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Everyone writes songs in their own way. Some start with a melody or a beat, some start with a lyric. Whatever your starting point, you need to get your ideas down quickly, and then polish them into demos worth presenting to partners, producers, and record labels. Pro Tools can help. It's one of the programs professional musicians and songwriters turn to for writing, recording, and mixing songs. In this short course, David Franz takes you from an initial seed-idea to a great sounding demo song, showing you how to find the best tempo, meter, and key; add in vocals, drums, and hooks; and put together a dynamic mix using effects like EQ, compression, and reverb and delay. These 10 simple steps can guide anyone with an idea and a little musical ability through the process of capturing a song idea before the inspiration fades.
Look for more courses in our Songwriting series in 2014! We'll cover Logic, GarageBand, and other popular DAWs.
Once you're done with the rough mix it's time to bounce your song idea and share it. Here's how I like to do that. First, I'm going to go and create a fade out at the very end of the song on the master fader track. Let's listen to the ending here. So, I just used the Grabber tool and on the volume line, just dragged it down to negative infinity. Let's see what this sounds like. Well, it cuts off really fast there, so let's make that a lot smoother.
Go into Slip mode, Grabber, slide that down like this. Let's hear it now. Wow, that's a little drastic. Let's hear this now. That's not bad, good enough for rock and roll. So, I'm going to set my endpoint here, after it's totally faded out, and I'm going to create a marker, call this end. Now I'll zoom back out and see the whole track, and here's what I like to do to set the bounce range. I'm going to click on the Intro Marker, press Shift, and click on the end marker, and now I've highlighted the entire length of the song, and this is the amount of time that I want to bounce.
So I'll go to File > Bounce to Disk, and let's look at the parameters that we've got here. We've got the bounce source, this is our main output, we want to definitely keep that. We'll create a WAV file. I like that idea and we'll create an MP3 at the same time, so we've got sort of a higher quality one and an MP3 that we can shoot to anybody. We'll keep it as an interleaved file, and we'll choose 16. We'll keep 16, but let's choose 44.1 kilohertz, so if we want to put this wave onto a CD, we can burn it.
48k, you can't burn onto a CD. Now, we could also add this to the iTunes library right away. Or, we can share onto SoundCloud and Gobbler. I'm not going to do that just yet because this is, you know, just a brand new song idea. And I'm not sure I really want to share it with the public that much. So, now we can use the name of the file and we'll call this new song bounce. And I'm going to check this little box here. This is the offline bouncing. That means that this is going to bounce in non real time.
Now, if this were a situation where I wanted to listen critically to the mix as it bounces down, I would not choose this non-real time bouncing, or offline bouncing. However, since we know this is a rough mix, let's save some time and bounce it down in non-real time. This is for my MP3, I don't need it to be that high of a quality I'll bring it down to 192. Normally I would like to keep it high but this will make a smaller file if I want to email it to somebody and I'll name it, choose the artist, I don't have any of these other information, click OK, and now you see Pro Tools bouncing it quickly, 17.2x times, very quickly.
So, that's it. Once it's done, you've got your final rough mix, and you're ready to share it.
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