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Due Date: April 12

FL Studio (Part VII): The Piano Roll and Track Layering

Digital Music was not always composed and arranged on a computer. However, the dawn of new technologies has brought forth all sorts of accompanying technologies that nto only make it possible but make it prosperous. And, for that , we have to reflect on and personally thank MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface - also known as "General MIDI"). MIDI is what allows digital musicians the opportunity to score and perfect their compositions and allow that information to be recorded in such a fashion it can be played back in a variety of different devices and sound creation machinery.

Most music is not a simple combination of side-by-side beats and notes. Most music is a blending of notes and sounds that overlap, creating a layered effect of vocals, beats, string instruments, brass instruments, etc. Our Digital Audio Workstation can provide that as well, using the Playlist and multiple tracks. But, first, we need to learn how to layer sounds.

The Step Sequencer, is technically al layering of sounds. If you were to solo instruments, you would hear them in their individual state. If you enable them, you hear them combined. This is a layering of sound. But, FL Studio can layer layers of sounds.

Open your “My First Song” file

Add the Sytrus instrument into the step sequencer.

When you add a new instrument, it will add it to all patterns. There is no way to isolate an instrument to only a certain pattern. Though, that is exactly what we’re going to do. Only, it requires a different way of looking at things.

  1. Change the pattern to Pattern 5
  2. Change its name to “My Sytrus Pattern 1”
  3. Color it Light Blue.
  4. Click on the “Piano Roll” button at the top of FL Studio: This will bring up the Piano Roll window
  5. Lay out the notes like so: 

    Create three more Sytrus patterns (all custom) naming them “My Sytrus Pattern 2,” “My Sytrus Pattern 3,” and “My Sytrus Pattern 4”

  6. In the PlayList, arrange your Sytrus patterns to correspond with your original patterns, like so: 
  7. Play your song and test the layered sound effect.
  8. Save your file