struggling with leads and harmony in general

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
max crespo
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struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by max crespo » Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:23 am

it seems like everytime i hop on ableton i put together a really strong drum beat and bassline but when it comes to the harmony and lead i always get stuck.

how can i get past this?

Linear Phase
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Re: struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by Linear Phase » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:52 am

try making drum and bass... ftw. and just use pads, and some white noise.
Linear Phase has left the building..

taffmonster
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Re: struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by taffmonster » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:11 am

max crespo wrote:it seems like everytime i hop on ableton i put together a really strong drum beat and bassline but when it comes to the harmony and lead i always get stuck.

how can i get past this?
why don't you start by making a lead and build the drums and bass around that?
or is that too obvious an answer?

Mr D
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Re: struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by Mr D » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:52 am

Learn some music theory? Try learning some chords / songs on the piano in whatever style floats your boat, like jazz, or some beatles songs, or some gospel or whatever.

Half an hour a day will pay off after a few months.

Lots of tutorials on youtube BTW.

doghouse
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Re: struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by doghouse » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:12 am

Sing a lead...record it to an audio track. Then work out what you sang. Done.

Once you have the lead you can figure out a harmony to go with it.

Angstrom
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Re: struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by Angstrom » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:19 am

Work with somebody whose natural aptitude is toward melody and harmony.
You'll get outcomes you wouldn't have normally, and also possibly gain some melody yourself.

I get melodies by just walking away from the computer and making a coffee, while I wait for the percolator I usually find myself mentally doo-be-doo-ing something. I then jog back to put it down.
My problem is too many different melodies in one song!

dokx
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Re: struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by dokx » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:56 am

Just fill a bar with 16th notes on C3, then go on moving around the notes by octaves (12 steps), fifths (7 steps), thirds (5 steps) etc, deleting some, shortening some, stretching out some - just mess around, you'll find useful stuff in the end.

Angstrom
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Re: struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by Angstrom » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:14 am

I have to say that advice makes me wince. :x

So much low level music sounds like exactly that, just random meaningless notes placed in a baffled manner. Please, if we want to call ourselves musicians surely thinking up a tune shouldn't be beyond us.

taffmonster
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Re: struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by taffmonster » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:23 pm

Angstrom wrote:I have to say that advice makes me wince. :x

So much low level music sounds like exactly that, just random meaningless notes placed in a baffled manner. Please, if we want to call ourselves musicians surely thinking up a tune shouldn't be beyond us.
+1

simmerdown
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Re: struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by simmerdown » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:39 pm

to learn music theory, or skip music theory, that is the question...and this is where you decide...

you could always slap a scale plug and a chord plug on there and bang away...but.....

Angstrom
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Re: struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by Angstrom » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:54 pm

As much as theory is useful, I'm not sure that theory is at the core of this issue.

A good tune is driven by something more than just theory, it's got to have some balls. A tune built robotically on a progression is just as likely to sound dead and mechanical as plonking notes blindly onto a grid, a progression might sound more 'correct' harmonically. But without a creative drive behind it, it'll be dull.

Music theory is like a business management course, essential to prevent you going bankrupt - but meaningless unless you have a good business idea in the first place.

dokx
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Re: struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by dokx » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:30 pm

Angstrom wrote:I have to say that advice makes me wince. :x

So much low level music sounds like exactly that, just random meaningless notes placed in a baffled manner. Please, if we want to call ourselves musicians surely thinking up a tune shouldn't be beyond us.
If you had read my post carefully you would have grasped that I haven't said: "Take the first random result which comes up".

It's just one means for lacking inspiration. If you manage to come up with sth good, then it's ok. It's the final result that counts. No need for production ethics here I guess.

supamonsta
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Re: struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by supamonsta » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:54 pm

get a keyboard, and play, play, play...

the coffee do-be-dooing advice is also very good, I often let a loop loop and loop while getting on the internet, checking emails, etc. and really often a melody comes to mind...

next step is harder, when you want to write/record this intuitive melody, and then, there is practice, practice...


good luck

cheers

simmerdown
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Re: struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by simmerdown » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:34 pm

Angstrom wrote:As much as theory is useful, I'm not sure that theory is at the core of this issue.

A good tune is driven by something more than just theory, it's got to have some balls. A tune built robotically on a progression is just as likely to sound dead and mechanical as plonking notes blindly onto a grid, a progression might sound more 'correct' harmonically. But without a creative drive behind it, it'll be dull.

Music theory is like a business management course, essential to prevent you going bankrupt - but meaningless unless you have a good business idea in the first place.
sounds like your only talking about scales...don't forget that brio, dissonance, passing notes, improvisation and so many other nuances all are part in music theory...

personally, i get inspired through theory...options on where to go next (far from robotic, or predetermined)..and how to step out and back in to scales...

tw1nstates
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Re: struggling with leads and harmony in general

Post by tw1nstates » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:03 pm

It amazes me to think that people actually think - take music theory or not.

Admittedly a bad teacher, or someone that's ust going to teach you western classical theory might casue you some problems.

but, not being able to harmonise a melody, or understanding the basic rules of melody, being able to put together a chord progression and understand why it sounds good or bad or what it's doing strikes me as crayzee.

It's like saying i want to be consistent 10% of the time, rather than 60-80% of the time.

But, each to their own.

To the op, find a bloke called Duncan Lorien, he teaches all over the world. Go do his music course then beg borrow and steal to do his songwriting course. Thank me later for it.

I spent years struggling self taught, did 2 weekends with him and now understand music inside out. My reading isn't as quick as I'd like, but I get music like I never did before.

And once you do you will laugh at the thought that not having music theory is somehow better.
I slipped into a daze, whilst I was there I heard the most startling music, it was at once familiar and alien, reassuring and unsettling.
https://soundcloud.com/fearoftherave

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