FL Studio Tutorial - Playlist Basics

In this tutorial we will explain the Playlist and how it's used to layer and string together Pattern sequences. This is where you would arrange your song by defining parts like the intro, verses, chorus and more. You can also use this view to visualize automation and even some basic editing of Pattern sequences and audio clips.

This tutorial assumes you have some data already defined in your Patterns. Please see the [Patterns tutorial] for more information on that process. I recommend that you download this sample project and open it in FL Studio.


The Playlist can be selected from the toolbar button:   or by pressing F5.

Clicking the button or pressing F5 again will toggle the Playlist on or off.

Let's begin by looking at the basic parts of a Playlist:

You can see a couple of areas of interest. First we see the toolbar across the top. Below that is a scrollbar. And below the scroll bars are markers indicating measure of time.

There is a split area below that.  One section (usually the upper section) represents the clip area and the other (usually the bottom) is the pattern block area. the pattern block area can be identified by the list of patterns running down the left side and the small square grid sections.

We'll cover the tool bars in a more advanced tutorial. For now, lets just concentrate on getting some basic arrangement using the playlist.

If you opened the project above, you should will have three patterns to work with.

Pattern Block

In the playlist window we will arrange them in a specific order. Go to the playlist make sure you scroll the view all the way to the left. Find the pattern block area, click on the left side where it is labelled Pattern 1 to activate teh pattern. You can now click to the right where you see the grid and draw blocks into the grid for the row labelled Pattern 1.

We have just put a our basic drum beat down. Make sure you repeat the blocks going to the right 8 times total.

To test this, select SONG as your playback mode and press play.

You should see the playlist scrolling through the 8 pattern blocks. Stop the playback and go to the next step.

Pattern Clip

Next let's see how we can add a pattern to the clip area. Select Pattern 2 in the Pattern Block area to activate the second pattern. Move up to the the clip area and click near the left side. You should now see a pattern clip. You can use the mouse to align this pattern clip. Try to align it so that it starts on the 3rd bar mark and repeat it two more times.

Click the play button again and it should now play Pattern 1 by itself for two bars before playing Pattern 2 along with Pattern 1 for the next six bars. You have layered two patterns together!

Just for fun, click on Pattern 3 in the Pattern block area to activate it. In the clip area, draw in Pattern 3 to play for the last four bars of the 8 bar sequence. Hit play to hear the results.

Volume Automation

Finally lets look at a simple automation we can apply. Say we want our song to fade out during the final two bars. Here's how we do that.

First, you need to highlight the area we want to automate. While holding the CTRL key, click and drag from the start of  bar #6 to the end of bar #8 inside the time marker area. Notice how the selected area turns a reddish color.

Next go to the main volume on the main toolbar. Right-click on it and select "Create Automation Clip".

This will insert an automation clip of the selected region with a line across it. This represents the volume level. Let's go back to the playlist by pressing F5. Then we can unselect the area by doing a CTRL + Click in the Time Marker Area.

Finally we can find the right most handle in the Master Volume Envelope and drag is all the way down.

Next press stop to reset the player and click Play again. You should now hear the song play through and fade out.


In this tutorial we covered some basic on using the playlist. We were able to insert patterns into the Pattern Block area as well the the Pattern Clip area. We also made a simple fadeout using an automation clip.

This is just a basic outline of the playlist. To see more detailed help, check some of the other articles here at the site.

Category: FL Studio | Tutorials
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