How To Create Arpeggio

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How To Create Arpeggio

An arpeggio is a broken down chord where the notes that make up that chord are played in a descending or ascending order.


Not only is an arpeggio a cool and interesting way to hear a chord, but it’s also one of the most common elements in electronic music – especially in trance.

So, if you’ve never made an arpeggio or used one in your productions, it’s best you learn how. And that’s exactly what I’m going to show you how to do this tutorial!

I’m going to show you two methods:

  1. The manual way, which you can use in whatever DAW
  2. By using some of the special functions built-in FL Studio.

Let’s start with the first.

1. The Manual Way to Create an Arpeggio

We are going to create a typical trance arpeggio here so first set the tempo to around 135bpm.

TIP: Click the pics for a larger view

Set The Tempo To 135bpm

Next, load your favorite VST synth. I’ll be using TAL-NoiseMaker in this example, and I’m using the preset “LD Dirty Snow AS”.

Load Your Favourite VST Synth

Okay, open the Piano Roll view. This is where you start to build your arpeggio sequence.

Open Piano Roll

Set the Main Snap settings to 1/2.

Snap Settings

Start building your arpeggio pattern.

Add Notes

I came up with the following arpeggio sequence. You can listen to it by clicking the play button under the image.

Arpeggio Sequence

Decrease the note lengths to make the arpeggio sequence sound more staccato. Also tweak the ADSR settings of your synthesizer for some interesting character changes.

2. Creating an Arpeggio with FL Studio Built-in Functions

Next, I’ll show you how you can use one of the FL Studio’s built-in functions to create an arpeggio very easily. Again load your favorite VST synth.

I’ll be using TAL-NoiseMaker again and the “LD Dirty Snow AS” preset.

Once they’re loaded, click the Channel Settings button to bring up the Channel Settings box and from there click the FUNC tab.

Open The Channel Settings

Click the Chord box to open up the pop-up list of arpeggiator mode choices.

Arpeggiator Mode Choices

Select one of two arpeggiator modes:

  1. Classic arpeggiator which will create arpeggio effects based on any chords contained in the instrument sequence
  2. Predefined chord template.

We’ll test the classic mode by selecting “Auto”. It will then automatically arpeggiate every note you play or put into Piano Roll.

Select Arpeggiator Mode

Now, select the arpeggiator direction by clicking the icons shown in the pic below. The choices are Off (default; turns off the arpeggiator), Up, Down, Up-Down, Up-Down (twice the lowest and highest notes), Random (selects random notes from the range and chord specified).

We’ll test the Up direction!

Select Arpeggiator Direction

Okay, now you can play notes and chords via your MIDI keyboard, and they will be arpeggiated, or you can create a chord pattern using the Piano Roll as I did (shown in the pic below).

Click the play button below the pic to hear how it sounds.

Arpeggiated Chord Pattern

That’s it. I also recommend checking out these cool free VST MIDI arpeggiator plugins: Arto Vaarala’s Kirnu and Wok SimpArp.

Also, remember that the sounds you use with the arpeggiator make a big difference on how it will sound. Some will work quite well with an arpeggio; others won’t work at all. You just have to test and tweak. 🙂

Finally, here’s a video where I utilize the FL Studio’s Function Channel Arpeggiator.

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HowToMakeElectronicMusic.com (HTMEM) - A music production website with plenty FL Studio tutorials, interviews, news, free music production tips, and free downloads.

13 Comments

  1. This is so helpful!!
    I’ve seriously tested atleast 100 different synths and leads!

    But now I don’t know which one to choose 😀 haha.
    Thanks alot!

  2. this was of great use, but my question is.., in the sytrus synth selection menu, say, we use acid 8.
    well i have not arpeggiated it yet, but its seems to have its own progression of some sort, really just a rhythmic pattern, where and how do i control this?

    • Hi,

      You can disable that rhythmic sequence by going to FILT 1 and either disable the Volume and Filter cutoff envelope or edit the envelope according to your needs.

  3. I have heard that ‘Kirnu’ is one of the better arpeggiators going around, but I cannot work out how to use it :/ Do you think that you could possibly do a short tutorial about how to use it?

  4. Max Golovanov on

    THX for tutorial, Petri!

    Just thought it would be a great idea to ask a favour of you to make a tutorial related to creating of Arpeggios and immediately found it on your SUPER site! THX!!!!

  5. thanks man! i’m glad there are great people around who just want to help others in creating their own music. keep up the good job,

  6. Jash Rana on

    Hey Petri, I just want to ask you a question!! You have got so much knowledge and talent about EDMs, so why don’t you become a well-known EDM producer and DJ ???? (Just curiousness)

    • topkekekek on

      because hes not original? because he makes music 1000000000 of other people are already making? trance is long dead, house is about to follow. even dubstep is beginning to die. nowadays to be a successful electronic artist you need to be 100% original in every aspect, maybe even create your own genre and work on it. labelling yourself as a trance/house/anything artist is digging your own grave

      • Just a guy on

        Topkekekek
        Dubstep is dead but house is still up there, trance, well debatable however I think that most people use samples and illegally downloaded presets, and have no musical skills except maybe on the arrangements so making something “original” or “new” would be hard to do for most people, but if you can do it wish you the best and hope to here your tunes! 🙂

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