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How do u approach "producing" R&B?
Old 18th April 2011
  #1
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Logical Mind's Avatar
 

How do u approach "producing" R&B?

Wsup y'all. I was wondering how/what do u guys do differently when making a track for somebody to sing on as opposed to rap on? I just started one and I'm finding myself doing alot of different things both on the composing/arrangement side (using the terms loosely) and the mix side. I especially want to hear from the sample based guys, as I'm a boom bap cat myself.
Fire Away!
Old 18th April 2011
  #2
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KRStudio's Avatar
 

More melody lines for the instruments, especially bass.
Old 18th April 2011
  #3
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Logical Mind's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KRStudio View Post
More melody lines for the instruments, especially bass.
No doubt. I found myself "playing" my chops more so than with rap. Trying to give the songwriter some melodic cues. Others others others others
Old 18th April 2011
  #4
I think of something creative, something that will excite me from the very beginning. I don't approach any music differently. Good music is good music. There really are no rules. The difference between Rap and RNB is that it's going to be a singer and not someone talking over a beat. Technicalities aside, I approach any genre of music the same way: I want to complete a song, knowing that I did anything and everything to make it sound the best it can be. The genre has nothing to do with how I'm going to approach it, I will still give 110%.
Old 18th April 2011
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago View Post
I think of something creative, something that will excite me from the very beginning. I don't approach any music differently. Good music is good music. There really are no rules. The difference between Rap and RNB is that it's going to be a singer and not someone talking over a beat. Technicalities aside, I approach any genre of music the same way: I want to complete a song, knowing that I did anything and everything to make it sound the best it can be. The genre has nothing to do with how I'm going to approach it, I will still give 110%.
I knew I was going to get a few of those responses ha. So most of your rap stuff has some nice, melodic themes I'm guessing? What abt when it comes to the mix? Obviously the answer is going to be "whatever is right for the track", but no general, overall differences?
Old 18th April 2011
  #6
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Melody...melody...melody. Oh yea...and harmony.

A lot more focus would be on chord progression. Chords that inspire a songwriter to write a melody even if there is no melody instrumentally.

Chord progression is huge for me. It is the emotional backbone of the song. Sad song? Sad chord progression. Happy song? Happy progression. I usually start with drums but the progression somehow overrides the rhythm in terms of emotional content.

Everything else is just elements that support the backbone. Some instrumentation to highlight parts of the melody - if I feel the need to do so.

Mixwise...huge difference between R&B and hip hop. Hip/hop can acceptably break WAAAY more sonic rules. It's much much more difficult to accept a poorly mixed R&B song than a poorly mixed hip/hop song.

In hip hop you can label it "dirty" or "gritty" or "raw". That mentality doesn't work so much with R&B (only in rare cases).

Since you're dealing with a lot more elements having to work together, your EQ is more important than ever. Some elements can cover such a wide range yet you have to somehow make them all fit in a space. A piano that covers a large portion of the scale is going to be handled much more differently than say - a sample loop. You want a full, lush sounding piano...but it still has to stay out of the way of the rest of the elements. Your EQ MUST be on point.

Automation is HUUUUUUGE. MUCH more automation as you have different elements playing different roles and different points of the song as the dynamic and emotional content progresses. A synth lead may have played a supporting role at the beginning of the song and now it plays a lead role at the bridge. Your whole approach to this same synth now changes.

Vocal stacking in a typical R&B song can be 12 - many more tracks. Especially if there's harmonies and overlapping support going on. Now you've got 12+ tracks of chorus vocals going on and...oh yea...remember that big lucious piano? You want both of them to sound "big" right?

Most hip hop songs don't have a climax - an emotional peak. A lot (but not all) of R&B songs do. As it becomes more emotionally dense it also becomes more sonically dense. How do you handle this? There's a lot more pshychoacoustics involved here.

If you succeeded in setting the right sonic tone at the beginning of a dynamic song, as it progresses you can pull back or thin out certain elements as different elements are introduced or highlighted. Because the mind has been conditioned by the sonic tone at the beginning of the song, it doesn't really notices the "thinning" or pulling back of the previous elements. It percieves them as they were.

