Pro Audio Files

A Quick Idea for Deconstructing Chords

Transcript
Hey folks, Matthew Weiss here — weiss-sound.com, theproaudiofiles.com, and for my new workshop series, theproaudiofiles.com/workshops.

So we’ve been doing this — breaking down this little production that I’m putting together here just for fun, and now I want to talk about some chord structuring, which is a little bit of a divergence from what I normally do, but I think that it’s really important.

When we’re doing the engineering and mixing for records, what we’re really doing is helping along the production, so anything that happens better in the production phase is always going to pay off down the road when it comes time for the post-production phase.

So this is going to be a basic idea on the structuring of a chord progression.

[mix]

So, basic little Reggae loop here. We’re in the key of A Major, the progression is very simple, it’s a I-V-ii, and then back to the I kind of feel.

So we could do block chords, and I think that, you know, as we’re just starting out, particularly if we’re sequencing or things like that, the temptation is to just lay out pads to outline the chord structure, so we might do something that’s kind of like…

[strings plucked]

And then, um…

[plucked strings]

And then lastly…

[plucked strings]

And we just do it on the ones, right?

[mix]

And that doesn’t sound bad, right? It outlines the chords, it’s a really interesting sound. The sound is from Output, which has a little sound engine thing called “Exhale,” which does basically like, vocal sample things, but tweaks them in all sorts of weird, cool ways. So this is just the Snap Pop preset, and man, I love that program.

I use it on everything that I do, because it’s a really textural instrument, and I like to — you know, I think texture is a very important part of modern production, not just the notes and chords.

But anyway, back on subject, so instead of just doing the block chords, you know, doing the…

[plucked strings]

It would be better to maybe do something that kind of compliments the rhythm.

[mix]

So that, “Bum, bum.”

So you can deconstruct your chord to match your rhythmic pulse.

So in this case, we’ve got a, [mimes rhythm with hands]. Right? So instead of doing something like…

[plucked strings]

We could do something that’s more like…

[plucked strings]

And even at the very end, we could make it a little bit more interesting by throwing in the accidental, because we go up to — it lands on the one, but it’s sort of the one implied by the two. It’s actually this.

[plucked strings]

So it might be cool to do something like…

[plucked strings]

So now, instead of our progression being something that’s kind of bland…

[plucked strings]

We might do something a little more interesting.

[plucked strings]

Alright, let’s see how that feels.

[mix]

I think that’s a lot more interesting. I’m going to record that in real quick.

[mix]

My rhythm was horrible, but I’m going to record it in with a good sense of rhythm, and that’s going to become the foundation for what I build the rest of my instrumentation around.

Alright guys, remember, check out that workshop series, and of course, I hope that you learned something. Until next time.

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Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss is a Grammy nominated and Spellemann Award winning audio engineer from Philadelphia. Matthew has mixed songs for Snoop, Sonny Digital, Gorilla Zoe, Uri Caine, Dizzee Rascal, Arrested Development, 9th Wonder, !llmind & more. Get in touch: Weiss-Sound.com.
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