Music theory for dance music producers...
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Old 28-04-2017, 04:19 PM   #1
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Music theory for dance music producers...

Hey guys,

I'd like to put together a short course covering music theory fundamentals, tailored specifically to electronic dance music producers (of all genres, from Big Room, Progressive House and Trance, to Future Bass, Drum ’n’ Bass, etc.).

I’ve put together an outline, and was hoping you wouldn’t mind taking a quick look and leaving comments in the Google Doc on what you think would be useful, what I've missed or what is should be dropped?

If interested in helping out, please let me know below and I'll PM you the link..

Cheers!

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Old 28-04-2017, 04:56 PM   #2
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

Happy to help out, just might take awhile!

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Old 28-04-2017, 06:33 PM   #3
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

Drop me a link from across the Lymington Ferry

Do my best to take a look.

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Old 02-05-2017, 10:01 PM   #4
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

i'd be happy to chime in!
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Old 03-05-2017, 01:30 AM   #5
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

Am and C. done.

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Old 03-05-2017, 01:46 AM   #6
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

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Am and C. done.
Do you even V, bro?
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Old 03-05-2017, 04:22 AM   #7
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

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Do you even V, bro?
One chord was enough for Miles Davis to invent fusion. I'm sure we can work with that. hahaha
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:15 AM   #8
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:28 AM   #9
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

I've been playing around with it in the last few days, very interesting and nice commercial move

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Old 16-05-2017, 12:57 AM   #10
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillDarling View Post
Hey guys,

I'd like to put together a short course covering music theory fundamentals, tailored specifically to electronic dance music producers (of all genres, from Big Room, Progressive House and Trance, to Future Bass, Drum ’n’ Bass, etc.).

I’ve put together an outline, and was hoping you wouldn’t mind taking a quick look and leaving comments in the Google Doc on what you think would be useful, what I've missed or what is should be dropped?

If interested in helping out, please let me know below and I'll PM you the link..

Cheers!
just saw your post would love to see the link with your edm course I also have sort of a course on my blog about edm aswell its always fun to collab and see what other peole are teaching maybe i can learn something new.
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Old 16-05-2017, 01:19 AM   #11
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

I kinda feel like the point of actual "hardcore" (note the lower case "h") is not theory, but rather machine music that makes people into machines. Its not about traditional music theory. Its more about rhythm and texture than harmony.

But for those making harmonic stuff, I'm sure it'll be useful.

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Old 16-05-2017, 12:00 PM   #12
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillDarling View Post
Hey guys,



I'd like to put together a short course covering music theory fundamentals, tailored specifically to electronic dance music producers (of all genres, from Big Room, Progressive House and Trance, to Future Bass, Drum ’n’ Bass, etc.).



I’ve put together an outline, and was hoping you wouldn’t mind taking a quick look and leaving comments in the Google Doc on what you think would be useful, what I've missed or what is should be dropped?



If interested in helping out, please let me know below and I'll PM you the link..



Cheers!


I'm interested as a beginner looking to get further myself in theory, I'd be grateful for the link.


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Old 16-05-2017, 01:28 PM   #13
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

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Originally Posted by JakeLille View Post
I'm interested as a beginner looking to get further myself in theory, I'd be grateful for the link.


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Thanks! Here's the link: [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
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Old 16-05-2017, 01:29 PM   #14
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldskooltekno View Post
just saw your post would love to see the link with your edm course I also have sort of a course on my blog about edm aswell its always fun to collab and see what other peole are teaching maybe i can learn something new.
Thanks, and sorry for the late reply! [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
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Old 17-05-2017, 06:38 AM   #15
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

I can't post links coz n00b but if you search for 'Music Theory TL;DR' you'll find a very concise overview of music theory and it's application in popular electronic music, it may be worth cross referencing this with your as I've found it very helpful in the past.
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Old 18-05-2017, 01:34 AM   #16
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

Most folks don't need full-blown music theory...the kind that it looks like you're gearing up to document.

Mostly they need to know Intervals and Harmony for music theory basics.
And by that I mean, they mostly need to know 2,2,1,2,2 and 2,1 and then say now slide that extra set of 2,1 anywhere that you want.
2,1,2,2,1,2,2 or 2,2,1,2,2,2,1 or 2,1,2,2,2,1,2 or etc...

