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Last updated on December 16th, 2020
We have been noticing that there are a number of beatmakers and producers out there, who think if you use samples and loops made by other music producers in your creations, is to some degree cheating or wrong. We are here to reveal to you that there are no standards to this game. Motivation comes in a wide range of forms. In this post, we’d like to address exactly what the potential outcomes are upon using loops and hip hop samples in your music productions and what you can do with them to join them with your own unique compositions.
How to start your Beats?
In our opinion it is simpler to get inspiration based off a reference, than to get creative out of nowhere. Let’s get straight to the point, even popular producers and artists at a professional level use these procedures. It’s obvious that utilizing others ideas and input as starting point can take your music productions to the next level. Furthermore, it can encourage you to begin from a perspective you never would’ve thought to begin with.
If you are someone who is beginning his productions with drums first, load up a chord progression or melody loop and build your drums around that. Then, you can discard the progression or melody after you’ve finished your drum track and come up with something different. However, in case you’re a producer who begins with harmonies and melodies first, utilize drum loops and build on these. When you’re done, remove the drums and build your very own drums fitting your created loops and chords.
Create your own Drum Kits
You can use Drum and percussion loops to quickly create your own drum kits including kicks, snares, claps, percussions and more. Utilize your preferred sampler, regardless if it’s Native instruments Maschine, Akai MPC Live, MPC Renaissance, Novation MiniNova, KORG microSAMPLER or just chopping in a DAW like FL Studio, Logic or Pro Tools. Separate each drum sound and make your very own one shot samples.
Since these drums already matched together in the loops, you know that the one shot drum sounds will also perfectly work together in any drum line that you will create in future. Granted that, simply load them into any Sampler or DAW and go ham with your freshly created drum samples. This certainly isn’t a brand new idea, yet we wanted you to remind you of this great concept as it has been done this way since the beginning of the sampling era.
Create your own MIDI Loops
Today there are several ways and tools out there to convert audio loops into MIDI files. Tools like Melodyne and even DAWs like FL Studio and Ableton have features which allow you to easily convert audio into MIDI. In case, you’re a FL Studio user you should check out this article on how to do it with Edison. This way you can basically turn any chord progression or melody loop, coming as wav file, into MIDI. Afterwards simply rearrange the chords and notes to something you like and what fits your own style and tracks.
This can be an important help and source of inspiration, particularly if you have just started out or are not that familiar with music theory yet. However, although there are many other DAWs out there with similar features and that can do many different things, this still is a difficult subject and Melodyne and Ableton can do it best.
Learn from Chords and Progressions
If you are not the best at music theory and may have problems with creating your own chord progressions, melody loops and chord progressions from other producers can be very useful too. Analyze them, learn how chords and melodies work together and try to figure out the function of each chord which will help you unlocking the mysteries of diatonic harmony in relation to the diatonic key.
Given that, basically transpose the progressions and chords to other keys and move them around to give them a new context. Furthermore, you can even change inversions to set different tones. Altogether, this will change the vibes and mood of your chords to fit your own tracks using already existing progressions as inspiration.
Create Instruments out of Loops and Samples
One approach to use loops and samples that is very popular right now is to load them into a sampler and spread them across the keys to play as an instrument. Perfect examples for this technique are tunes like DJ Khaled’s “I’m The One” ft. Justin Bieber and Major Lazer x DJ Snake’s “Lean On Me”. Both tracks have been number one hits with billions of views on YouTube. They took one shot vocal samples and played them as synth for a hook line or background melody. Today, this has become a widely used technique in many modern Pop, Hip Hop or Trap songs.
For us each DAW should have the feature to map samples onto a keyboard so you can use it as an instrument. If you haven’t tested this technique yet you should definitely give it a try. Use various parts of a sample pack or loop kit, chop them up, spread them across your keyboard and create your own instruments and personal sound.
Use Filters and Effects or chop your Loops and rebuild them
Another great way to customize any audio loop or sample is an effect chain. Simply use different effect and filter plugins and mangle or distort them to death, to give them a completely different feel. There are many great plugins out there, both native as well as third party, that can give you amazing results and the loops sound nothing than before. You can also reverse the sample or only parts of it, chop it and put it in a sampler to rearrange it… your options are almost endless.
Our most favourite plugins to apply these kind of effects and achieve great results are Gross Beat within FL Studio, ShaperBox and HalfTime from the Cableguys, Effectrix by Sugarbytes, Stutter Edit from Izotope, CamelCrusher (free plugin) and Native Instruments’ The Finger. This is just a small selection of plugins you can experiment with to achieve your desired effects and results. Simply tweak the respective parameters and check out what you are able to come up with. Our most favorite thing is to chop parts of the loops and samples and reverse them, but everyone has different preferences, so just give it a try.
Use Loops and Samples as Reference Tracks
This one is just as easy as effective. Much like you would utilize reference tracks for mixing your own work, you can do the same with audio loops and samples. Use this to create your own melodies and tracks if you are not sure which type of instruments sound great together or how to blend different instruments together melodically. Simply check out high quality Loop and Hip Hop Sample Packs and listen carefully.
Examine how instrument timbres complement each other, how chords work together and the inversions and melodies each instruments are playing. This can teach you a lot about musical compositions and be a huge help to improve your own productions and musicianship.
In conclusion, you can use loops and samples for various purposes and your options are almost endless creating your compositions and music productions. Take your chances and try to make the most out of what you have, there is no right or wrong.
Hopefully, this information will help you guys clearing up some of the common myths out there in the producer community and show you a few ways on how to use samples and loops in your daily work.