A couple questions from a new tracker

Started by Sylphiel, June 22, 2006, 01:40:18

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I used to make midis when I was about 15 then stopped doing it for quite some time. I'm 21 now, and I'd like to get writing music as a hobby again. I downloaded ModPlug, and after a few hours of playing around with it I think I've finally figured out the very basics, but I still have a few questions.

I downloaded a few samples of drum loops that are a few seconds in length (maybe 4-5). How do I put one into my song looped so that it just keeps repeating over again? It seems that when I put them in by hand into the note box as a sample, it doesn't sound right, it's too fast no matter how I slow down the tempo. So I was wondering what the proper way to do this is. I've gotten the very short drum samples to sound fine, but longer samples give me problems and I don't understand how to do this.

Secondly, how do I sing or play my instrument (I play flute) over a song? Is this even possible in this program, or will I need another program for this?

Thirdly, how do I make the effect of a note being held for more than one beat?

Thanks for your time :)

-Kait, a ModPlug newb


If you're using samples such as drumloops, you need to synchronise the beat of the file with the tempo of the sample that you've put into it, and place the sample on the channel grid on every beat.

Any sample can be used as an instrument in Modplug (and, indeed, any other tracker), so you just have to record your voice/instrument using an external program, then load the resultant sample into the tracker.

A note is usually held for as long as the sample plays - to elongate the sample, set the loop boundaries (Loop On, Loop Start, Loop End) in the Sample tab. This will produce a sample that plays continuously once it's started - to release the note, use a Note Off (==) or Note Cut (^^) note.


Since you're new to MODPlug, I recoomend reading the manual, which you can find on the index of this forum as a link in the menu. (look for wiki)
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs


I'm also a former sequencer (MIDI-based composition), and i'm only using ModPlug Tracker until i get one of those new-fangled fancy-schmancy keyboards that has every sound you could possibly want or at least be able to create.

"Tracking," as it's called, has the advantage of being able to easily exchange, or at least upload, self-contained music, mostly because it contains the samples you need already in the file. But the disadvantage is, that many times you have to fix the sample so you can use it (unlike sequencing, whose main thrust is not in adjusting sample data). Drum loops are an example you've recently found.

There are three ways to get your drum loop to play continuously at the right rate.

1. Adjust the song tempo (either under the General tab, or by using the T effect) so that the loop finishes just as the measure ends. It usually requires trial-and-error to tweak it perfectly. The disadvantage with this method is that you cannot manipulate the loop sample except to cut it off midpoint.
2. Get the closest tempo that plays thru a measure at the same length of time as your loop, but play the loop at a different note, rather than the usual middle C (C5), maybe B4 or C#5. The disadvantage of this is that it not only changes the tempo of your loop, but it also affects the timbre of your percussion sounds within your loop -- both of which may be unacceptable to you.
3. Use a sample or wave editor to "chop up" the samples from the loop, so that you have a kick, snare, and the other percussive sounds each in its own sample, then just play each sample at its proper time in the measure of a tempo of your choosing. The disadvantage of this is that it can be time-consuming, especially if you don't know how to edit waveforms or samples. Also, it doesn't work too well if you have a continuous sound within the loop (such as a pad or sustained synth chord). But if you can use this method, an even bigger advantage is that you can reuse the percussion samples in another composition in a different rhythm.

If you're like me, when you find (or create) a great drum loop, you generally don't want to change anything about it, except maybe to add riffs. But see which way suits you best for your composition, and go with that. And as i'm sure everyone in this forum will tell you, EXPERIMENT! :P


The newer versions of OpenMPT have some crude time-stretching functions in the sample editor.


I suggested a while ago an option which would allow you to lock a loops pitch/length to a specified number of rows, but it's still on the "todo".  This would allow loops to be easily synchronized to the songs tempo.  Other trackers have this feature.


Thanks everyone for the replies :D

I've since figured out how to get my drum loop to match my song, and am starting to learn effects. I put some samples of my voice in too. I love ModPlug so far, it's a great program!


There are also some VST samplers which will synchronize the pitch of a loop with the song tempo, so that it loops seamlessly.  If you're interested take a look at some of these.