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.

 

Honours Degree Show

I finalized my Honours Degree Show layout and submitted the infrastructure form to Abertay University. This is the finalized version;

   

A Study Into The Aesthetics Of Electronic Dance Music

  1. Headphones.These will be used to let the visitor hear the music they are creating in Ableton.
  2. Computer with Ableton 8 Suite. This will be set up with an Ableton 8 Suite Project and will be an interactive feature for the visitor.
  3. Step-by-step guide to producing electronic dance music. This will be the project artifact which the visitor can follow using the computer provided
  4. Projector. A video produced by the author will be played on repeat and shown on the projector.
  5. Second computer. This computer will be used to play the video produced by the author of the project.
  6. Second Pair of Headphones. These will be used to let the visitor hear the video.
  7. Stack of business cards.
  8. 4 foot long table. To hold computer
  9. Chair. To allow the visitor to sit down while testing the step-by-step guide.

 

 

Recreation and Analysis of Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone

Practical EDM Analysis 2: Calvin – I’m Not Alone (Original Mix)

I)             Structure

[Figure 23. Screenshot of Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone (Original Mix) Waveshape in Ableton]

Although this track conveys the same structural syntax as the previous analysis object, there are a few distinctive differences.

[Figure 24. Zoomed in Screenshot of Calvin Harris – Happy Violence (Original Mix) waveshape in Ableton]

As can be seen from the above image (a zoomed in version of the previous waveshape) the track does not start on the first beat of the bar, it comes in a beat before. The song lasts three minutes and thirty seconds, one and a half minutes (53 bars) shorter than Dada – Happy Violence. Thus the entire structure is condensed, however more interestingly it does not start with drum beats. The track starts with a vocal and guitar riff and the drums do not begin until the 33rd bar, one minute into the track (section 5). This is contrary to the previous track where the instrumentation ended at 1 minute as the chorus started. The structure also bears obvious similarities to the timing. It develops through addition and subtraction of layers and follows the four bar – change pattern similar to the previous analysis object. It breaks down in a similar fashion, for example it develops from a couple of layers to seven layers and finishes with six layers. The breakdown (chorus) sections of the track at bars 25 to 33 and 81 to 89 closely resemble the breakdown sections of Happy Violence at bars 33 to 48 and 81 to 112. They both eliminate the percussive and low-end bass instruments keeping the listener in suspense, waiting for the song to drop back into the drums and bassline.

(Figure 25. Table shows the instrumental layers over time in bars)

II)           Tempo

[Figure 26. Calvin Harris Top 5 Selling Tracks On Beatport29-12-11]

Clearly 128bpm appears to be the go-to tempo used by these professionals whether consciously or subconsciously. Another interesting finding was C Minor appears to be a popular key choice among both producers.

III)          Timbre

Timbre: Synthesizer Chords

The synthesizer patch was taken from a tutorial video by electronic dance music producer enthusiast, Timofey, (2010) who worked out how to produce the same sound. Timofey’s recreation was produced using three oscillators playing simultaneously; a white noise wave and two saw tooths.

[Figure 27. Ableton operator synthesizer, highlighted area shows the oscillator circuit]

The author then tweaked some of the settings to produce a patch which seemed to more closely resemble the original sound. Timofey’s version lacked the edge that Calvin Harris’s original track had. This was combated by adding a fourth oscillator (oscillator c) producing white noise. Although Timofey’s version already contained a white noise oscillator, this different type of white noise added a harsher edge giving the track more bite.

[Figure 28. Ableton operator synthesizer, highlighted area shows the fourth oscillator]

[Figure 29. Ableton operator synthesizer, highlighted area shows frequency setting]

The filter frequency was set slightly higher to allow the bright high end of the white noise to shine through. This helped it to sound closer to the original recording and also enhanced clarity.  (Hear the recreation on the blog).

