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5 Different Ways to Kick Off a Beat

  1. Edmondo Mollusk

    Edmondo Mollusk

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    Take a look at the last ten beats you made and pay attention to how they start off. All of them drop right into the hook? Each and every one of them starts with a gradual fade in... only to drop right into the hook? It does not have to be as boring as that and luckily there are many creative devices you can employ to diversify your beat repertoire and give unique character to each one of your beats.

    Approaching song structure in a creative way can be really tough, especially if you already have other parts of your beat laid out and you need to make a meaningful connection to the rest of your track. Luckily there are plenty of great beats out there which you can study and draw inspiration from. Here I display some of the techniques used in those beats.


    1. Key Modulation

    This is a very common and old trick in pop music and is as simple as they come. For this you merely take your source musical material and shift it up two semi-tones. Certainly you can modulate by other amounts than two semi-tones, but this is arguably the most popular and easy way of doing it.

    This instantly boosts your song with energy and life and frequently it has been used to give the last hook of a song that extra juice.

    It's a nice way to add an element of surprise to your arrangement without the need to compose any additional material. However beware not to overdo it as the effect loses its power when you can see it coming from a mile away.

    Here is an example of how you would do it in FL Studio.

    image4.png

    If this is your source material you simply mark it all and drag it up by 2 notes. So if your initial first note was G Sharp it will be....

    image2.png

    A Sharp!

    In case you are using a sample this is also easily done within FL Studio.

    Simply drag the Pitch Knob in your Sampler up by +200 Cents (100 Cents = 1 Semitone).

    image1.png

    Rick Ross has this effect on many of his beats and you should listen to" 911" for a great example of this effect.

    2. The Sample

    A Kinda Obvious technique which is however not always easy to pull off. For this effect you pick a sample that sets the mood for the rest of the coming beat. Most of the time you'd already have something specific in mind or you'd catch a line from a movie that you are watching that goes perfect with your beat.



    A famous example of this is "A$AP Rocky - Bass", produced by Clams Casino. The beat samples a subway recording from YouTube in which a man fittingly uses the word "ASAP".

    3. Time Stretch

    Another very easy technique which you will find oftentimes useful with samples. For this you would usually start with the pitched down, slow version of the sample and make it drop into the actual sample speed of your beat. Certainly this works the other way around if you are making a trippy and chopped up beat.

    In FL Studio this is easily done by dropping your sample into the playlist and hovering with your mouse over the right edge of the sample waveform. Your mouse will change into a "double-arrow" icon and at this point you can left-click and drag your mouse to stretch your sample.

    image3.png

    Make sure though that the "Stretch" icon is highlighted as shown in the screenshot above. Otherwise you will truncate the sample.

    For an example of this technique listen to "Future - Married To The Game". If you want an example of a sample being slowed down, then listen to "Tink - L.E.A.S.H." (although there it is featured halfway through the song, not at the beginning).

    4. The Advanced Fade-In

    Yes, I am very aware how I just wrote a couple of paragraphs above that fade-ins are the anti-thesis of creative song intros. However that is only if you do it for each and every one of your songs and you do it the same way. To give the fade in some more impact you should accompany it with some more effects. A resonant low-pass filter that slowly sweeps up makes for a great build-up into your song!

    Add some more swooping SFX along the way or an impact when your filter has fully opened up and you have a nice, interesting start to a song.

    For an example of this listen to "Tunji Ige - Pounds".



    5. Compose an Intro section

    This is the one thing you did not want to hear about. In most cases it will be the most difficult option to come up with a completely original introduction to your arrangement. The difficulty in this lies usually in the fact that you don't have a precise vision of how to start your song. Or you lack the technical expertise to realize that vision.

    It does not have to be so difficult however and most often you will be doing fine if you opt for less, rather than more. A common way to approach this is to take for example the "motif" of your song, or bits and pieces from your hook and modify that. Strip something away, change the rhythm or the instrumentation and you have a solid foundation for an intro to your beat.

    Wrap Up


    As you can see there are plenty of options to creatively start your beats. More often than not the sheer abundance of options is suffocating but I hope that the above-mentioned techniques will help to kick-start your creative process when you write your next beats!

    About

    E.Mollusk Beats is a European Rap Production company. Our mission is to supply upcoming and established rappers with high quality beats at affordable prices.

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  2. EsquireMusic111

    EsquireMusic111

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    Great tips! I do utilize the Advanced Fade-In technique when producing via Reason 10. Definitely some great ways to switch up your sound!
     
  3. Damien

    Damien

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    The images don't show for me, anybody else get this error or know a fix?
     
  4. Fade

    Fade

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  5. Fade

    Fade

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