Test Tracks

The final test tracks were produced. Here are the results;

Test Track 2 (Laurie Goldstein)

 

Test Track 1 (Anonymous Participant)

Advertisements

Analysis To Step-by-Step Guide

1.1       Structure

The AOs were analysed to better understand their structure and the similarities between them.

AO1 Dada Life – Happy Violence:

AO2 Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone

AO3 Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up For Detroit:

AO4 Deadmau5 – Ghosts N Stuff:

AO5 Bodyrox – Yeah Yeah:

Although these tracks do not employ the exact same developmental structure, when the structures of all the AOs are closely examined, many similarities can be drawn.

  • All of the AO develop in bars of 8 or 16 – a new layer is either added or subtracted every 8 or 16 bars. Changes to the structure of the AOs also occurred on the same bars as each other (17, 25, 33 etc).
  • They all have between 1-3 chorus breaks. All of the AOs have a chorus break just after half way through the track with 3 of them having a smaller chorus break a quarter of the way into the track.

A table of structural development was formulated by analysing the structures of the AOs and identifying the changes of the layers in bars.

This table was used to produce the structural template of the step-by-step guide (see below).

1.2       Tempo & Key

AO1 Dada Life – Happy Violence:AO2 Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone:

AO3 Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up For Detroit:

AO4 Deadmau5 – Ghosts N Stuff:

AO5 Bodyrox – Yeah Yeah:

Clear similarities between the AOs indicate that the most tempo used in popular EDM tracks is between 126 and 128 bpm, with the majority implementing a 128 bpm. Thus the step-by-step guide will ask the user to choose a tempo between 126 and 128 bpm.

1.3          Rhythm

Rhythm: Drums

AO1 Dada Life – Happy Violence:

Drum Pattern 1

Drum Pattern 2

AO2 Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone:

Drum Pattern 1

AO3 Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up For Detroit:

Drum Pattern 1

Drum Pattern 2

AO4 Deadmau5 – Ghosts N Stuff:

Drum Pattern 1

Drum Pattern 2

Drum Pattern 3

AO5 Bodyrox – Yeah Yeah:

Drum Pattern 1

Drum Pattern 2

The similarities between the drum patterns are obvious, using the same basic pattern described by Eric E in the  Pump Up The Volume Documentary. They all incorporate the same basic 4/4 kick drum, 2/4 Snare / Clap and off-beat high-hat with some small variations. All of the AOs apart from I’m Not Alone had two drum patterns, the first basic pattern and the second pattern which included a new layer (instrument). This new layer in the second drum pattern creates a sense of progression. All AOs pertained to these rules;

Kick must play on the beat, clap on the 2ndand fourth beat and the high-hat on the off-beats

Kick and clap are always present, but the off-beat instrument can have variation.

This was implemented into the step-by-step guide by giving the user a selection of drum patterns to choose from, thus giving them some creative control. It was thought that the user’s ability to choose from a selection of patterns act as the creative input necessary for producing original music, however still restricting it to the confines of the genre.
Rhythm:Melody / Chords

Initially the rhythmic patterns of the melodic patterns were analysed by studying the correlation between the note playing on the beat and off the beat. This was the results of the analysis;

AO1 Dada Life – Happy Violence:

AO2 Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone: 
AO3 Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up For Detroit:
AO4 Deadmau5 – Ghosts N Stuff:

These data show that the;

§  1st note is always on the beat

§  7th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 16th note always off the beat

Please see images which showcase the entire analysis.

Recreation and Analysis of Bodyrox – Yeah Yeah

Practical Experimentation of Music Analysis 5:

Bodyrox – Yeah Yeah (Recreation by author)

8.1          Structure

This AO is significantly shorter than the other AOs lasting only 2:37 minutes, almost half the time of the other AOs. However it still employs a similar structural template as the other AOs, with a development of instrumental layers leading to a 16 bar chorus break.

8.2          Tempo & Key

“Yeah Yeah” was written in A Minor key at a tempo of 128 bpm.

This table identifies that Bodyrox have had most success when working in a minor key and their most popular track “What Planet You On” was written in D Minor.

8.3          Rhythm

Rhythm: Drums

Similar to the other AOs, this track implements the generic 4/4 house style beat, however unlike the other AOs the high hat of drum pattern one played 16th notes. The second hit of every note had a slightly softer velocity creating a sense of movement, this idea of motion was bolstered when it was panned from left to right (see page 7 for panorama).

A second high-hat playing the generic off-beat was added between bars 17 to 24, 33 to 48, and 68 to 81. This high-hat created a sense of development, building tension – it was used before the chorus breaks and in the final bar.

