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Creating your own backing tracks – Creating drums Part 1: Audacity

When creating a backing track for your own composition getting the drums can be a difficult thing at times.

Where do you start?

There are a lot of software programs out there some stand alone and some vst.

Standalone means a program in its own right.

VST is a program that needs a host(another program)

Without getting too complicated let’s look at a couple of ideas.

1. A program that allows you to loop an audio file.

2. A program that allows you to arrange loops.

The first option could be to use a program like Audacity.

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use and multilingual audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:

  • Record live audio.
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
  • Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.

Let’s look at this option first as it’s the simplest.

Download Audacity from here Click

Install software.

Now download this file: [wpfilebase tag=file id=3 tpl=filebrowser /] – Right click and save as

Make sure you download above file to somewhere you can remember.

Start up Audacity.

Below the screen you’ll see.

Look for File on the menu bar at the top.

Click File then ‘Import’ – ‘Audio’

Locate your file on your hard drive – the loop you downloaded earlier and click it.

You’ll then get the screen below.

You can choose any of the two options I’ve just used the fastest option but it may be safer for you to use the second option just in case.

Once you’ve opened the loop you’ll see the screen below.

To loop the track you can use ‘Loop Play’

Find  ‘Transport’ drop and choose ‘Loop Play’ – the loop will now start to play.

Alternatively press ‘Shift and Space’ at the sametime.

This is a simple way of created a drum to play along with but it’s not ideal.

To get more creative we can add another loop.

Download [wpfilebase tag=file id=4 tpl=filebrowser /]

Right click and save as

Click File then ‘Import’ – ‘Audio’

Locate your new loop and it will load into a new track. As below.

You should now have two tracks the first track being the loop you loaded earlier, the second track the one you just loaded.

Click on the part where the red arrow is pointing.

The track will change colour, with the loop now highlighted.

Using the shortcut ‘CTRL C’ we can copy this loop. – If you’re not comfortable using shortcuts go to ‘Edit’ – ‘Copy’

Click on track one,

Now track one should be highlighted.

Find ‘k’ on your keyboard – and press it. This will take you to the end of your 1st loop.

‘CTRL P’ to paste and you should now have the new loop at the end of your 1st loop. – You can also go to ‘Edit’ and ‘Paste’.

Now click on track 2 – new loop.

Remove track.

Or press ‘Home’

Now press play – you should hear two different drum beats.

If not something went wrong.

If you do then congratulations you’ve created a simple drum beat.

You could loop play this or add more by following the instructions above.

If you need more loops then go here – More Loops

This is not a perfect solution and could be quite time-consuming but it’s a start.

My next few articles will show you how to use Reaper to create drums either using loops or midi and vst.

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