What Is Lofi Music And How To Produce It
In these weird times we are living in, many people in self-isolation have turned to music for comfort and have discovered many new genres that theyve never stopped to listen to before. One of them, and one that is making waves across YouTube, is lo-fi music . And no, it doesnt stand for low fiction. Keep on reading to find out what it actually is!
Lo-fi actually stands for low-fidelity meaning it is the opposite of high fidelity or high-quality music production behind most mainstream music. This is why in low-fidelity music you can hear imperfections that would typically be considered errors in the recording process. So the low-fidelity or quality of this type of music is actually on purpose, and this is part of its beauty.
It is mostly a non-lyrical music, even if sometimes can include samples of peoples voices, mostly from early television or radio recordings. It also has influences from Boom-Bap and New York Underground instrumentals, 1960s and 1970s jazz samples, and electronic music. Pretty interesting, right? Hear it for yourself with one of our favorite lo fi royalty free track:
Aesthetic Songs Commonly Have A Slow Bpm
I would argue that the last thing to pay attention to when making Aesthetic Music is the slow BPM. As a general rule, aesthetic music is always incredibly slow. Usually between 70-100 BPM, sometimes even slower. If the song was fast, it would sound completely different, like some kind of ambient house music rather than Aesthetic or Lo-Fi.
This is really quite self-explanatory. Either set the BPM around 70-100 in the top center console of Garagebands interface or just pay attention to how youve spaced out the drum kit notes when creating your beat. Without further ado, lets explore how to use the aforementioned principles and instruments to make aesthetic music.
Making A Boom Bap Beat
Boom bap is almost always in a 4/4 time signature. The first beat of each measure is punctuated with a kick, while the third beat is a snare hit.
Boom bap beats are often slightly swung. Experiment with the timing of each drum hit.
Youll know youve found a good rhythm when you cant help but bob your head along to the beat.
The kick and snare are often punctuated with cymbals as well. So dont be afraid to throw some crashes and snares in there too.
Layering multiple snare and kick sounds on top of on another will help create impact.
So what samples should you use?
Make sure you grab a kick with plenty of low mids and a snare thats really focused on the upper mids. The snare should cut right through to the front of the mix.
You can use anything for the kick or snare. It doesnt have to sound one specific way.
For example, you could record yourself closing a door and turn it into a snare using EQ and ADSR.
Get creative with your source sounds. This is a great way to set your beats apart from anyone else.
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How To Make Lofi Hip Hop Music
I never could have predicted the secret slow-burning popularity of lofi hip hop beats to chill and study to. But in hindsight, how could I have missed it? Weve been heading this way for a long time. We have always had music to dance to, sing to, cry to, mosh to. Music that accompanies our most emotionally charged states. Now, we have the perfect music for the in-between. Lofi hip hop is the music for the moments in between the other genres. Its music that somehow seems to match a slice of life. Calm, yet driving. Simple, yet deceptively layered. Cerebral without being distracting. Music that feels smart and cool, new yet classic.
How To Produce Lofi Music
It is primarily composed of a beat and looped samples . Include effects similar to listening to cassette tapes to add nostalgia vibes, and always try to generate positivity and relaxation with your tunes. The key characteristic of most lo-fi tracks are imperfections that arise while recording music.
Think of it as the perfect relaxing music for studying or chilling, but dont confuse it with pop music or indie rock. It is in fact a great soundtrack for concentrating as it doesnt have many vocals and is mainly instrumental. So much that even psychologists play them in the back on stressful situations for patients!
In conclusion, sit back and let the subtle, complex, and soothing rhythms of lo-fi music be the soundtrack to whatever youre doing. One lo fi track in and you will be very much into it. Also, if you are looking for some royalty free lo fi music, be sure to check our selection.
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How To Produce Lo
The key characteristic of most Lo-Fi tracks are imperfections that arise while recording music. This music may also seem unprofessional and overly simplistic, but again, this is the beauty of this subgenre. In his 2013 guide titled Practical Recording Techniques, Bruce Bartlett states that Lo-Fi sounds might have a narrow frequency response , and might include noise such as hiss or record scratches.
