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How To Create A 6/8 Beat Using Audacity

Audacity is a musical composition program downloadable for free. There are limitations with this program, but they allow producers to “think outside the box.” One way we can “think about the box” is by composing a basic 6/8 drumbeat with Audacity.

Here’s a sample of the track we’ll be producing today:

Here is how to do it.

1. ADDING A CLICK TRACK

Audacity doesn’t come with an attached grid. We’ll create one.

Go to Generate > Rhythm track.

This adds a metronome to your entire track, in order to keep you on beat for additional add-ons.

In the below window, change Tempo to 180 beats per minute and change Beats per measure to 6.

Your click track will look like this.

Now go to Analyze > Beat Finder.

Once you’ve selected “Beat Finder,” you will see a “threshold” window. Don’t change it. This just tells you how sensitive it is.

The threshold window will give you markers reading “B.”

The clicks and the B’s are slightly “off,” meaning they don’t connect precisely. Let’s snap them together. First, zoom in by clicking the magnifying glass icon with a plus sign “+”.

Before you do anything else, make sure “snap to” on the bottom of your screen is selected, reading “Nearest.”

Select the Time Shift Tool, then click “rewind.” (Time Shift first, then rewind.)

Move your clicking sounds slightly right so they snap on a gold yellow line. This line will appear vertically from the B’s and lock the clicks and B’s together.

2. IMPORTING DRUM SOUNDS

2a. KICK

Go to File > Import > Audio. (Or type Ctrl+Shift+I.)

Import a kick. Any one. (Here’s one I chose.)

In that folder, I found this, but you might need to source drum or soundkits to personalize your project.  Check out the latest soundkits from our featured producer AraabMuzik if you’re interested.

(Once you’ve selected your kick, you’ll get an “FFmpeg not found” window. It doesn’t mean much. Just click OK.)

A kick should appear below the B’s.

Snap the kick in place by selecting Time Shift Tool then “rewind.” (Just like you did for the clicks.)

Loop this kick seven times at every two second mark (plus approximately 17 milliseconds to keep on beat with the metronome). Click the selection tool (shaped like an uppercase I) and highlight the kick from its beginning to the sixth clicking sound, as shown below.

To really make sure you’re selection is accurately two seconds apart, go down to the bottom of your screen and type your start and end markers exactly two seconds from each other.

Now go to Effect > Repeat.

Type “7” in the empty box to repeat your kick 8 times.

 

2b. HI-HAT

Go to File > Import > Audio. Import a closed hi-hat. Any one.

Once the hi-hat is in your project, snap it to the beginning clicking sound, like you did with the kick.

Use the select tool to highlight a selection between the beginning of your hi-hat and the next clicking sound. This should be one-third of a second apart.

To be accurate with the length of your selection, type this in “start and end of selection.”

Go to Effect > Repeat. Repeat it 5 times.

I asked you to repeat it only five times, because if you repeated that selection more, the hi-hats would drag off beat as your track plays.

To repeat these six hi-hats so they fit on beat, select the below range in your hi-hat track…

…go to Effect > Repeat. Then repeat that section 7 times.

2c. SNARE

In File > Import > Audio, pick any snare.

Snap the snare to the FOURTH clicking sound.

When selecting the loop containing the snare that you wish to repeat, make sure it’s two seconds apart, like the kick.

Select Effects > Repeat to repeat the snare 7 times.

 

  1. EXPORTING

Before you export this project, delete the track with the clicking and the track with the B’s. Click the X on each track to the left of “Audio Track.”

Now go to File > Export.

Use WAV this time. (MP3 exporting requires a plug-in I’m not sure comes with what you use.) Just save any random WAV file name to what’s below.

Add metadata (optional).

And you’re set!  Feel free to download and use the track we provided at the beginning of our article and sound off in the comments if you wanted other popular drum beats broken down.  If you’re looking for the hottest hip hop beats online look no further then License Lounge.

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