In other words, if you set a thick, full sonic tone and condition the listener, he/she won't notice each element losing power to allow other elements to fit in with it as the song progresses. The sonic tone remains thick and full in the lisener's mind.

That lush piano...you made it sound larger than life for the first minute and a half of the song. You could do this because the only thing going on is the piano, lead vocal, drums, and a couple of other things. As you started to get creative with the "other things" and introduce MORE things into the song, you pulled back on the piano...maybe you altered the EQ to thin it out a bit....compressed it more...or simply pulled back on the volume.

These are things I rarely have to think about mixing hip/hop. Just my point of view, though...not everybody's.

Hope this was more helpful than confusing...lol thumbsup
Old 18th April 2011
  #7
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depends if you're talking r&b or urban pop.
Old 19th April 2011
  #8
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Logical Mind's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aproblem View Post
depends if you're talking r&b or urban pop.
R&B/ soul, no pop anything. I avoid that stuff like the plague lol
Old 19th April 2011
  #9
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MotifStudios's Avatar
 

If Im going to do rnb i look at chord progressions. Im quite a heavy sampler, so i always go away and listen to some rnb, and then sometimes replay some chords iv heard or flip them etc.

But as Chris said, no rules really. I dont ever do anything in a set order, its just whatever happens at the time. I guess a lot of my work starts out as playing some chords - especially with a rnb track.. I try get some nice melodies going too.
Old 19th April 2011
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Lago View Post
I think of something creative, something that will excite me from the very beginning. I don't approach any music differently. Good music is good music. There really are no rules. The difference between Rap and RNB is that it's going to be a singer and not someone talking over a beat. Technicalities aside, I approach any genre of music the same way: I want to complete a song, knowing that I did anything and everything to make it sound the best it can be. The genre has nothing to do with how I'm going to approach it, I will still give 110%.
I agree for the most part, I approach music the same way. I make the music first, then let the song tell me which direction to go with the vocals. Some songs I make intended to be rap songs, just dont have the right rhythm or tempo needed to rap over, but singing fits perfect, so those become R&B.

There's times I get inspired to make an R&B song listening to some old school ****, and after I'm done with the song, I find I like it better with rapping on it, and it becomes a rap song.

That said, I'm not sample-based, and all of the songs I make are very melodic, so they can all kind of go both ways without having to decide ahead of time. I find melody works for all music, including hip hop, so if you focus on making melodic music then you give yourself more options in the end when it comes time to add vocals.
Old 19th April 2011
  #11
I think the first mistake is labeling the music you are producing. I try to avoid that at all times. As soon as you start saying, I'm doing RNB, Rap etc, then you start to limit yourself by putting yourself in a box, when you should be thinking outside of the box. Think about that.

I really wish I could tell you how to mix or produce something, but every song is different! I just let my ears be the guide, as soon as I think, bingo! Got it! I keep it that way and move to something else in the song. If the stuff you work on isn't making you feel anything, you're doing it all wrong.

Also, I do think this is a big problem, when you try to find a manual/instruction style way of doing something musical, artistic.You should be thinking in a more artistic way. You can't open a book and then follow instructions on how to make your song sound this or that way, that's not how I perceive music to be made.

Music isn't like math, you can't do a formula and think, I apply this, then done, It's going to sound great. Too many variables.

The problem with a lot of people learning how to make music is that they think to much... Don't think, do! Feel something! Don't be so self conscious! Let go a bit! Loosen up!
Old 19th April 2011
  #12
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I agree with you Chris that you should not label the music and box yourself in. The problem I do have (not you) is when rappers can't develop a flow, cadence and pitch to the song/beat. Singers have a sense of pitch. I have to drop the melody out for most rappers or just give a 1-5 chord for them to butcher. Few local rappers can work with melody. It sucks.
Old 19th April 2011
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by KRStudio View Post
Few local rappers can work with melody. It sucks.
And few eventually become successful haha. We're talking 0.1%!
Old 19th April 2011
  #14
Gear Nut
 

