This article is about a quick and effective technique for capturing inspiration in a practical way that quickly translates into an actual song. This is one way to start a track with a vision you will want to finish.
First, set the tempo, and record yourself singing your idea into the closest microphone you can find. It doesn’t have to be high-quality or anything spectacular, as we won’t be using the audio in the final song. The goal is just to capture an idea that can be worked with.
Next, adjust the file so that it is synced with the track, slice the audio file and arrange it if you’d like. If your idea is too complex to capture in one take, feel free to overdub a second part. Playlist markers can aid in showing different parts of the song.
Leaving the audio untouched, create a drum pattern that supports your sung idea. An advantage to starting songs this way is that you might end up making better drum patterns that are designed to support something else, rather than drums that sound good solo but not necessarily with additional instruments.
Now it’s time to start replacing that idea file. Mute it, and depending your preferences, add a bass or lead instrument first. Because I’m going for Dubstep, bass is more prominent, so I started by adding a couple bass patterns that imitate my sung idea.
Right now you may be wondering how strict you should adhere to your sung idea file. It’s okay to take the approach of following your sketch exactly, perhaps using a pitch analysis program to be sure you follow it note-for-note, but it’s often easier to use it as a general guideline, or abandon it entirely at this point. Being able to change direction to something that sounds better gives you the freedom to focus on what really matters, which is the end result.
Lastly, consider adding a couple more instruments to your track. Add a lead or a bass depending on what the track needs, and consider adding some cymbals or sound effects to create anticipation. In my example, I added some zaps and a flute instrument.
I’ve found that this is a great technique for starting songs, and I hope you will try it and see if it’s useful for you. If you are curious to hear how the track further developed, please listen at this link.