Using Rhythm to Create New Basslines and Melodies

Sometimes it’s hard to find the inspiration or motivation to create things differently. I prefer to think of this a little differently than others, and it keeps me from encountering too much repetition in my sound design, melodies, baselines, etc. This insightful lesson should help you shake things up a bit!

[aside title=”Beat It!“] The beat of the song is not the rhythm of the song, and you can use this to your advantage when adding some groove to your tracks![/aside] I think it is safe to say that about 99% of all melodies, baselines, etc are just pure rhythm. Now before anyone out there gets too upset at that statement (I’m a drummer at heart and we do take a lot of beatings from a lot of you theory purists out there 🙂 ) I will explain that statement as best I can. There are only a small handful of notes, and there are no new ones coming our way anytime soon. But with rhythm on the other hand, well let’s just say it’s is basically infinite possibilities waiting to be discovered by you and put to good use. So I often wonder why so many artists continually turn to the same handful of beats, rhythms and MIDI patterns…

If we are to put this into perspective using a simple Trance baseline, you can quickly understand what I’m getting at here. Below are a couple audio examples of popular baselines in the Trance genre(s).

[audio:|titles=Basic Patterns]

Now compare those with these. The only difference being the pattern has changed, not the notes.

[audio:|titles=Slightly Different]

You may argue that there are only four beats to work within and that the baseline pattern options are greatly restricted by this. How about approaching this from a slightly different angle. What about all the time in between those whole notes. Listen to these examples.

[audio:|titles=Beats In Between]

Now the only difference in those last two examples are a few notes offset by a fraction of a beat. But, it adds tension, interest, groove and some might even argue a better rhythm. So next time you are working on a part of a song that you normally approach the same way overtime, try employing this tactic to change things up a bit. You may be really surprised at the results!

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