[Figure 30. Ableton’s in-built reverb unit]

A reverb unit was inserted on the channel which created a sense of space. This effect unit makes a huge difference to the sound of the channel, it sounds dry and ‘box’ like when it is turned off. The in-built chorus adds a slight shine to the reverb. This is a quintessential sound effect for this particular synth, without the reverb unit the synth sounds too dry and loses its distinctive character.

[Figure 31. Sidechain compression in Ableton]

Finally a compressor was inserted and from the image above it is possible to see that it is applying approximately 2db of gain reduction. This dynamic processor glued the sound together and maintained a stable and punchy dynamic.

Timbre: Synthesizer Melody

[Figure 32. Ableton operator synthesizer, highlighted area shows the oscillator circuit]

A modularised synthesis method was used to create the melodic synth patch. It was created from a sine wave and two saw waves.

[Figure 33. Ableton operator synthesizer, highlighted area shows LFO]

The unusual shimmer like sound was created using a sine low frequency oscillator (see image above). The rate was set high and the amount was low creating a slight bend to the sound. The track had a wide spread creating a wide stereo image and the filter was left open to 4.18 kHz. The filter was inserted to filter out an unusual high pitch distortion which occurred when the sine wave was added to the oscillator chain.

Timbre: Synthesizer Bass

[Figure 34. Ableton operator synthesizer, highlighted area shows the oscillator circuit]

The bass synthesizer was created using two oscillators playing simultaneously. It was created by amalgamating square wave and saw tooth wave oscillators.

[Figure 35. Highlighted area shows the envelope shape of the saw tooth oscillator]

The saw tooth oscillator had a slightly later attack time and provided a fuller low-end buzzy type of sound.

[Figure 36. Ableton Saturator]

 Ableton’s in-built saturator (analogue compressor emulation) was inserted to add a harsher edge to the synth.

[Figure 37. Table shows synthesizer make-up]

IV)          Rhythm

Rhythm: Drums

Unlike Happy Violence there is no deviation of the original drum loop, the focal point of the track is the chords and vocal. It used a very basic 4/4 house syntax as described by Eric E as detailed in the literature review.

 Figure 38. Ableton view of layers over time in bars in drum pattern 1]

[Figure 39. Table shows the instrumental layers over time in bars]

Rhythm: Melodic Synthesizer

[Figure 40. Screenshot of melodic synthesizer notation]

By studying the pattern above, it is possible to see that the melody plays a five note bar followed by a three note bar consecutively for 8 bars. Whereas the first and last note of the odd bars is on the beat, the succeeding notes fall in-between the off beat and on beat.

Rhythm: Synthesizer Bassline

[Figure 41. Screenshot of bass synthesizer notation]

The synthesized bassline plays on the rhythm as the main melody with the addition of three notes between the second and third bars and the fourth and fifth bars. The bassline is essential in this track and provides a strong and distinctive groove. This rhythmic pattern will be employed in the pre-production project artefact in order to examine whether this sequence can be used in other tracks using different melodic intervals.

 Rhythm: Synthesizer Chords

[Figure 42. Screenshot of chord notation]

The synthesizer chords have the exact same rhythm as the melodic synthesizer.

 V)           Melodic / Motif Content

Melodic / Motif Content: Synthesizer Melody

 [Figure 43. Screenshot of melodic notation]

The first notable difference between this melodic pattern and Happy Violence is that the melodic pattern extends for double the duration; it plays for eight bars as opposed to four bars.

