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Successful Electronic Genre


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First off, sorry about the thread title. I wasn't exactly sure what to title this.

Alright, I want to get more into creating some electronic compositions (along the lines of Trance, Techno, etc). My first question for you guys is what do you find to be the most successful quality about any particular electronic genre? Are you more interested in how the track is progressed? Or maybe you're more into how the leads play out? Perhaps you just like hearing something that's well organized and fits together?

My second question is, from a technical standpoint, what are some things someone would need (maybe not exactly need, but definitely would want) to master, or at least be decently good at, in order to produce a good, well-rounded electronic track?

For instance, I've seen some things about side-chaining compression, yet I've no idea what it's true purpose is, other than it lets the kick drum and bass have breathing room so they're not competing for space. Things similar to that and the like.

Of course, I realize I could do my own research...but quite honestly, I'd like to figure out WHAT I need to be researching before going off and finding out HOW to implement those things into a track.

I use FLStudio 10 at this point (and if a Mod happens across this and feels it should be moved to the FL sub-forum, then please do so). In terms of Synth stuff...I have whatever 10 came with, plus Viral Outbreak. I have Massive somewhere on my External HDD, but that about sums up what I have to work with at this point.

Regardless, any help/direction would be amazingly awesome...and I'll be sure to give out whole-hearted love-hugs of joygasms.

...No homo.

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My first question for you guys is what do you find to be the most successful quality about any particular electronic genre?

This is a really weird question.

My second question is, from a technical standpoint, what are some things someone would need (maybe not exactly need, but definitely would want) to master, or at least be decently good at, in order to produce a good, well-rounded electronic track?

You have everything you need already, but you don't mention anything about monitor speakers, an audio interface, a controller keyboard, or knowledge of music theory. Why not?

Why would you leave Massive on some external harddisk doing nothing? Use it, it's bloody awesome.

For instance, I've seen some things about side-chaining compression, yet I've no idea what it's true purpose is, other than it lets the kick drum and bass have breathing room so they're not competing for space. Things similar to that and the like.

Sidechaining is an effect; you apply it when you feel like it. It can be a lazy solution for something, but there generally are better solutions. However, none of this is going to be useful if you can't recognize the problem or don't know what it's supposed to solve in the first place.

Anyway, this is the wrong approach. Completely lopsided. You're looking for technical terms and one-liners to throw around as if they're just a bunch of LEGO blocks that you have to chain together to get a track.

Don't. It's cargo-cult engineering and production.

Just start with the following: study existing songs that you think are representative. Draw a chart - use paper with a 5x5mm grid. Everytime you hear 4 kickdrums in a row - that is one block. Draw the structure of the track - when does the bassdrum come in, when does the bass come in? It does not matter if you have no idea what the instruments are called as long as you are able to discern them from the rest. Re-listen the track for every instrument until you have a diagram; said diagram won't look that radically different from what you're going to throw together in FL Studio.

But don't do this with one song; do it with a dozen, both 3-minute radio edits and 7 minute 12" remixes. Study the tropes; at what points are instruments added/taken away, where do any transitions occur, what do those transitions consist of (there are lots of variations from filtering to turning up the reverb mix to dropping the volume of certain instruments to rolling snares or fading in white noise).

When you have studied these works you may get a better understanding of what makes a track good. You'll be able to identify common elements and cliches (aforementioned white noise/snare rolls).

You can't leave this to someone else: do it yourself.

Also, order http://www.samplemagic.com/products/prod_b1_secretshousemusic.html - it doesn't matter that it's house and not trance/techno. What you learn with this book can be re-applied.

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My first question was weird to me too...but I figured I might get some kind of answer for it. ^^;

I have intermediate knowledge of Music Theory (been dealing with music since I was 11...I'm 23) and I have a Guitar-fashioned MIDI Controller. Nothing else outside of that, besides the PC and desktop speakers.

Massive is sitting because I had to get my system clean for a new (old) PC that I finally got put together...I've been lazy and haven't got it on here yet.

As for your method of studying...I won't deny that it sounds like a good idea. But I've listened to plenty of music from the main and sub genres...but we'll stick to Trance/Techno for now. It's not that I don't understand them, as it were. It's more of the less the fact that I don't understand how something that sounds nearly like everything is a good formula. Perhaps the problem is just on me and how I try to avoid using the "go-to" method to have something sound good to the masses.

Even so, I've tried my hand at trance and techno before, but could never quite grasp how to make it..."stick." I'll try your study method and see how it turns out.

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Everything takes practice. Some ppl learn lots from imitation and redoing other ppl's tracks as closely as possible, so that's worth a shot. Pick the artists with the style you wanna do, and try to recreate their tracks.

Or you could just do your own flavor of it, nitpicking the whole thing apart and trying to fix everything little thing that annoys you. After a few tracks like that, you'll have grown in skill a lot. Worked for me, anyway.

And as for most successful electronic genre, this changes every few years, so it's probably better to learn to do good music than to learn to just do genre x. As for what qualities about them make them successful, it's probably that they stick in ppl's heads and that ppl can dance to them.

I wonder how my 7/8 electronic track would fare on the dancefloor... :D

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As for your method of studying...I won't deny that it sounds like a good idea. But I've listened to plenty of music

Analyzing the structure will reveal things that aren't obvious when listening; especially when you compare the results of each analysis.

It's more of the less the fact that I don't understand how something that sounds nearly like everything is a good formula.

It will have to sound like other works in the same genre to fit in in the first place. Even the material that breaks the rules/does something revolutionary still has to obey a good number of rules.

Focus on one thing at a time; I'd recommend trance first as certain subgenres can be a bit more formulaic, allowing you to get a better grip on it.

Making it stick depends first and foremost on getting the "hook" and the structure right. Without that no amount of trickery is going to help you.

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@Rozo/Yoozer: Both of you essentially said the same thing, so I'll take the advice and try it out. It's slightly difficult when you've been doing one thing and want to switch to something else. In this case, I mainly have been working in the Orchestra composition department for a game project. A friend of mine asked me to do a Trance mix of the Doctor Who theme, so at the very least, I would want it to be something that lots of people would be able to enjoy, not just the one.

Also Rozo, 7/8 dance track? I've GOT the hear this...

@Skrypnyk: That sounds easier said than done, and the results would not necessarily be amazing... lol.

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