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Thread: Newbie Theory Question: Making the Elements of Song Mesh Together

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    Newbie Theory Question: Making the Elements of Song Mesh Together

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    Hi!

    I have what I think is probably a very basic theory question. Basically, I'm wondering about how you make sure the various elements of a song "mesh" together, in a theory sense.

    Say I come up with a bass line. How do I then make sure that the melody I write next "goes" with it, and isn't jarring or dissonant? Do they just need to be in the same key or scale or whatever? Or is it more complicated than that?

    I know that I could just brute-force something by playing random combinations until something sounds good together, but I suspect that's not how producers usually do it. So, could you help me understand how to make sure the various parts of my song go together?

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wom1892 View Post
    Hi!

    I have what I think is probably a very basic theory question. Basically, I'm wondering about how you make sure the various elements of a song "mesh" together, in a theory sense.

    Say I come up with a bass line. How do I then make sure that the melody I write next "goes" with it, and isn't jarring or dissonant? Do they just need to be in the same key or scale or whatever? Or is it more complicated than that?

    I know that I could just brute-force something by playing random combinations until something sounds good together, but I suspect that's not how producers usually do it. So, could you help me understand how to make sure the various parts of my song go together?

    Thanks!

    Hey man, solid question.
    Generally, but not always you want to make your bass follow your chord progression. Since you did things in the opposite order
    I would start building chords off your bass.
    Say your bass progression went A, C, E, D
    You would want the first note of the chord to be A then the next chord should start with C and so on. This is generally the answer. I recommend looking up keys or scales to help further your understanding

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    That make sense to me, developing the chords out of the bass -- but what about when you want to add a melody on top of those? How does that work?

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    After you have chords, if you're working with a midi keyboard you just play in the same scale and see how it works. Other wise just start laying down repetitive notes and then arrange them in different ways.
    Ill link you to a song Im currently working on. Excuse the bass sample as i'm getting rid of it
    The part of the track I want you to listen is at 1:07.
    This is a future bass kind of track. Very simple. That descending melody that I made came straight from the chords. Or at least the steps down that I took. I focused on the notes that were in all my chords and made sure to go through the scale

    No One Left by FreeWifi | Free Wifi | Free Listening on SoundCloud
    Last edited by iHipsterMusic; 07-29-2019 at 04:48 PM.

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    thank you -- this is very helpful!!

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    First of all, everything is accepted, just remember that, if you love it then it is fine. Don't start judging too much your music in an academic way because that is nonsense.
    BUT of course you can learn scales, modes, transitions, etc. I would say that if what you are trying to do is to learn to arrange or orchestrate, start with something harmonically simple, so stick to chord progressions that you are familiar with and don't leave the scales until you are confident and it starts to feel too simple for you. Then you can actually start to learn transitions, modes, etc. and start to be a little bit more playful. But it would help to know what you are composing just to have an idea of what you are struggling with exactly.

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