In the world of music today, beat making is highly prevalent. It is exciting, fun and even controversial. Beat making is everywhere, even if you didn’t know it. Popular culture around the globe is replete with its influence from Japan to the British Isles. We listen to music every day that has been created at least partially if not entirely by beat makers and that’s right, you guessed it, it’s here to stay!
If you are wondering about making music on a computer, you might have a few questions like:
1. What is beat making?
2. Why do some people say it’s not art?
3. What is its place in the music world today?
4. Who can make beats?
These are all very good questions that we can explore together here in this article. Maybe we will find some answers, and maybe we will just end up with more questions.
In any case, it is simple to understand what beat making is. It is the creative art involving the arrangement of rhythmical concepts into recognizable musical patterns that we commonly refer to as “beats.” In other words, it is what Dr. Dre. does when he drops a hot one and generally these beats form the underlying foundation for our melodies that we lay on top.
Don’t be fooled however, just because we call them beats doesn’t mean that all you get are drum tracks with no filler like the old drum machines from back in the day. Beats today can be fully orchestrated works of art. Just ask T-Pain and Kanye West or go check out some techno or house music. That’ll clear it up for you.
Beat making today is heavily involved with the use of computers which is vastly different than at any other time in history. Now, you can create the drums and percussion, bass line, strings, horns, keyboards and just about any other instruments that you can think of, all by yourself from one computer console if you choose to do so.
The art part of it comes in to play when you start to look at the creativity involved. Just because a lot of it is done using a computer does not mean that it is easy or that it does not require talent and imagination. Yes, it is easy to get started and you can be making beats in minutes, but it takes time and effort to get really good at it no matter how talented you are. In fact learning the technical part of making computer music is only a small part of the battle. The other, greater, part of the challenge is in the creating something new and fresh knowing that no two people will ever do it exactly the same way.
What do I mean? Well, consider two English-speaking poets. They speak the same language, have roughly the same vocabularies and may even have grown up and lived in nearby communities. Yet, they will never write exactly the same poems. Ever! Beat making is the same way. When you use you own inspiration and expression, you will have no choice but to be unique and therefore you will develop your own voice for the world to hear. You will be an artist.
Some people say that it is not art because the beat maker does not have to spend years of their life and hundreds or even thousands of lonely hours perfecting their ability to express themselves through their instruments like traditional musicians do. As a musician of this type myself, I understand that point of view.
But as it turns out, beat making software is just another tool that allows us to express our individual uniqueness, experiences, and perspective in a whole new way. In my opinion, that is what makes it art.
The proof is in the fact that computer music is everyday stuff now. Many of the most beloved hits of all time were produced in part if not entirely using the processes involved in beat making and computer music making. Computer music software is now a requirement in music studios around the world and things will never go back again.
The best part of it all is that anyone, including you and me, can get involved and make your own music on a computer right now. And although we may not all be as big as P-Diddy and Jay-Z yet, we can all have a chance to express ourselves using this phenomenal new set of technologies found right at our fingertips.