Newbie music producers are often advised to get themselves some “beats” before they start producing songs to build up their experience and get more of an idea of what kind of music they’d like to produce in the future.
Producing beats is relatively easy once you know how, but it’s also quite tricky for beginners because you can use so many different techniques to create your beats. What’s more, it’s difficult to know where to start looking for beats if you don’t already have a few of your own that you’re happy with.
How To Create A Great Beat: Knowing the Basics And Fundamentals
The world of music creation is constantly changing. However, some pieces of knowledge remain the same, regardless of what software you use or how far technology advances. These are some things that you need to know about beats to make them great.
Know Your Tools
Knowing your tools will help you create better beats and help you use them more efficiently. This means knowing what every option will do and how it can be used to improve your beats. For instance, you can identify if the Behringer is for you, or do you prefer to use other beat-making tools?
Is it better to use a dedicated beat-making program like FL studio beat maker or Ableton Live Beat Maker? What about third-party plugins and loops that can be used in these tools to enhance them into something greater than the original programs.
Speaking of tools, what is your preference when it comes to MIDI Keyboard vs. Drum Pads vs. DAW Keyboard? Do I need to use all three of these, or can one afford me better results than the others? Should there be a specific hierarchy among them you should use first and last?
Know Your Sounds
Knowing how you behave is another critical element of making better beats. For example, if you know that a snare has a sharp attack and contains a lot of higher frequencies, you can add other sounds that complement it and let them start simultaneously to avoid clashing with each other.
There are three aspects of sound that need to be known:
- The sound’s frequency range (low, mid-range, or high),
- The sound’s amplitude (how loud or quiet it is),
- The sound’s timbre (it’s color).
Knowing these three aspects will help you exploit the full potential of your sounds to create better beats.
Identify Your Vibe
The vibe is all about the feel of your beat. It’s what people listen to to get an idea of how their brains will interpret it. Just like colors express different emotions, so do beats – you can make a sad beat or a happy one, depending on what sounds you use and when you introduce them during the beat.
The vibe can be thought of as an umbrella term for the listener’s feelings upon hearing a beat. This also ties back to how you use your sounds, their frequency ranges, amplitudes, and how you introduce them in your beats.
Start With Bass Line
The bass line is what will give your beats their initial feeling. It’s the vibe you start with, and it will shape the rest of your beat according to its tonality. This means that if your bass line has a very calm feel, everything else should be built around this to keep things cohesive, or conversely, if it has a sad tone, everything else should act accordingly.
Add The Drums
The next step is to add your drums, and there are two methods you can use:
- By adding individual elements such as hi-hats, claps, kicks, etc.
- By programming your beats utilizing a drum machine or MIDI Drum Pads.
If you choose the first method, which is more common among beginners, you will need to experiment with your sounds to find the one that fits best. If you choose the second method, it is best if you have a predefined structure of your beats in mind since it’s much easier to follow when each sound already has its place.
Add Melodic Loops
Now that the beat is well-defined and the drums fill any gap that might be left, you can add your melodic loops (a.k.a chords or samples). These are the elements of your beat that will make it go somewhere and create a proper progression:
They should not clash with each other since they represent different moods/vibes,
They should not clash with the bass line either,
Of course, you can use a similar melodic loop for as long as it goes well with everything else. For example, if your beat starts off light and airy from the get-go, using a trance melodic loop will work just fine as long as you don’t accelerate too much.
Enhance Your Beat With FX and Filters
Just as sounds can be divided as high, mid, and low-range frequencies, so does the entire beat itself: it has a low end (mainly the bass line), a mid-end (the drums), and a high end (melodic loops). By using side-chain compression and equalizers, you can influence the way these three ranges interact with each other.
Equalizing Your Beats
Equalization is a powerful tool that will help you clean up your beat by reducing or eliminating specific frequencies, such as those that contain hums, crackles, and pops. You should use it on your bassline and drums, especially the hi-hats.
Having a precise mix will ensure that your beat stands out, and it won’t be masking any underlying problems with frequencies in certain sounds.
Expand Your Horizons with Effects
Effects will help you make your beat more complex, and they come in a wide variety of flavors. They can be used to achieve several things, such as adding swing to your beats, changing their tonality, or morphing the sound altogether.
- Swing is an effect that’s applied by creating a subtle unpredictability in the timing of your beats.
- Transpose is about reprogramming your beat to follow a different tonal scheme, e.g., minor or major scale.
- Morphing is all about how you gradually change from one sound to another by using volume envelopes and adding effects such as delay, reverb, and chorus.
Master And Mix The Beat
Once you’re done fiddling with your sounds, it’s time to bring them together and mix them so that they sound cohesive. This is where you’ll get rid of unwanted frequencies or amplify the ones you want so the beat will have a good representation across all speakers. Everything should be balanced out equally, and there shouldn’t be any noticeable disturbance to the overall groove of your beats.
Where To Create Fantastic Beats?
The world is your oyster, and it’s only a matter of time and opportunities to find the right sounds and hone your skills. As long as you master these basics and update yourself with what’s new in the scene, you will be able to create excellent music beats at ease. This is what matters most, not where you do it.
Creating beats is a creative process that requires a lot of work. You have to be patient and use your ears much more than the eyes since it’s listening that will help you know if something, well, sounds right. Once you’re done with creating a beat, take some time off and come back to it later with fresh ears so you can see how others hear it.
Remember, the most important thing is to have fun when you make beats!
Taylor is a freelance SEO copywriter and blogger. His areas of expertise include technology, pop culture, and marketing.