Using the free Aviary Music Creator, even the most unmusical can write a tune. We show you how mix drums, guitars and piano to create your own number one.
Launch a web browser and go to registration page on Aviary’s website. When the site loads, click the Sign Up button.
Note that it isn’t necessary to register in order to play with the Music Creator but if you want to save or share your tunes then it is required.
If you want to see what’s on offer before diving in, go to Aviary’s home page, scroll down the page and click the Launch button alongside Music Creator and then skip to the second sentence of Step 2.
Otherwise, if you have an account with Twitter or Facebook, Google, Yahoo or Soundcloud, these credentials can be use to create a free Aviary account; otherwise just fill in the short form.
If using an existing account with one of these other services, click the Allow button at the next screen, then follow the instructions to complete the registration.
You’ll be automatically logged in and your Aviary account screen will be displayed
just pick Music Creator from the list of programs on the right and wait for it to load.
Open the dropdown menu and choose a set of drums – we’ve picked Acoustic Drums – and then click the Open button to finish loading Music Creator, together with a selection of sampled musical instruments.
When Music Creator first opens it may display a selection of tooltips that describe the different parts of the main song-creation screen.
We’ll be walking through these, so feel free to click the Close button to remove them.
See the list of drum sounds on the left?
Audition any of these by clicking the small Play button next to each one, or jump straight in by clicking the Randomize All Beats button.
This will populate the screen with a random selection of beats and notes.
Click the big Play button at the top left to hear what it sounds like.
Let’s create something from scratch. Click the Clear All Beats button to remove all the notes.
Next, find the kick drum sound on the left and click to place a dot at the beginning of every bar to the right of this – bars are indicated by the vertical lines down the screen – and then click Play.
Use the mouse pointer to add dots to other drum parts in the same way (remove notes by just clicking them again).
Place a run of dots by the CLHat sound (that’s closed hi-hat, a kind of small cymbal).
Real drummers don’t hit each drum with exactly the same velocity, so why should we?
Click the Velocity Mode button on the button bar to switch views and now you’ll see each beat is now represented by a little bar, rather like a bar chart.
These bars represent the relative volume of each beat – the higher the bar, the louder the beat – so click and drag on them to make beats louder or software.
A good trick with hi-hat cymbals, for example, is to alternate loud and soft – it makes it sound more realistic.
Despite what some people might say, we don’t think it’s possible to create a piece of music entirely out of drum beats (or at least not one that anyone would want to listen to) but fortunately, Music Creator has a good selection of sampled instruments to choose from.
Click the Change Sounds button on the toolbar at the top.
After a moment, the sound pool will slide into view from the right of the screen. Each of these folders contains a selection of high-quality sounds that can be added to your song.
Double-click the Acoustic Guitar Chords folder.
Many of the sampled sounds included with Music Creator play specific chords or notes to make it easier to arrange them into a song.
Audition individual sounds in the pool by clicking the little Play button next to each one.
After that, try adding the G2 guitar sound by clicking on it with the mouse pointer and then dragging it out into the arrangement.
As you do, Music Creator displays a green outline so you can see which track you’re about to replace.
Here we’ve replaced the drum sound in track one with the new guitar part.
Here we’ve replaced tracks one to four with various acoustic guitar parts, playing a chord sequence G, Am, C and D – by opening other instrument folders and choosing the same notes/chords, we’ll be able to construct something that sounds tuneful without really knowing what we’re doing.
To fine tune the song, use the circular control next to each track to alter the volume and set the pan (stereo) control by clicking and dragging with the mouse pointer.
Having finished the song, click the Save As button at the top right of the screen.
After a moment the Save to Aviary dialogue box slides out from the top of the screen: type in a name for the song, add a description and then enter some tags to describe the music, for example, blues, house, dance, rock, folk, psychedelia and so on.
If you didn’t register for an account in Step 1, you can do so now by clicking the Login/Register button and following the prompts. Then click the Save as a new creation button to store your song on the Aviary website.
Once the file has been saved revisit the main Aviary page, make sure you’re still signed in and then click on the Activity tab at the top.
Ignore the Recently Updated Creations and click on the name of the tune created in the Activity panel underneath.
The next screen shows various options down the right-hand side, including the ability to save a copy of the song to as an MP3 or WAV file. Here we’ve chosen MP3 – moments later it’s downloaded and playing back in Windows Media Player.