Music production can encompass everything from the layout and progression of the song to the specific sound of each instrument on each track So how can you use music production to make a good song great?
My goal when producing a track is to capture the feel of the song and to present it in a moving way to the listener. Often, my first step will be to analyze the structure of the song itself. Does the songwriting provide enough momentum to build the emotional part of the track? If not, perhaps the track needs to be re arranged.
If you are happy with the song as it is written you can:
- Add to the dynamics of the track by removing some instruments at certain parts like the intro and verses and adding other elements like back up vocals or a second guitar during the chorus.
- If the song breaks down into a jam in the middle of the track try adding rhythmical elements to bring out the groove. Often the groove is more interesting then the solos themselves.
- Does the song suddenly change feel? For example does the song go from funk to hard rock or another similar change? If so the sound of the production should change with it. You can achieve this by adjusting the balance of the mix, by adding effects like distortion to instruments, or by focusing on the tempo change by bringing the rhythm instruments higher in the mix.
It is important to have a good reference point for your production. I would recommend finding a well known track that has similar qualities and going from there. Pay attention to how that track was produced and try to emulate it with your own work. I am not advocating theft. Simply use their track for inspiration.
Think about your audience. What kind of radio station would this track be played on? is it a top 40 hit? would it be more suited for a college station?
Knowing your audience will help you to pinpoint the genre your song should sit in.
Once you know your genre you should be producing with that style of music in mind. If it is a rock song, maybe you need to pay more attention to the second and forth beat of the track, drums and bass will be crucial to a good dance or rap production, vocals for country and so on.
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