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I have some themes, and I'd like to expand them and make some songs out of them. However, I can't afford studios and players and I'm just an ordinary guitar player. I'd like to create music totally inside computer. Is it possible? What do I need?

I want to be able to create rhythms, and then create melodies, and then choose instruments (with close-to-real sound qualities), and then mix'em together, and stuff like that. But all done inside a computer.

How can I achieve this?

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3 Answers 3

So you'll need samples or midi instruments, and a package to stitch these together.

I use Cubase or Sonar, but there are a range of free midi sequencers, synths and samplers you could use.

Get yourself a decent soundcard, and if you want good quality output, get one with external hardware (I would recommend something like the M-Audio range as being cheap but good quality)

An up to date CPU and at least 8 Gb of RAM will help immensely as well, and if you are storing large quantities of music, a large hard disk is essential.

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I didn't mean what hardware do I need. Rather, I was talking about software and the workflow and tips and tricks and stuff like that. –  Saeed Neamati Oct 23 '11 at 4:55
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@Saeed - okay, just the first two sentences then. –  Rory Alsop Oct 23 '11 at 19:26
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This is a broad question, and there's no one right answer. Different people have different preferences, and the various software packages available try to differentiate themselves by working in different ways.

If you have a Mac, GarageBand probably came with it. For many people it's good enough, and it's a solid introduction to the style of working used in Apple's more advanced Logic Pro.

There is much argument about what the PC equivalent of GarageBand is, Reaper being one candidate.

Cubase is the most famous of the traditional "piano roll" music production packages.

Ableton Live! has a somewhat different workflow, that some people prefer.

I want to give special mention to the "tracker" class of music software. This style of sample-sequencing software was popular on Amigas and other 16 bit platforms. OpenMPT one PC tracker app that's still being maintained.

Few of these applications are free (OpenMPT is) but most of them have crippled or time-limited demos, to see if they're worth your money.

The only answer is to try a few, and see what works for you.

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If you want to create music from inside your computer, all you need is a sequencing software. You can record into these software packages, or create tracks from plugins already available in the software. Post-processing may then be done on these tracks after which they are mixed and the final output is mastered to publish an audio file (like a .wav or a .mp3).

What sequencing software you should choose is a greatly subjective question. It depends on your OS and how much you're willing to spend. Do you want a bare minimum sequencing software or a full production suite?

If it's the former, you can go with Audacity, which is cross-platform and open source. If it's the latter, Pro Tools on Mac is quite the standard for professional studio mixing and mastering (although it has a PC version too). FL Studio for Windows is good and comes with lots of plugins.

However, if you want to record your instrument to an audio track, you will also need some other equipment. A mic, if your guitar does not have a pickup, and an external sound card if you want a high quality recording.

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