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Khan - The Breakdown
Old 13th September 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Khan - The Breakdown

Khan - The Breakdown

Already finished/mastered, so feel free to offer advice for my next mix.



The Breakdown - YouTube
The Breakdown by TheKhanOfficial on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free

khansmusic.com
Old 14th September 2012
  #2
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Feed for feed my friends! Or just critique hehe
Old 14th September 2012
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
I thought it was pretty boring, sorry man.
Old 14th September 2012
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
haha are you serious? lets hear one of your songs

Anyways, anyone else have CONSTRUCTIVE advice?

thanks!
Old 16th September 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Praxisaxis's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It sounds like you've ticked the right boxes in terms of sound selection and processing, and your mixing is fine, but the tune itself doesn't really go very far. I reckon you could look at extending it a bit more musically... it's a little pedestrian in that way... but nice production though.
Old 16th September 2012 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Praxisaxis ➑️
It sounds like you've ticked the right boxes in terms of sound selection and processing, and your mixing is fine, but the tune itself doesn't really go very far. I reckon you could look at extending it a bit more musically... it's a little pedestrian in that way... but nice production though.
Thanks for the feedback I appreciate your advice, what are the ways I can extend it more musically? I'll post some more songs up here in the hour for critique. As in adding more melodies?

Thanks



KHAN
Old 16th September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Praxisaxis's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by khan88 ➑️
As in adding more melodies?

KHAN
That would be one way, but certainly not the only way. A piece of music is a combination of events which either fulfill or thwart a listener's expectations. Any artist decides how much of one or the other is best to include in their music. With yours, for me, there's a lot of the former and not much of the latter.
Old 17th September 2012
  #8
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I agree with Praxisaxis. Technically the track is close to perfect, but compositionally it feels somewhat empty. I would caution against adding in more melodies. That would certainly make the track busier, but not necessarily better. Counterpoint is a poweful tool, but in my experience it doesn't take much more then a good chord progression and a single lead to make a compelling song. Focus on improving the quality of the melodic voices you already have.
Old 17th September 2012
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Ok gotcha, I think I may understand a little better now. still a little confused though. I tried not to go to complicated on the chord progression, is that what you guys feel is lacking if any?

Thanks for the feedback guys ill return soon!
Old 17th September 2012
  #10
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Real talk: I have a feeling you aren't going to like what I have to say (because I certainly didn't like it when I was told the same thing 10 years ago), but I think you could really benefit from studying some music theory. This might be some slightly tough love; I hope you take it in the spirit with which it's intended!

First, read this:
Diatonic function - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Don't get too hung up on it if certain parts don't make sense. Just try to internalize the basic idea.

Now listen to this Deadmau5 song, Ghost N Stuff:



Ignore the melody, focus on the chords. The basic structure of the song is this:

A#Min / G#Maj / F#Maj / D#Maj

if we analyze it functionally we get the following progression:

i-VII-VI-IV

This uses two of the so called "primary chords": i, the "tonic," and IV, the "subdominant". It omits the third primary chord (V, or the "dominant"), but the VII ("subtonic") is sort of substituted for it here in that it strongly establishes the key. The VI is basically flavor. VII-VI is moved through pretty quickly rhythmically, so the main structure is really a sort of looping cadence between IV and i. The IV is actually what's known as a "borrowed chord", which is to say that it doesn't naturally appear in the key of A minor (we'd expect the minor version of the chord -iv- to appear instead).

No need to worry about this too much right now -the point is that it's a somewhat unusual move, and Deadmau5 emphasizes it rhythmically and phrasally because it gives the song its particular flavor and creates a tension by playing with your expectations. As the progression unfolds, he takes you a little further away from tonic with each chord, finally landing on the IV which actually takes you out of the key because it's borrowed from the parallel major. This tension is then resolved when the progression repeats and begins on the tonic again each time.

It's a very simple chord progression -just four chords, all of them basic triads. But it has a harmonic logic to the way it moves from chord to chord, and uses some special techniques (in this case, the borrowed IV) in order to create an identity for itself.

Now let's look at one of your tracks. Let's listen to Vandalize, which you posted in the other thread:



Here are the three chords you're using:

E#Maj F#Maj G#Maj

E#Maj is the tonic, which makes F#maj the II chord and G#Maj the III chord. This is already unusual, in that a major key typically uses the minor versions of those secondary chords - i.e., ii and iii. This could be a source of interest in your composition, like the borrowed IV chord is for Deadmau5. But unfortunately they're not treated in a way that is very musical.

