Tips for Music Producers
Beats must have unstoppable forward momentum!! The art lies within choosing the right rhythm.
Things to ask yourself when making a beat
- Is there rhythmic pattern built into the songs melody or harmonic progression that needs emphasized? Or is it more effective for bassline and keyboard to emphasize rhythm of hook in chorus but contrast with vocals in chorus.
- Is there a key instrument around which you can base the rest of the groove? For example – the guitar in ‘Torn’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?
- Once foundation of the groove is there, an instrument could play counter to rhythm
- How is everything working together?
- Does the groove constantly feel pushing ahead or holding back?
- Does the tempo feel slow?
- Does momentum sustain even without vocals?
Understand Time Signature – read up on this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
TRAINING / TUTORIALS
How to Quantize a beat
There are three main sounds that you need to master before you can make your own rap beats. These sounds are the drum kick sound, the hi-hat, and the snare drum sound. The drum kick sound is no other than the letter B. you simply enunciate this sound with boldness and force that it comes out strong. To make it stronger, you can add vibrations to it. The snare sound is made of the PSH sound. The hi-hat sound is the TS sound.
To start off, you need to practice with using these sounds in series. The best way to practice is to use a four-combination using the B, TS, PSH, and TS. Enunciate these sounds continuously until you do not get confused with the series and until you get the rhythm. Once you are efficient in this series, you can practice more combinations until such time that you can make your own rap beats. Almost every drum pattern will include a snare or clap on beats 2 and 4.
Almost every rhythmic feel will either be subdivision of sixteenth notes or eighth notes –http://www.smccd.edu/accounts/
Key lies in understanding there’s more to rhythm than drum patterns and more to energy than tempo.
Take into account overall sonic quality of rhythmic track and how each instrument or part fits into the groove. What counts most is how drums, beats and percussion sound.
Listen to ‘Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now’ and ‘Pump up the Jam’ – they have little differences in rhythm. Listen to how the snare changes a song – in ‘Nasty’ by Janet Jackson it’s aggressive … in ‘Virtual Insanity’ it’s funky – ‘Stronger’ by Kanye without the reverb on the heavy industrial snare wouldn’t sound the same. ‘ABC’ is the perfect interplay between bass line, distorted guitar riff, drums, piano part. A song’s energy level is a product of its groove and aggressiveness with which it’s played not the actual tempo. Listen to ‘Can I Get A’ vs ‘American Idiot’ vs ‘Time of Your Life’
Lastly, learn to prioritize your work flow. We should be handling tasks by dividing them into quadrants:
1. Important and Urgent (crises, deadline-driven projects) FOR INSTANCE A major artist needs a change to a track
2. Important, Not Urgent (preparation, prevention, planning) NEW PROJECTS THAT HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED AND PLANNED AND A $$$ MAKING CAUSE IS DEFINED
3. Urgent, Not Important (interruptions, many pressing matters) ANYTHING OTHER THAN PROJECTS THAT HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED!
4. Not Urgent, Not Important (trivia, time wasters) WATCHING TV, ANYONE INTRODUCING UNPROVEN IDEAS, SAMPLING UNLESS A SAMPLE IS NEEDED
# 2 is where quality happens.
Doing more things faster is no substitute for doing the right things
Ask yourself, Am I doing the right things before am I doing things right?