[Steps = semitones]

1.0          D > B  = 3 steps down

2.0          B > G = 4 steps down

3.0          G > B = 4 steps up

4.0          B >  E = 7 steps down

5.0          E > D = 2 steps down

6.0          D > E = 2 steps up

7.0          E > G = 3 steps up

8.0          G > B = 4 steps up

9.0          B > G = 4 steps down

10.0       G > E = 3 steps down

11.0       E > D = 2 steps down

12.0       D > B = 3 step down

13.0       B > E = 5 steps up

14.0       E > G = 3 steps up

15.0       G > B = 4 steps up

16.0            B > E = 5 steps up

17.0            E > G = 9 steps down

18.0            G > E = 3 steps down

19.0            E > D = 2 steps down

20.0            D > C = 2 steps down

21.0            C > D = 2 steps up

22.0            D > E = 2 steps up

23.0            E > G = 3 steps up

24.0            G > B = 4 steps up

25.0            B > A = 2 steps down

26.0            A > D = 5 steps up

27.0            D > E = 2 steps up

28.0            E > G = 9 steps down

29.0            G > B = 4 steps up

30.0            B > D = 3 steps up

31.0            D > A = 5 steps down

[Figure 44. Table  shows the melodic movement of the melodic synthesizer notation]

Examining the up/ down movement of the intervals it appears that these two tracks have a fairly analogous form. They start similarly with; down, down, up and although deviating from the same pattern they continue along a route of sequencing in mainly even steps (Happy Violence moves in twos and I’m Not Alone moves in fours).

Full four bar melody (interval size)

Full four bar melody (up / downs)

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

Melodic / Motif Content: Synthesizer Bassline & Plucked Synthesizer

[Figure 46. This is the notation for the bassline and plucked synth and does not change for the entire duration of the song]

[Steps = semitones]

1.0               A > A  = 0 steps

2.0               A > B = 2 steps up

3.0               B > B = 0 steps

4.0               B > C = 1 step up

5.0               C > C = 0 steps

6.0               C > C = 0 steps

7.0               C > C = 0 steps

8.0               C > C = 0 steps

9.0               C > C = 0 steps

10.0            C > C = 0 steps

11.0            C > D = 2 steps up

12.0            D > E = 2 steps up

13.0            E > E = 0 steps

14.0            E > G = 3 steps up

15.0            G > G = 0 steps

16.0            G > C = 7 steps down

17.0            C > C = 0 steps

18.0            C > C = 0 steps

19.0            C > C = 0 steps

20.0            C > C = 0 steps

21.0            C > C = 0 steps

22.0            C > C = 0 steps

23.0            C > D = 2 steps up

[Figure 46. This is the notation for the bassline and plucked synth and does not change for the entire duration of the song]

[Steps = semitones]

1.0               A > A  = 0 steps

2.0               A > B = 2 steps up

3.0               B > B = 0 steps

4.0               B > C = 1 step up

5.0               C > C = 0 steps

6.0               C > C = 0 steps

7.0               C > C = 0 steps

8.0               C > C = 0 steps

9.0               C > C = 0 steps

10.0            C > C = 0 steps

11.0            C > D = 2 steps up

12.0            D > E = 2 steps up

13.0            E > E = 0 steps

14.0            E > G = 3 steps up

15.0            G > G = 0 steps

16.0            G > C = 7 steps down

17.0            C > C = 0 steps

18.0            C > C = 0 steps

19.0            C > C = 0 steps

20.0            C > C = 0 steps

21.0            C > C = 0 steps

22.0            C > C = 0 steps

23.0            C > D = 2 steps up

Full four bar melody (up / downs)

[Figure 47. Table  shows the melodic movement of the melodic synthesizer notation]

Full four bar melody (interval size)

[Figure 49. This is the notation for the chords  and does not change for the entire duration of the song]

[Steps = semitones]

1.0               A2 + B3 >  A2 + B3

2.0               A2 + B3 > B2 +D3

3.0               B2 +D3 > B2 +D3

4.0               B2 +D3 > C3 + E4

5.0               C3 + E4 >  C3 + E4

6.0               C3 + E4 > C3 + D4

7.0               C3 + D4 > C4 + D3

8.0               C4 + D3 > E3 + G4

9.0               E3 + G4 > E3 + G4

10.0            E3 + G4 > B3 + G4

11.0            B3 + G4 > C3 + E4

12.0            C3 + E4 > C3 + E4

13.0            C3 + E4 > D4 + C3

14.0            D4 + C3 > D3 + C4

Full four bar melody (up / downs)

Unfortunately the results of the interval sizes do not bear strong similarities with the Happy Violence track. However, analysis of more tracks could provide insightful.

