After having discussed the basic knowledge to get started in beatmaking, it is now time to focus on song composition itself. To do so, I’ve decided to share with you my personal experience through different points that I believe important.
1. The chords before the melody
When you are a beatmaker, beginner or not, the first thing that comes to mind is to find the melody. It’s totally normal to care about that, because a personal and elaborate melody will motivate the artist to sing on it more. But I advise you to start by the chords before focusing on the melody itself. Why ? Simply because the series of chords we are choosing will serve as a basis for the melody and will stimulate your imagination. And even though you will probably not participate to the next The Voice show, don’t hesitate to sing on your chord loop to imagine the final result.
The best example remains the « Shape of you » melody by Ed Sheeran that we all had in mind at some point last year. For my cover, first I’ve played a series of chords, in this case C#m – F#m – A – B (Click here to consult the chords table). With this solid basis, I only had to continue with the melody, that’s to say adding some notes to make the whole homogeneous. The song may have been composed this way.
Note that it’s possible for the newbies to acquire preconceived melodies free of rights but of course it won’t be original. That said, it is a really good way to start when you’ve never been immersed in music. Here is the link to a website where you can freely download loops of free of rights’ melodies.
2. Build on the magical chords
If so many songs succeed in reaching the top of the charts, it’s probably thanks to the well-known magical chords. I promise, it’s not a term I just made up ! Basically, the magical chords represent a series of notes that leads to a perfect combination for the human ear. For those who’d like to have more details explanations of the magical chords, here is a very detailed article on the subject.
I also invite you to watch this well-done video on the magical chords. They show that a lot of pop songs have been composed with the same chords : E – B – Cm# – A.
Of course, these chords are customisable and can be tweaked the way you want (tone increased or decreased for example). It can mainly be used as a basis for a more elaborated melody. It should be noted that these chords cannot be adapted to some musical styles, like the trap where you’ll find deliberately non-harmonious chords.
3. Know where you want to go
Before starting in pure musical composition, you need to take some time to think about what you really want to produce. First, it is essential to define the musical genre to which our instrumental will belong to. Pop, reggaeton, rap… everything is possible knowing which one corresponds you the most.
From there, it becomes easier to find your rhythmic basis, and then find a series of chords. Here too, some chords are more compatibles with certain genres, so having a minimum of knowledge about your genre of preference may be useful. Decide how many instruments you want is also important. All of this serve to channel your inspiration in order not to scatter: your future auditors have their own musical culture and you cannot shake it up overnight ! It is first necessary to take this culture into account before progressively bringing your personal touch, like DJ Mustard did amongst others.
4. The secret of a musical composition: don’t overdo it
At first, because of the excitation and the will to learn, we may tend to put a big number of instruments on lots of different tracks. Here it is a big NO ! It is important to land for two minutes to avoid finding yourself with a messy and incoherent melody. That’s why it is still useful to put yourself instead of the auditor. In lots of musical hits, the instrumental is relatively simple. You should then not hesitate to delete certain passages from your instrumentals to lighten the whole and maintain a certain consistency. I recognise that it is not always easy. It is in this type of situation that developing your own musical culture is very useful, because it helps sorting out between what’s working and what’s superfluous.
IN SHORT :
- Chose the musical genre of composition
- Play a series of chords
- Find the melody relying on the series of chords
- Select the corresponding instruments
Your turn to play now!
Don’t hesitate to leave your comments to indicate me the subjects you are interested in, questions on beatmaking, ideas of posts or simply to give me your opinion on this article!