made a MIDI recording with a software instrument that has a few distinctive characteristics compared to a normal audio recording. In a MIDI recording, the sound was not recorded as in a microphone recording, but only the controlled commands that were processed by the selected synthesizer. Your synthesizer is the software instrument you just used to make the recording: A piano.

But perhaps you would like to hear how your melody would sound on a different instrument? You don't have to play it again to do that. To change the instrument, simply open the dropdown menu above the keyboard and select a different instrument.

In addition to the "Concert Grand", there are currently two other instruments available to choose from in the free version: "Revolta" and "Vita LE". The Revolta is a classic synthesizer with many setting options for typical synth sounds, whereas Vita LE is a sampler for acoustic instruments.

  • Open the Revolta to experiment with it.

A large, independent user interface will appear, which offers a number of different possibilities to modify the sound.

  • Press a few keys on the computer keyboard to preview the sound.
  • Open the Revolta dropdown menu and switch to another sound preset.

This completely changes the sound: Instead of a dirty bass synth, now you will hear atmospheric electronic sounds, depending on your choice. Any number of experimental sounds are possible using the Revolta.

  • Select a sound preset and play the short arrangement of your MIDI recording.

Now, you will hear the current Revolta sound instead of the recorded piano sound.

You can use this process to preview the same MIDI recording played by different software instruments.

Correcting and adding recorded notes in the MIDI editor

Additionally, any MIDI recording can be edited in various ways retrospectively. You can add missing notes and change the existing notes, for example, to correct the pitch or rhythm, and even program completely new parts. This is the purpose of the MIDI Editor.

  • Double-click on the MIDI object in the track to open the MIDI editor.

Here, you will find all recorded notes. You can select and adjust any note in the grid. Simply click on a note and move it horizontally to change the pitch or vertically to change the timing. A note's duration can also be shortened or lengthened by clicking on its ends. Simply use the pen tool to insert additional MIDI notes.

Working with the MIDI editor and learning the many settings available takes time. For a start, it is enough to become familiar with its basic functions.

Selecting Soundpool loops in the Media Pool

Getting started with music production using Soundpool loops

Another option to help you produce your own music is by using Soundpools. These can be used to produce music and complete songs or to arrange accompaniment with software instruments.

  • First, delete your first MIDI recording from the track (or mute the track by pressing the "Mute" button so that it does not distract you.)

On the right side, all the soundpool loops available for your production can be found. In the beginning, only the Soundpool "Feel good" will be shown in the Soundpool list. You can install additional Soundpools any time and select them here. In the area to the right, you can select different instruments within the Soundpool: For example, "Bass", "Brass", "Drums", "FX", etc.

Dragging loops out for longer sequences

The list of loops list is below that. Here, you can select one of the loops available. For the "Bass" category, for example, that is "Right Bass" (with variants A-C), "Right Sub Bass" (with variants A and B) and more.

  • Click it to play a preview.
  • Drag & drop the selected loop at the desired position in the arranger.

It is probably best to start with a drum track. Drag & drop a drum loop in the arranger to the left. In general, a loop can be placed anywhere. However, it is advisable to drag it to track 2 below the top track that is set up for the software instrument "Piano Default". To add variation to the drum track, take a second drum loop and drop it behind the first loop.

Loops are usually quite short. But you don't have to load the same loop several times to achieve the desired length. Move the mouse to the back end of the loop until the mouse pointer turns into a double arrow. Click and drag the loop from that point to the right. Essentially, you can lengthen any loop endlessly, as well as shorten it by dragging the handle to the left.

Afterwards, create a bass track. With drums & bass, you have already created the musical backbone of your song. Add loops from other categories of instruments to the lower tracks if appropriate. Drag each instrument to its own track so that your production remains clearly arranged.

Loops (with the exception of the atonal drum loops) can be set to seven different pitches. You can vary the pitch by clicking one of the seven pitch buttons above the loop library.

