=====Special Announcement at the End of this Post. Scroll to the bottom if you can’t wait!=====
A lot of your songs might start off pretty bad.
I mean, maybe even as bad as a tired vocal and an out of tune guitar.
Even if you had a great acoustic/vocal demo that’s only the beginning of the song because you might still feel like something’s missing.
Production is about adding more to the song and putting all the pieces together that fit with the original idea. When everything is pieced together perfectly, the end result is spectacular.
I like classifying a song into four distinct parts. You could deconstruct songs endlessly but I feel like these four elements of music production work well when analyzing a song.
Here are my four elements of music production:
Every song needs a foundation. Any production needs a solid drum beat or a rhythmic pattern to keep it grooving.
Wait, but I like a ton of songs that don’t have any drums?
Exactly, but they usually have something that supplies a steady beat to keep the song going.
For instance, John Mayer’s “Heart of Life” doesn’t have any drums.
But listen more closely to the rhythm guitar part and you hear how he makes the beat by slapping his hand on the guitar.
So you’re right. A beat doesn’t need drums, it just needs something to supply the rhythm.
Here you’ll find the harmonic content of the song. The chord progressions, guitar riffs or other important instrumental parts.
These riffs supply the harmonic foundation to the melody. Just like the beat supplies the rhythmical foundation of the song, the chord progressions or riffs shape the tonal structure of the whole song.
It’s often the presentation of the chord progression that makes a song different.
John Mayer’s “Heart of Life” is a simple song, with a simple chord progression. While many other songs have the same chord progression, it’s the presentation and the special way he plays those chords that makes it unique.
Of course, the melody is what makes the song. Strip away everything else while keeping the melody and you can still recognize the song.
Melody is the most important part of ANY song.
A simple song with a killer melody that gets stuck in your head is more likely to succeed than a killer production with a monotonic melody.
There’s always that one part of a great song.
The part where you shush your friends and say,
“Listen to this awesome part!”
That’s the part where all of those things come together. A tight rhythm, a great chord progression, an amazing melody and that little sweet something that takes it all the way.
The fills, breaks and solos are the production elements that add interest to the song. These are the guitar solos, string parts or backup vocals.
It’s the sugar on top of a great song.
How To Achieve This Level of Production?
Well, I’ve got exiting news that will give you the inspiration needed to take your rough demos to the next professional level.
Music Production Strategies is open!
Music Production Strategies is a 5-part tutorial series that analyzes some of the most popular productions throughout history.
From Simon & Garfunkel to Imagine Dragons, we try to touch upon a little bit of everything.
- You’ll learn songwriting and song structure techniques to create more powerful songs.
- You’ll analyze interesting arrangement tricks that will enhance your tracks and help you make your client’s songs more powerful.
- You’ll learn some of the secrets behind how things were recorded and mixed, from the amplifier in Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ in the Years” to the 2-buss compression trick in Bruno Mars’s “Locked Out of Heaven” and everything in between.
In addition, I’ve also added a 4-part video series that talks about self-producing and overcoming the self-doubts you have when you’re left with a rough demo you don’t know what to do with.
What Do You Get?
I try to analyze and talk about these songs in various ways so you’ll get:
- 12 in-depth reports, one for each song so you can really get into what makes them “tick.”
- 12 arrangement graphics that let you follow the instruments along as you listen to the song, helping you understand and visualize the layers of arrangement.
- Song highlight videos every week with interesting insights, session stories and techniques you can apply to your own productions.
- Action steps to help you tie some of the techniques together using some of your favorite songs (not just the songs we discuss in the course).
- 4-part mini course on self-producing
- Access to the community where you can discuss the songs you find and why you think they work.
For full details, visit the Music Production Strategies – Secrets Behind Popular Productions Page.
The cart closes on Friday at midnight so you need to act now to improve your musical productions.