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Stop This Listening Habit Now!

Jesse is a lifelong gamer and student of all things art and culture. Has traveled extensively and mainly focuses on gaming and music.

Timbre is a complex thing that is taken for granted.

Ok this is my second rant of the night so I keep this as brief as possible. Timbre is so much more complex than what most people here. So for most people that will respond, "Whatever I just want a beat do dance to I don't care about what goes into it." I politely ask that you !#%@ off and don't read the post.

To the people that ARE interested in this topic please read on. While you continue reading I have one thing to say. Get some decent headphones. Pay more than 50 bucks for them. While we're on the subject of headphones you should also avoid using them whenever possible. I have some studio monitors that I use for all my mixing and mastering, and my casual listening as well. Get a pair of monitors. Mine weren't that expensive, and aside from some low bass emphasis they're great at picking out the subtleties.

As far as the habit I want you to break is concerned it would be hearing music as just one element instead of many elements deliberately arranged as one whole product.

What is Timbre?

Case Study - Deadmau5 - Some Chords:

Dynamic Range

There's a lot going on in this song even for Mr. minimalist himself, Deadmau5. Most of you will listen to this and hear the drum beat and the synth. That's the thing though you're hearing the synth as 1 or maybe 2 different instruments as one part. The truth of the matter is that it's several different parts played together, or in some cases deliberately apart from each other. The stereo field is wide as well. There's more going on than just another repetitive dance track. In the beginning the track opens up with a sort of dirty synth. I'm not going to speculate on what kind of waveform it is because my ear isn't that good yet, but you have to understand it's probably at least two synths played together along with a bass backing it. Again, most people won't care, and to them I say, "Did you not read my telling you to !#@$ off at the top of the post?" However, if you actually do care about what goes into music production then please just know that I'm trying to get you to realize that something as delicately, or sometimes violently, put together as a timbre or groove of a track is actually several different things put together to achieve the sound you're hearing.

Just because you're in a groove and you move on to the next hook of a track don't stop listening to the track as a whole and focus solely on the new hook that's grabbing you. Try to take it all in and appreciate how they work together, or in some cases they don't work together and that's the point of it all. There's a lot going on. Pay attention to the effects that change the way a song sounds, or makes it progress forward as a piece of music. There's so much beauty and subtlety to a track. What's quiet is quiet and what's big and loud really slams. It all comes together, and it's a rich experience.

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That's why you're not taking off on SoundCloud and YouTube. You need to be more disciplined. Take a step back from the hum of social media. Stop focusing so much on selling what you've got, and spend more time on what you've created and add those subtle details. I can't take credit for that either. Deadmau5 is the one that said it right there in his Masterclass.

I realize this isn't what is really paying the bills for someone like Deadmau5. It's the people jumping around in the crowd that are drunk and/or high. Just trying to have a good time. Don't think for a minute that they're not putting forth every effort to make a professionally produced piece, and never mind the immensity of the live production at the shows.

I highly suggest taking a course on music production if the topic interests you or even if you want to learn more about how the music you love is constructed. You don't even have to pay. There are tons of instructional videos on YouTube that you don't have to pay for. Personally, I paid for Deadmau5's Masterclass, and I'm taking a music production course with certifications attached to it. And, yeah, I know I'm a little too far passed obsessed with Deadmau5 I get it right. I admire him because he's a renaissance man when it comes to creative endeavors and I respect that. I want to be the kind of person that can deliver something fully produced and executed my me, and only me. That's my dream anyway. Not really to be the total package, but to at least be able to deliver a complete package.

I'm just going to end the post here. I realize I spent like 90% of it on sucklord9001's nuts, but when someone that is that much of an authority on the subject is saying exactly what I feel to be the truth of the matter I can't help but cite it when I do these little rants. I live in Texas, so it's hard to get these guys down here to appreciate EDM outside of Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. There's really not an outlet for me here. There are no nightclubs to get residency at. All I can do is DJ on twitch for pennies, and dream. I just want people to understand that there's just as much that goes into a Deadmau5 track as there is in a Garth Brooks track. If I really wanted to illustrate the point I would say listen to Orbital. They're the first people to really take electronic music and make it sound raw, and organic or natural. The track, Illuminate, I feel, is a good example.

© 2022 Jesse Britten

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