Combining Elements/Ideas – What was I thinking!?

Posted: February 11, 2011 in Composing

which elements ? why to combine them ?

this is what this article is all about, music is built from elements, combining these elements creates a creation/piece, or even a fraction of music experience.

the problem of music elements is that they don’t always combine very well, it is a subject to experiment because there will always be something new to find and explore.

for the example I will take my own music, and will share what I was thinking about when I created it.

as you can hear this whole track was inspired from Dubstep, which is still an evolving scene, I liked the way the dubstep bass is jumping on the beats in a somewhat organic/alive manner,

but I am a more melodic musician, so I decided to be inspired by the dubstep style and let myself insert more melodic elements.


so lets go over the fundamentals, the beat and the groove :

I could start from he drums and build the foundation and the exact feel of dubstep groove but I wanted the creation process to be more fun for me and not expected,

so I picked up a loop from a Wood Workshop as you can hear (the saw in the background), and let that loop lead me in writing the drum parts,

of course I chose drum samples that will compliment the weird loop I chose as a starting point.

I kept everything pretty minimal so I still have room if I wanted to add more sounds.


Next it felt that if I will keep the drums going with no other emotional element or a clear atmosphere it is going to sound boring,

I had to find something to make it clear where it is going : happy, sad, angry, satisfied, surprising… or anything else,

I tried some distortion guitars, and I tried some some Piano sound, even some Vocal sounds didn’t give me the clear feeling I wanted,

I continued trying and I found this nice Synthetic Bells, when I played the voices in a close position the stage became small although the delay effect gave it some space,

but when I played it in an open position the feeling was clear, the stage opened up, and it didn’t steal all the focus it complimented all the other parts.

the feeling was some kind of spaciousness/dreaminess/interesting atmosphere, that fits.

Close and Open Position are mostly used to describe the space between voices.

Close Position – means smaller distance/space between voices.

Open Position – means bigger distance/space between voices.

here with a little raise in the volume my body started moving already and I started improvising on the rhythm with my voice,

that’s where I got the idea for the : da da da da voice, I recorded it and fixed it so it will sit nicely in the groove.


now I just listened from the beginning and thought what needs to be done in there? what will make it spicy? what needs to come right here?

so I turned on a synth and played with some more aggressive sounds until I had something that fits the more aggressive part I am about to create.

I used automations using midi learn options on my synth and I was ready to go.

the atmosphere of course is created thanks to the scales I chose, chords, and of course sounds.


after the peak things had to be relaxed , I turned the volume back to normal, and was getting ready, because I felt it is the time to use the Dubstep bass type.

I decided I love the Wobble bass so much that I am going to give it the whole stage, like a solo,

Wobble Bass – dubstep style bass.

in order to do that, the structure of the piece have lead to the bass solo in a pleasurable smooth way, to make it fun for the listeners.

in 1:28 you can hear the bass alone, all the parts from the peak preceding it are merely getting us ready for the solo bass.


after that, there is a irish melody in there, first using a soft sound, and then this sound is opened using the filter cutoff, and reach another peak, with doubled chord tones and more arrangement cliches.

cliche – a predictable, overused expression/technique/sound.


the elements to combine a piece are many, and knowing them can be a great tool for you to master and an added color to your piece,

here there were :

1. letting a non musical loop leading me in creating the rhythm section.

2. being inspired by dubstep, I followed the dubstep bass creation but let myself choosing a more melodic parts above it.

3. irish music melody.

4. thinking a head where I want to lead the piece.

5. leave my self free to use elements that are not part of the style/genre.

6. picking the right scales to evoke the right emotions.

and of course there are more to this list, but that’s enough for today.


some of the words I used may have other definitions by other people, that’s logical, if you notice how many sources are to learning music.

the same or other definitions, is not what really matters, what really matters is that we make an expressive fun and original music from our deepest feelings and inspiration,

after all we are here to make music not to write a dictionary 😉


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