If you want to learn how to make ambient music, then please read on!
Ambient music can be easily incorporated into many genres of music such as hip-hop, rap, R&B, chill pop, and much more! And has many purposes including: film scores for movies, meditation purposes, mind sharpening, etc. You don’t have to be an expert, in fact it’s incredibly easy to create and use.
And with that, here we go!
Take Your Audience to a Place YOU Designed
We are going to begin with the end in mind. First of all, think mysterious. This kind of music doesn’t give its audience the full story. Which is largely why so many people enjoy ambient music. Creating an ambient track is like being the conductor of a train; you are going to take your audience into their own imagination through the atmosphere you create.
Put simply, when you hear waves washing on the beach and seagulls calling out to each other, what do you think of? Most people will think of a beach populated by seagulls.
Start this process by putting together a file of samples that you like, or create your own. By doing this, you will generate a clearer idea of what your track will sound like and where it will take your audience.
If you find a particular sound you really like, then keep that as your foundation and build from that.
If you need samples for your track. Check out musicradar.com
Build Your Track on a SFX
If you haven’t found a sample you like, consider building on a sound effect. I like to start ambient tracks this way. Often I like to start with a vintage vyinl sample or a dark pad to use as my foundation. Building your song around a texture base gives you a lot of room to experiment with different samples, and more often then not, you will find something edgy that you can really run with.
Once you have your foundation, choose the tempo of your song. Keep in mind, you want your audience to savor the track you have created, so take it slow. In addition, ambient tracks sound muddy if they are played to fast, so I would suggest setting the tempo around the 50-70 BPM (beats per minute) range.
Next, find soft lows with plenty of ambiance to build around your texture. Don’t slack on the ambiance! I like to use a soft pad or a smooth cello for my ambient lows because of their calming sound and abundance of ambiance. We’re not going to implement these in the track yet, unless you want to use them as your melody, but commonly, these are used as subtle instruments that blanket the song in mysterious ambiance. (Have I used the word “ambiance” too much?..Probably).
Are you looking to pop up your sound? Slightly speed up the tempo and add a drum kit. I like to add an 808 as well, then match the 808 track with a kick to give the bass depth. A lot of popular artists do this, and this is what created the music genre Chill Pop.
Engineer Your Sound
Are you feeling particularly creative? And want to produce your own textures? Then great! Try manipulating the samples you have chosen. Using your DAW, stretch out the audio in your sample and see what that sounds like. I also add audio effects such as reverb or delays to create a unique sound.
You can also use a sample of a song and reverse the audio in that track. I like to do this with jazz songs. It seems to always work out for me.
Don’t forget that you can record your own samples! Even with your cellphone. Record something totally random like hands running through carpet and upload it to your DAW. Edit the audio and see what you think. A lot of times, I’m very happy with the way my recordings turn out.
Top it off with a Beautiful Melody
Once you have a solid track that you’re happy with. Top it off with a melody that compliments your track. Popular instruments in this genre are generally any instrument in the string family. Electric pianos, bells, higher pads, blues guitar, also work very well in this genre. But of course, don’t be afraid to try other instruments as well!
You’re Geared Up! Get Going!
I hope this has been useful to you. Remember, the possibilities are endless with music. Don’t limit yourself and don’t get frustrated when your song doesn’t come together on the first try. It rarely does.
Tell me what you think! If you have created an ambient track I would love to give you feedback! Please leave a comment or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.