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What Is Lofi Music
Lo-fi music is a genre that incorporates lots of low-fidelity sounds. Common sounds that are in lofi are hisses and saturated samples. Drums play a critical role in lofi music as well. Lofi music typically has a hip hop vibe to them as they often include interview recordings etc.
Back then, lo-fi is something that you DID NOT want to have. Most producers would avoid having this kind of distortion of hissing in their production. Although this was then, nowadays DAWs have transformed the way we use these kind of lofi distoritions.
The new lofi techniques brought back the nostalgia by mimicking the warbling sound of cassette recordings. This abnormal production continues to be very popular in 2021 and many use it in hip hop tracks.
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But if you just want to learn about being a Lofi Hip Hop specifically, keep reading.
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How To Make A Chill Lofi Beat On Soundtrap By Kyoto
Kyoto is like a lot of people right now, theyre just making some beats on their computer and are really good at it! Hes very honest about his knowledge of music and not knowing how to make a melody. Kyoto admits to finding his melody on Splice and even shows you how.
While the tutorial was upbeat and had a different approach to making a Lo-Fi type beat in Soundtrap, its placed at number four because it felt more of a walkthrough to create a Lo-Fi beat like Kyoto. However, if youre interested in just watching someone make a Lo-Fi type beat for fun, this video is the one to watch.
Spresent: Hypnagogic Pop And Chillwave
The rise of modern digital audio workstations dissolved a theoretical technological division between professional and non-professional artists. Many of the prominent lo-fi acts of the 1990s adapted their sound to more professional standards and “bedroom” musicians began looking toward vintage equipment as a way to achieve an authentic lo-fi aesthetic, mirroring a similar trend in the 1990s concerning the revival of 1960s space age pop and analog synthesizers. R. Stevie Moore was increasingly cited by emerging lo-fi acts as a primary influence. His most vocal advocate, Ariel Pink, had read Unknown Legends, and later recorded a cover version of one of the tracks included in a CD that came with the book . At the time of his label debut, Pink was viewed as a novelty act, as there were virtually no other contemporary indie artists with a similar retro lo-fi sound.
In the late 2010s, a form of downtempo music tagged as “lo-fi hip hop” or “chillhop” became popular among YouTube music streamers. Several of these lo-fi YouTube channels attracted millions of followers. The inspiration for these modern styles comes mainly from artists Nujabes and J Dilla.
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How To Make Lofi Music
This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow’s Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards.There are 18 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 30,866 times.Learn more…
Lo-fi, short for low fidelity, is a popular, relaxing genre where the instruments and vocals sound older as if theyre playing through a cassette tape. If you want to make your own lo-fi beats, you can easily start creating the song with music software on your computer. Once you start adding drums and piano melodies, all you need to do is mix the song and share it with the world. When youre finished, youll have a cool lo-fi tune that others will be able to enjoy!
The Origins Of Lofi Hip Hop
This wonderful marriage of genres has its roots in a half dozen disparate places. People have found jazz to be relaxing and mood-setting music for ages. But jazz is fairly complex and fussy to create. Since the beginnings of electronic music and sampling, musicians have integrated jazz vibes into electronic beats. Acid jazz remains an interesting footnote in electronic music, but it never really took off. Yet, lofi hip hop is picking up where acid jazz left off, in a way.
Suddenly, worlds converged and it just worked. Producers created lofi hip hop beats, and layered in ambient sounds and jazzy samples instead of rap. The smooth, sophisticated jazz, the urban hip hop, and the atmospheric lofi production are a match made in heaven.
It turns out that creating lofi hip hop is not the most challenging form of music to enter. The elements are in place, and its not that hard to learn how to fool with them. You can join the ranks of lofi hip hop producers.
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How To Make A Lofi Beat
LoFi music is awesome! You can listen to it while studying, driving the car, relaxing or when its just a rainy day and you want to spend the day at home.. but before Ill tell you how to make a LoFi beat lets talk about what LoFi is in the first place.
What is lofi music?
LoFi music is music that sounds like it was recorded with bad or old equipment, which sometimes is actually the case, but doesnt necessarily need to be. Some of those artifacts can be noise, vinyl crackles, distortion or imperfections in pitch and they can usually be recreated in your DAW without the need to buy expensive analog tape machines anything like that.
