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How To Make House Music (Beginners Guide)

House music production skills are essential for any modern-day music creator. They’re not just needed because of the genre’s growing popularity, but because of all the opportunities, they present to explore new sub-genres within electronic music.

Its commercial appeal is only going to increase and due to its huge following on streaming platforms like Spotify, I can’t see that popularity waning anytime soon.

If you’re interested in becoming a House music producer but are unsure where to start, don’t worry. By following these simple tips and you can soon be producing those killer tracks!

Chose A Sub-Genre Of House Music

House music has many sub-genres to choose from, so knowing what sound you want to create before you get started will help.

Subgenres of House music include:

  • Deep House
  • Tech House
  • Future House
  • Acid House
  • Tropical House
  • Progressive House
  • Bass House
  • Disco House
  • Electro House

You can figure out which type of music you like by looking at the BPM (Beats Per Minute) of your specific song. For example, Deep House usually has a BPM in the 115-140 range., and is slower and less energetic than say Bass House.

Start With A Loop

Once you have chosen a specific subgenre, start with an appropriate loop. Ensure that your loop contains these four key elements: kick drum and snare or clap, percussion, chord progression, the melody, and the groove of the bassline.

Fortunately, most loops will automatically contain these crucial elements. Once you have placed your loop, start to build in other loops that emulate the natural progression of the track.

Offset Your Snare

Digital streaming platforms automatically feature an ‘audio equalizing’ feature that can only be turned off in the listener’s playback settings.

As such, this has forced a number of producers to make their mixes louder than before in order to retain the dynamics of each track. This knowledge is essential when selecting a snare or claps for your track.

Aligning a snare on top of another snare, for instance, will only serve to make your sound distorted which is the opposite of what you need to increase the clarity.

However, to fix this, you can manually offset the snare to prevent it from hitting exactly on the beat. By doing this, your limiter will not have to work as powerfully and this will avoid any unnecessary distortion.

Add Samples

In order to ensure that your track sounds polished and professional, you should use samples. Top-quality samples will bring an added nuance to your track.

It is imperative that these samples are of high quality as it will be virtually impossible to mix in a poor-quality sample and make it sound blended and professionally produced.

Some of the world’s top producers have started creating their own packs of samples and these are perfect if you are looking to emulate the sound of a pro. These samples don’t have to be cliched or specific to the House genre either.

In fact, the beauty of House music is that you can amalgamate a variety of sampled sounds into one steady groove.

Sidechaining

As a fan of House music, you will be familiar with the traditional, pulsating, pumping sound that is a key component of many tracks. This effect is produced via a process called ‘sidechaining’.

Sidechaining is used to duck the bass out of the way of the kick drum, to prevent their frequencies from clashing.

For instance, a compressor is added to the underlying sub-bass, so that whenever the ‘kick’ hits in the looped track, the compressor will lower the volume in the sub-bass to allow the ‘kick’ to be heard with clarity.

There are numerous tutorials on YouTube that layout this process in-depth, along with other more advanced sidechaining techniques that can create some awesome effects.

Layering

The beauty of House music often derives from its simplicity. However, there are numerous layers involved in building a House track that is often underestimated or devalued.

To achieve such an intricate mix with only a few distinguishable elements requires mastery. Layering different sounds that are often undetectable as solo instrumentation, fills the frequency spectrum and makes the sound more wholesome and dynamic.

Although, you should exercise caution with this technique as layering incompatible sounds together can swamp your mix in an instant.

You should start by choosing your leading sound, this will be the most prevalent layer in your overall mix and can be a preset loop or a sound made in found design.

Then search for another loop or create a sound from scratch that will add a unique twist to the track. Maybe add a layer that is grittier or contains a differing level of distortion or reverb.

There are a variety of tutorials on Academy.fm that outline the layering process in more depth but to simplify, enjoy the experimentation involved in layering your track and finding the intricate flow of your own sound progression.

Experiment With The Limiter Turned On/Off

This step is pretty self-explanatory. Sometimes limiters can quite literally limit the dynamics within the track. Experiment with the limiter turned off and on and produce ‘into it’ to discover and enhance the dimensions within each track.

Variation

Whilst it may be tempting to just loop your beats over one bar. Try to add variety in your loops, generating variations over longer periods (whether that is two, four, six, or eight-bar periods).

Like with sentence structures, in order to maintain a flow in your musicality, it is important to add a variety with regard to the length of your bars.

How To Make House Music

Which Software Is Good For House Music Production?

To mix house music, you need a DAW or Digital Audio Workstation. This music production software can host a variety of samples as well as virtual software instruments and arrange them in a way that simplifies playback.

The most reputable DAWs include the following: Ableton Live, Image-Line FL Studio, Steinberg Cubase, PreSonus Studio One, Cockos Reaper 6, Reason Studios, Bitwig Studio, Acoustica Mixcraft, and Cakewalk by BandLab.

Apple Logic Pro, Apple Garageband, and Avid Pro Tools are probably the most known out of these DAWs. However, Logic Pro and Garageband are only compatible with Apple products. There is a wide range of tutorials available for these three Digital Audio Workstations.

Related Questions

What is the best way to learn how to mix and produce House music?

To some extent, House music is about what you feel and not what you hear. It’s more about the feeling of the beat, more than it is about any specific musical element.

One of the best ways to learn how to produce House music is to listen to some of your favorite artists and study their production style. You can also go through tutorials online or read books that teach you how to produce House music.

Where you can download the samples sounds?

Services like Tracklib, Audiojungle, Splice, and even the BBC allow you to use sounds relatively cheaply or even for free.

Loopmaster offers a range of sound-effect and music libraries for use, and you can either buy them on an individual basis or pay a small fee each month to access all of their tracks.

What BPM is House music?

BPM is the basic unit of measurement for the tempo of a song. The abbreviation stands for Beats Per Minute, and it is often used to measure and categorize songs in electronic genres like House music. House music tends to be in the 115-140BPM range.

What defines House music?

House music has been around for a long time and has had many different definitions. It goes without saying that the genre is incredibly versatile and can be found with a wide range of mixed genres.

However, the present trend in house music is that it’s mostly about four on-beat “bumpin” tracks arranged in a progressive manner. The genre is often characterized by the use of disco strings and synthesizer melodies in order to create an upbeat sound.

What is the origin of House music?

The history of house music can be traced back to disco’s roots. In the late 1960s, DJs played records from the likes of Sylvester and the Bee Gees as well as Motown and Philadelphia International Records.

In 1977, a DJ named Larry Heard started producing a form of Disco music called “Slow Deep,” a fusion of various styles including House and Techno music. It would have been classified as “Disco.” However, Larry Heard had a different idea for this sound, so he coined it “House.”

House is also influenced by other styles such as soul, R&B, Gospel music, and even pop tunes from Europe. Many house tracks have vocals similar to those found in traditional soul or Gospel songs.

Final Words

Producing House music starts with a passion for the genre itself. You will need to be able to hone in on a specific sub-genre as it is a multifaceted style of music that encapsulates many differing and often contradictory sounds.

Once you are fully aware of which sound you would like to pursue, downloading a reputable Digital Audio Workstation and watching the related YouTube tutorials will help you to navigate the software more easily.

When you have a strong familiarity with your DAW of choice, you will then be able to use loops (or create a sound from scratch) and start to layer your track.

Do not forget the importance of including samples in the creation of House music and above all, allow yourself the freedom to experiment and enjoy the creative process.

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