fbpx

Human After All? – 3 Ways to Humanize Your Music

The beauty of electronic music is that anybody with a laptop can be a one-person band, but far too often we are stuck in the grid and our music loses its human element. The beat is not quite locking in a rhythm so you quantize but now it’s too stiff and robotic so you readjust, then requantize, then throw your computer on the ground and call it a day. If you’ve ever found yourself following a similar routine then we have a few tips on what to do in order to add the humanity back into your music.

#1 Velocity

Subtlety is the name of the game when automating Velocity as our brains are extremely tuned to feeling variations in volume. If you want more movement in your drums then add this effect to every piece, set the Out Hi and Out Lo near to the desired velocity level so it sits nicely in your mix, then bump up the Random knob a few notches. Doing this will add or subtract whatever number you chose to the velocity of your instrument instantly giving it the spaztastic feel of a live drummer. Make sure to go suuuuuper light on the random knob if you decide to add this to your kick and snare because those are usually the driving forces of the groove.

 

 

Automating the velocity of your chord progressions is equally important for keeping the feels alive, especially if you are typing everything in. A piano player will never play the same progression exactly the same way each time, utilize the same technique used on your drums to randomize your chord velocities.

#2 Sample Offset

The first trick will take care of your volume but now you need something to emulate the way instruments react to whoever is playing them. Hitting a hi-hat harder will make it louder as well as quickening the attack of the transient; hit a hi-hat softer and it will be quieter and have a slower attack. Using the Sampler instrument you can modulate the start of any sample to produce appropriate changes in timbre based on velocity.

 

 

On the Sampler device click on the MIDI tab to reveal options for modulation, change Destination A to Sample Offset. Set the amount to a negative value, this will result in higher Velocities triggering earlier parts of the sample. Lower velocities will start the sample later resulting in less of a transient and a quicker decay; to increase the effect of this modulation make sure to add the Velocity tool and use the trick we explained in #1. Notice below how the snare (at the yellow warp markers) are all different velocities and transients.

 

 

Using the combination on chord progression will add some more variation into your sound, giving your melodies/harmonies some life. Whatever sample you use has to be put into Sampler for the tricks we mentioned to work, but they work well. Add the Velocity effect before your instrument and set the parameters accordingly, this time pay attention to the Velocity Range so that way you can make sure the instrument won’t be too quiet.

 

 

It’s especially clear in this looped 4-bar piano progression that on the 5th bar when the progression begins again the transient is much stronger, the 4-bar loop has now been transformed into a dynamic 8-bar progression.

If you are using the Simpler or any other Device and want the same way to assign modulation then you can utilize a Max4Live Device called Expression Control. If you have Live Suite then you can download the device here, but if you do not then you can download the same device for free here on the Max4Live website.

#3 Timing

Now that we’ve shown you some ways to manipulate the volume and timbre, let’s take a look at how to automate the timing of your chord progressions. Below we have a 2-bar piano progression with each of the chords quantized to the grid. For those of you who type things in or use record quantization then you’ll know that being locked into the grid can produce an emotionless sound.

 

 

This problem can be alleviated by using the Arpeggiator and Note Length MIDI Effects on your instrument. Change the Sync button to Free and adjust the rate to an amount that you like, and turn the Repeats knob to 1. With the Style option on Up, this will create an effect similar to playing the piano live from the root note up through the rest of the chord. On the Note Length effect change the Mode to Time, then adjust the time to an amount you feel comfortable with; we chose 1.45 seconds because it plays the length of our notes without cutting them too short.

 

 

Below is what the progression look like after resampling with the Arp and Note Length effects on, we get a much fuller sounding progression this way. We must note that this trick only seems to work if you have a progression without any leading notes, i.e. the clip below will not play like it is supposed to anymore. Another drawback is that using this technique with the Arpeggiator means you can only push your notes after the beat.

 

 

If you need a workaround then look no further than the Groove Pool; find a groove you like, turn the Timing percentage to 0, and up the Randomize percentage to at least 35. If you like how it sounds then commit the groove to make sure it’s actually doing something, you can always Undo if you need to. The advantage to using a Groove is that you can get notes moved ahead of the beat as well as after, this can add a nice Swing to your music (pun intended).

Have you ever wondered what robots want to hear in music? If you’re done with trying to humanize your own tunes and want to lean into the robot takeover, read this article from our friends over at Joey Sturgis Tones – What Kind of Music Do Robots Like?

0 responses on "Human After All? - 3 Ways to Humanize Your Music"

Leave a Message

top

© 2019 Beat Lab Academy

INTERESTED IN MUSIC PRODUCTION?
CHECK WHAT'S BEST FOR YOU

Call us at 323-999-7815 or fill out
the form below.