This AO, like Put Your Hands Up For Detroit, does not have a separate bassline and melodic pattern. Thus the bassline is a combination of the two, providing the low end bass and the main hook melodic hook.

8.4          Melodic / Motif Content

Melodic / Motif Content: Bassline

[Steps = Semitones]

1.0               F  > F  = 0 steps

2.0               F  > F  = 0 steps

3.0               F  > F = 0 steps

4.0               F  > F# = 1 steps up

5.0               F# > F# = 0 steps

6.0               F# > G = 1 step up

7.0               G > G# = 1 step up

8.0               G# > G# = 0 steps

9.0               G# > C =8 steps down

10.0            C > C = 0 steps

11.0            C > C = 0 steps

12.0            C > C = 0 steps

13.0            C > F# = 6 steps up

14.0            F# > F# = 0 steps

15.0            F# > F = 1 step down

16.0            F > D# = 2 steps down

17.0            D# > D# = 0 steps

Full Four Bar Melody (Interval Size)

Full Four Bar Melody (Up / Downs)

8.5          Timbre

Timbre: Synthesizer Bassline

This synthesizer was produced using four oscillators pitched slightly apart; one square and three Sawtooth oscillators. The synth’s frequency and time settings were automated to allow them to change over time. This allowed the producer more control of the tension through fluctuation of the frequency and decay time of the synth patch throughout the track.

All the oscillators have the same ADSR; instant attack, medium decay and short release.

A reverb unit was inserted on the synth. The Dry / Wet was automated to allow the reverb to be used as an effect and this played a crucial part in the development of the sound during moments of tension.

Timbre: Drums

8.6          Panorama

The pan position of the instrumentation follows the guidelines which Owsinski recommended in “The Mixing Engineers Handbook” (2006i) (see blog for author’s research into panning) and the same basic positions as the other AOs. The most interesting panoramic feature of this track was the pan position of the high-hats which swings from left to right. This subtle effect helped to make the track a little more interesting by giving it a little more depth.

Analysis of Analysis

The AO were compared to find the mean settings for making an EDM record. The [see full comparisons on blog]. The outcome of the analysis was used to produce the step-by-step guide, however the challenging aspect of making the guide was to take the information that had been collected and form it into a set of instructions which allowed capacity for creative input (whilst remaining within the confines of the guide).

Recreation and Analysis of Deadmau5 – Ghosts N Stuff

Practical Experimentation of Music Analysis 4:

Deadmau5 – Ghosts N Stuff (Recreation)

7.1          Structure

This AO develops using a similar structural template as Happy Violence, opening with the same basic drum pattern and developing in bars of 8 and 16. The chords which provide the main melody for the track start at bar 9 (section2) and lead to the first short chorus break, occurring between bars 17 to 25 (section 3). Although this track has a similar structural syntax as Happy Violence, it differs from Ghosts N Stuff in that it has four main sections; 1 to 3; 4 to 8; 9 to 12 and 13 to 22, whereas Happy Violence has just three main sections. It also has only two chorus breaks one which last for 8 bars and the second for 17 bars. Ghosts N Stuff has three chorus breaks which last for 8 bars each, demonstrating that although these AO all share similarities by working in bars of 8, there is not a global structural template which all producers adhere to.

7.2          Tempo & Key

Ghosts N Stuff is in the key of  A # Minor and the tempo is 128 bpm.

Although the tempo appears to  fluctuate between 126 and 140 bpm, two of these are remixes by different producers and the actual mixes produced by Deadmau5 are between 127 and 128 bpm. It is also apparent that Deadmau5’s preference is to work in Minor, with the exception of “Wheres My Keys”.

7.3          Rhythm

Rhythm: Drums

Like the other AOs, this track implements the same generic 4/4 house style beat.

A second high-hat with a softer velocity was added between bars 38 to 57, 73 to 81, 113 to 129, 137 to 169. This high-hat variation created a swing effect strengthening the groove.

This drum pattern implemented on the last sixteen bars of the track is essentially a breakdown of the first drum pattern; a 4/4 kick drum beat with a clap on the second and fourth. However the high-hat  been removed indicating the track is breaking down as it approaches the end of the record.

This drum pattern implemented on the last sixteen bars of the track is essentially a breakdown of the first drum pattern; a 4/4 kick drum beat with a clap on the second and fourth. However the high-hat  been removed indicating the track is breaking down as it approaches the end of the record.

Rhythm: Synthesizer Chords

ON = on the beat                             OFF = off the beat

The chords are long sustained notes. The first two bars of each phrase play on the beat followed by two sustained notes which start on the offbeat. These offbeat notes act in a similar way to Fedde Le Grand’s Put Your Hands Up For Detroit bassline. It creates a snappy rhythm and the variation may also partly be responsible for maintaining the listener’s interest.