I would consider myself a R&B writer. My friends are quite surprised in a cipher I can beat them. R&B is a much tougher standard. Not only beat, and Rythm matter. Bass is enhancing the Rythm not driving it. The song much flow much better. Modern rappers have learned bad habits from Wayne and Ludacris and its spilling into R&B. What I would say is don't formulate a rap song and try to sing over it. Nothing wrong with blending the familiar with the unfamiliar. Listen to something old like 70's where they had great rhythm and create a song accapella. Then build your
Old 5th June 2014
  #15
Gear Head
 

I gotta piggy back on what "Trell Blaze" said. Starting off with a good chord progression makes all the difference in R&B. It's like the track produces it's self once you've got a good working chord progression. I used to struggle with whack, amateurish sounding R&B until I discovered this. Even my Hip-hop/urban/R&B/crossover is now centered around great sounding chord progressions. I can't stress it enough. My old beats and my new beats are like night and day once I got my hands on some solid chord progressions and learned how to play them.
Old 5th June 2014
  #16
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spend two whole weeks listening to as much of teddy rileys catalogue as you can unearth, and voila, it will just pour out of you. albeit with a new jack swing kinda vibe, but hey.
Old 6th June 2014
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRStudio View Post
I agree with you Chris that you should not label the music and box yourself in. The problem I do have (not you) is when rappers can't develop a flow, cadence and pitch to the song/beat. Singers have a sense of pitch. I have to drop the melody out for most rappers or just give a 1-5 chord for them to butcher. Few local rappers can work with melody. It sucks.
I've ran into a lot. Sometimes you can take it as a teaching moment. Most just don't notice that their favorite rappers actually rap in key with the song but as soon I point it out to them they might not get it right away but the next couple sessions I can tell they hear it now.

If they are too stubborn to take the advice or tone deaf just move on.
Old 7th June 2014
  #18
There's almost no approach to producing the instrumental these days. They're putting R&B over trap beats, pop tracks, anything. And some of it is sounding great so I can't complain at all.
The biggest issue is how its recorded, stacked, layered, then processed. In most cases that's the part that makes the track either great or not so great.
Old 9th June 2014
  #19
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It's been a minute since I've been on here being busy in the studio actually recording a few Female R&B singers. This genre is what is lacking in the overall music industry and after reading this thread I thought I would state a few opinions in regards to just that.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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rnb..start from the chords and build up from there
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logical Mind View Post
Wsup y'all. I was wondering how/what do u guys do differently when making a track for somebody to sing on as opposed to rap on? I just started one and I'm finding myself doing alot of different things both on the composing/arrangement side (using the terms loosely) and the mix side. I especially want to hear from the sample based guys, as I'm a boom bap cat myself.
Fire Away!
My process for instruments are.
1. Getting instruments in the high range.
2. Getting instruments in the mid range.
3. Getting instruments in the low range including bass.

Today's music is bass driven.

I can get inspired by drums or melodies. But my main start is chords, within that scale l make melodies. Counter melody and drums including bass. I leave enough room for vocals because its an instrument also. Make a dope arrangement and go. Simplicity is the key.
Don't be afraid to experiment with the sounds.

Also to have the best arrangement possible to get the singer excited. Come low to build up the track.. Don't make it monotone. Add a B-Section or Pre-Chorus , andva full bridge. A lot of today's producers are lazy in that department.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
Gear Nut
 

with r&b, you have to think about the verse-chorus-bridge song structure more.

with rap, you could literally have one beat that loops, drops out, has some stuff added to it, etc. in an r&b song, you can't really repeat the same thing over and over again. you need different music sections.

this run dmc rap track is the same thumping beat through the entire track, with some drop outs and a few things added in and out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLGWQfK-6DY

you need more distinctly different sections in an r&b song. the melody needs another place to go, and you need the underlying sections and chords to change to give the melody a pathway to do that.

this is a good texbook r&b song to hear how the chords change over time, and how the melodies react to those changes:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Koz393gAwjQ

there is an AAA song struture, where the melody goes over the same section each time. but that is primarily a folk music style. it's not really used in r&b.
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