It feels a little like I’m postponing the proper songwriting, but today I wanted to experiment with a different way of music making. I usually find rhythms more exciting (and easier to create) than melodies, so I decided to make this my starting point. However, rather than using an instrument, I instead used LMMS – a piece of free beat-making software. It’s more commonly used to create dance music (hence the title of today’s blog), but I wanted to use it to create some simple rhythm tracks which could serve as the foundations of the songs I’m writing. It’s very easy to use; with a few hours tinkering I was able to create five tracks which I’ve strung together into one in the link below.
My points of reference were the Central African and Sufi music which I was reading about yesterday. I’m a novice user of LMMS, so there were limitations with what I could do. For example, it doesn’t seem possible to ‘swing’ tracks, and the drum kit samples on offer don’t match the traditional instrumentation of the styles I was trying to copy. In fact, most of them don’t sound remotely similar, especially the latter examples. However, I think they sound fun, and it’ll be interesting to see how the influence proceedings when I start trying to compose music to them. I can already imagine how the interplay between the bass drum and the other beats might dictate the pattern of the thumb and fingers when it comes to picking patterns on the guitar.
Trying to work out the rhythm behind Sheikh ‘El Tony’ from yesterday’s blog also led me to the website Khafif; a very illuminating and in-depth discussion of all kinds of different Arabic rhythms – which perhaps could be adopted for future songs.
I’ve a very busy weekend of work ahead, so in all likelihood they’ll be no more work on these songs until Monday. Until then!