Monthly Archives: November 2015

How to Remix Music – Two Solid Approaches to Remixing

When you get a chance to remix a track, it could be difficult to get started and guide the remix on the right tracks straight from the beginning. For this reason, it’s good to be aware of a few different methods on how to approach a remix in the first place, as they could save you a lot of pain and headache, and result in a better remix in the end. Read on to find out how to remix music more efficiently using certain remixing principles.

The Heart of the Original

What acts as the heartbeat of the original? Photo Credit: Victory of the People via Compfight cc

What acts as the heartbeat of the original? Photo Credit: Victory of the People via Compfight cc

Listen to the original track – a lot – and try to analyze it. Figure out what the original track is trying to say, and what are the main elements that form the underlying statement. Is it a certain melodic line, a vocal, a bass hook or a lyric? You could even make a short list of these things while you listen through the original, to gather up the most important bits.

After you’ve finished analyzing the track and gathered the important elements, use these as the main ingredients for your own remix. In other words, take advantage of these elements to build the musical motif for your remix. Borrowed from Wikipedia, a motif is described as a “musical fragment or succession of notes that has some special importance in or is characteristic of a composition”.

To create an effective and credible remix, use the motif as the “scent” of the original track, but build the rest of the remix around it using your own tools – your sound.

Augmented Reality

Make the original track's reality your reality. Photo Credit: mielconejo via Compfight cc

Make the original track’s reality your reality. Photo Credit: mielconejo via Compfight cc

Another way to approach remixing is, taking multiple elements and sources of the original, but totally mangling, distorting and transforming them to sound like they came from another realm of existence, while still paying homage to the original sound. Sound complicated enough? Luckily, it really isn’t.

Effective methods of aural reconstruction include the usage of a variety of samplers, effects processors, audio chopping and re-arranging, pitch-shifting and so on. Methods like these ensure a totally different outcome in sound, still having a taste of the original elements in them.

The key here is to take the original track and augment it in any ways possible, making for an interesting remix.

Something to remember

Take the colors of the original track and make them your own colors. Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc

Take the colors of the original track and make them your own colors. Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc

When you start making a remix, promise yourself to create something original, and don’t just recreate the track with a few different sounds. Create a different kind of arrangement and inject your own musical ideas into the remix, and that way your remix will surely stand out from the bunch.

Because seriously, if the original version already represents a certain idea, why should you redo it merely to waste your time? I also promise you, you’ll have tons of more fun remixing the hell out of a track…

-JP

What were your wildest decisions in remixing a track? Let’s discuss below.

Music Theory: Simple Music Theory for Electronic Music Production Book Review

Proper music theory knowledge is surely on the decline, with up-and-coming producers creating music using pre-made drum and melodic samples, the only knowledge needed is how to mimic another piece of music – the one which with high probability is made from similar ingredients. As you already might now, music theory is not an absolute necessity in making music, but should you consider yourself as a serious, intrigued musician always on the search for fresh musical ideas, there is no excuse not to give yourself a moment to learn some music theory. And who said music theory is boring? Because it’s not. Read on to learn about the book Music Theory: Simple Music Theory for Electronic Music Production by Roy Wilkenfeld.

Music Theory is on a FREE promotional period during November 2-6, 2015. Download it for free here.

Music Theory: Simple Music Theory for Electronic Music Production: Beginners Guide to Rhythm, Chords, Scales, Modes and a lot, lot more...

Music Theory: Simple Music Theory for Electronic Music Production: Beginners Guide to Rhythm, Chords, Scales, Modes and a lot, lot more…

Browsing through…

Interactive Table of Contents.

Interactive Table of Contents.

At the first glance, the book Music Theory: Simple Music Theory for Electronic Music Production is a very simply yet effectively laid out book, with clear segmenting, formatting and a great visual look. Right after the forewords, we get to see the table of contents, which is interactive, and clicking a certain topic leads the reader straight to the right page in the book. Handy!

In total, there are six chapters in the book, covering everything from the basics, such as the piano keyboard, major and minor scales, intervals, musical modes, rhythm, chord and melodic basics and a clear list of all major and minor scales and modes at the end, to help in practicing scales.

Every topic in the book is supplied with not only vivid images but a clear, descriptive text, covering the subjects with formality and authority.

It’s visual!

Image explaining the concept of transposition in a clever way.

Image explaining the concept of transposition in a clever way.

While scrolling through the book, I instantly noticed the excellent imagery used in illustrating all different musical concepts and terms, which might otherwise be a bit challenging to understand. I didn’t find them hard to understand at all, which was a pleasant surprise, and even intuitive.

For example, all scales and modes are visualized on the piano keyboard, letting the reader play them instantly by looking at the pictures. There’s no need to look at your hands while playing either, because the images lead you though the scales easily, and this is a huge plus. I also liked the fact that the most important chords were also visualized in a smooth manner, showing large dots on each key that form the chord on the piano keys.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better image explaining transposition, after which I was sold.

I’ve seen lots of music theory books use boring (or zero) imagery. This is definitely not the issue in this book. In short, beginners and seasoned music producers surely find the images helpful while boosting learning.

Scales, scales, scales…

This is how all scales are laid out in tables at the end of the book.

This is how all scales are laid out in tables at the end of the book.

The very end of the book includes full tables presenting each major and minor scale and their notes. This is a huge help in practicing scales, which I think is essential for practicing melody too. After all, every melody is based on a scale (or multiple scales).

Additionally, learning scales is great ear-practice for learning different emotional states in music, which can be used to your advantage in songwriting. Think about it, should you feel sad but a little bit hopeful and felt like writing a song, you would instantly know that “ah yes, this song needs to be written in a minor scale with a hint of Dorian in it!” And by practicing the scales with the help of this book, I wouldn’t be surprised if you did just that.

My favorite bits of the book

I was really impressed by the picture explaining all intervals, which is great for practicing all major and minor intervals. This is a must learn for all songwriters and producers. Also, the part explaining time signatures was well done, since I’ve had difficulties with them in the past myself, but this was so easily laid out there isn’t a problem.

Time signatures explained with clear, descriptive text.

Time signatures explained with clear, descriptive text.

The things I liked about the part with different chords in it, were the inclusion and explanations of chord inversions, as well as some of the more unusual chords such as the different seventh chords, which can be used to introduce a unique, richer feel to your music, aside from the basic three-note chords (triads). Also, the clear explanation of modes is something I take my hat off to.

Lastly, I enjoyed the “Pro Tips” that were supplied at the end of every topic, taking the subjects further with some great knowledge.

Excited about music theory yet?

I think this book is a great, easy-to-read and friendly introductory guide to music theory, which undoubtedly will spark a thirst to dig deeper into the world of music theory – eventually giving you all the weapons you need to make better music than ever.

You can grab the book on Amazon for the humble price of $2.99, through this link.

-JP

While you’re at it, check out my review of Roy’s other book Electronic Music: 25 Mixing Tips for Modern Electronic Music Production here.

What do you think of music theory? Is it essential, or is it not needed – or something in between? Let’s discuss below.