X
X
About The Lab
PGlmcmFtZSB3aWR0aD0iMTAwJSIgaGVpZ2h0PSIxMDAlIiBzcmM9Imh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LnlvdXR1YmUuY29tL2VtYmVkL1g5UXZtUG5TOHEwP3JlbD0wJmNvbnRyb2xzPTAmc2hvd2luZm89MCIgZnJhbWVib3JkZXI9IjAiIGFsbG93ZnVsbHNjcmVlbj48L2lmcmFtZT4=
Signup for Free Workshops and Ableton Goodies
Enter name and email below and we'll get you lit
Foundation of Music Theory
  • Rhythm Theory
  • Using Semitones and Intervals
  • Diatonic composition
  • Harmonizing and building chords
  • Styling
Learn the language of music to help you make the music you want to make, To communicate with other musicians and reveal the magic behind your favorie songs.
----------------------
Progremming Beats
  • How Drum Racks work
  • Choosing the right samples
  • How to use Syncopation
  • Layering Techniques
  • Drum Processing methods
Sequence drums in any style using Ableton Live's Drum Racks. Learn tricks and techniques to take your beats to the next level.
----------------------
Ableton Live 101
  • Why Ableton Live?
  • Session vs. Arrangement
  • Recording & Editing Audio
  • Live's Warp Engine
  • Using & customizing MIDI controllers
Experience the leading software today for modern music production.
Demystify the world of Ableton Live to make any style of music.
----------------------
Thank you! We'll contact you shortly with more info and discounts.
Sampling
  • History of Sampling
  • Hardware Samplers
  • Simpler vs. Sampler
  • Sampling your own instruments
  • Slicing Samples
Explore the endless world of sampling.
Add organic texture or make it into an instrument
Everything is possible with sampling
----------------------
Using MIDI Controllers
  • Which Controller Should I Get?
  • Setting Up
  • Expression Controls
  • Advance MIDI Utilities
  • Playing Live Beats
Choose the right MIDI controller for your production/live needs.
Use MIDI remote scritps to enahce your workflow
Learn tricks and tips to customize your controller
----------------------
Recording & Warping
  • Choosing the right mic
  • Setting up recording session
  • Working with other musicians
  • Time Stretching
  • Live's editing tools
Learn how to setup and record mics and instruments in Ableton Live.
Master the warp engine for syncronizing audio and sound design
----------------------
Class Jams
  • Play in a band with your computer
  • Try out different instruments and MIDI controllers
  • Improvise on any given scale
  • Develop your ear for melodies, harmonies & Basslines
Play live with your classmates in the first modern ClassJam environment.
Develop collaboration skills, performance focus and improvisation techniques.
----------------------
Structure & Styling
  • Active Listening
  • Pre-Determined Arrangement Techniques
  • BPM Ranges
  • Song Segments and how to use them
  • Finishing a full song
Get your own sound from analyzing and deconstrucing modern song structures.
Learn different musical genres to help you achive your own unique sound.
----------------------
YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD
Please provide your name and email
  We hate spam as much as you. You will only get valuble content delievered.
Get Notified About Future Events
Music Theory 202
  • Parallel Harmony
  • Relative Scales
  • Pentatonic & Blues Scales
  • Jazz in Modern Music
  • Voicing Techniques
  • Borrowed Chords
Progress your composition skills by learning advanced music theory methods.
You will get a deeper understanding of how to produce strong harmonies, melodies and arrangements.
----------------------
Ableton Live 202
  • The Launchbox
  • Modulation Vs. Automation
  • Session View Production Techniques
  • Advance Audio & MIDI Editing
  • Clip Envelopes
Learn advance Ableton techniques to take your production to the next level.
Everything is possible with Ableton Live let your imagination be your guide.
----------------------
Styling
  • Analyzing Electronic vs. Acoustic music
  • Odd Time Signatures
  • Arrangment Styling
  • Sound Selection
  • Deconstructing Methods.
Learn the key characteristic of all popular music styles.
You have a specific style in mind you want to produce? We'll show you all the secrets.
----------------------
Synthesis
  • Analog vs. Digital
  • Synth Signal Path
  • Oscillators, Filters, Envelopes and LFOs
  • Advance Modulators
  • Reverse Engineering
Take the sounds in your head and create them in the computer using synthesizers.
Demystify the vast world of virtual synths.
----------------------
Sound Design
  • Advanced Time Stretching
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Fractal Soundscapes
  • Experiments in Sound
  • Field Recordings
  • The Art of Layering
Develop creative thinking by using multiple techniques to create unique and complex sounds.
Become a sonic master.
----------------------
