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I made some beats in the last 2 years. I did not really make much and so did not learn very much. I use FL Studio only a few times because I always gave up very quickly. I would like to know, how do you start a track, How can I find good melodies, and what's important in a track? I don't have a keyboard or something, but much ideas. I still do not get to a point where I could start "translating it". Thanks for any motivation!!

closed as too broad by Tetsujin, Richard, ttw, Tim, Stinkfoot Mar 18 '18 at 0:49

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    There are as many methods as there are composers. Play stuff till something sounds good. Pursue it til it either works or doesn't. Move on to the next one. Rinse. Repeat. – Tetsujin Mar 13 '18 at 18:22
  • Thank you for the fast answer. I already tried, really. But I give up too fast. It's like if I would be an architect but start building a house without a plan. I don't know how to plan a song, how to start etc. It just sounds terrible when I do it. – dkb Mar 13 '18 at 18:23
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    Don't give up quickly. Don't give up at all. Keep at it. Everyone you ever loved sounded terrible at first. The only difference is they kept working at it until they didn't sound terrible any more. – Todd Wilcox Mar 13 '18 at 18:27
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    I always try to understand what problem I have, to be honest. I am not sure how to explain exactly but let me try. My beats sound all a bit "nooby" but are still unique, even they sound not good. I start a project with an idea but in the end it's something completely different that I don't really like anymore. I start something new. Sometimes I start new after only some minutes. I feel like having the Canvas and so much ideas but missing the brush and colors, which is for sure more important. Thank you for all answers and what you wrote. They were helpful and I am happy about more! – dkb Mar 13 '18 at 20:18
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Most of the suggestions in the comments are good ones. However, let me add a few suggestions of my own here that might help steer you in the right track:

Do some research on your desired sound

All of the artists, producers, and so on, that produce the sound you want to make -- How do they do it? Ask this question and do the research around the subject, and try to learn what makes that sound "unique" or "representative" of the style you're trying to emulate. Is it a specific set of hardware or software? Specific mixing techniques (like sidechaining, for example), or maybe just the samples they use? Or a combination of all of these?

Once you can create a map of how each of your favorite producers make their sound, you can start attempting to replicate it. Start with a feature you like, for example, how to build up to a drop, or, how to really punch a bass.

Learn some "current" mixing and mastering trends

Note that I say "current" because some of the trends are not necessarily "new" but they are in now, though they may have existed for a long time. There are countless YouTube videos that show you what attractive-sounding masters have, and how to properly limit and compress your tracks to reduce the crunch and the messy sounds. Do not underestimate mixer work -- It's what takes your work from kind of there to all the way there. But, by learning how to make different kinds of sounds, you might pick up a few tweaks here and there to make it your own sound; something that sounds like the stuff you like but that is also only unique to you, like a style.

Take it back a few notches, and start with direct sampling

I must stress that this should be for practice's sake more than for commercial release, but, begin by sampling a track you like, and attempt remixing it in the same style. Learn what you can add and can't add, what adds and subtracts from the style. What moves it into the kind of track you like, and what puts it into that weird "funky" state that doesn't do what you want it to. This is crucial to fully understanding the sound and being able to understand how it works, so that you can work on layering when you get to making your own tracks.

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You might try a collaborative website such as bandlab. It is an online daw that you can share with others and work on songs together. It also has a chat function so you could ask alot of questions of folks who do the type of music you are interested in. For me to get over the hump from fun noodling to finishing a song I had to establish a process, a series of steps I follow to create a finished project. In order to establish a workflow process I had to explore and find out what methods suit me best.

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Learning to produce music is a skill that takes most people many hours a week, for many years. There are a lot of skills to learn:

  • how to create melodies and harmonies
  • how to choose or synthesize sounds
  • what combinations of sounds work together
  • how to develop a track (make it change over time)
  • how to mix tracks
  • how to create particular rhythmic feels (which can be extremely complicated, and require the right sounds, in the right mix, at precisely the right timing - which may not be exactly 'on the beat').
  • having a good knowledge of what tools work best for your way of working

And, of course, the specific skills of how to do each of the above for the particular style you're working in at the time.

If you're passionate about making music, but you are finding that diving in at the deep end isn't working for you, one approach is to be a bit less ambitious - rather than trying to make a track that sounds professional straight away, focus on some of the above skills individually. For example:

  • Do get a cheap keyboard and perhaps do a few online keyboard lessons; You can also do activities like trying to work out the melodies and harmonies in the songs you're listening to. If you get a MIDI keyboard you can use it with your DAW in future.

  • Do a little bit of reading about different ways to produce sounds - perhaps have a read through the famous synth secrets series, or you might find something simpler online.

  • try to find out what equipment and sounds people working in your genres are using. This might be difficult when it comes to the pro tracks, but there are lots of online forums where hobbyists swap tips about what gear is good for a particular purpose.

Really, those are just suggestions to add to psosuna's excellent answer - particularly the part doing some research on your desired sound. I'd recommend spending a while just trying to replicate some of your favourite tracks, sometimes focusing on getting the rhythms and sounds as close as possible to the original. I find that's the thing that really taught me how to approach working in particular styles.

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