Who cares what it's called.
For electronic music, if we're talking about producers, there's very low chance they will be communicating with anyone about what they are playing for the purposes of the other person playing along...It's pretty unlikely to hear a Producer yell to a DJ "I'm in Am Mixolydian mode!" and the DJ respond with "Rockin! I'll follow!"

And for harmony mostly folks just need to see it in a language that talks like most of their other system's language - sinewaves.
You can plot tones as additive waves and show symmetry of the additive wave and point out that generally speaking, the more lopsided the symmetry (asymmetrical), the less harmonious, and the more symmetrical, the more harmonious, and then just add a note that "perfect symmetry" is typically boring if that's all you have, so you try to have slight asymmetry with intermixed perfect symmetry for chordal progressions, or harmonies between two track lines.

I made a tool for this: [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]



MOST of the "theory" that I think you'll want to focus on is SONG STRUCTURE and concepts that are unique to each sub-genre - outlining what "HOUSE" is and how it's structured and why it is so; the same for Jungle, DnB, Synthwave, etc... and on and on.

Production of EDM is really more about practicality than academia - it's more about "what do I need to get going right now?"

Which...in all reality, isn't much.

You could summarize it as:
Pick 7 notes.
Make sure to pick one note for every letter in the musical alphabet.
Subtract 2 notes if you want a 5 note song instead of 7, but you'll probably want 7.
8 bars per round and then change it up.
ABABABC format almost always will do, but sometimes you might do ABABCBB or ABABCAB.
Use your ears and make sure that notes you have on different instruments don't clash with each other in a way that makes your ears go 'EWWWW'.
Generally have three kinds of instrumental tracks in your song: long notes, short notes, and a lead - toss in effects, figure out which is your bass.
4 on the floor almost always, but tinker if you want.
At the end of 4 bars, lightly toss something different on the drums.
At the end of 8 bars, make a more disruptive difference on the drums.
These are called fills.
Down patterns and patterns of very long notes tend to be "sad, down, ominous, chill, etc..."
Up patterns and patterns with very quick notes tend to be "happy, up, optimistic, energetic, etc..."

That's about it.

But if you do want to make a full suite, then I would focus more on sub-genre structures and unique attributes rather than traditional basic music theory.

Cheers!

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Old 19-05-2017, 09:02 AM   #17
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheStumps View Post
Most folks don't need full-blown music theory...the kind that it looks like you're gearing up to document.

Mostly they need to know Intervals and Harmony for music theory basics.
And by that I mean, they mostly need to know 2,2,1,2,2 and 2,1 and then say now slide that extra set of 2,1 anywhere that you want.
2,1,2,2,1,2,2 or 2,2,1,2,2,2,1 or 2,1,2,2,2,1,2 or etc...

Who cares what it's called.
For electronic music, if we're talking about producers, there's very low chance they will be communicating with anyone about what they are playing for the purposes of the other person playing along...It's pretty unlikely to hear a Producer yell to a DJ "I'm in Am Mixolydian mode!" and the DJ respond with "Rockin! I'll follow!"

And for harmony mostly folks just need to see it in a language that talks like most of their other system's language - sinewaves.
You can plot tones as additive waves and show symmetry of the additive wave and point out that generally speaking, the more lopsided the symmetry (asymmetrical), the less harmonious, and the more symmetrical, the more harmonious, and then just add a note that "perfect symmetry" is typically boring if that's all you have, so you try to have slight asymmetry with intermixed perfect symmetry for chordal progressions, or harmonies between two track lines.

I made a tool for this: [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]



MOST of the "theory" that I think you'll want to focus on is SONG STRUCTURE and concepts that are unique to each sub-genre - outlining what "HOUSE" is and how it's structured and why it is so; the same for Jungle, DnB, Synthwave, etc... and on and on.

Production of EDM is really more about practicality than academia - it's more about "what do I need to get going right now?"

Which...in all reality, isn't much.

