Beat Breakdown: Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble”: Part 2 – The Melody
In a series of beat breakdowns and tutorials, I will teach you—with this article—to produce the melody of Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.” on FL Studio 12.
Before you begin composing this melody, make sure you followed my tutorial to the drumbeat of “HUMBLE.” and use this article to continue that composition.
1. PIANO ONE
To compose the lower part of the one-bar piano loop in “HUMBLE,” go to “Add” on top of your FL Studio screen, left-click it, and select “FL Keys” in the drop-down menu. “FL Keys” should appear in the Channel Rack.
Left-click the “FL Keys” rectangle in the Channel Rack to open up its sound options window.
Where it says “Grand Piano (3MB),” change it to “Piano (FL).”
Go to the Piano Roll of “FL Keys” and compose this.
2. PIANO TWO
To make a clone of “FL Keys,” right-click its rectangle in the Channel Rack. A drop-down menu should appear. When you see it, left-click “clone.”
In this clone of “FL Keys,” compose this in the Piano Roll.
(This is the same melody as the first “FL Keys,” only an octave higher.)
In parts of “HUMBLE,” you’ll hear an upward pitching synth sound. Let’s compose that.
Go to “Add” in your FL Studio window. When the menu drops down, click “3xOsc” to add it to the Channel Rack. When it’s on the Channel Rack, left-click its rectangle to open sound options. Make these adjustments to what you see circled.
For the Piano Roll, simply insert this. (Keep track of pitch and bar-length.)
I know it’s only one note, but we’ll change the volume and pitch of this note by using a few new techniques.
Before we use them, let’s add each sound to the Mixing Board and Playlist.
4. MIXING EACH SOUND
Add each sound to the Mixing Board. Remember how? (Left-click each Channel Rack “rectangle,” and adjust the “Track” number so it becomes linked to that track in the Mixing Board.)
Once you’ve done that, adjust the Mixing Board volumes to approximately what you see here.
5. THE PLAYLIST
Insert each track to the playlist, as shown here.
(Track 2 contains the drums. Track 3 has the lower piano. Track 4 has the higher piano. Track 5 has 3xOsc AKA “the synthy sound.”)
6. CHANGING PITCH FOR 3xOsc
In “HUMBLE,” the synthy sound has an upward pitch and off and on silence.
We will use the “3xOsc” in Track 5, or wherever you put it, to recreate that synthy sound.
To change the pitch of 3xOsc, do this… Go to its sound options, by left-clicking its rectangle in the Channel Rack. Once you’re there, right-click its “PITCH” knob and select “Create automation clip” in its drop-down menu.
This automation clip will appear in the Playlist above the Pattern containing your 3xOsc sound.
For this automation clip, you can left-click to adjust volume anywhere you see a tiny “ball”… and right-click to add tiny “balls.” Keep left-clicking and right-clicking until you get an automation clip that appears like this.
7. CHANGING VOLUME FOR 3xOsc
To adjust the volume of 3xOsc, do this… Once again, left-click the rectangle for “3xOsc” in the Channel Rack. Once you’re there, find the “Vol” knob (meaning “volume”) and right-click it, until the drop-down menu appears, so you can select “Create automation clip.”
The automation clip should appear below your 3xOsc pattern, as your pitch automation clip is above it.
To adjust the volume, right-click to add points and left-click to change their levels.
Make this for the volume of your first half-bar.
Copy it and paste it to the next four half-bars.
For the volume adjustment of that last half-bar, right-click its upper left corner until a drop-down menu appears. Select “Make unique.” Erase all its volume adjustments by right-clicking each one and selecting “Delete.” Make a new volume adjustment by creating what you see circled below.
This is so the synthy sound fades out at the end.
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