How to Make Electronic Music for Free


Though once considered an esoteric market within the music industry, electronic music has risen in popularity, with such sub-genres as trance, house, drum and bass, new wave and industrial. Even if you cannot afford a keyboard synthesizer, MIDI drum machine or high-end workstation, you still can create your very own electronic music at home by doing what many disc jockeys have done for years, that is mixing music samples to create original, unique compositions.

Things You'll Need

  • Digital audio software
  • Turn your computer into a digital audio workstation. Simply download a free or open-source digital audio program (see Resources for complete list) and install the software on your computer. Many options exist, but make sure to choose a multi-tracking program, specifically. Good examples include Jokosher, Traverso and Ardour.

  • Download some high-quality electronic music samples, commonly referred to as "loops." While most free audio programs will not include loop libraries, you still can get free, royalty-free loops from a variety of websites (see Resources). For electronic music, you will want to focus specifically on synthesizer loops and electronic samples. Search keywords like "Synth Pad," "Bright Synth," "Trance Lead," "Sub Bass," "Arpeggio," "Step Sequence," "Electronic Drum" and anything else that relates to electronic music. Download a variety of loops and save them to your hard drive.

  • Open your digital audio software and familiarize yourself with the interface. On your main browser, you will usually see a stacked series of "tracks," like lines on a sheet of writing paper. Each track represents a recording layer. When you place two recordings on top of another in different tracks, they play at the same time. Your horizontal ruler represents your musical time line.

  • Begin stacking your downloaded loops on different tracks to build a multi-layered music composition. For example, place a kick drum loop on track one and place a bass line directly beneath it on track two to create a simple drum and bass piece. Add additional loops, like synth leads and effects samples, to subsequent tracks and create even greater dimension. To add a loop to your mix, simply drag the loop file with your mouse and drop it onto the track where you want it to appear. Once it imports into the software, you can use your mouse to drag it along the time line and place it in the exact spot where you want it.

  • Apply electronic effects. On your main window, or sometimes under an "Options," "Tools" or "Effects" menu on your menu bar, you will see options for adding effects filters to each track. You can give your mix an even more characteristically electronic sound by adding effects like reverb, echo, side chain compression (or "ducking"), chorus or tremolo.

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