My Musical Mouth – How to write music using your voice with Cubase 6

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Convert your thoughts into midi

Imagine being able to convert the ideas in your head straight into music. How about being able to jot down those ideas you have on the bus just by singing into the voice recorder on your phone and then converting the files into real music when you get home? What if you are hopeless at playing a musical instrument and desperately want to write a tune you’ve been humming in your head? Well, using Cubase 6, you can do all this by using the one, easy-to-use musical instrument that everyone owns – your mouth. You can listen to my converted thoughts via the soundcloud clip further down this article.

Using Cubase to convert your voice into midi is so simple that you may find your midi keyboard will be left to gather dust. The reason I wanted to write music using my mouth was because I am a hopeless keyboard player – and I am not alone! I used to teach beginners courses in music production for kids in the summer holidays, and although they had strong ideas about what they wanted to write, and they had their tune in their heads, they were unable to transfer this idea accurately into a finished piece because they couldn’t physically play the keyboard well enough. By the time they had fiddled around trying to recreate their ideas, they had been sidetracked by what they had achieved, or were able to achieve, and had either given up or forgotten what they had originally wanted to achieve.

It’s All About Composition

The My Musical Mouth project puts music composition back to the forefront of making music. You think of an idea, you sing the idea, you convert the idea to MIDI and find an instrument to play it back just as it sounds in your mind. It’s that simple. No clicking boxes on a software sequencer/drum machine, no cycling through presets and letting the sounds you find determine the music you write, no playing the sequence as well as you can on a midi keyboard and then drawing in the rest and moving the notes around to where you think they are supposed to be, no sacrificing swing because you have to quantise the results.

For this project I will be solely using Cubase 6 and the instruments that are included, so all you need to be able to perform this task is Cubase 6 (Cubase Artist or any other version of Cubase will not work) and a microphone (any old microphone will do because we shan’t be using the audio for anything other than generating midi).

Summary

This was one of the fastest pieces of music I’ve ever completed, and I think that was probably due to restrictions. I only used Cubase’s included instruments and plug-ins – so no rummaging round the hundreds of other plug-ins and instruments that I have. I didn’t have a controller keyboard connected, so all automation was done with the mouse. But, ultimately, the idea was already in my head, all I had to do was sing it, and even though my singing is incredibly bad I was able to discern the correct notes quite easily, the timing was all fine, and I could quickly move through the various parts I wanted to create without losing focus of what I was wanting to achieve.

The project took about 5 days, but most of that was spent writing it up and taking screen shots. Many times I thought about plugging in the keyboard as it felt more natural, but actually it would have been the opposite. I would have found a sound that I liked by accident and started playing around with it and then tried to fit it into my project – but really it should be the other way round; have the part written and then find a sound that suits it – and that is what this project taught me, and that is why I was able to complete it so quickly.

You can hear the results by clicking the play button below:

MyMusicalMouth by DVMusicTunes

Complete Tutorials

I have written eight comprehensive guides (so far) for our customers to use which take you through the whole process step by step, from recording your first part through making your finished piece nice and loud to as is popular, and get it ready for release. Please email education@dvmusic.com to get the full tutorials. I am also available on 01708 771986 if you have any questions or need any help.

Quick Guides:

The quick guides give an overview of what you can achieve and the tools at your disposal and are going to be posted weekly. There’ll be updates of the quick guides available here, starting today, so keep an eye out below!

Part One: Creating a beat in Cubase 6 using your voice

Part Two: Creating a Bass Line in Cubase 6 using your voice

Part Three: Creating a Melody line in Cubase 6 using your voice

Part Four: Creating a Synth Line in Cubase 6 using your voice

Check current prices on Cubase 6 and Cubase 6 Education/student versions by clicking the links.

About Robin Heyworth

Robin Heyworth has written 59 post in this blog.

Starting out as an IT student, Robin inadvertently found his way into the music scene in the mid 90’s when a friend asked for help getting a copy of Cubase for Window’s 3.1 to work. The blooming dance scene of the mid 90’s sparked a passion in DJing and production and he held many residencies at clubs around the country in the late 90’s. Since becoming too old to stay up all night partying, Robin has devoted his skills to teaching others DJing and Music Production and most recently to giving sound advice on how to get started in the world of making music and running our educational sales department. Email him on robinheyworth@digitalvillage.co.uk if you have anything you can contribute to our educational news section.

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About Author

Starting out as an IT student, Robin inadvertently found his way into the music scene in the mid 90’s when a friend asked for help getting a copy of Cubase for Window’s 3.1 to work. The blooming dance scene of the mid 90’s sparked a passion in DJing and production and he held many residencies at clubs around the country in the late 90’s. Since becoming too old to stay up all night partying, Robin has devoted his skills to teaching others DJing and Music Production and most recently to giving sound advice on how to get started in the world of making music and running our educational sales department. Email him on robinheyworth@digitalvillage.co.uk if you have anything you can contribute to our educational news section.