So you have reached the point in your track where your drum loop is sounding fantastic. The bass line you’ve programmed using a pentatonic minor scale (C, Eb, F, G, Bb, for example) has really made the track come alive! Now it’s time to start thinking about adding some harmonies to your track too. To do this we will be listening to some of the pad sounds available, using the free online software at www.audiosauna.com.
You can sample the sounds in the browser and find the pad sound which best suits your track. When selecting harmonies for the track we will focus on two main intervals: the octave, and the perfect fifth. Start by analysing your bass line. Look for it’s starting note and replay that note somewhere above it using the pad sound you have chosen. Listen for where this harmony really suits the track and programme the track with those notes.
Assuming your track starts on the tonic (or fundamental) of your scale, a perfect fifth will be seven semitones steps above your first bass note. For example, if your scale starts on C, seven semitones steps above will be G. Using a pad sound, listen to find out if this harmony fits anywhere into your track as well. These will be the most useful intervals for you to use when creating your track, but make sure you experiment with other intervals to discover how their sound changes the colour of your track. Remember, once you have selected intervals and a pad sound, you can change the effect of the pad sound in the synthesizer window. Use the effects such as chorus, distortion, or LFOs to alter the sound of your pad throughout your track.
Wanna know more about intervals and how to recognize them? Here you go!
Guest post written by Dr Jack White @jacknotchris