Quick question about tuning kick and bass and key of track

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bishbo2000
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Quick question about tuning kick and bass and key of track

Post by bishbo2000 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:03 pm

In Tim Allen's Groove 3 tutorials he mentions tuning the bass root note to a fifth above the fundamental of the kick. For this example we will say the kick is in C and the Bass root is G.

Is my track now in the key of C or G?

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Cezband
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Re: Quick question about tuning kick and bass and key of track

Post by Cezband » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:26 am

Assuming that the rest of your pitched tracks (pads, synth lines etc) are working from the bass root of G, it would be in G. The C of the kick would just be a complimentary note in the scale a few octaves down.
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LeifonMars
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Re: Quick question about tuning kick and bass and key of track

Post by LeifonMars » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:36 am

No it's not. In case your tracks key is G major, the kick should be tuned to d, or in case your track plays in C major, the kick should be tuned to g. I.e. -5 semitones from the key in which the bass is playing.
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Cezband
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Re: Quick question about tuning kick and bass and key of track

Post by Cezband » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:00 am

LeifonMars wrote:No it's not. In case your tracks key is G major, the kick should be tuned to d, or in case your track plays in C major, the kick should be tuned to g. I.e. -5 semitones from the key in which the bass is playing.
I think he's working it the other way around, tuning the bass at the 5th of the kick instead of dropping the kick down from the bass, so the kick in C would lead to the bass being at G. Surely the actual key would be defined by where the rest of the track is sitting in relation to these two notes, or am I missing something here too? Monday morning, need more coffee, let me know if I'm being dumb... :)
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Re: Quick question about tuning kick and bass and key of track

Post by LeifonMars » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:43 am

Cezband wrote:
LeifonMars wrote:No it's not. In case your tracks key is G major, the kick should be tuned to d, or in case your track plays in C major, the kick should be tuned to g. I.e. -5 semitones from the key in which the bass is playing.
I think he's working it the other way around, tuning the bass at the 5th of the kick instead of dropping the kick down from the bass, so the kick in C would lead to the bass being at G. Surely the actual key would be defined by where the rest of the track is sitting in relation to these two notes, or am I missing something here too? Monday morning, need more coffee, let me know if I'm being dumb... :)
Haven't actually seen the tutorial in question here :D , but it's just plain weird to me that you would define the key for the rest of the track by the tune of the kick, that's why I presumed it has to be other way around you suggested. But then again, I don't produce house so what do I know. Anyhow, dropping kick 5 semitones from the key of the bass might sound good though, I always tune my kicks by ear, but my guess is they often hit the range -5 semitones from the root note. Besides, if the root note of the bass is g, the fifth above would be d. So in case kick drum plays in c, that would make it fourth in the root chord of the track.
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rbmonosylabik
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Re: Quick question about tuning kick and bass and key of track

Post by rbmonosylabik » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:55 am

I'd say it's better to figure out what key your track is first, then work the percussion tuning around that. Your key really depends on the harmonic content of your track. If you don't know much music theory, I've found it helps to write down what notes you're using in your track and figuring out what's the closest scale/s that use those notes. Let's say you have this bass line:

|:C-C-C-D-C---F-A-|D---D----F----G-G-:|

You're using these notes: C D F G A

If you add E and B, you get C D E F G A B, which is the C Major Scale. Also, the prevalence of C in the downbeats of the 1st bar and the movement from G to C reinforce the sensation that C is home, or your key.

Knowing that, you can decide the tuning of your kick. This will depend on your style and what you want to achieve with your kick and bass. If your bass is very deep and has little low end, you might want to choose a brighter kick with more click and tune it to the 5th above your bass (in this case, it'd be G). If your bass is bright you'll probably want a kick that works on the low end, tuned to the G below your root C.

You can also try tuning them an octave apart instead of a 5th. Also, try tuning them both to the root to see how that works. If you do this, you might want to try adding a bit of EQ to lower the bass's root note to make room for the kick, or the other way around.

The sounds you choose and how you tune them depend on your song and what you want to achieve with it. It's better to try a few different possibilities and then decide on the one that sounds the best for you than following someone else's rule. Use those as starting points, not as hard rules.
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bishbo2000
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Re: Quick question about tuning kick and bass and key of track

Post by bishbo2000 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:22 pm

Thanks, all good stuff. Still a bit confused so i will try it both ways.

I have been tuning the bass a fifth above the kick, then using that as the key of my track, the kick and bass sounds good but later on things tend to sound a bit out with the rest of the melodic elements, I will try it the other way round, making the kick a fifth from the bass and see how it goes.

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Moody
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Re: Quick question about tuning kick and bass and key of track

Post by Moody » Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:37 pm

If you use F# anywhere else in the track, except as a passing note for color, then you would be in G. Use all white keys and you are still in C. Although some theorist would dismiss the percussive tuning all together and say that your bass note is the root and that you are in G if using F# or using a mode of C. Confused yet?

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Re: Quick question about tuning kick and bass and key of track

Post by jbodango » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:43 am

I haven't seen the tutorial, I don't necessarily want to attempt to wax theory, and I am an not an official house music producer... With that being said, from my past experiences adjusting the kick tuning (or any membranophone-ish instrument or sample in this instance) also affects the timing (and perceived timing/placement) of said instrument's attack. This can significantly change the feel of the beat. I also know that using a kick with any type of sustain the waveform is going to totally color or alter what you would hear from other instruments in those frequency ranges.

To open up another can of worms: bit rates. Rendering of low end stuff in 192k or 96k is going to be different than 44.1k.

bishbo2000
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Re: Quick question about tuning kick and bass and key of track

Post by bishbo2000 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:54 am

This is thing. When using sampled kick i dont want to be messing around pitching it about because it ruins it. The obvious answer is "dont use samples". I always start with the kick and build up from there, quite common in house production i understand. For instance i find most of the Vengeance Samples kicks to be in C, so my tracks end up being in G, a fifth up from the kick. This is because i am putting the bass above the kick. If i had a kick hitting higher at 80 to 100 Hz i guess i could put the bass underneath but that sounds like trance to me.

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