Collaboration
  • Ableton Link
  • Class Production Sessions
  • Project Managment
  • Real vs. Virtual instruments
  • Live Performance Routines
  • Rewiring
Collaborate with class mates with in-class synchronization.
Develope the skills needed to productevlly work with other musicians.
----------------------
Remixing
  • Choosing The Right Song to Remix
  • Flipping a Sample
  • Remixer Tools
  • Stems and Multi-Tracks
  • Preparing your Original Production for Remixing
Learn the art of remixing from top remixers in the industry.
Take your favorite songs and filp them with your own style.
----------------------
Live Performance
  • DJing in Ableton Live
  • Preparing your Songs for Live Performance
  • Playing with a Band
  • Live Looping
  • DIY Controllers
Use the computer as a live musical performance tool.
DJ or play your own orgianls in any way you can imagine.
----------------------
Max for Live
  • Max for Live Essentials
  • Modifying Exciting Devices
  • Creating your own Devices
  • Ableton as a Modular Environment
  • Live's API
  • VJing using Jitter
Explore the infinite potenital of Cycling 74's and Ableton's Max for Live.
Control Live in ways that weren't possible before.
Anything is possible with Max for Live
----------------------
Mastering
  • Win the Loudness Wars
  • Mastering Song vs. Album
  • Prepering Your Music for Distribution
  • Understanding the importance of Dynamic Range
Master your songs to sound as good as possible on as many playback systems as possible.
Learn the secrets on how to make your songs loud and punchy.
----------------------
Finger Drumming
  • Choosing the Right Controller
  • Sound Design for Live Performance
  • Building Custom Racks
  • Using DIY Controllers
  • Planning your Controller's Configuration
Humanize your production or impress your audience on stage.
Build your own sound packs and develope your live performace skill with finger drumming.
----------------------
Live Looping
  • Hardware Looping
  • Using Live's Looper
  • Live Looping in the Session View
  • Automatic Loop Recording using MIDI Scripts
  • Setup and Routing
Master the art of live looping with virtual instruments, conventional instruments and mics.
Come up with quick musical ideas, build your songs live on stage.
----------------------
Online Presence
  • Social Media
  • How to Reach Out to Labels
  • Booking Shows
  • Getting Signed
  • Getting more Followers
  • Making a Music Video
Develop your artist brand and get your music heard by the right people.
Book shows, tours and festivals.
Find the right label and make music your career.
----------------------
Entertainment Law
  • Clearing Samples
  • Commercial vs. Indie Distribution
  • Getting your music on TV and Film
  • Working with a Manager
  • Copyright your Music
  • Performance Rights
Understand the legallty behind the music industry.
Get the most out of your shows and releases. Maximize income streams.
Distribute your music the right way.
----------------------
Production Sessions
  • Class Jams
  • Live Routines Assignments
  • Additive Composition
  • Produce other Classmates
  • Online Collaboration Methods
  • Musical Chairs
Collaborate in class.
Get private mentorship sessions from Beat Lab's instructors
Learn how to add part of yourself creatively to an exciting song.
----------------------
Mixing
  • Understanding How Sound Work
  • Gain Staging
  • Controlling the Stereo Field
  • Using Compressor & EQs
  • Using Time Based Effects
  • Bussing and Pre-Mastering
Master the art of sound mixing.
Make your music sound more clear, punchy and loud.
Learn the techniques and tools to help you take your music to the next level.
----------------------
NEW CLASSES START NEXT WEEK!
Mondays-Wednesdays: 4/25/16
Tuesdays-Thursdays: 4/26/16
Now Offering Day Classes
Our certification program is now available during the day. 6 months of intensive, comprehensive music production classes. Fill your email below and we'll send you ALL the details. Dates, scheduling, pricing & payment plans available.
We would never spam or give your email to anyone
Free Class Visits Available
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
Your Free Download
we hate spam
GET FREE CHEAT SHEETS, TUTORIALS AND MUSIC TECH NEWS!
We got the exclusives
We would never spam or give your email to anyone
Free Class Visits Available
THANK YOU!
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO NOW?
Free Class Visits Available
Your Free Download
we hate spam
FREE SERUM SOUND DESIGN COURSE WITH CERTIFICATION PROGRAM
Sing up for the 6 months certification program and get Serum - Wavetable Synthesis class for free.
We would never spam or give your email to anyone
Your Free Download
we hate spam
CONTEST - Accusonus x Beat Lab Giveaway
Win Free Plugins!
Your Free Download
we hate spam