The key to writing great music quickly is in the workflow. By understanding which workflow to use, we can ensure we have the right ingredients before starting the production process. In this example we’ll use the VCDBM workflow.
In order of creation it looks like this:
Vocal > Chords > Drums > Bassline > Melody
We’re using the VCDBM workflow which means we’re starting with a vocal. This can be something completely original that you recorded, or a vocal from a sample pack – the choice is yours!
We know the vocal is 124 BPM and in the key and scale of C Major, as this information is contained in the sample pack. If we didn’t know the key and scale of the vocal, we could use Mixed In Key Studio Edition to find it. Once we add the vocal to our DAW we can set the project tempo to match.
This is where things get really fun! We can add an instance of Captain Chords to our project, set it to C Major, and then use the ‘Play’ tab to jam along with our vocal to find an amazing chord progression to match. We decided on the following 8-bar progression with the timing set to 1-bar for each chord. We also layered two instances of Captain Chords to create a more interesting and fuller sound.
Dance music drums don’t need to be complex to sound great. It’s more important to use suitable drum instruments than adding lots of drum layers. A great starting point would be a sample drum loop with a 4/4 bass drum playing on each beat, combined with a clap on the 2nd and 4th beat of each bar. Add to that a tuned percussion element, such as a Tom, then a closed Hi-Hat with some swing to give a looser feel. Once you flesh-out the song, you should add some rhythm variations and breaks to help maintain listener interest.
When it comes to dance music basslines, less is more. One general rule-of-thumb; if there are chord changes, then the bassline should change to coincide. It’s not a hard-fast rule, but it’s tried and tested! In Captain Deep we can choose to ‘Follow The Chords’ and opt for a simple sustained-note bassline, then add some dynamic movement using sidechain compression. Use the filter to remove any unwanted mid-range frequencies. This will create a subtle, but weighted, bottom-end to our song without cluttering the mix and detracted from our melodic elements.
To help support the vocal melody we can create a counter-melody using Captain Melody. This subordinate melody will help to harmonize the vocals and fill any mid-range frequency gaps in our song. Using the ‘Idea Tool’ we can generate notes within ‘Idea Boxes’ for each two-chord section and then fine tune the results with the various parameters. Once we have found an idea we like, we can copy the idea box across each chord and choose to ‘Update Lanes’ to ensure note tensions remain relative to each chord in the progression – viola!
“Captain can inspire you. I’m using it every day and showing my friends. Captain Melody is super convenient for songwriting. I love the color feature that tells you how stable the note is in the scale. It’s also cool to see what melodies are suggested when you are looking for a new idea.”
“This is totally for me. I can take ideas that I play on violin, drop them into Captain Plugins, and come out with a super chordal sequence that I couldn’t come up with on my own.
Captain Plugins will take your music production to the next level.”
“I’m loving Captain Plugins and I used it on two tracks. It’s a super cool plugin. I just love that it promotes inspiration. It’s the perfect spot to get ideas going. I’m always looking for that spark of creativity and Captain always provides that!”
“I love the Captain plugins by Mixed In Key. They really help facilitate programming in a streamlined way. I am able to produce quickly and efficiently while on-the-go.”
“If you’re writing chords, this is a must-have plugin. It’s faster than working on the keyboard and you can be more creative and just let your creativity come out.”
“Captain Chords is an essential tool for modern composing. I love the new strum feature”
“Captain Chords helps you add color and mood to underground tracks. It’s amazing.”
“These plugins close the door on the past.”
“Captain Chords has become really valuable to me when I don’t have a MIDI keyboard handy. It allows me to build out interesting chord progressions quickly wherever I am with just my laptop. I love this tool because it shows me chord options I may have not thought of.”
“For me, it’s all about the song. Finding the right chords and feeling is the most important part to making a smash track. Captain gives you the tools you need to push boundaries in your songwriting.”
“Captain chords and melodies has helped us in writing better songs in more creative and efficient ways. Amazing tools, a must have for every producer”
“Captain Chords helps me go where I’ve never been before. I’ve been a songwriter for 15 years, and Captain is helping me renew my inspiration.”