Making Midi Music

(using Anvil Studio)

A tutorial by TommyMc

(To download this tutorial as a zip file click: HERE)

The purpose of this tutorial is to cover some of the basic steps in creating midi music using Anvil Studio. There are many fine music creation programs available, I have chosen Anvil Studio because it is free, and (I think) easy to learn. In this tutorial, we will create a short song together, learning how to use Anvil Studio, and also discuss some of the creative choices we are faced with in the process. We will touch a little on music theory.....just enough to get started, so no prior musical training is necessary (although always helpful.) Many people dedicate their entire lives to the study and composition of music. To suggest that reading this basic tutorial will make anyone a composer would be a disservice to everybody. But if you would like to create a little background music for your game, or simply as a creative outlet, this tutorial may be of help. If you do not already have it installed, you can get Anvil Studio here.

Certainly, there are many approaches to composing and assembling songs. My musical experience includes 25 years of playing guitar and pedal steel in country rock bands. Because of this, I tend to see (and best understand) compositions as having four main parts: Lead, Bass, Rhythm, and Drums. This is the approach we will take in this tutorial.

I have set the tutorial up in three main sections:

  • Getting Started: A brief overview of Anvil Studio, the screens we will be using, and how to enter notes.
  • Create a Song: Here, we will take a familiar tune and create multiple tracks: melody, drums, bass, rhythm chords.
  • Variations: Things we can do to change the sound of our song, and ideas about where to go from here.
  • Music Theory: This is a reference section, with an introduction to timing, scales, and chords.

This tutorial is based around a very simple melody. The idea here is to learn some basics before going on to create your own compositions. By keeping the melody simple, it is easier to see how and why things go together as they do. As we proceed, there are somesample sound clips. All of these can be downloaded and saved by right-clicking on the play-bar.

Through out this tutorial, there will be times when some additional information on topics may be helpful, but not crucial. In these cases, there will be keyword link to explore a topic in more depth.

Ok, let the music begin..............

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