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Advice on openings that grip the listeners attention?


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#1 lettuce

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 22:03

Most people give a track about a 5 seconds chance when they are looking for new music before they skip.

Those first 5 seconds should have some amazing and exciting sounds, fills and stuff to grab their attention and get them to listen to the rest of the track. You hear it in a lot of old reggae tracks...they start with a big drum fill then drop straight into the main theme of the song, before stripping everything back then building up again.

 

I really feel like if you start a track with a slow build you have no chance of getting a lot of listens, especially as soundcloud stupidly does not even allow the listener to skip forward in a track ( wtf is up with that? ).

 

Better put the loudest and most exciting sounding tracks first in the list too, slow build tracks can go at the end of the tracklist i guess.

 

Does anyone have any good ideas for track openings that grip the listeners attention?

Other than big dub sirens and shouting out an emcees name, with big echoes and saying 'brrrappp!!' or 'brrrrrrrrrrrr!!'...shit is played out and wack. I'm tired of emcess...so specifically for instrumental tracks what can be done after the big opening? Any ideas?


Edited by lettuce, 06 August 2018 - 22:08.

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#2 stoiximan

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 22:56

I would not change my track for any reason at all.Its how it came out of me so no change for me.Now for your question i would put a litle teaser with the best part of the song either at the start of the song or above the song in soundcloud.

#3 radian

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 10:15

Most people give a track about a 5 seconds chance when they are looking for new music before they skip.

 

[ citation needed ]

 

I'd back up that assumption with some evidence before you start composing based on it.


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#4 dblue

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 13:29

soundcloud stupidly does not even allow the listener to skip forward in a track


Are you talking about the website or the app?

I haven't personally tried the app, but at least on the website you can skip to any desired point within the track, either by clicking directly on the waveform itself, or via the transport controls at the bottom of the page.

soundcloud.png



Tip: While the page has focus, you can also use left/right arrow to skip in time, space to play/pause, 0-9 to jump to fixed times, etc.

Press H for a full list of keyboard shortcuts and do it tracker style ;)

soundcloud-keys.png



...

As far as my own tips or advice goes... I personally wouldn't waste much energy worrying about hyper casual listeners who apparently can't even focus their attention for more than a few seconds before losing all interest.

You shouldn't have to compromise your own sound or creative integrity just to appeal to a certain type of audience. Real listeners who have even a scrap of geunine interest in what you're doing, or the type of sound you're producing, I believe that they generally have enough patience and basic respect for the music that they would at least give the track a proper listen first before completely writing it off.

Just do your thing, mate. Those who enjoy it will find you somehow, they always do. The rest can piss off, or simply come back later when they've matured a bit :)
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#5 lettuce

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 17:50

Thats weird, skipping into the meat of the track wasnt working for me for quite a while.

 

Honestly though, I know what you all are saying about not changing the structure of your music just for more plays but on the other hand there are those people who will leave just a bass drum for 1 minute at the beginning of a track, or start a track with 4 minutes of ambient drone. When I'm looking for new music I have to skip that. 99% of the time if you sit through those long-ass intros the main tune is not so good anyway.

 

I was thinking about it, maybe like this:

 

1. introduce the drums and bassline straight away with fills, showcasing fast part of drumbeat, interesting breaks samples etc.

2. vocal sample with echoe or multitap delay or whatever and with big trippy sound fx

3. add chords and melody

4. strip it back to just the bass

5. Bring the drums back in slowly opening a low pass filter

6. build up again as you normally would and have a proper song structure.

 

that big intro which showcases the kind of sounds the track is made up of will stop tired listeners from skipping on.

 

Ive seen a lot of tracks which dont really get going for 3 and a half minutes. The produer aften has put a lot of effort in but ended up with only 5 plays or something. Kind of unfortunate. Youtube might be a better way to go than soundcloud alone anyway because the artwork can be bigger, you can show your equipment or do your best photographic pose.


Edited by lettuce, 07 August 2018 - 17:54.


#6 pat

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 17:48

Listen to some music you like the opening of, and see what they're doing. For whatever reason, when you mentioned openings I thought of "Beat It." And you know what? It's freakin cool!! You've got this cool synth bell sound, that moves into a bare bones beat, then into the groove.

 

There are TONS of songs out there with cool openings that you can learn from... which ones do you like, and what do you like about them?

 

Also for the "drum beat for a minute" or "drone for four minutes" you need to consider context. A DJ can get away with that in a club because there the environment provides a lot of anticipation anyway. But I'll tell you what, I've seen some acts with killer openings and they always blow me away.

 

I've also seen the opposite... I saw a show by some dance DJ (forget who) who played a set that was essentially a 90-minute buildup. When he stopped, there were about 300 people confused and pissed off, I'd be surprised if a single person that night grasped his "artistic vision" or whatever troll BS he was going for :)

 

But for the context of skimming through music online... you're right, people probably aren't going to sit through a weak opening (why would they? it's about immediate interest) so maybe take some cues from pop songs and give them something interesting right off the bat.


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#7 dblue

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 19:57

"Beat It."


I've always really loved that synth sound they used in the intro, and also found it interesting that it's only used that one time before the track completely changes into something else. I'd never really heard anything quite like that before at the time.

While digging through classic tunes and enjoying some nostalgic vibes a little while ago, reading about various musical influences, sample sources, equipment, production techniques, etc., I learned that the synth sound used in the intro to "Beat It" is (supposedly) sampled note-for-note from a demo album showcasing preset sounds from the Synclavier II synth :)

Skip to 3m:30s



Taken from this article:

https://medium.com/m...rd-659061d90b37
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#8 Type-A

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 20:20

ill said amon Tobin's Journey man its one of those songs where if you stay a bit longer  the entire track surprises you

 

 

 

 

also songs that start with some drums always grab my attention 

 


Edited by Type-A, 09 August 2018 - 20:22.


