Building Songs from Production Samples

Every songwriter knows there are still many ways to approach songwriting, no matter what path digital music technology takes. But your digital workstation can help energize and enhance creative processes, especially if your style is to produce music based on samples and music loops. Here are ideas for crafting new songs in your digital studio.

Starting a Song from Scratch

Producing music based on samples and loops means keeping an archive of a variety of sounds that should be categorized and organized for easy access. A widely known place where you can find production soundbites for constructing your music is something like Producer Loops. The site provides access through licensing to thousands of files from recording labels that can be legally downloaded and used for original production.

Before you can start putting songs together with samples and loops, you need to develop a production library of useful sounds, from drum beats to sound effects. You can expand your library quickly by purchasing sample packages from production sites. Once you have enough loops to play with, you can craft an endless stream of unique songs. The more you customize loops with effects, the more original your sounds will be.

The recording software you use will dramatically affect the outcome of your work. A program that only offers basic tools, for example, presents limitations to your art and will reflect on your professionalism. Software designed for professional presentation with advanced tools will give you much more flexibility and artistic freedom to showcase.

Keys to Great Production

Even as digital technology has improved every decade, it’s still important not to over-produce a recording. Keeping the focus on the song and the performance is still an effective way to hold the listener’s attention while using sonic techniques to enhance the experience. Overuse of sound effects and processing can be annoying to listeners who want to vocals and instruments.

Some producers base songs on one loop repeated over and over while others use loops for musical parts, such as drum tracks and bass lines. They may construct a backing track for a vocalist or develop a song based entirely on a steady drum track mixed with various samples.

Laying out song elements on a timeline is the universal way music is crafted on a computer. Many current hits are still based on traditional songwriting patterns, such as establishing the core of a song with two verses, followed by a bridge or chorus and then restating earlier parts. The main key to writing a catchy song is that the songwriting structure contains an easy-to-remember part of the song that keeps recurring.

Producers should be aware of music arranging and understanding what different instruments as well as vocals do in the mix. While you do need a good feel for mixing, most of the magic takes places from careful listening rather than understanding algorithms or comparing frequencies. Production is both an art and a science and involves knowing how to mix technology appropriately with music.