Career, music, Research, Uncategorized


Today’s assignment was to create a piece of music using a MIDI file, and I probably did everything the most difficult way it could possibly be done. Maybe I was excited. Maybe I thought things would snap together and shape itself into something beautiful, like a shiny magnetic sculpture.

Turns out it was quite messy, like an old Magna-Doodle.

I’m going to walk you through the process (at least the steps I remember), so you might perhaps not make the same mistakes I did. My goal was to try and create MIDI files to then import into something cohesive in Soundtrap.

I was so, so excited to try Groove Pizza. This is a super cool web app, where you can manipulate drum beats. I loved the “Bembe” pattern.

This pattern is divided into 12 subdivisions, so I thought perhaps a 12/8 feel?

All the drum sounds used were empty, conga-like sounds. I liked the idea of something soft since all of the drum kits I’ve explored in Soundtrap so far feel splashy to me.

Above is the Bembe pattern from the app. I figured that could serve as a fine foundation. Next, I thought, I’ll create a different pattern for a “B” section.

Here I had one sound subdivide in 3, one in 4, and one in 6.

And, since I was making beats, I thought I’d create a 2-measure fill to punctuate different sections.

Left is measure 1, and right is measure 2 with more notes that would lead to the next section.

I downloaded all 3 patterns as MIDI files. Next I went into the Song Maker app in Chrome Music Lab to create a melody. I thought I’d make something simple, so I stuck with something fairly pentatonic and slow.

I started with the lower line, downloaded that on its own, then added a higher harmony part.

I downloaded that as a MIDI. Yay, this is easy! Now just to import into Soundtrap…

Wait, my work laptop doesn’t support MIDI files??? Okay, how about my desktop.

Hmm….Something doesn’t look quite right…

I was fairly certain, when I downloaded the MIDI files, that they were either the same length or maybe one was twice as long. Like, even. Those don’t look even.

It took me a long time to figure out how to make the beatmaker conducive to triplet-feel patterns. I still don’t think I really did it. I figured out how to get it into 3/4, but the drum pattern really didn’t end up the way it sounded in Groove Pizza. I’m not sure putting it in 3/4 really did anything except adjust the length of the other loops I added.

Nevertheless, I just had to finish something. So in honor of Groove Pizza and my apparent affinity for the marimba sound, I give you Mozzarimba.

Maybe things not fitting together sounds good sometimes?

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