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Typical elements in house music
Old 5th January 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
Typical elements in house music

Hey guys,

I am new here and I started producing mostly house music with fl studio 6 months ago.
I have improved a lot over the last months, but i know that its a long way to get really good at it and it needs a lot of practice.

I have a question because i have trouble in creating a full house track, and i often dont know what elements i should use in a song.
I want to know the typical elements of a house track. Like kick, clap, snare, bass, piano, percussions etc.
Which instruments / elements do you use in your house tracks and what elements are suitable to use for this genre?
Old 6th January 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
The best house tracks really come down to three elements - percussion, bass and 'riff' or sample whatever.

In percussion I mean kick snare and hi-hat. The best way to learn is by sticking with only these three elements. If any one of these is weak, the track will fail so any additional ear candy, or long arrangement is a waste of time.

Actually, strictly just drums and bass should be enough so that by themselves it gets you excited. I only ever work on one of these three and discard one if it fails, switching out elements until I have the 'three' - never considering arrangement until this is done. So I might me playing round with a super synth like Serum and come up with a nice cutting chord sequence maybe just a simple minor 7 vamp. Then I will look for a bass and find a set of drums. If I only get good drums, or a good bass I wont work up the track, I will maybe start another, then pinch elements from abandoned tracks to make up three elements to see if they go together.


I usually find one 'super synth' like Dune or Serum plus a good analog model like u-He's prophet 5 sim enough. It is good to have classic sounds plus modern digital sounds. A moog VST makes a great addition for doubling bass. On top of that, getting the 'trio' to work together is a well tuned bus compressor and a 'test limiter' just to hear how things work loud.


If I am dancing round the room because my elements work I try absolutely anything for other elements messing around with filters and FX and lots of rendering to audio, looking for happy accidents to make the basis of transitions or fills.

It is the deceptive simplicity of house that makes it hard to do because the elements are naked and exposed and so have to work in all respects, the right sound playing the right notes sitting comfortably within its friends.
Old 6th January 2019
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Switchback ➡️
Hey guys,

I want to know the typical elements of a house track. Like kick, clap, snare, bass, piano, percussions etc.
You can find the answer yourself.

Get a bunch of your favorite house tracks and load them into your phone or ipod or whatever portable music player you may have.

Then whenever you have time - at lunch, or commuting, listen and write down what you hear. Maybe go to a park for a few hours. It's actually really nice to sit a park, listen to house music, and jot down notes about what the producer is doing. A lot of it is really amazing.

You're going to hear different producers use different sounds and techniques. There are house tracks with no basslines. There's lots of different ways to approach making a house track.

This is by far the best way to figure this out because not only will you hear what elements are being used, you're going to hear how they're being used. Note how loud each element is in relation to the others. Is a sound up front in the center, or farther back? Is it panned left or right? Does the sound have a lot of reverb on it?

While you're doing this, also write down the song structure. How is the producer arranging things? Like "intro with just kick and congas, then adds hi-hats, then filters out the kick, brings in a riser with the bassline" etc.

If you haven't found this out yet, structuring a track can be very difficult. You really want to start paying attention to this as you start out because getting this right takes a lot of time and practice. A common problem for people is they only can make 8 bar loops because that's all they worked on for years. Start working on making full tracks right away.

Don't worry if you don't get everything exact. Do the best you can and you'll improve at this like everything else you work on.
Old 6th January 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
 
time_zone's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Listen to this track, particularly the first minute. Notice the incoming hats ... This to me is one of the main components of true house feeling.

Old 9th January 2019
  #5
Here for the gear
Thank you guys, you helped me a lot. Yes, analysing reference tracks is one approach that helped me a lot since i started producing.
Old 9th January 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Swing !
Old 9th January 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
 
xanderbeanz's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Do kids still use “lately bass”?
Old 16th January 2019
  #8
Here for the gear
Wasn't lately bass mostly used in 90s productions?
Old 16th January 2019
  #9
Gear Addict
 
i find shredding guitar solos work really well
Old 16th January 2019 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Switchback ➡️
Wasn't lately bass mostly used in 90s productions?
Yeah - and done to death. It is a great sound - you cant fail with it - but everyone will point and say 'lately bass !'.
Old 16th January 2019 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by carbon ➡️
You can find the answer yourself.

Get a bunch of your favorite house tracks and load them into your phone or ipod or whatever portable music player you may have.

