Beat Making is a very valuable skill for anyone that is interested in music production. It can make your work a whole lot easier and can provide additional income that you can change for beat making services.
With that said, the technical part of beat making can be quite complex leaving most people with a myriad of questions. This post will address one of these questions.
One of the most common questions that most music producers ask, that I’m going to adress is:
” When making a beat, what should I start with?”
When making a beat, what you’ll start will depend on your preference but the most effective way I’ve found is either starting with a melody, chords or a drum pattern. These two ways are the easiest way to get something going, as you brainstorm other ideas to add to your beat. The best practice is to have melody first in order to create some context around the beat.
Starting With a Melody or Chord
Most music producers (myself included) prefer to start with the melody first and then deal with the drums later on.
A melody or chord can be something relatively simple and can guide how you go forward with making the beat.
I usually set my tempo and start with chords, then afterward add on a melody that can sort of provide some context and direction. This will entirely depend on what kind of beat I’m trying to make.
For example, if an artist approaches me with a song that they need a beat for. I’ll usually get to figure out the tempo then lay some chords down and get going with melodies that I see fit. (Check out this article on how to come up with a beat for a song).
I do this because figuring out the key and chords is the most important part of beat making because it will govern and provide the basis from which the entire beat will be built out from.
This is why i suggest that you have some melody or keys going first, and then go on to figure out your drum pattern. But then again, beat making is entirely built on the premise of preference because everyone’s process is different.
Starting With the Drums
Other people choose to start out with the drums and then worry about the melodic part of the beat later. This is also an effective way to go about making beats.
The good part about this is that, starting with the drums can help you get a groove going which can then help you figure out what suitable melodies (or rhythms) with go with the particular vibe.
For example, For upbeat songs that are meant for partying and clubbing. Starting with the drums can be a great way to create a bounce that can then guide how you go about finishing up the record.
Advantages of starting with melodic part
1. You can create emotion that can easily guide you toward the drums that would work with the emotional vibes your melodies are portraying.
2. Starting with the melodies can help you finish the beat faster rather than having to sync your melodies to the drums you have.
3. Once you have a loop going, you can mess around with different variations of drums that you think can work with your beat.
4. When making a pop record, having the melodies down first is almost a necessity because most singing records are driven by the melodies within the beat.
Disadvantages of starting with melodies
1. Figuring out the chords and melodies can be time consuming especially for people that don’t have enough music theory knowledge.
2. Starting with the melody can be boring which can make most people scrape the project.
Advantages of starting with the drums
1. Drums can get a groove going that can inspire you to easily finish the beat.
2. If you have melody loops, you can simply drag and drop one of them on top of your drums and the result could be a finished beat which can cut beat making time in half.
Disadvantages of starting with drums
1. Chords and melodies can give you a hard time seeing that you have to sync them with the drums. It’s easier to sync drums to melody.
2. Starting with drums can give a false of security thinking your beat is almost done which can likely lead you to not doing too much on the melodic side of things.
Beat making is preference oriented and there are no restrictions to what you choose to start with.
Music is a creative endeavor and the way in which it is expressed differs per individual. Therefore what you choose to start with in your beat making should be what YOU prefer.
The easiest way to start a beat is with either a melody or a drum pattern.