Melodic / Motif Content: Chords

[Figure 50. Table shows the melodic movement of the melodic synthesizer notation]

Summary of Analysis Experiments

The most challenging aspect of the recreation was the synthesizer patches. The remake of Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone was made easier through the online tutorial, however the accuracy of this attempt is questionable as it is was not possible to produce an exact replica of the original track. This could pose a threat to the validity of the project however a more credible approach has not yet been discovered – it is hoped that a new method will be used during the actual analysis stage of the investigation. As well as the challenge of recreating identical sound, the analysis methodology used to collect data from the synthesis patches may not be efficient enough to produce a similar synthesizer patch. However, the melody and structure did not prove problematic and were easily recreated with certainty. As stated above, the analysis of the interval sizes did not highlight anything, but it is possible further analysis of other tracks could prove more insightful. This analysis will be carefully assessed to determine the best method for dissecting the data. Finally the information collected from the analytical research, in the form of numerical data, will be assessed to find the average for the synthesizer settings i.e. number of oscillators, envelope size, etc. The analysis methods will be refined, however, it is hoped that some of the data recorded will be suitable for application in the project artefact. The results of the analysis were tested in the electronic dance music pre-productions in the following section in connection with objective 4.

Honours Degree Show: Layout Plan

I thought about my honours degree show display and re-designed the layout slightly. I decided to incorporate two computers so that more than one visitor could approach the display at one time, thus reduce waiting time for visitors wanting to see my display. The computer on the left (no.2 of image below) will have Ableton 8 Suite installed with the relevant project which the visitor can interactively test the step-by-step guide. The computer on the right (no.5) will be capable of video play-back and connect to the project (no.4). This computer will show a fifteen minute long documentary style video compiled by the author, and will play on repeat during the exhibition. Headphones will be provided in order to not disrupt any other exhibition.

Pair of Headphones. For the visitor to use when they try the step-by-step guide.

  1. Computer with Ableton 8 Suite. This will be set up with an Ableton 8 Suite Project and will be an interactive feature for the visitor.
  2. Step-by-step guide to producing electronic dance music. This will be the project artifact which the visitor can follow using the computer provided
  3. Projector. A video produced by the author will be played on repeat and shown on the projector.
  4. Second computer. This computer will be used to play the video produced by the author of the project.
  5. Second Pair of Headphones. These will be used to let the visitor hear the video.
  6. Table 1. To hold computer
  7. Table 2 and chair. To hold second computer and allow the visitor to sit down while testing the step-by-step guide.

Project Production 4.0

Project Track 4.0

This was a short practical experimentation into electronic house music incorporating the theoretical and practical research carried out in the first semester.

Like the Happy Violence track, the chorus rests between bars 17 to 33 . It has same instrumental development as Happy Violence, it starts with drums and bassline and develops a new percussive layer at bar 9. This transitions into a chorus break at bar 17 with a white noise rise effect. The chorus plays for sixteen bars and breaks back into the main drum loop and bassline, like Happy Violence.

White noise effects;

Rising and falling white noise effects are commonly used in electronic dance music to build tension and create atmosphere. This white noise was taken from a sample pack, however they can be created using a white noise oscillator on a synthesizer and riding the filter envelope to to create movement and control the number of frequencies passing through (or the loudness for untrained ears).

Kick

Dada Life advised that they only look for “razor sharp” sounds that can cut through the mix. With this in mind, the kick was selected and composed to the generic 4/4 house rhythm.

Snare

The snare was placed on second and fourth beat, as used by Calvin Harris in “I’m Not Alone” and Dada Life’s “Happy Violence”.