Rhythm: Synthesizer Bassline

ON = on the beat                             OFF = off the beat

The bassline has the same basic style of syntax as Dada Life’s Happy Violence and contains the same number of notes. Although deceptively simple looking, the positioning of the notes has a significant impact on the rhythmic groove of the track. Moving the position of the notes to be slightly earlier or later transforms the rhythm. Dada Life discussed this bassline phenomenon in an interview with Future Magazine issue (Dada Life 2011), unfortunately they did not offer any magic answer, but they did admit to spending hours positioning the notes of their basslines to ensure they sounded exactly as they intended them to sound. By comparing Ghosts N Stuff to the rhythm of Happy Violence, the similarities are clear;

Rhythm: Plucked Synthesizer

Similar to the plucked instruments implemented in the other AOs, this synth only plays three notes. Through experimentation with the plucked synthesizer, it transpired that convoluted and excessive counter melodies distracted attention from the main lead line thus the overall rhythmic feel of the track was lost. The plucked synthesizer acts as a decorative or percussive element rather than a melodic sequence.

ON = on the beat                             OFF = off the beat

7.4          Melodic / Motif Content

Melodic / Motif Content: Synthesizer Chords

[Steps = Semitones]

1.0               A#  > G#  = 2 steps down

2.0               G# > F# = 2 steps down

3.0               F# > D# = 3 steps down

4.0               D# > A# = 7 steps up

5.0               A# > G# = 2 steps down

6.0               G# > F# = 2 steps down

7.0               F# > D# =3 steps down

Full Four Bar Melody (Interval Size)

Full Four Bar Melody (Up / Downs)

Melodic / Motif Content: Synthesizer Bassline

[Steps = Semitones]

1.0               A# > A# = 0 steps

2.0               A# > A# = 0 steps

3.0               A# > A# = 0 steps

4.0               A#  > C  = 2 steps up

5.0          C > G# = 4 steps down

6.0          G# > A# =2 steps up

7.0          A# > A# = 0 steps

8.0          A# > F = 5 steps down

9.0          F > A# = 5 steps up

10.0        A# > A# =0 steps

11.0        A# > G# =2 steps down

12.0        G# > F# = 2 steps down

Full Four Bar Melody (Interval Size)

Full Four Bar Melody (Up / Downs)

Melodic / Motif Content: Plucked Synthesizer

1.0          C > A# = 0 steps

2.0               A# > F# = 0 steps

Full Four Bar Melody (Interval Size)

Full Four Bar Melody (Up / Downs)

7.5          Timbre

Timbre: Synthesizer Chords

This synthesizer is produced using only one Sawtooth oscillator. It has an instant attack, long sustain and short release. No effects were applied to this synthesizer.

Timbre: Bassline Synthesizer

Timbre: Plucked Synthesizer

This synthesizer comprised of only one Sawtooth oscillator. Similar to the plucked synthesizer analysed in the other AO, the plucked sound was produced by setting the ADSR to a fast attack, medium sustain and short release.

The plucked synthesizer was produced using two sawtooth oscillators detuned slightly apart. The amplitude envelope was fast attack with short sustain and a medium release. This envelope shape produced a plucked type of sound.

A saturator was inserted to sharpen the high-end.

A compressor was used to glue the sound together and maintain a consistent loudness.

An EQ was inserted to low-cut the low end frequencies and bring clarity to the high-end.

Timbre: Drums

7.6          Panorama

Through the study of these four AOs, clear similarities in the production methods can be drawn which indicates producers do use a set of production guidelines, through structure, drum patterns and choice of instrumentation.

Recreation and Analysis of Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up For Detroit

Recreation and Analysis of Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up For Detroit

Practical EDM Analysis 3: Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up For Detroit (Original Mix)

I)             Structure

[Figure 1. Screenshot of Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up For Detroit (Original Mix) Waveshape in Ableton].

[Figure 2. Table shows the instrumental layers over time in bars].

Like the previous AO, Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone, this track begun with a vocal riff. This vocal was repeated between section 1 and 3 (bar 1 to bar 33). A pad was implemented between bar 25 to 31 and  89 to 109, this is commonly heard in EDM and is known as a riser. The sections are not visually as clearly defined as the other AO, however by listening to the track the chorus breaks were identified as bars 97 to 113 (section 7) and unlike the other AOs this track only had one chorus.

II)            Tempo

[Figure 3. Fedde Le Grand Top 5 Selling Tracks On Beatport 22-01-12].

III)          Timbre

Timbre: Synthesizer Bassline

[Figure 4. Ableton Analog synthesizer, highlighted area shows the oscillator circuit].