You could summarize it as:
Pick 7 notes.
Make sure to pick one note for every letter in the musical alphabet.
Subtract 2 notes if you want a 5 note song instead of 7, but you'll probably want 7.
8 bars per round and then change it up.
ABABABC format almost always will do, but sometimes you might do ABABCBB or ABABCAB.
Use your ears and make sure that notes you have on different instruments don't clash with each other in a way that makes your ears go 'EWWWW'.
Generally have three kinds of instrumental tracks in your song: long notes, short notes, and a lead - toss in effects, figure out which is your bass.
4 on the floor almost always, but tinker if you want.
At the end of 4 bars, lightly toss something different on the drums.
At the end of 8 bars, make a more disruptive difference on the drums.
These are called fills.
Down patterns and patterns of very long notes tend to be "sad, down, ominous, chill, etc..."
Up patterns and patterns with very quick notes tend to be "happy, up, optimistic, energetic, etc..."

That's about it.

But if you do want to make a full suite, then I would focus more on sub-genre structures and unique attributes rather than traditional basic music theory.

Cheers!
This. Is. Awesome. Thank you for such great feedback! I've put together the first module, but am seeking feedback from the students and will make amendments. This will really help me get straight to the point in the second part.
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Old 19-05-2017, 01:35 PM   #18
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by relic View Post
I kinda feel like the point of actual "hardcore" (note the lower case "h") is not theory, but rather machine music that makes people into machines. Its not about traditional music theory. Its more about rhythm and texture than harmony.

But for those making harmonic stuff, I'm sure it'll be useful.
I just looked at this thread and thought about how the best electronic music is made by people who don't know what theyre doing. glad you said that.

also everybody here fancies that josh Eustis guy right? read this the other day from an interview here I know people will enjoy reading:
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'The other thing that we talk about a lot is the sample-based music of the ‘90s, be it hip-hop or hardcore or drum and bass. There’s something about non-musicians making music with samplers, not knowing the rules of music and breaking them, making things that trained musicians could never make because their brains are wired to not do certain things. So you listen back to some old jungle or drum and bass stuff, even hip-hop, and you’ll hear things that are kind of out of tune, almost like musique concrčte sounds. There’s a lot of inspiration going back and listening to that stuff, because a lot of that music sounds more abstract than the supposedly abstract music of that era.'

it doesn't mean if you study chords and shit you are a trained musician but I think a lot of people here should spend time focusing on using their ears to add sounds together in a track as well as learning theory. don't inhibit your creativity by hunting down rules and applying them to your music.

I always come back to these threads and say something unhelpful, I just cant help myself sorry lads

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Old 19-05-2017, 03:01 PM   #19
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by FunkMasterBrown View Post
I just looked at this thread and thought about how the best electronic music is made by people who don't know what theyre doing. glad you said that.

also everybody here fancies that josh Eustis guy right? read this the other day from an interview here I know people will enjoy reading:
[Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]


'The other thing that we talk about a lot is the sample-based music of the ‘90s, be it hip-hop or hardcore or drum and bass. There’s something about non-musicians making music with samplers, not knowing the rules of music and breaking them, making things that trained musicians could never make because their brains are wired to not do certain things. So you listen back to some old jungle or drum and bass stuff, even hip-hop, and you’ll hear things that are kind of out of tune, almost like musique concrčte sounds. There’s a lot of inspiration going back and listening to that stuff, because a lot of that music sounds more abstract than the supposedly abstract music of that era.'

it doesn't mean if you study chords and shit you are a trained musician but I think a lot of people here should spend time focusing on using their ears to add sounds together in a track as well as learning theory. don't inhibit your creativity by hunting down rules and applying them to your music.

I always come back to these threads and say something unhelpful, I just cant help myself sorry lads
Knowing the rudiments of how chords work has pretty much given me everything I need to know to make the bleep n bass kinda stuff I like.

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Old 19-05-2017, 08:48 PM   #20
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Re: Music theory for dance music producers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillDarling View Post
This. Is. Awesome. Thank you for such great feedback! I've put together the first module, but am seeking feedback from the students and will make amendments. This will really help me get straight to the point in the second part.
You're welcome!

My day job is an analyst, specializing in taking complex systems and distilling that down into digestible information for people who don't understand data analysis...and I have that as a job because that's how I tick naturally; I do that with anything that I get interested in.

