How to Make Beats and Instrumentals on iPhone

In this article you will learn how to create quality beats and instrumentals for free using only your iPhone.

How to Make Beats and Instrumentals on iPhone

Music relies on the arrangement of its parts and elements to create a cohesive whole. While simple in theory, aspiring musicians are typically fed with misleading guidance. “You must go to music school and know music theory” and “start by mastering an instrument and study the circle of fifths” is unfortunately not uncommon advice. It paints a gloomy picture as excitement is roped down by complexity. Is it really that music creation is a privilege reserved for the already proficient? Absolutely not. 

Similar to a LEGO house, you can work on your track piece by piece in a way that’s accessible to everyone. The key is to start with beats.

Breaking down beats 

No, we’re not Dr. Dre's expensive (and questionable 👀) headphones. We’re talking about the rhythmic pulse of music. The beat is the scaffolding on which you will add your lyrics and vocals. It’s the canvas you paint on, and the baseplate of your LEGO house. Just as you select bricks with different properties to get the look you want for your house, you can arrange together a beat, part by part.

In this article, I will show you how. All you need is a little patience, time, and your iPhone. 

Creating music on iPhone

Just a quick sidenote about producing music using phones. 

Unfortunately there are some insecure apples out there that might tell you something like “real musicians don’t use phones to make music”. Screw that. Modern iPhones have processing power that rivals many desktop computers. We made it to the moon using a fraction of the processing power the standard iPhone is equipped with today—it will do just fine for beats and instrumentals.

Thankfully, this mindset is retreating more and more every year. There are even dedicated Reddit communities for iOS and iPad music production. 

How to make your first beat

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to choosing the apps to work with. From complete studios like GarageBand and BandLab to more specified beatmaking tools like Medly. However, these can be rather overwhelming, not the least on a smaller iPhone screen. 

Enter Overtune. 

Overtune is hands-down the simplest option to get started with making beats. It’s based around the concept of Beat Packs. Beat Packs are themed collections of loops that you can customize to your liking. Imagine that on your search for beats, you could change the duration, structure and individual instruments of the options you come across… That’s Beat Packs. 

So, if you want to follow this tutorial to the letter, go and install Overtune. Everything we explain here will use only the free features. 

Step 1: Find a Beat Pack

We’ll start with finding a Beat Pack. This will serve as the frame in which you arrange your beat. Different Beat Packs have different moods and rhythms, so spend some time in finding one that aligns with your vibe. 

On the library screen, you have an overview of trending Beat Packs as well as curated collections. If you scroll a little more down, you will also find all the genres. Then you can always use the search bar too.

One of my favorite Beat Packs is RPG - Magical Quest, so I’m going to use that one going forward.

We'll be using the Beat Pack RPG - Magical Quest for this tutorial. You will find hundreds of Beat Packs across all genres on Overtune.

Step 2: Establish your melody

We can strip beats and instrumentals down into a handful of elements: rhythm, harmony, and melody. Beat Packs take care of the harmony element so all you really need to focus on is the melody and rhythm. 

I always like to start with the melody (though you can start with anything you like). It helps me visualize the rest of the track and inspire its different components. Melody is also the most memorable part of the beat. It’s what people will hum along to after all. So it makes sense to use this sort of top-down approach, adding layers and complexity as we go. 

Find your base melodic loop

Looking at the Beat Pack, we have keys, some guitar and plenty of orchestral instruments. These will be our melodic loops. What I like to do at this stage is to play them all and hum them out loud as I do. You will sense which ones work for you and which don’t. 

I’m in the mood for something simple so I’ll go with the Bard’s Quest Medieval Lute.  

Here, then is the sound we're starting off with:

Add a complimentary melodic loop (optional)

You will do just fine with one melodic loop but you can of course also add an additional one to give your beat more depth. I quite like how the keys mix with the lute so I’ll add that one for my beat. 

As you can now hear, the additional melody doesn’t compromise my melody but it gives it so much more weight. By now, I’m starting to have a good idea of how the rest of the beat will pan out. 

There are many ways to find that complimentary sound. You can preview potential additions while playing your base. You could even add all the melodic loops to the sequencer and do a process of elimination. Whatever works for you. 

Step 3: Add rhythm

Now that the melody is locked down, it’s time to inject some rhythm. This is where we bring in our drums and percussion. RPG - Magical Quest only has drum loops where kicks, snares, shakers, and hats have been combined for us, making it a rather straightforward task. Again, you can preview loops as you go or simply add everything and eliminate those that don’t work one by one. 

I like the Into Battle Beat loop but I find it just a hint too aggressive. To fix that, I decrease the volume of that instrument track slightly. Now it’s really starting to come together. 

Step 4: Structure and arrangement

Next is the structure. I want this beat to support a short song so I’ll duplicate the loops until I have about two minutes total duration. There are many different song structures to choose from. I’m going to go with a simple AABAB structure with a short intro and outro on either end. 

That will make my entire track look like this: intro, verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, outro. 

The structure and arrangement of the beat. Notice the trimmings on the last loops of the verses leading up to the choruses. I'll explain that below.

Arranging your sections

With the structure in place, we’ve set a frame that we’ve essentially got to fill in. I like doing gradual intros so I’ll start with only my lute, before adding the keys and drums. I’ll let that loop once before adding a bassline. That’s my verses sorted. 

The chorus is the peak of your song. The trick here is to both build up to it and to introduce an additional melodic layer or a change in percussion to shift the energy. You can also do both. For the additional melodic layer, I decided to add a flute loop. I’ve opted against changing the percussion because none of the other drum loops felt right. This comes down to trial and error. Don’t hesitate to experiment.


I’m only using 5 loops at this point but it’s starting to sound good. It’s just a little monotonous so I’ll add a couple of instrumental breaks using my melodics. One between the verses and one after the first chorus. This really helps separate the sections and add some versatility to the beat. 

Now the whole thing sounds like this. 

Step 5: Final tweaks

Alright, we’ve got our beat. Now let’s do some final touches. 

Creating drops

One easy thing you can almost always do is to create a drop for the chorus. You’ll accomplish this by trimming some of the loops leading up to it. How exactly to do it really depends on your style and arrangement so don’t be afraid to try different things. In my case, I want to keep things simple so I end up only taking a quarter off the back of the drum. lute, and bass loops, just before the choruses. See if you can hear the difference.

Here is one where I didn't trim any loops.

vs here I trimmed some to create a drop.

FX & vocal loops

Another thing you might want to do is to spice things up with FX loops. Most Beat Packs have some effect loops within them. Whether you use them is entirely up to you.

I quite like the Town Square FX loop in this pack and end up adding it to my intro and outro. I feel like it adds a sense of authenticity to the setting. But in the end this is just a matter of preference. 

Our end product

What we end up with is this:

There you have it. We've just created a beat using only our iPhones. It's as simple as that.

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