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Due Date: April 12

FL Studio (Part I): Step Sequencer Basics

It is time to explore yet another form of communication: music!

Since mankind's earliest days, people have used sound to communicate ideas and express themselves. However, the methods of doing so have changed dramatically over the centuries. Today, much of what we hear is crafted and arranged through digital means: computers, digital audio workstations, midi composition, and control surfaces.

This assignment requires the completion of the following items.

  • Create a new folder in your Multimedia folder and title it "Digital Audio Workstation" (This is where you will store your FL Studio files)

Open "FL Studio" from Windows Task Bar  - DO NOT USE THE 64 BIT VERSION(Start)

FL Studio is broken up into several different parts. The first area of concentration that will be your focus is the “Channel Window" and it's "Step Sequencer.”

The Channel Window is composed of different instruments or “Channel Instruments” as FL Studio will call them.

The Channel Window is also composed of different things like knobs and buttons.

The rotary style knobs control channel “panning” (whether sound comes from the left or the right) and channel volume (the level of sound). When you change the settings, the percentage or amount will be displayed in the upper left hand corner of FL Studio.

  1. Rotate the Clap instrument’s pan knob so that it’s pan is set to 35% left
  2. Rotate the Clap instrument volume knob so that its volume is 66%
  3. Rotate the Hat instrument’s pan knob so that its pan is set to 35% right
  4. Rotate the Hat instrument’s volume knob so that it is set to 71%

The Buttons labeled “Kick,” “Clap,” “Hat,” and “Snare” are clickable and changeable. When FL first opens, it loads this default setup of a really basic drum arrangement. These instruments can be changed out to other drums, different instruments, or patterns called “automation.”

The little “block” style buttons are actually just called “steps.” But, they are usually the heart and soul of most musical arrangements in FL Studio, as they provide the heartbeat of your track,.

These step buttons are the step sequencer beat/note buttons.

*notice that the step sequencer is broken up into four sections (dark gray/red-gray buttons). Modern day club/dance/pop/hip-hop music is typically 4/4 timing (16 notes/blocks/beats), so these colored block areas act as a sort of 1/2/3/4 timing mechanism.

  1. Click on the 1st, 5th, 9th, and 13th buttons on the kick instrument
  2. Click on the 3rd, 7th, 11th, and 15th buttons on the Clap instrument
  3. Click on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 9th, and 13th buttons on the Hat instrument

The timing mechanism of the track can be changed by modifying the “Beats Per Bar” box on the step sequencer.

*Notice that the name of this step sequence arrangement is called “Pattern 1.” The reason it is called “Pattern 1” is because a lot of FL Studio’s music is considered “pattern based music,” meaning that you create patterns that are re-usable and recyclable again and again. For organization purposes, patterns can be labeled whatever you like by clicking on the name and selecting “Rename/Color.” You can also clone the pattern (copy) or delete the pattern in this fashion.

  1. Right click on the instrument channel labeled “Kick” and choose Rename/Color
  2. Change the name to My First Pattern and change the color to a more gold/yellow color
  3. Hit the “Enter” key when finished
  4. Click on the “Play” button at the top of the screen (Or, you can click on the little triangle that is located left of the My First Pattern title on the step sequencer – this will also play the pattern.


Congratulations! Your first pattern has been created.

Save your file in your “Digital Audio Workstation” folder as “My First Pattern”