While the majority of modern producers approach a perfect result, with clean recordings and exact pitch, LoFi producers do the exact opposite.. but instead of just sounding bad it actually triggers certain emotions in us like nostalgia or melancholy.
Heres how to make a LoFi beat ..
How To Make The Primary Melody In An Aesthetic Song
For the melody, note the first part of the article where I explained the use of the Major 7th and Minor 7th chords. In the track that I created for this tutorial, I was all over those major 7th sounds, because I was going for more of the happy and dreamy sound, rather than the chilled out Dorian vibe. Truthfully, I used a C Major 9th Chord, but it kind of has the same type of vibe as the C Major 7th chord, with a bit of difference.
I also used somewhat of an arpeggiated effect, which, in simple terms, means that weve played each note of the chord separately . I used the same principle for the G Major 9th chord as well, however, I also included a descending line down the C Major scale which hits on every gridline just as a way of spicing it up a bit and making it sound cool.
A) Use the Same Chords and Add Them to a New Instrument Track
Once I created the primary melody using two simple chords, you now have a foundation from which to build something else. For example, you can take those exact same two chords and then load them up into a different instrument to fill out the rest of the track.
You really dont have to complicate it more than that. This is quite melodically simple, but the point of this is to just fill out the track a bit and get it to sound a bit more complete, so to speak. In this case, I actually used a C Major chord and an F Major chord, rather than a G Major chord like I used with the soft piano.
B) Adding Another Melody
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Putting It All Together For Your Finished Lofi Hip Hop Track
I chose to improvise a lead track using my AKAI MPK Mini midi controller. I then cleaned up my improv and gave it some structure. Coincidentally, I used another Bandlab lofi-specific instrument called LoFI Lead. Check out my finished track below:
I hope you gained something from this article and was able to get your lofi track started! If you have any questions, comments, critiques, or advice, drop me a comment below or reach out via our contact page. You can also fork my track to pull elements or add your own to make it even better.
Additional Sound Effects Sampled Vocal Speech Computer Sounds Rain Etc
Most lofi tracks feature additional effects like sampled vocal speech, computer beeps, rain, chimes, street sounds, or worldly background noises. Some tracks even feature dialogue pulled from movies or just randomly sampled dialogue. Bandlab features tons of loops and effects so dig around and see what you can find to give your track something unique.
Remember the lofi packs we discussed earlier in the article? This is a good time to refer back to those and pull some sound effects or textures. Just search lofi in the packs search and youll find several packs to choose from. Browsing through and finding some additional effects here is totally up to you. I pulled a texture called LoFi Hip Hop III Texture 02 that sounds like a recording of distant chatter. I then reversed the recording to change it up a bit.
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Making Your Mix Sound Vintage
If you want your song to sound like a late 80s classic, try out some of these mix techniques. Theyll help you emulate the old school styles.
Downsampling reduces the sample rate of the track. The sample rate decides the frequency range.
For example, the E-mu SP-1200 is a famous hardware sampler used on many hip hop classics. It has a sample rate of 26 kHz.
How To Write A Lofi Chord Progression
Unless you are a practiced keyboard player who can improvise a dozen ideas on the spot, you might want to spend some time thinking about what scale you want to compose in. The lofi sound is typically known for its mellow and nostalgic vibe. You might think that we can safely discard a happy sounding scale like the Major scale because of that. After all, a happy scale seems like a poor fit for what we are trying to achieve, right? Not quite. The major scale can be used for lofi hip hop, but there are better options out there. A catch-all scale that can give you a sad, reminiscing feeling is the Minor scale. It is found in many genres due to its versatility and you would be on the safe side using it. The only downside is that a Minor scale wont set your track apart from the rest of the field because people are used to hearing it across so many genres.
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Music Production Fundamentals: Make Dope Chill Lofi Beats
- How To Make Chill Lofi Beats
- How to easily warp, chop, and manipulate audio samples
- The key elements that go into a lofi track
- How to mix and master a lofi tracks with mostly stock plug-ins
- Mixing secrets that are unique to lofi beats
- How to achieve the gritty analogue sound you want without wasting money on expensive gear
- How to design drums to get that J Dilla swing
- How to make better decisions in terms of sample choice and sound design
- Only the necessary information that you need to make lofi beats, without the overwhelm and confusion of complicated techniques