EDM: Basslines, Synth Parts, and Virtual Instruments

By in Master the Art of Music Creation, Music Creation

Welcome back for our second episode in the Master the Art of Music Creation series. I hope you’ve been churning away, creating some amazing drums for your tracks. In this episode, it’s time to start adding some of the musical elements to really get things moving. In this episode’s example, I illustrate some simple, but effective workflows to get basslines and synth parts going, using two of my favorite virtual instruments, which happen to be built into Pro Tools; Vacuum and Xpand!2. Of course, feel free to use whatever your favourite virtual instruments happen to be. With so many great instruments available as a 64-bit AAX plug-in, there’s no shortage of sounds.

This is a good resource for videos about the virtual instruments included with Pro Tools – Pro Tools 11 Virtual Instruments Included for Music Creation and Audio Production.

Manipulating MIDI with Real Time Properties

One of the main takeaways from this episode is not only showing how easy it is to create and manipulate MIDI clips, but the extended features in Real Time Properties available to you to help you speed up your workflow and work non-destructively. Remember, this feature is unique to Pro Tools. Being able to quickly test and try different quantization, note duration, velocity, or even transposition values on the fly, without necessarily committing them to the clip can really help speed things up. It can also free you to try different combinations you may not have tried previously. I strongly suggest playing with Real Time Properties. There’s no commitment and you never lose your original performance!

Quantization in Real Time Properties

I wanted to touch on the quantization values in Real Time Properties. Some of you are used to using swing values from other DAWs or music creation hardware. If you click on the quantize value button in Real Time Properties and look towards the bottom of the menu, you’ll see that we’ve given you some of the most common swing values from other music creation platforms such as Cubase, Logic, and even the classic Akai MPC groove swing values are there. Don’t be afraid to give them a try.

Don’t forget to download a copy of the session to experiment with.

In the third episode, we’ll use some of the easy, yet powerful editing features of Pro Tools to quickly arrange our song. I look forward to answering some of your questions in the discussion area of the blog. Thanks for all the comments. See you next time!

Download the Session File

It does not contain audio, this episode is MIDI only. It requires the Maschine 2.0 AAX plug-in but you can substitute any other drum plug-in including Xpand!2 and reassign the MIDI channel outputs in the red drum tracks to Xpand!2 samples.

Download the Pro Tools Session file

Pro Tools Trial

Compose, record, edit, and mix with Pro Tools today—get your 30-day free trial.

Get your free 30-day trial

Master the Art of Music Creation

Create high-quality music that stands out from the crowd—watch the video tutorial series dedicated to the success of artists, producers, and engineers.

See all episodes

I am an electronic dance music producer and DJ residing in Miami, where I've gained a reputation as "Florida's Godfather of Techno" with releases on labels such as Ovum, Plastic City, Nervous, and more. I am also a member of the Avid Pro Audio team.