Keys and Scales in DnB

marcelkennard

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Do producers out there always decide on a particular root note when making a track and which one? But more importantly do you then use a particular scale and use only those notes for your lead melody? I never know whether to create a riff using musical theory or just by playing around by ear on the keyboard. Im referring particularly to more dancefloor styles
 

richie_stix

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personally, i make a 'sound' in my synth... this is my bassline normally (jump up), i use G as my 'test key'... so 9 times out of ten, my tunes are in G... finds it works for me!
 

Freek

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i always make every tune in F or F#. it is the perfect key for the sub to boom through. I dnt know the technical reasons but something about the key F makes your bass boom through the mix. With scales i dont really have a huge knowlege on scales, i just play by ear and if it sounds right then all good, and if it sounds off then i just mess about until it sounds right.
 

subprime

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Having a root note of e or f will put your root sub note down around 40 hz which is good for me. What notes you use for your lead is related, but you'd have to get into scales and modes and the theory of writing melodies and accidentals and passing notes and passing wind to define things better. Too much work eh.
 

djdevz

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a scale between e and a will have freqs around 40-90 (or something) which compliments dnb as the kick normally sits around 100hz..so based on that it makes it easier to get the sub n the kick fitting nicely.
 

groelle

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you could always layer up your sub, so technically you can use whatever key you want. there are great songs in every key...
 

djdevz

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yeh ofc you're never tied to any scale...but im just pointing out that those keys have a nice tone for dnb music.
 

miszt

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I use all diffrent keys, my favorites are C#-Minor & A-Minor, because they give lots of room for diffrent bass notes, A/B/Bflat/D, depending on what source OSC you use (saw/sine/etc) tend to give the phattest basslines from what I've learnt so far, for eg dropping down from A2 to Bflat1, is FILTH, done right of course! it also depends massivly on your 'style' of EQ, i'm a Notcher, I often have 20-30+ EQ notches, this changes the harmonics of the sound allot, if you prefer more gentle EQ then you'll find diffrent notes give you the resonance you are after....so really it all comes down to trying out as many as possible
 
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I pretty much always make my tunes 'by ear'. I'll make a patch i like then play away on the keyboard untill i find something i like.
My 2 pence worth. lol
 

Phat_Sam

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A good way to look at bass frequencies is this:

G: Good bass sounds - the sub will come through on an OK system.
F/F#: Obviously a bit lower - the sub will rock any sound system.
E: Lowest freq without losing clarity - the sub will destroy the valve system and create a black hole full of sub bass. The world, as we know it, will be reduced to a woofer playing the low end of Machete
 

ARTFX

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I sometimes find B to be pretty bassy as well.
 

marcelkennard

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Thanks guys all these tips are quite helpful, however does anyone have any more interesting tricks involving creating riffs like maybe which notes work in combination nicely?
 

RevTech

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My 2 cents are that e and d minor are very sad sounding scales. personally, the notes depend on the main synth for me
 

Fyl Syf

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I find that you can write more complex melodies and chord structures by using scales, however most of my drum and bass has been made by ear so far.

I do plan to do some liquid using scales though. I figure scales are perfect to get that very musically competent liquid sound.

I don't have a sub so I find that A and A# boom more for me. If you want to sound like Concord Dawn then go for the Locrian scale. That one starts with a semitone, and the 5th is diminished :D Nice and evil :twisted:

Most modes of the major scale can sound quite nice and they all sound different, even if you use the same major scale (ie D Dorian sounds very different to C Ionian, even though they have the same notes).

If you want a nice neo-classical feel then the Harmonic Minor scale is the way to go!

As an aside, when I use scales I always stick to just the notes in the scale, unless I'm modulating between another scale. Some accidental notes can sound nice, so just experiment and see what you can come up with. I would definitely recommend using scales.
 
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Dj Methodist

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The last track i wrote was a different key for me totally. I wrote it in D.

The scale i used for all the intricate parts was called Neapolitan I think and the notes consisted of D (the tonic) Eflat,F,G,A,B,Csharp and Dhigh.

The track is here http://soundcloud.com/methodist/come-with-me-clip

There is a lot of different scales called lots of weird stuff like Augmented (D F Fsharp A Asharp Csharp D)

Minor pentatonic D F G A C D.

Its fairly easy to research if you havent got much knowledge and I suppose you choose a scales to suit your tracks vibe.
 

djdevz

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if it helps just take the simplest scales:
C major - all the white notes from C to C
A minor - all the white notes from A to A

and make a track using either one (depending on whether u want a 'happy' (major) or 'sad' (minor) track)
then if u want it in a different key, just transpose it by the relevant number of semitones

e.g. A minor to F minor = -4 semitones etc..
 
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