Explain the step by step process of this assignment.
There were three main sections in the process of creating my product, and I will explain them below. Firstly, I did research on how to create a future bass track, and key elements that make up the genre. I also listened to notable artists in this genre such as Illenium and Marshmello so I could have a deeper understanding of future bass. This was important so that my final product is fitting of what I wanted it to sound like. Next, I started building the track. I mainly used synths and vocal chops for the melodic elements, while there was some sound effects and a drum track I made by compiling different elements of a drum kit (kick, snare, tom, percussion, cymbal, etc.) together. This part was the hardest as it involved many iterations and testing what sounds good and what doesn’t. I wrote a simple chord progression in key F (during research, I found that F is widely used in EDM because synthesised bass elements are at just the right frequency to the human ear) and used more or less the same voicing throughout the track. Furthermore, the baseline followed the root note of each chord in the progression. The vocal chops were edited, looped, and transposed so that they sound in key but also different from the original. The drums were challenging but I did manage to finally compose something I felt like fit the genre and I liked the sound of. Lastly, I did some mixing to the track. This was just adding plugins, automation, tweaking the volume of each instrument; small things that when added together contribute to the track a lot. Reverb, EQ, and compressors were mostly what I added to the synths; every plugin had a purpose and without them the instruments would sound noticeably different. I automated volume for different sections of the track using the same instruments, as I wanted to create distinctly separate sections in my product.
Assess your success against your assessable criteria from your proposal.
– Two minutes in length
Yes, my product is 2:03 in length
– Use at least 3 melodic instruments
Yes, my product uses many melodically distinct instruments (9 synths)
– Drum track
Yes, there is an original drum track
– Two beat drops
Yes, there are 2 distinct build-ups followed by a drop in my product
– Multiple sections
Yes, there are many distinct sections within my product (intro, build-up, drop, outro)
– Extensive use of plugins
Yes, I utilised reverb, compressors and equalizers in my product
Evaluate your learning and new skills acquired.
One thing I definitely learned throughout this musical journey is how to create songs from basic ideas such as melodies or chord progressions. I experienced this throughout the process of making my track, as well as through online resources. Another skill I acquired is the ability to sculpt a track into different genres. In this project, specifically, the genre in question was future bass. This meant I included vocal chops, an LFO (low frequency oscillator), a messy and percussive half-time drum beat, among other key elements. Synths are extremely important, and in completing this project I learned how to handle them with some decent skill. This involved learning envelopes, detune, wavetables, etc. which were all difficult to understand. One piece of knowledge taken away from building this track is the importance of risers and crashes. These can help define borders between sections and completely change the feel of a track. I used risers and crashes in my product, and also reversed them so I could use them at the end of a section as “downers.”
What challenges did you face and overcome?
One challenge I faced was making the synths sound good and dynamic together. This was hard because each different synth sounded unique and covered a wide range of frequencies. To overcome this and ensure a cleaner sound, I used EQs to limit each synth to a specific frequency. This meant that if I took away even a single synth, it would be noticeable.
Another problem I encountered was how complicated synths were to work with. It took many hours and lots of playing around to let me get a better understanding of what I was working with, and which settings did what to the sound. Even now, I don’t understand everything that goes on with a synth, but at least I can use one and make it sound how I want to some degree.