Bassline

The bassline was based on the bassline used in Happy Violence. Like Happy Violence, it plays on only one note. The crucial element of the bassline, as mentioned by Dada Life in their interview, was the rhythm (timing). The length and spacing between the notes was critical to producing the right groove.

Melodic Synthesizer

The melody was based on similar up/down melodic movement of I’m Not Alone (see pre-production essay for more detail on I’m Not Alone pre-production analysis).

High-hat Loop

This high-hat loop was found in the Vengeance House Samplepack, a popular source for many electronic dance producers. This high-hat created a strong groove on top of the track. The notes of lower velocity (smaller waves) were slightly late creating an upbeat and relaxed groove.

Synthesizer

The synthesizer playing the melody was created with a triangle and three square oscillators playing simultaneously. Oscillator A and B (square waves) were pitched down by 0.5 cents with a slightly later attack and longer sustain. The triangle (oscillator C) and square wave (oscillator D) were given a faster attack shorter duration for snappiness. These worked effectively together because A and B provided the low-end and depth to the sound, C and D provided the snap that cut through the mix which Dada Life proclaimed was highly important in electronic dance music.

A wet chorus was added to create a glimmering effect like the main lead synthesizer used in I’m Not Alone.

A reverb was inserted to make the synth sound bigger, a technique used by many electronic dance producers. The reverb was automated to create a swell at the transition into the chorus.

Dada Life stated in their interview that they implemented heavy use of multi-band compression on all of their channels. The multi-band tightens up the sound by compressing a specific frequency band as opposed to the whole sound. The high-end (2.5 kHz) was boosted by 8.1db and the low-end (120 Hz) was reduced by 24db as the low end is an unnecessary part of the the sound.

Finally the a sidechain compressor was inserted. This typical electronic dance music technique works by compressing the sound passing through when the amplitude of the kick reaches its peak volume. Dada Life claimed in their interview that they use sidechain compression on just about every one of their channel in different amounts. The sidechain compression reduced the amplitude by approximately -5db.

A delay is more typically used on trance leads, however it was used on a synthesizer in Calvin Harris’s I’m Not Alone and so it was applied to the lead of this track.

Bassline

The bassline was created using a sawtooth and square wave on Ableton’s Analog synthesizer. A white noise oscillator was added and sent to both the sawtooth and square in a 50/50 ratio. A fast attack was used to create an instant sound.

An small amount of overdrive was applied to enhance the high-mids to improve clarity and help the bassline cut through the mix.

Like the lead synthesizer, a sidechain compressor was inserted to allow space for the kick and create subtle movement.

Finally a generous amount of multi-band compression was applied to tighten all the frequencies bands and create a punchy bass sound.

Drums

The drums were passed through EQ to cut out the low end frequencies.

Master:

A subtle amount of multiband compression was applied to the master channel to glue the channels together.

Finally a limiter was placed on the master channel. The Native Instruments Oxford Limiter is highly regarded among electronic producers for its superior quality, this plug-in lifted the track and gave it new life. Although a good quality plug-in cannot substitute the technical skills of a music producer, the difference in sound quality was was huge when the amount (enhance) was boosted. Although a little too much may have been applied on this particular project experiment, compression clearly plays an important role in the production of electronic dance music.

 

Project Aim Development

I considered the original aim of my project and I decided that it would be an unfair investigation to categorize all music as formulaic if I am only studying ‘electronic dance music’. After discussing the project aim with my lecturer Dr Kenny McAlpine, we decided that guarantees is too strong a term to use for this type of investigation due to the fact that we are dealing with people’s personal opinions which can never be guaranteed. We also agreed that influenced was not accurate enough and I settled on ‘generates’. I am still contemplating the use of this word and this could also change to render it more accurate. Therefore I have changed my project aim to this;

“The aim of this research is to conclude if it is possible to create a formula for the production of electronic dance music that generates appeal from it’s intended audience. Electronic dance music has numerous sub-genres and I intend to analyse three of these sub-genres for the purpose of this project.”