#9 lettuce

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 03:28

Yes its true, I totally agree it depends on context, like a slow build in a DJ set might be awesome for a party ( unless its a slow build up to nothing ) but when skimming through looking for new music its tiresome. As for the soundcloud thing I mentioned, I think the soundcloud not being able to skip forward thing only happens when the soundcloud track is embedded in another website, its a weird thing.

 

Crazy sound effects and big delays, drum fills...showcasing each instrument in some way, cutting everything back, reintroducing things, even starting with a short speech sample...an interesting line from a poem or a movie, plus the eye candy of the artwork or if its a photograph a serious pose seems to work well, defacto. Who knows? Its a tough thing to do right. Dont want to be making stuff that is just an advert for 'buy me!', 'give more plays!', but also dont want people to just skip past when they are in a hurry.


Edited by lettuce, 10 August 2018 - 03:44.

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#10 Paul Buck

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 20:45

This post has nothing to do with anything anyone has written so far, just my $.02.

There's too much of a demand for instant gratification in society. "I want it now" fueled by ADD media/advertising etc. I don't think it does art any favors. If a song of mine takes "too long" to grab a listeners attention, I could care less. I make music for me and if others like it, thats great but I'm not focused on people liking what i make. My best artistic flow comes from no expectations, no pre-conceived notions. Whenever I set about to do something specific, ie, I want to make a song that does this/that or sounds like this/that, I am always pigeon holed into disappointment.

So to me, the problem is not that a song doesn't grab the listeners attention immediately, but that people aren't willing to invest time in REALLY listening because there are a million other things pulling them in multitudes of directions mentally.

So again, just my crazy view on the subject... and if I went to see a club set of 50 minutes of building up to nothing, I'd probably be disappointed too.

#11 stoiximan

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 13:11

I say youtube is the best bet to make your music known but not just posting songs,one must expose your self ,show your gear do some tutorials go live stream hook up with other youtubers that are into music making.
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#12 Type-A

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 16:25

if anyone's interest its to make a living out of music this days you can afford to be ...the most experimental dude or the most innovative one ....example of this its a lot of today's shitty pop music 

 

arrangement its limited ..if you deviate just the lil bit you end up ....with something different than the usual .....pop music ...or most of EDM its formula music 

 

 

i learned a lot just by loading a mr bill song in the arrangement and then placing markers identifying the different sections ..how many bars ..form each section etc....i think thats a cool way of deconstruct other people's music without just being a total ripoff ..

 

but again i'm using his arrangement idea ..which he probably copy  from other people


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#13 lettuce

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 19:10


i learned a lot just by loading a mr bill song in the arrangement and then placing markers identifying the different sections ..how many bars ..form each section etc....i think thats a cool way of deconstruct other people's music without just being a total ripoff ..

 

Hey, this sounds like great advice. I might try to download a cracked copy of an old version of traktor for this ( this kind of activity seems DJ'ish ).

 

I looked up song structure of traditional music ( rock ), but it is often possible to find quite a different kind of structure in modern music.

Modern music doesnt really follow the same rules like verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus-breakdown-verse2-chorus-breakdown-end.

Its more slow builds, sound fx, textures, rises, drops, breakdowns, gradual layering etc.

 

Sorry to beat a dead horse, but anyone got any specific ideas for starting a song strong, right out of the gate?


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#14 4Tey

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 20:16

Sorry to beat a dead horse, but anyone got any specific ideas for starting a song strong, right out of the gate?

Why not just directly ask this question:  How do you write a good strong classic song that isn't meaningless-monotone-no context-out of time-over DSP processed 'sound FX' with 1 bar/idea repeated 800+ times just filling out to last for over 5-10+ (boring/pointless) minutes?


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#15 joule

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 21:43

The simple answer is to start with a stripped down version of the hook. And be quite quick with introducing contrast in the dimension of "sound texture". Something bombastic isn't necessary. Also, vocals help a lot when it comes to catching attention.



#16 Psynapsex

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 01:10

I skip right past the intro to cut the crap and make my decision as to whether or not I like the track.

#17 lettuce

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 20:02

Stripped down version of the hook with vocal samples quickly leadng into change, showcasing the move from one soundset to another, sounds like a good strategy to me.

 

Why not just directly ask this question:  How do you write a good strong classic song that isn't meaningless-monotone-no context-out of time-over DSP processed 'sound FX' with 1 bar/idea repeated 800+ times just filling out to last for over 5-10+ (boring/pointless) minutes?

 

So, what is the answer?


Edited by lettuce, 12 August 2018 - 20:03.


#18 4Tey

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 04:58

So, what is the answer?

I'm not a musician/composer, so I'm really not the right qualified person to even begin answering that deep question.



#19 4Tey

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Posted 14 August 2018 - 17:36

Mentioning the Synclavier II system above, it made me think that this is a musician I could've run some questions by...

(p.s. a chip tune was made fairly recently based on the chords in the video -> http://forum.renoise...ed-oscars-chip/ )



#20 pat

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Posted 16 August 2018 - 19:11

OP = OG



#21 lettuce

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Posted Yesterday, 03:45

Isao Tomita did a synth version of Gustav Holst - The Planets, the sounds in the video above kinda remind me of it...Maybe you guys will like it, quite relaxing...synth classical i guess. Nice swells in the sound like that guy in the video was talking about. ( it gets going at about 3.00 ) Really makes a difference to actually play the keyboard live...I feel  i must learn it.

 


Edited by lettuce, Yesterday, 03:49.