Let’s produce 03: Uplifting Trance Vibe

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Hello producers, how’s it going? In the third post from our Let’s produce series we’ll be taking a look at the melodic elements behind a simple Uplifting Trance Vibe. We’ll cover the rolling bass-line pattern and its layers, the chord progression as well as how to create a simple arpeggio, but I need to point out that we’ll skip the drums on this one.

The post is structured in five parts: Pad (1), Bass (2), Chords (3), Lead (4), Arp (5). We’ll use Live 9 as our workstation, but you can follow this with any DAW. Just make sure to pay attention to the grid settings in the bottom right corner of every image. Also, if you have any questions or suggestions, get in touch with us at hi@promusicproducers.com! Okay then, let’s start!

 


 1) PAD


 

We’ll be using a tempo of 134 BPM. We are starting with the pad because we’re gonna use it as a reference for writing the bass-line progression. Although the pad will only play a Minor 7th chord, it gives us a stable, melodic sound in the background that we can reference to when trying to create the main progression in that scale. Starting with a vocal track is even better.

STEP 1 – We’ll start with a 4 bars long clip, playing F minor 7th:

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It sounds like this (notice the side-chain compression):

 

STEP 2 – We can get a brighter sound if we add the root note F, one octave higher:

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It sounds like this:

 


 2) BASS


 

The bass-line will be a group of three layers: sub, mid and high. All three layers are playing the same MIDI pattern. Before we decompose these layers, let’s take a look at that rolling bass-line pattern.

STEP 1 – We start with the basic off-beat pattern playing the root note F3:

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It sounds like this:

 

STEP 2 – To get that “rolling” effect, add two lower octave notes (F2) around each of the off-beat notes:

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It sounds like this:

 

Now let’s solo each of the three layers from the bass group:

1) High Layer:

2) Mid Layer:

3) Sub Layer:

 

It helps to group these layers together for side-chain compression or for that classic high-pass filter movement from the intro:

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High-Pass Filter movement when introducing the bass-line:

 

STEP 3 – Finally, let’s create a 4-bars ascending progression from this rolling pattern. The first two bars will continue to play F. The third bar will ascend to C. In the fourth bar, the movement is even faster: 1/2 bar plays C# and 1/2 bar plays D#:

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It sounds like this:

 

Remember that we created the pad in Section 1 as a reference for the bassline progression. Now we can play them together to see how the movement of the bass-line works with a non-moving pad track:

 


3) CHORDS


 

STEP 1 – For chords, we’ll start with the basic F minor triad playing this pattern:

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It sounds like this:

 

STEP 2 – Since this is Trance, we can deviate from the basic minor triad to get a brighter sound. We can shift the second note from the chord (G#2) one octave up (G#3). This is called voicing. We’re still playing the same notes, but in a different order.

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It sounds like this:

 

STEP 3 – Now extend the length of this clip to 4 bars to insert the progression. The second and fourth bar will play the first inversion of F minor (playing the root note F one octave up). The third bar will play a basic C minor triad. It’s a very simple progression focused around the F minor chord, but the main movement in this track is created from the bass-line:

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It sounds like this:

 

STEP 4 – We can add some extra notes to the main chord in the first bar, to create a subtle movement: D# (the 7th in the scale) and F (root note duplicated one octave up):

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It sounds like this (pay attention to the first bar):

 

STEP 5 – One final thing for the chords is to make use of the Pre-delay settings from your Reverb to create that pumping sound effect. Increasing the Pre-delay time (which basically delays when the reflection kicks-in) on these chords sound like this:

 

This is what we have so far:

 


 4) LEAD


 

STEP 1 – The lead. We’ll start with a 4 bars progression that contrasts the ascending movement of the bass-line. Both play F for the first two bars, but whilst the bass climbs to C, the lead will descend to C:

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It sounds like this:

 

STEP 2 – We can smooth out the transition between these bars by creating a short movement just before the end of the bars:

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It sounds like this:

 

So this is going to be the main part of the track:

 


5) Arpeggio


 

Let’s make a simple one-bar arpeggio that we can use in the intro/outro. You can start by filling up all the 1/16 slots from a bar with the root note and then move these notes around to create a nice arpeggio:

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It sounds like this:

 

So this is what we made:


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