This synthesizer was produced using two oscillators; sawtooth and square (see highlighted above). The sawtooth was pitched an octave down from the square to allow the more hollow sound of the square to push through and the full buzz sound of the sawtooth to provide the low-end of the synthesizer. The amplitude envelope of both wave shapes had an instant attack, long sustain and quick release which produced a short and snappy but solid sound.

A hard 7:1 compression setting was used with a gain reduction of approximately three to four decibels. The attack and release were tweaked to find the punch (see more: Owsinski 2006). This compression produced a solid and steady amplitude level and helped make the bass punch through the mix.

[Figure 6. Overdrive in Ableton].

Ableton’s in-built Overdrive unit (similar to the Saturator) was inserted to add a harsher edge to the high-end of the synth. The overdrive was set to 12% wet which enhanced the high-end of the sound without drastically changing the waveshape.

[Figure 7. Bass synthesizer make-up table].

Timbre: Plucked Synthesizer

[Figure 8. Bass synthesizer make-up table].

The plucked synthesizer was produced with two sawtooth oscillators detuned slightly apart. The amplitude envelope (highlighted in figure 8) was fast attack with short sustain and a medium release. This envelope shape produced a plucked type of sound.

[Figure 9. Plucked synthesizer make-up table].

IV)          Rhythm

Rhythm: Drums

[Figure 10. Ableton view of layers over time in bars in drum pattern 1].

Like the other AOs, this track implements the same generic 4/4 house style beat.

[Figure 11. Table shows the instrumental layers over time in bars].

[Figure 12. Ableton view of layers over time in bars in drum pattern 2].

A second high-hat is added between bars 65 to 96 and 113 to 161.

[Figure 13. Table shows the instrumental layers over time in bars].

[Figure 14. Ableton view of layers over time in bars in drum pattern 3].

This drum pattern is implemented between bars 65 to 97 and 113 to 145. The addition of the lower velocity open high-hats gives the track a groove. The development of the drum patterns helps maintain energy as the actual bassline is repetitive and there are very few other changes throughout the track.

Rhythm: Synthesizer Bassline

[Figure 15. Screenshot of bassline notation].

The bassline of this track has a strong rhythmic groove providing a solid foundation as well as a  distinctive, catchy memorable hook. The image above displays how the riff repeats with minor adaptations in bars of 4; the bassline is acting as the melody but with the repetitive nature of a bassline.

 [Figure 16. Close in screenshot of the first bar of the bassline].

By examining at this close up image it is possible to see that there is a note from the previous bar which leads into the main riff, a technique that has not been found on the other AO. As figure 16 demonstrates, the bassline plays on every beat and off-beat of the bar. Such a complex and busy bassline is unusual for house music which tends usually to employ a sustained note either on the beat or off-the beat (as in the previous AO examples), allowing the melodic sequences to take precedence. However, unlike AO 1 and AO 2, there is not a melodic bassline, thus the bassline also acts as the melodic content.

Rhythm: Synthesizer Plucked

[Figure 17. Screenshot of bass synthesizer notation].

The plucked synthesizer plays the same three note pattern throughout the duration of the track. The notes are all off the beat.

V)           Melodic / Motif Content

Melodic / Motif Content: Synthesizer Bassline

[Figure 18. Screenshot of bassline notation].

As the bars are repetitive with very minor adaptations, only the first two bars were analyzed.

[Steps = Semitones]

1.0          A > A  = 0 steps

2.0          A > C = 3 steps up

3.0          C > C = 0 steps up

4.0          C > G# = 4 steps down

5.0          G# > G#  = 0 steps

6.0          G#  > G#  = 0 steps

7.0          G#  > G = 1 steps down

8.0          G > G = 0 steps

9.0          G > A = 2 steps up

10.0        A > C = 3 steps up

11.0        C > A = 3 steps down

12.0        A > G# = 1 step down

13.0        G# > G = 1 step down

14.0        G > G = 0 steps

Full Four Bar Melody (Interval Size)

[Figure 45. Table shows the melodic movement of the melodic synthesizer notation].

Full Four Bar Melody (Up / Downs)

(First Half)

[Figure 19. Table  shows the melodic movement of the bassline notation].

Melodic / Motif Content: Plucked Synthesizer

[Figure 20. Notation of the plucked synth].

 [Steps = Semitones]

1.0               D > D  = 0 steps

2.0               D > D = 0 steps

3.0               D > D = 0 steps

Summary of Analysis Object

Like the other AO, the recreation did not convey the same level of energy as the original which rekindled the initial concern that this investigation could be hampered by lack of resources. The technological production aspects are clearly of strong importance in EDM, however this project may provide the foundation for further research.