Skip to main content

I sing but I don't play any instruments. I'd like to find software that allows me to do the following...

1. "Select" notes one at a time - allowing me to hunt for it til I find the right one, then lock it in once I've got it. (Also, allow me to take each note and make it a chord if I want to.)
2. Tap a key (e.g. the space bar) to play each note (i.e. each time I press the space bar it plays the next note in the sequence), recording the timing to set the tempo as well as how long I hold down the key to set the duration of each note.
3. Assign an instrument "voice".
4. Play back one or more tracks while I do step 2 for the current track.
5. Play back one or more tracks while I record vocals

I'm sure this sounds silly/pathetic to many of you who can actually PLAY instruments, but I can't, and after working 60-80 hours a week, I barely have time to rehearse my vocals -- no time to learn to play anything. But I would like to play around with creating some multi-track backings for my vocals.

MANY years ago, I had a cheesy little Casio keyboard (literally a toy) that would do steps 1 & 2. I would think there must be some software that will do this today.

Topic Tags


anonymous Mon, 11/10/2014 - 15:02

Your best bet is to probably contact a music retailer in your area, or, one of the bigger stores like Sweetwater, and tell them what you want to do. I'm sure there is a bundle of some kind that would be in a realistic budget range.

As far as "free"... sigh. You get quality and features in direct correlation to what you pay for.

No offense, but this forum is more professionally based in its recording gear and platform recommendations.

paulears Tue, 11/11/2014 - 00:43

Most of the pieces of music software for years allow people to enter music one note at a time, and as an ex-teacher of music technology, there was a feeling that music should be accessible to non-musicians. Step entry is awful. It takes forever, and is the musical equivalent of painting by numbers. Once you get it in, you then spend ages by eye, tweaking, but because editing is aural, you never get done, and the result is always musically inept. Indeed, the examiners used to take about ten seconds to identify music entered in this way, it never ever got decent grades and just signified somebody doing a music exam who wasn't musical.

Download some midi files from the net to hear the difference between those done by people who are musical and those who aren't. Your idea is perfectly understandable, but if it takes you two minutes to build a chord, can you imagine how mind numbing just getting the notes for a whole song will be. Band in a box is ideal because it works by using building blocks, but if you really cannot play anything, you might find it too much, even though it's the simplest thing I have found. Lastly, you cannot input music through a computer keyboard, you need a real music keyboard, even a cheap one, because computer keyboards are simply not musical devices, and the results are rubbish. If you need to record a chord, then putting your fingers on real keys and pressing them at the right time works better.

I understand your desire to produce music, but if you have few musical skills and the theory, being able to sing doesn't help much. You will get amazingly frustrated trying to create music in this way. So you need to forgive us for counselling you away. It is rather like me wanting to dance. I know HOW to dance, I work with dancers all the time, I know the vocabulary, I understand rhythm, I appreciate good dancing, BUT I have no coordination or memory, and no amount of trying will work. When people want to do musical things, the same problems happen. If you hear a melody, you can sing it but can you play that melody on even a kiddies keyboard, to the same quality and accuracy as you can sing it? If you can, then producing music is doable for you. If you can't, then step entry is a stupid thing to even consider as it will drive you mad, and you will spend afar too long. Back in my examiner days, one student detailed how many notes he had entered, and listed the hours per session in a log. To put in the melody for Three Times a Lady took him 22 hours! There were another 12 tracks to do. For the exam he managed two, and expected special treatment as "he wasn't musical". He failed!

pcrecord Tue, 11/11/2014 - 03:18

I agree with Band in a box being a nice first step..
If money wasn't an issue and the needs were the same, I'd turn myself to FL Studio and buy a bunch of loop samples to start and then some VSTI.

We have an artist in Quebec (if you can call him this) which sold a great amount of albums created with a cheap keyboard one key song arrangement. In recommand not playing that to the end unless you wants a visite to the psy ;)






I'm pretty sure he had a lot of fun doing it with one finger !! :ROFLMAO:

anonymous Fri, 11/28/2014 - 17:23

You want to produce music for your own amusement? Or are your intentions to entertain others? If that's the case? This is why people pick up instruments and practice them for a couple of years before they are ready to bring their music to the world. It takes work, dedication, passion and practice, practice, practice. It's not drive-through like hamburger joints. But there is that software out there. It's generally designed for kids. And that's where you're starting from. So your local computer store will likely have some? They are essentially pre-produced loops that you stick together like Lego. Were you then can create a rap or a vocal line to sing over. I think I paid somewhere around $5-$20 for that software back in the mid-1990s? It was kind of fun but rather uninspiring. I made a couple of funny things with it. But that was all. And not something I would really care to play for anyone but myself or as a joke for others.


User login