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lunes, 29 de septiembre de 2008

Trance Production Tutorial


This is a trance production tutorial zalmusic made
actually it's somekinda for beginners who want to start making trance
well I'm going to speak about the construction of trance music
cuz you know, every instrument can be used in many ways in Music, so piano
in waltz is different from trance piano so you need to know how to use
your vst's in every genre you intend to make..

to start,trance is produced in a tempo between 130 - 160 and a 4/4 beat
now I'd like to think of trance as 5 sections which are:-

1- Drums
2- Bass
3- Melody
4- FX and special sounds
5- Build-up & filling


1- Drums

the most simple drum elements are
(kick - snare & claps - closed hats - open hats)
i'm not gonna talk too much about making the drums
here is an image for a drum pattern in fl studio

you don't really need to stick to this pattern
cuz you have to add your touches too !
sometimes I alternate between 2 patterns of kicks like this

you can give your drums a nice sound by messing with the hihats for example;
fill all the steps of the closed hats
but make sure to adjust the velocity of the hat notes to sound a little humanized
here is how it looks

adjust the levels in the way you want but make sure to give the
down beat the highest level
you can do this manually or choose between some presets in fl
and to get preset levels
you will find "humanizing presets" on the left ,choose between many styles there ..

well , you can add some other drum kits like cowbells , percs and so on
just mess with the these kits and you will get something cool !

I will explain how to use the drums in the "Build-up" section

2- Bass

bass is a very effective sound in trance
if you are gonna continue your music with only drums and melodies etc...
it will never sound clubby or powerful ..

ok in trance music the bass is somekinda different
it's a little uniform and continuous
the bass line is written in such a "rolling" way
let me show you

now that's called a rolling bass line
and the bass notes "do not" meet the kick notes, they are shifted an 8th note
to the right

when you write the bass line "it has" to be in the scale or chord progression of the melody (I will get to that in the melodies section)

for example if your melody plays like this (A -> C -> E -> C -> A)
the bass line should be playing something like that (A - A - A - A - C - etc.)
so you don't put a note like (B) cuz it will be out of tune and sound so wrong !!


3- Melody

I don't think that there is a "formula" for melody so that you can apply it
but there are some rules I like to follow when writing the melody

a- choose your scale
b- make a chord progression
c- start writing

a- scales
okay ,if you don't know what scales are, here is a short explaination
think of scales as the letters that make your alphabet
if you have the english letters you can write english but you can't write russian
the same, if you have certain 8 notes you can write sad music
and if you have other 8 notes you can write happy music

the main scales are "Minor & Major" scales

Major ==> gives you "happy" feeling"
Minor ==> give you "sad" feeling

here is a picture to understand the difference between the 2 scales

okay , this picture shows C-major and C-minor scale
and it's named after the first note you start with (which is a "C" here)
this note is called the "root"

you will notice that the minor & major are different in only (3 notes)
the (3rd - 6th -7th)

so if you want to make a minor scale out of a major
just lower those 3 notes (a half step down)
and you will get a sad feeling ( see the picture ) :D

I think that trance melodies are often written in Minor scales

b- chord progression

it's a sequence of some chords that repeat themselves during the entire song
try to have not less than 16 bars of repeating chords so that your song doesn't
sound boring, see this

here I used C-minor scale in my chord progression
i wrote 3 notes for every chord
you can write more , as you like

but try to do some variations with it
like introducing the chord before it begins by adding a note at the end of each chord
see this

notice the red notes I added...

well, you can use the chord progression in an Arpeggiate sound, you can use it in
a synth string or a pad , whatever you like.. I used here a pad to sound dreamy a little

the chord progression is part of what is called "the harmony"

c- writing the melody

you gotta be creative in this part :D
but make sure to follow the chord progression you made
cuz this makes it easy for you to write the melody
and what i mean by following the chord progression is that you don't write notes
that do not belong to the chord

for example the first chord is (C - D# - G)
you shouldn't write a melody that all it's notes are (B - D - G#)
cuz this makes your melody out of tune
of course you can add some notes like (D-F-G#) but make it quick
so that the listener doesn't catch it saying "I AM A WRONG NOTE!"
and that's what i discussed in the "BASS section"

in your melodies you can use pluck sounds , arp, piano, etc...
here i used a pluck

see the piano roll of melody

ok I will let you listen to what we did 'till now

(Chord progression Pad + Melody) CLICK HERE

also we can add later very simple notes of melody
but make sure to start playing it after a while
so you don't burn all the melodies you have !

I made something like this

and the bass that i think would fit here would be like

I think this is just basic info for writing melodies and you need to be creative !

4- FX and special sounds

FX and special effects are the sounds that make your track exciting
and they are used to introduce some sounds and do the breaks & drops
there are many forms of FX like

"sweeps - FX kicks - reverse crash - Crowd sounds"

if you listen to my track see me now you will find some nice sweeps and
fx kicks i used in the build-up of the song

I also like to use kicks like that, i don't know what it's called but let's say rolling kicks

just put the notes this way
and adjust the velocity level to be
ascending in such a way

you may also want to use reverse crashes
just add a crash cymbal in a channel
left click it
and check the "reverse" box

see this


5- Build-up & filling

you can get this section by just listening to many tracks
and study how trance is building up

sometimes I start with drums and bass or with FX like in my track "Trance Light"
sometimes I start with melody

but if you start with any of that
just don't put everything you have
start with something simple then build up
for example
when I start with drums and bass i only put (kick + Bass) then with some
sweeps and reverse crash I bring the snare into action then the cymbals and so on

make sure that when you build up you don't repeat your track more than 16 bars without variation
introduce your new sounds after 2 - 4 or 8 bars and not 3 - 5 - 7 bars
this will not sound good for every instrument

ok , I used all of what I wrote above in the tutorial and made this

let's take a listen to the final project

well , I hope that this tutorial was helpful enough
and I really appreciate it if you could post your comments and thoughts

I would also be happy to answer your questions
so feel free to ask !

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