Of course, this doesn't result in a perfect song right away. It takes a bit of experience to build a complete song using Soundpool loops. Take a look at the structure of the demo projects. This will give you an idea of how a good song might be arranged.

Recording audio tracks with accompaniment

Recording live instruments and vocals

To record your own vocals or a live instrument with accompaniment from Soundpool loops, do the following:

  • Create a backing track using Soundpool loops, for example, with drum and bass loops on tracks 2 and 3.
  • Connect a microphone to your computer. You can also use your computer's internal mic, if one is available.
  • Switch any empty track to audio recording mode to record audio. To do this, click on the red recording button in the track header on the left side of the interface until "AUDIO REC" appears.
  • Start the audio recording by pressing the red record button in the transport control.

During your recording, the accompanying arrangement will be played back. It is advisable to use headphones while recording so that the accompaniment will not be recorded as well.

Apply effects to selected objects

The mastering process

Once you have finished producing your song with the software instruments, you can start working on the final mix. You have the option of adding effects to change the sound of individual instruments as well as the overall sound.

Effects may be applied at three levels: To individual objects, to complete tracks and to the master mix.

  • In the lower area, where the keyboard is currently visible, switch to the "Object effects" view.

Here, the compressor, 10-band equalizer, reverb and echo can be found. Press the "+" button to access the filter, distortion and the "Vandal" plug-in, a tube amplifier designed primarily for guitars and basses, but which you can also use to distort your recordings.

Virtual mixer with track effects and mastering

Other effects can be found in the mixer.

  • Click the mixer button or simply press the M key to open the mixer.

Here, the volume and stereo pan for each track can be controlled. You can also use the FX button to apply track effects, for example a uniform reverb for the drum track.

On the right, you'll find the mastering section for controlling the overall sound. The FX button above the master slider is used to access master effects, which affect the overall sound after the object and track effects.

Export music in WAV or OGG format

Exporting your own song productions

Music Maker is not a musical computer game, but rather complete software for music production. This software allows you to produce a song and publish it outside of the Music Maker program. Share them with your friends and then invite them to collaborate on your next production.

When you have finished your first production, export it as a WAV file or in the compressed format OGG and share your audio file.

  • Choose "File" > "Export". Here, you will find all the formats available in Music Maker Free. Additional export options, such as burning directly to CD, can be found in the Store.

During export, all tracks in the arranger are mixed down together with all effects and mixer settings into one "proper" audio file. The final result will sound exactly the same as when played back in Music Maker.

Install additional software instruments and Soundpools from the Store

Additional tools and features for expanding your music production

Now, you have learned the most important functions in Music Maker Free. MAGIX provides a number of other software instruments, Soundpools, and program modules that can be accessed using the In-App Store.

  • Click on the "Store" tab in the Media Pool.
  • Click on an item for more information.
  • Click on "Purchase" and follow the provided instructions.

At the very least, it is a good idea to install the free software instruments and Soundpools available in the Store. This will offer you a wider range of possibilities while you produce music. The products may be sorted by price, which will allow the free offers to be displayed at the very top. You will not be charged for free items during the purchase process. All you have to do is register as a MAGIX customer.

Music Maker Free Edition

Simply create music with Music Maker. Learn more about the different versions of this multipurpose music software:

  • Music Maker Free: The free introduction – no previous experience required. Includes Soundpool "Feel Good", the instruments "Revolta 2" + "Concert Grand LE" + "Vita 2", recording + editing + MP3 export, and many more features
  • Music Maker Plus: Includes all features from the Free Edition, as well as 1 Soundpool + 1 Soundpool Collection of your choice, 2 MAGIX instruments of your choice, 1 Tiny instrument of your choice and the multicore audio engine
  • Music Maker Premium: Includes all features from the Free Edition, as well as 3 Soundpools + 1 Soundpool Collection of your choice, 3 MAGIX instruments of your choice, 2 Tiny instruments of your choice and the multicore audio engine

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