For example, another tool that I created to aid in music theory education is this one (which I've posted elsewhere in the forums) [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]


A few additional thoughts:
Firstly, I think a Wiki would work very well for this project and make compiling and searching the information much more easy to manage (especially if you create a 'table of contents' style landing page).

Secondly, I think it's beneficial to consider if you want to make this because it's fun, or if you want to do this to serve a need.
You might answer, "Well...both, really", but figuring out which is the priority is important because if the priority is because it's fun, then the information can spiral out of control and have no end point - you could end up with a giant tome of information which is so vast that it's challenging to quickly digest the information and get going.
If the priority is to serve a need, then everything you add can be vetted by asking "Is this ABSOLUTELY essential?" and "Is this the MOST distilled VERSION of the information possible?", and you would start by firstly asking "What do people ABSOLUTELY have to know?" before starting to compile anything to give people to learn.
This provides a finite outline and end-point, from this perspective, and conforms the project to a trim set of information that's more easily digestible for folks looking to learn what they need to make their choice of EDM.

I would encourage the latter (serve a need) over the former (having fun), and inserting "having fun" along the way of a focus to "serve a need".

To that end, I would suggest starting by attempting to answer, "What is EDM?"
Because EDM isn't just governed by music theory, but also engineering theory.
EDM is equal parts how notes are arranged, and how the mixing board and individual tracks are configured.
For example, depending on the EDM style in question, the sound engineering of the kick is vastly different - in one style you may one a pronounced, but non-intrusive quick punch, while in another you may require an 808 or 909 style of room shaking kick, and yet in another you may want a more soft kick that isn't the focus.
For added example, think of dubstep. This is a genre that is overwhelmingly identified by its engineering side far more than it's music theory side; the "WUB".

Another consideration is that if you're looking at EDM-centric music/engineering theory documentation, then you'll want to speak the same language that EDM uses, rather than standard music theory.
For example, you don't want to call it a "crescendo" but instead a "build-up" or "rise" (not to be confused with melodic theory's "rise") and often followed by a "drop" - where a "drop" is lateral to standard music theory's "caesura" and "central phrase" (properly often called "rondo") combined - usually with a caesura (abrupt rest) followed by "dropping in" what standard music theory would call a "central phrase" and EDM would call the "main hook" (and when folks outside attempt to define what a "main hook" is it's often sterile as something like, "primary rhythmic elements").
Build-up and drop, you have a "break-down" while in standard theory that concept may off-hand be called a "break", but depending on the genre of study obtains various names - for example, in "classical" pieces (using the term lightly), you might see it referred to as "ostinato", "decrescendo", "calando", or - more properly, "ossia".

Further examples are that in EDM you'll often hear things referred to in "cents" and semitones (quite often "cents" - even though I doubt most saying it truly know what their "cents" equal) and not degrees.


I would strongly encourage avoiding a pure standard music theory approach because it's just not the language that EDM talks in - it's like the difference between Mandarin and Japanese...related, but very different.

Furthermore, music theory is akin to the oldest common-tongue international language.
Math is the other.
However, where Math stays controlled by strict order and the concept of "relative" is an augmenting element within that strict order, Music Theory is fundamentally built from the ground up on the concept of "relative" - Pythagorean theory used math to achieve a ratio (relative measure) so that music could have a back-bone to gauge off of rather than just "winging it by ear" which preceded it.

As such, music has just been a VERY slowly rolling bolder that is now so packed of various moss and junk on it that navigating the language is a challenge for most people.
And most of it isn't required, because it's just ways of referring to things in music - things that can be accomplished by describing them differently anyway (and constantly are referred to differently since music movements are rarely 100% consumed by music theory aficionados).

The other problem with standard music theory is that it assumes a "top-down" approach to understanding music.
That is, you would learn degrees and changes to the "natural" (diminished, minored, augmented) note rather than learning the governing patterns underneath that (intervals of that 21 22122 previously discussed covering most western forms, and changes to the "natural" also really just equating to -2, -1, +1 intervals from the "natural" respectively).

And this is just a consequence of the age and success of music theory as a whole - it DOES give a way to measure and quantify a VERY subjective and relative concept of a thing: the aesthetic of sound.

Anyway...I'll stop rambling for now.
If you need help, hit me up in PM; I'm down to help out.

Cheers!

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