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The Making Of The "Getting Started With Django" Music

For Kenneth Love's new "Getting Started With Django" series, I wrote an original song for the intro/outro. Not sure it's worth a long post, but I thought I'd write up a little on it.

If you like it, you can download an MP3 version or listen & follow me on SoundCloud. The song itself is Creative Commons-Attribution.


When the Kickstarter for the project initially funded, Kenneth & I had been talking for a week or so about how it was going. I asked if he had anything planned for music (since he'd have to license music, as the videos could be construed as "public performance"). He said he didn't have any plans, so I offered to try to kick something out that he could use if he'd like.

As far as guidelines went, Kenneth gave me one simple request: "upbeat". Not exactly the headstart I was looking for, but plenty of rope to hang myself. :)


Producing the track took a number of tries. If you're curious, you can listen to the earlier drafts.

I produced all variants on my iPad 3, using BeatMaker 2. For some of the early sketching, I had my Behringer UMX25 USB MIDI keyboard hooked up through the Camera Connector Kit, though almost all work was done just manipulating the piece directly through BeatMaker. No samples were used, pretty much all just the built-in instruments & a fair amount of additional manipulation.

The first attempt (& three subsequent draft) was mostly focused on the idea of "upbeat". I was kinda going for a chill island sound, with a fuzzed/punchy bass bubbling through. The various reactions I got were positive, but I don't think it was what anyone expected.

I had settled on a final refined version, but decided to do an alternate version just voices with different instruments. I went through a couple variations & while I was happier with the newer sound, it still didn't feel right.

About a week before the deadline we had imposed, I asked Kenneth for a weekend to experiment with a completely different sound. I decided to go for a more chiptune-style sound & was very pleased with the results. The people I had listen to it also liked it much better. Three revisions with lots of polish later yielded the final result.

All total, I spent close to 23 hours on the song.

Lessons Learned

Some people are musical geniuses who can just crank out original works, but a) they are far & few between and b) I am not one of them. Music is an iterative process for me, something that start with a small notion or phrase & is built/endlessly-rebuilt on top of that. You spent an enormous amount of time with a given section looping over & over again, as you refine away at it. And what sounds good one night sounds like utter garbage the next day.

Hope everyone enjoys the song & I'd love to hear feedback!

Pixel Toast