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Using Simplicity To Make Better Music

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Sometimes we get caught up in trying to create “complex” music.

We like our crazy chord structures, intense solos, and 200+ track sessions.

And that music can sound really cool. But we often forget about the power of simplicity in music. Depending on the type of music you’re making, this might be the reason you’re not happy with your projects.

Some of the greatest music ever recorded was done with four tracks, two verses, and a chorus. Four chords at most.

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Even 16 tracks seems like a small number to work with in today’s digital world, but in can (and has) been done successfully.

Though we like to hear something fresh and new, we don’t need to be hit with fifty different ideas in a single song. Choose one thing to make “complex” and let the rest be simple. Here’s an example:

In the hip-hop world, sessions often have less than thirty tracks. “Run This Town” – the hit off of Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3, has 26 tracks, including vocals. That’s not very many, but the truth is it doesn’t need very many. The rap and vocals are complex enough for that production.

Let’s consider another genre – film scores. The music written in film scoring is pretty simple if you actually listen to it. But it’s some of the most powerful music we hear. Even though the music itself is simple, the sounds can be quite intense. Think about Hans Zimmer’s “Inception” soundtrack. The brass is very intense, though simple musically.

The trend we’re seeing is that one thing in the production seems to be “complex”, but the rest is rather simple. Whether it’s a complex synth tone or a complex musical part, it is usually limited to one at a time.

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This is because we like simplicity. Believe it or not, we don’t like to be confused by a crazy amount of things all happening at once.

Want to work through an incredible sounding track with us that has just the right amount of complexity? Learn all of the Secrets of the Hits as we dive into a track in the style of Bruno Mars. Click here to learn more!

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