Changing The Order You Write A Track

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Phase Ghost
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Changing The Order You Write A Track

Post by Phase Ghost » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:19 pm

So, I think I'm going to switch up the order in which I write the parts to a track. Well, try to anyways. I can't remember the last time I didn't start out a track with a kick, hi-hat and a percussion element or two. Honestly, I don't think I've ever not started a track that way. Obviously, it works, but I think I'm going to start the next few tracks with a synth line and some background textures first. Maybe even the bass line before the drums too.

I'm not really stuck creatively, just want to try something different. Anyone else ever start a track without drums or try it this way? Maybe lots of people do this, not sure.

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Re: Changing The Order You Write A Track

Post by tone-def » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:21 pm

i start with bass sometimes.

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Re: Changing The Order You Write A Track

Post by lem » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:29 pm

I always start a track with the atmospheres. I find I pay much less attention to the other sounds because its slightly masked by something. Not to say I don't listen to each sound in isolation for critial listening and tweaking.

I used to spend ages just making kicks and getting bread n butter beats going. I learnt loads about how to make kicks, hats and claps this way. But I used to spend a lot of time obsessing over such things. I think in the grand scheme of things, these elements probably matter the least in a good tune. They mainly serve a function for me.

I find it much easier and more fun to start with the musical elements, then energies develope on their own. Adding the beat later suddenly gives the tune backbone and I find is much less fatiguing.

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Re: Changing The Order You Write A Track

Post by steevio » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:45 pm

i create all my sounds at the same time, they are all interconnected, but add the kickdrum and hihat last of all.

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Re: Changing The Order You Write A Track

Post by Barfunkel » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:10 am

I always start by putting a four on the floor kickdrum in there. Doesn't have to be a great kick, basically just a metronome so that I can start building the track. I'm not a melodic guy, I don't think I could, with my current understanding of music theory, start a track with the melody first. There needs to be some kind of a rhythm in there, even if it's just a crappy kickdrum doing 4/4.

Learning some theory would be nice though, so I could use more complex chords and write more imaginative melodies.

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Re: Changing The Order You Write A Track

Post by Ingemar » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:56 am

i cant think of a standard way i work... most often a track develops naturally from me noodling about with something. I try to avoid going in for making a track with the mindset "this is it" unless i have a nice idea to play with. I most often just sit down and try to achieve a nice element, and sometimes that element or sum of element begs for a kick, hihat, bassline or whatever. Its not like an exam, in which you get penalised for leaving stuff out from the finished product

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Re: Changing The Order You Write A Track

Post by Maiyal » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:06 am

Sometimes I start with percussion, adding individual sounds in a way that I find interesting. Then I add the kick to see how they interfere with it. Sometimes I have to move the whole percussion section half a measure or so forward or backward so it flows better.

Sometimes I start with a few simple chords, or even a 4 bar loop from another song to get me in the mood. I usually end up deleting that loop or seriously reworking it later on to be less recognizable.

Rarely I'll start with a bass line because I find it hard to build sounds around it.

Atmospheres are also good to start with, more recently I've started songs with recording 10-15 minute long evolving atmospheres and then built tracks into it.

No set formula really, whatever sounds I feel like playing around with.

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Re: Changing The Order You Write A Track

Post by AK » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:41 pm

I like to start in a pattern sequencer at the moment, that usually means I begin with kick and bass elements. But lately, I have been playing around with a pile of samples I had made from a mates MBase, I have ordered them into root notes ( anal I know ) but a lot of them are more bass type sounds than actual kicks. I have modified a few too so that they function as bass notes as well. I like this way of working as it enables me to keep any sense of pitch on my kick working well both harmonically and rhythmically with the bass. I usually make a pile of patterns by copying and modifying/extending until I stumble upon a few grooves I like. I then add other elements like shakers/hats and tonal sounds/chords.

I often find I end up with bass patterns I could never have played by hand this way but then if I want a played by hand feel, I obviously go that route. Anyway, my point was, by keeping everything in step sequencers, and not committing anything to a sequencer lane, I am working a lot quicker in terms of getting ideas, I usually end up getting into fiddly-diddly mode when working inside of a sequencer lane and it becomes boring and tedious.

It doesn't matter to me where I start, could be a single chord, a percussive element, a bass line or a kick, but if I play stuff in by hand, it usually ends up being more melodic than if I step sequence an idea - that is, I write differently by playing than I do sequencing, the music sounds like it could be from two different people. I'm not sure that's a good thing or a bad thing to be honest.

I can be sure of one thing, if I start out with a beat and percussion, the idea ends up a lot more driving than anything else as it seems to be more percussive orientainted, whereas if I start with a few chords or a busy melodic bass line, the idea develops into something a lot more musical so I tend to know this and just go with the flow.

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