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:
- The manual way, which you can use in whatever DAW
- 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
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”.
Okay, open the Piano Roll view. This is where you start to build your arpeggio sequence.
Set the Main Snap settings to 1/2.
Start building your arpeggio pattern.
I came up with the following arpeggio sequence. You can listen to it by clicking the play button under the image.
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.
Click the Chord box to open up the pop-up list of arpeggiator mode choices.
Select one of two arpeggiator modes:
- Classic arpeggiator which will create arpeggio effects based on any chords contained in the instrument sequence
- 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.
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!
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.
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.