Here's how your progression is sequenced:

I II I II I III I III I

This isn't really a chord progression. It doesn't contain any of the primary chords other then I. It just endlessly restates the tonic again and again. The II and the III are moved to only briefly, and don't function harmonically -they are both, literally, not in the key. There isn't any diatonic tension -the music doesn't seem to "go anywhere" because the chords just sort of appear and disappear without doing anything, just little accents before you push the tonic again.

I'm not trying to say that every track needs to use stock chord progressions. You might want to make something modal that uses a drone for instance. But even in that scenario you need to play with the consonance/dissonance hierarchies in the mode you choose if you want to write a good melody.

You could also make atonal stuff that doesn't work harmonically or melodically at all. There's lots and lots of excellent music that operates completely outside of western tonality. I think part of the problem however is that your tracks sound like they are trying to convey something tonal, but aren't succeeding at it.

An example:



This track doesn't try to do anything harmonically. It's literally nothing but percussion, a monophonic bass line that uses like three notes, and a two-note staccato phrase that hits in the latter half of the song. But it's successful (imo) for two reasons:

1) It doesn't use chords at all, so it announces its independence from traditional harmony loud and clear -you don't have the feeling that "something is missing"
2) It uses texture, gesture, phrasing, and groove as its points of interest, all of which it does brilliantly.

So if you want to ignore traditional rules of harmony you're obviously free to do so and that is by no means a bad thing- there are so many amazing ways to make great music that don't involve chords and melodies. But if you want to make EDM that leans more in the "pop" direction with catchy hooks and tunes (which is the vibe these tracks give off to me), then you need to buckle down and learn some more about music.

You have a good natural ear for sound, production, and structure. Some people have a natural ear for harmonic / melodic composition, and can get by without the theory. I'm not hearing that natural melodic ear at work in your music. This is nothing to be ashamed of -some people who are great songwriters couldn't mix a kick drum if their life depended on it. It's just a matter of differing strengths. What you don't know "by default" you can always learn.

So my advice would be to study some music theory (tons of great resources online) and then set to work analyzing your favorite EDM (and any other music that strikes your ear). Learning how the masters construct their tunes could really expand your horizons.
Old 17th September 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Grovestand's Avatar
I think that the strongest part of the track you posted is the piano driven breakdown (without drums) that comes into it's own at 2:07.

I do agree that expanding the chord structure would have made it feel like it was leading somewhere. I have been a drummer since I was about 8 years old and I am really only learning the rudiments of harmonic theory myself, so perhaps I shouldn't be giving advice, but I really like the interplay of melody and chord during that "breakdown" but I want it to move beyond the same melody over and over again.

Try the demo of this thing:

Cognitone Music Prototyping

It has taught me a lot and enabled me to make a few tracks (clips really, I don't have any mixed mastered finished tracks...) that sound like they follow the conventions of western music without my having a deep understanding of theory. Of course, maybe your repetition was an artistic choice and you deliberately avoided some conventions, in which case do your thing!

Anyway, your mix sounds great and I like your synthesis. The sine sweep at 1:45 feels nice and bassy even on my DT770s.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Addict
 
antwoneb's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbartee ➑️
This track doesn't try to do anything harmonically. It's literally nothing but percussion, a monophonic bass line that uses like three notes, and a two-note staccato phrase that hits in the latter half of the song. But it's successful (imo) for two reasons:
I agree with everything.

That said, a lot of importance to this track's success is that stupid puppet in the video
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by antwoneb ➑️
I agree with everything.

That said, a lot of importance to this track's success is that stupid puppet in the video
Well yeah, that's also definitely true. Never underestimate the power of a compelling image.
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbartee ➑️
Real talk: I have a feeling you aren't going to like what I have to say (because I certainly didn't like it when I was told the same thing 10 years ago), but I think you could really benefit from studying some music theory. This might be some slightly tough love; I hope you take it in the spirit with which it's intended!

First, read this:
Diatonic function - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Don't get too hung up on it if certain parts don't make sense. Just try to internalize the basic idea.

