For anyone who wants to know how to create Eurobeat music with Garageband, you’re in a great deal of luck. This guide will help you grasp the basic instrumentation/arrangement for Eurobeat in the context of Apple’s Garageband. All you need is a basic understanding of music comprehension and beats (I.E, the difference between a quarter note and an 8th note), and you’ll do fine.
The biggest problem isn’t knowing WHAT to write; if you really want to know how to write in the Eurobeat style, first try mimicking songs you already like. Copy the styles of the labels you like, or songs from certain eras you like from those labels. Then try writing sound-alikes, songs that aren’t the same but close. Then branch off and try things that you like, and are unlike any other Eurobeat creation out there. Yes, Eurobeat’s known for songs that borrow liberally from other songs, so even if it DOES sound like another song out there (to my knowledge, the riff to “King & Queen” is re-used more than 10 times in the Eurobeat world, including independent/Non-Avex productions), you’ll be in good shape.
The biggest problem I hear of is getting the instrumentation right. You’ll need, at the very least, Garageband and the basic “Software Update” sounds (that means, you get the Dance kit in Drums) to get things rolling.
Now! The very least instruments you’ll need are the Dance Kit, a good synth bass (Round Synth Bass) tends to be just fine for learners, and a sort of synth brass/sawtooth. You may also want some strings to flesh out the soundscape/soundworld (pick one, terminology doesn’t matter, really), but if you’re JUUUUUST learning, you can forgo it for now. Get a basic dance beat going (Kick drum on every 1/4 note, open hi-hat on every other 1/8 note, for that basic Boom-ksssh boom-ksssh), and you have the drums. (Later you may want to add a snare hit on every other 1/4, but that’s another story.) Now, add a bass note on every other 1/8 note, so it matches up with the hi-hat. Now you have a basic dance beat, and if the bass sound you picked is right, you have the Eurobeat sound.
As for brass/sawtooth. This could go many ways, but I’m rather OCD with what I use in Garageband. I’m no expert on this because anyone could make a better sound, but it’s also just as easy to piddle around with the wrong sounds and end up with something completely non-Eurobeat. What I did to get a workable synth-brass, was I took the “Cheerful Trance” sound, and modified it (I.E, used the Analog Basic instrument editor). Nix any echo and/or reverb, Set “Mix” to Bright, “Tuning” pretty close to the middle (I have mine at 45), “Cutoff” at about 75, “Resonance” at roughly 19, “Decay” at its fastest setting, “Sustain” at its highest, and “Attack”… is up to you. I managed to get a good sound around 25. Setting it much lower makes it hit a bit less and therefore have less impact; higher than that, you have something a little edgy and closer to a good Sinclairestyle sound at best (and something closer to a bad General MIDI synthbrass at worst). You’re free to work with other settings, but that’s the one that’s borne the most success for me. The result is a bit like ABeatC meets DJ Command.
What I tend to use to create Eurobeat soundworlds in Garageband would be:
- Synth Brass
- Dance Kit for kick and open hi-hat
- Rock Kit for closed hi-hat (every 1/8 note that isn’t taken by the open hi-hat, use it there)
- Any subtle synth-pad or strings sound to fill out the soundworld
- GUITARS. Guitars for sustained chords (much like the pads), guitars for leads… I’m a lot like Dave Rodgers in the sense that I’m a guitar nut.
The rest is what makes the song unique. Now try that and go nuts! Let’s revolutionize how Eurobeat runs, from the fan/independent side!