Then whenever you have time - at lunch, or commuting, listen and write down what you hear. Maybe go to a park for a few hours. It's actually really nice to sit a park, listen to house music, and jot down notes about what the producer is doing. A lot of it is really amazing.

You're going to hear different producers use different sounds and techniques. There are house tracks with no basslines. There's lots of different ways to approach making a house track.

This is by far the best way to figure this out because not only will you hear what elements are being used, you're going to hear how they're being used. Note how loud each element is in relation to the others. Is a sound up front in the center, or farther back? Is it panned left or right? Does the sound have a lot of reverb on it?

While you're doing this, also write down the song structure. How is the producer arranging things? Like "intro with just kick and congas, then adds hi-hats, then filters out the kick, brings in a riser with the bassline" etc.

If you haven't found this out yet, structuring a track can be very difficult. You really want to start paying attention to this as you start out because getting this right takes a lot of time and practice. A common problem for people is they only can make 8 bar loops because that's all they worked on for years. Start working on making full tracks right away.

Don't worry if you don't get everything exact. Do the best you can and you'll improve at this like everything else you work on.
I cant remember who did it but there was a youtube lecture that was quite popular a while back - secrets of genius production - or whatever, and his No 1 tip, and actually what he reckoned was common to most successful producers was ….. a notebook.

So I definitely second this. It seams odd at first, like you are taking notes when you should be 'feeling it man', but it really focuses the mind, drawing maps of tracks, listing elements etc - and use it to add your own ideas from the back maybe. It will be something that will survive crashes and system changes. I even add re construction notes for tracks just in case. Write down notes on your tracks - like 'nice beat - keep this'.

There is something really nice about having something that pulls your mind away from the screen into the music, and allows for quick 'non linear' shuffling of ideas
Old 16th January 2019
  #12
Moderator
 
Reptil's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
video
YouTube
part one is here (mostly about creating a pattern on a 909)
YouTube

some funky organs, ensoniq disco pianos. casio basses. samples. some soulful vocals is a nice touch.
try make a disco track with one drum machine, one bass, one string synth and a handful of sounds.
most important: it has to groove or don't bother. house is a feeling
<3
YouTube
YouTube
some later tracks:
YouTube
Youtube
Old 17th January 2019
  #13
Deleted b6e9904
Guest
It’s best to listen to early house music if learning I think, it’s a lot more simple so easy to get your head around what’s going on. Modern stuff tends to use a lot more complicated methods/programs/equipment and with your lack of experience you probably won’t be able to figure out what’s going on so you’ll end up with more questions than answers.

This is a good old tune that you should find quite easy to replicate something similar to, just using the instruments that come with FL Studio (don’t get bogged down with downloading/buying tons of synths just yet - it’s a terrible trap, especially when you’re not really sure what you’re doing or what you want)



All that’s going on here is a simple melody - you can do something silimar with any kind of piano, e-piano or organ sound. Then, very simple bassline. Find a preset that sounds similar in the most basic synth in FL Studio (the one with the least ‘knobs’ and controls) and look at the settings. Fiddle around with them, find out what everything does. Then just lay down a simple pattern. Keep it minimal like on the track I posted above.

Then it’s just kick, clap, hi hat and some kind of rimshot or bongo percussion on top/behind. You should know by now how to do a 4/4 house beat. Then just mess around with the placement of the percussion hits until you hit upon a nice groove.

Finally, for the vocal sample - search youtube for ‘female soul accapella’, there are loads. Now it’s just a case of finding something that jumps out, like a short phrase. Something like this:
at about 2:44, she sings “put your hands up” kinda cheesy and cliche I know, but it’s just an example, you can probably find something better quite easily. Cut that bit out and discard the rest.

With these four elements you’ve got the basics of a house track. And it’s literally all you need for now. Drums, bass, a melody and a vocal snippet. Now just experiment with arrangement. Once your drums sound groovy and your bassline and melody sound catchy, watch some YouTube videos on fx and mixing to help you get that ‘pro’ sound (although don’t get too obsessed with this yet, just try to get the general idea about reverbs/delays, and volumes, panning and EQ) That should keep you busy for a couple of months at least.

In the meantime, please don’t spend money on any plugins or anything else expecting them to make your tracks better. They won’t. It’s tempting, I know it is, but it’ll just be a distractionand a waste of time and money - persevere with what’s built in with FL Studio. You have everything you need to learn the basics with. It’s what it’s all there for.

Good luck!
Old 17th January 2019
  #14
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Lots of great advice in here.

It really is this simple.

Props to Burnley, very practical advice.
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