Now listen to this Deadmau5 song, Ghost N Stuff:



Ignore the melody, focus on the chords. The basic structure of the song is this:

A#Min / G#Maj / F#Maj / D#Maj

if we analyze it functionally we get the following progression:

i-VII-VI-IV

This uses two of the so called "primary chords": i, the "tonic," and IV, the "subdominant". It omits the third primary chord (V, or the "dominant"), but the VII ("subtonic") is sort of substituted for it here in that it strongly establishes the key. The VI is basically flavor. VII-VI is moved through pretty quickly rhythmically, so the main structure is really a sort of looping cadence between IV and i. The IV is actually what's known as a "borrowed chord", which is to say that it doesn't naturally appear in the key of A minor (we'd expect the minor version of the chord -iv- to appear instead).

No need to worry about this too much right now -the point is that it's a somewhat unusual move, and Deadmau5 emphasizes it rhythmically and phrasally because it gives the song its particular flavor and creates a tension by playing with your expectations. As the progression unfolds, he takes you a little further away from tonic with each chord, finally landing on the IV which actually takes you out of the key because it's borrowed from the parallel major. This tension is then resolved when the progression repeats and begins on the tonic again each time.

It's a very simple chord progression -just four chords, all of them basic triads. But it has a harmonic logic to the way it moves from chord to chord, and uses some special techniques (in this case, the borrowed IV) in order to create an identity for itself.

Now let's look at one of your tracks. Let's listen to Vandalize, which you posted in the other thread:



Here are the three chords you're using:

E#Maj F#Maj G#Maj

E#Maj is the tonic, which makes F#maj the II chord and G#Maj the III chord. This is already unusual, in that a major key typically uses the minor versions of those secondary chords - i.e., ii and iii. This could be a source of interest in your composition, like the borrowed IV chord is for Deadmau5. But unfortunately they're not treated in a way that is very musical.

Here's how your progression is sequenced:

I II I II I III I III I

This isn't really a chord progression. It doesn't contain any of the primary chords other then I. It just endlessly restates the tonic again and again. The II and the III are moved to only briefly, and don't function harmonically -they are both, literally, not in the key. There isn't any diatonic tension -the music doesn't seem to "go anywhere" because the chords just sort of appear and disappear without doing anything, just little accents before you push the tonic again.

I'm not trying to say that every track needs to use stock chord progressions. You might want to make something modal that uses a drone for instance. But even in that scenario you need to play with the consonance/dissonance hierarchies in the mode you choose if you want to write a good melody.

You could also make atonal stuff that doesn't work harmonically or melodically at all. There's lots and lots of excellent music that operates completely outside of western tonality. I think part of the problem however is that your tracks sound like they are trying to convey something tonal, but aren't succeeding at it.

An example:



This track doesn't try to do anything harmonically. It's literally nothing but percussion, a monophonic bass line that uses like three notes, and a two-note staccato phrase that hits in the latter half of the song. But it's successful (imo) for two reasons:

1) It doesn't use chords at all, so it announces its independence from traditional harmony loud and clear -you don't have the feeling that "something is missing"
2) It uses texture, gesture, phrasing, and groove as its points of interest, all of which it does brilliantly.

So if you want to ignore traditional rules of harmony you're obviously free to do so and that is by no means a bad thing- there are so many amazing ways to make great music that don't involve chords and melodies. But if you want to make EDM that leans more in the "pop" direction with catchy hooks and tunes (which is the vibe these tracks give off to me), then you need to buckle down and learn some more about music.

You have a good natural ear for sound, production, and structure. Some people have a natural ear for harmonic / melodic composition, and can get by without the theory. I'm not hearing that natural melodic ear at work in your music. This is nothing to be ashamed of -some people who are great songwriters couldn't mix a kick drum if their life depended on it. It's just a matter of differing strengths. What you don't know "by default" you can always learn.

So my advice would be to study some music theory (tons of great resources online) and then set to work analyzing your favorite EDM (and any other music that strikes your ear). Learning how the masters construct their tunes could really expand your horizons.
Wow thanks for the awesome extensive feedback, im definitely going to read more into this again tomorrow when Im fresh.
Good stuff.
I just read a book on music theory and it has given me a foundation (scales, notes, chords, etc) but def I will learn more. On this one, I didnt go with the I-V or I-IV progression that I commonly read about, so could that be another reason its not very melodic then? I am working on a couple tracks that are more melodic which may be better progressions, I look forward to putting them up here as well/
I love ghosts n stuff, ill have to look more into those chords because im a little confused.
anyways Lots of other good info there I will get back to with questions tomrorow to improve, thanks alot! I definitely wanna get my theory down so I can make some more energetic chord progressions like in "how we do" (showtek) or Hell Yea (showtek/tiesto), etc.
Thanks everyone for responses/feedback so far
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