Beginner's Guide to Electronic Music Production
jtayl711
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#1
11th May 2013
Old 11th May 2013
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Beginner's Guide to Electronic Music Production

Hello slutz,

I'm starting to get interested in electronic music. I'm just starting to get a taste for it and I'd like to learn how to produce my own. Some of the artists I seem to like include Daft Punk, Skrillex, Glitch Mob, Passion Pit, Bassnectar, a few others I can't recall...

I'm somewhat knowledgable on music theory, understand composition and have experience recording and mixing in various DAWs. I've been playing guitar and piano for about 12 years now so I'm a decent musician. I understand audio interfaces and signal flow pretty well, I do live sound work pretty frequently.

What I don't have any experience with is synthesizers, filters, sound design, midi (to an extent), etc.

Where do I begin? I have Pro Tools and Reaper, I hear a lot of people are using Ableton for this kind of stuff...are there books I should read? Videos I should watch? How do I learn to tweak LFOs and filters to get sounds I'm looking for...how do I know which paramaters to automate, and how to automate them?

I think you guys see what I'm getting at.

Thanks
#2
11th May 2013
Old 11th May 2013
  #2
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djshire's Avatar
 

Google
Youtube
Computer Music Magazine
Future Music Magazine
Sound on Sound articles online
#3
11th May 2013
Old 11th May 2013
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#4
11th May 2013
Old 11th May 2013
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it just takes time, a lot of it. best thing to do is dive into it and experiment. search google for answers to questions that come up in the process.
#5
11th May 2013
Old 11th May 2013
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Buy some MIDI file packs in your favourite genre and learn all of them.

Also, spend some time listening to tracks that you like. I do this quite a lot. Sometimes I spend upwards of 2 hours listening to a track i like, listening to each section of a track, making notes and really examining what the producer has done that makes their track so good. It's amazing how much can be learned this way. Then I try and replicate and adapt it with my own ideas. It is a lot of work, but so worth it.
#6
11th May 2013
Old 11th May 2013
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Meh, I dont think music theory helps that much for electronic music because it doesnt deal with sound design. Basically, get The Synthesizer Cookbook and learn how to make sounds. In terms of drum programming, I think thats VERY hard to teach because you either hear beats in your head or you dont. So figure out what you are good at and build on that, dont try to learn something you dont have aptitude for because its a recipie for disappointment.
#7
11th May 2013
Old 11th May 2013
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If you want to get a book look at this two:

Dance Music Manual or

Secrets of house music production, both have all the basics and cover various genres.
#8
11th May 2013
Old 11th May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by login View Post
If you want to get a book look at this two:

Dan Music Manual or

Secrets of house music production, both have all the basics and cover various genres.
+1, really good read for beginers.

But most important is practice practice practice practice, and patience and...time..because it all takes an awfull lot of time (years usually till anyone produces a decent track)
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11th May 2013
Old 11th May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdog View Post
Meh, I dont think music theory helps that much for electronic music because it doesnt deal with sound design. Basically, get The Synthesizer Cookbook and learn how to make sounds. In terms of drum programming, I think thats VERY hard to teach because you either hear beats in your head or you dont. So figure out what you are good at and build on that, dont try to learn something you dont have aptitude for because its a recipie for disappointment.

I don't think I agree with a word of this.

Actually no, I definitely don't agree with a word of this.
#10
12th May 2013
Old 12th May 2013
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Hey, thats fine I think it depends on what you are going for. I just know that many of my favorite artists and many very influential people in the history of electronic music had little or no formal training. Thats not to say it wont help, obviously the more you think about and study music from a technical perspective it will give you a good background to learn new things.

I learned drums at a pretty late age (22) and didnt get good until I was older and really put in a ton of time studying theory and taking lessons, and Im still not up to the quality of a studio drummer who can play any beat at any tempo, but it did give me a solid foundation for programming drums and drum synthesis. However a buddy of mine never played a lick on a real kit and comes up with the most inventive, crazy beats I would never have even considered and he learned everything he knows about programming from an MPC and using samples.
#11
12th May 2013
Old 12th May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by login View Post
Dance Music Manual
No. This book is complete garbage and a waste of money.
#12
12th May 2013
Old 12th May 2013
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For the studio setup itself, but with a fair amount on sound design/mixing etc. too, lots of good basic information here:

Tweakheadz
#13
12th May 2013
Old 12th May 2013
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How do you learn? Change settings. Move knobs. Listen to what they do
#14
12th May 2013
Old 12th May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tehlord View Post
I don't think I agree with a word of this.

Actually no, I definitely don't agree with a word of this.
+1
Agreed.
#15
12th May 2013
Old 12th May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SovietSpaceChild View Post
No. This book is complete garbage and a waste of money.
I'm not into dance music, but I used to work at a TAFE where they ran contrempory music course and they had this book in the library.
I took it home and mucked around a bit and I think that if you wanted to produce the style of music this book discusses, it is an excellent how-to reference.
#16
12th May 2013
Old 12th May 2013
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Teach yourself.
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#17
12th May 2013
Old 12th May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SovietSpaceChild View Post
No. This book is complete garbage and a waste of money.

+1
#18
12th May 2013
Old 12th May 2013
  #18
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1. Know your DAW: It'll take some time to learn all the features and functions, and it's a rather boring procedure if you ask me, but as soon as you get familiar with it, it'll make things a lot easier. I don't think your DAW choice is too crucial for your music, cause in the end, they all basically have the same features (though some of them can include some pretty good plug-ins).
Though I do believe that the most common DAWs for electronic music genres are Ableton and Logic (use Cubase myself).

2. Get to know basic music production procedures like:
-Compressing
-Equalizing
-Reverb
-Additional effects like distortion, modulation, stereo-enhancing, psychoacoustic effects, etc.

What does it do? How does it work? How do I use it?

I do recommend that you look up the basic parameters for compressors and how they work before you start using them.

3. Analyze
Listen to tracks that you like and analyze stuff like:

-Instruments
-Transitions
-Rhythm/Beat
-Pad/Background
-Lead/alt. melodies
-Sound

Of course there are tons of other parameters to analyze. Try to figure out what makes their sound so special (What makes Skrillex sound like Skrillex?).

4. Learn the basics of synthesizers.

Start with:
-Osciallators
-Filters
-Envelopes
-Waveforms
-LFO
-Arpeggiators
-Modulation routing
-Difference between analog and digital

5. Explore synths, drum sounds and additional hardware/plug-ins.

I think the most crucial part for electronic music is the synth sound. It can take quite a while to really find the perfect synths that fit your music. I suggest looking up synths on YT to get an idea of how they sound before you buy anything.

Additional processing hardware/plug-ins can really make a difference and make you sound more professional! (Cubase basic plug-ins are total rubbish...)

6. Collaborate with others
By collaborating, you get to learn a lot from each other, and open up your eyes for different things. Even thought it might not end up in making the track of your life, it's still a great experience.

I do think that previous experience with music theory and (especially) instruments makes a big difference. Knowing basic chords and scales is really helpful.
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#19
12th May 2013
Old 12th May 2013
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SovietSpaceChild View Post
No. This book is complete garbage and a waste of money.
I disagree with this. The genres section easily seems dated but, The small section on theory covers the basics and the the section on synthesis isn't bad to have on hand as you're getting to know simple subtractive stuff. He covers a lot of other stuff that is inherently true when talking about dance music in a broad sense.

I think it's a great "basics" book. I don't think it will get you to your destination but it's definitely a thumbs ride in the right direction.
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