Techno and its many different variations have made writing music much more accessible to people without extensive musical knowledge; scales and chord progressions aren’t needed to create solid beats and a handful of synth riffs. Unfortunately, those without extensive technical knowledge are often intimidated by the huge selection of software and hardware that perform various tasks. What about an all-in-one program that can be used to create both beats and synth riffs?
Tuareg 2.5 is one of the best programs available for those new to writing techno, or even backing tracks for instrument or singing practice. And, best of all, it’s free. Starting the software will bring up the main menu, and at the top there are two synth buttons; to get started writing drum tracks, click RAGE 2.
On the far left, there are a few blank fields. Clicking any of them should bring up a selection of WAV’s, both percussion effects and simple synths. Once samples are assigned, click any note (measured in 32nds) to add the note. Once the measure is complete, each track can be panned or modified with its respective sliders in the bottom left, and the tempo can be raised or lowered.
Of course, a one-measure percussion loop isn’t all that exciting; increasing “Measures/Pat.” will change the number of measures in the pattern up to eight, and the “Current Meas.” is the measure displayed. Selecting “Edit,” “Copy Measure” will allow the current measure to be pasted into others.
Click “Store and Go” and name the loop once satisfied. Repeat until all percussion loops have been written, or just come back to RAGE 2 when another loop is needed.
Once back at the main screen, click AMBER. This menu is fairly different from RAGE’s because here the writer can create synth leads or bass lines. Clicking the keyboard icon at the bottom right brings up a large keyboard, and notes are entered in a piano roll format in 16ths. Much like RAGE, the number of measures can be increased or decreased, making for easier programming in the sequencer, which will be discussed shortly.
With some notes programmed, changing their actual sound depends on either the user’s experience with wave manipulation or pure experimentation. In the center is the “Oscanimator” with a few options for changing the waveform in real time. While the “Manual Positioning” setting is recommended for finding the perfect sound for the riff, feel free to experiment.
So what is the Oscanimator, anyway? In the middle, a white square moves around (if set to) between four corners of its field, with each corner representing a different waveform. Clicking on one’s name brings a drop-box containing a few others. With some experimentation in both wave combinations and positioning the white box between them, the ideal sound can be obtained.
Once the core wave form is chosen, to the right are attack, decay, sustain and portamento sliders, which alter the riff’s sound further. At the top are a few Flanger, Wah, Reverb and Delay sliders, and to the left filter effects can be modified.
It’s much easier to use than it may sound; play with some sliders and effects after entering a riff and see what the resulting sound is.
Just like with RAGE, click “Store and Go” and name the riff once completed. Now what about turning these riffs into an actual piece of music?
At the main menu, click one of the numbered blank fields in the middle of the screen. A few pre-made beats are displayed, with user-created beats and riffs below them. Clicking one will assign it to that particular track. Just like with RAGE, each track can be altered with the sliders at the bottom, and with the “Channel FX” button at the top.
Under “Channel FX” is the “Sequencer” button. Click that and a grid, not unlike AMBER’s, comes up. Clicking a square on the grid brings up the created beats and riffs; select one and it will be inserted into the track. Once happy with the song, click the “Play Song” radio button and the new song will be heard once “Play” is pressed.
Once the song is polished and complete, click “File,” “Export Entire Song” to create a burnable WAV file. The song can be saved asRe-verb a Taureg project for later modification or remixing by clicking “Save Track” instead of exporting it.
Aspiring techno artists don’t need dozens of costly effects, drum machines, or keyboards to get started creating music; Taureg is both user-friendly and powerful enough to create sophisticated music.