Techno Music Theory Simplified

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This article is a summary of a YouTube video "Music Theory for Techno" by Underdog Electronic Music School
TLDR In techno music, normal music theory can be used by choosing a root note, constructing a scale, and using intervals instead of chords, while also focusing on dissonance, repetition, and timbre to create a unique and intense sound.

Key insights

  • 🎢
    Music theory for techno is not that different from regular electronic music theory, and many successful techno artists use the same principles.
  • 🎢
    The choice of scale is important in techno music, and using the phrygian scale can give a darker, "evil" feeling to the music.
  • 🎢
    In techno music, dissonance can be a good thing and repeating short riffs with changing timbre can be more effective than long melodies.
  • 🎧
    Techno audiences love the stable, repetitive step sequenced riffs of a 303 style acid loop.
  • πŸŽ›οΈ
    Using continuous pitches, not even limited to notes on the keyboard, can create unique and modular sequences in techno music.
  • πŸ”Š
    Techno music theory emphasizes the importance of sound character, specifically distortion and detuning, over just notes.
  • 🎹
    Stacking voices and detuning them can create a glorious dissonance in techno music.
  • πŸ”Š
    Pay extra attention to the timbre and character of your sounds, focus on distortion and messing a sound up at the source for better techno production.

Q&A

  • What is the key idea of the video?

    β€” The key idea of the video is that in techno music, normal music theory can be used by choosing a root note, constructing a scale, and using intervals instead of chords, while also focusing on dissonance, repetition, and timbre to create a unique and intense sound.

  • How can I create a unique sound in techno music?

    β€” To create a unique sound in techno music, stick with root notes, use intervals instead of chords, embrace dissonance, and focus on repetition and timbre rather than long melodies. Consonance may not be necessary in a techno track.

  • What techniques can I use to make my techno music intense?

    β€” To make your techno music intense, you can detune oscillators to create dissonance, stack voices and detune them, and use distortion and reverb to make the sound rowdy and intense.

  • How can I create random sequences in techno music?

    β€” You can use the m185 mac for live device to create random sequences in techno music. Try setting the sequence length to a non-multiple of four for interesting results.

  • What scales should I use in techno music?

    β€” In techno music, you can use a minor or phrygian scale. It is important to think in intervals, embrace dissonance and repetition, and pay attention to the timbre and character of your sounds.

Timestamped Summary

  • 🎡
    00:00
    Just use normal music theory for techno by choosing a root note as the foundation of your song.
  • 🎡
    01:19
    Construct a scale around a root note to determine the legal and illegal notes, preferably using the phrygian scale for a darker techno sound, and consider using a simple chord progression with two or three chords for a techno track.
  • 🎡
    02:40
    Stick with root notes and use intervals instead of chords, embrace dissonance and focus on shorter repeating riffs with changing timbre rather than long melodies, as consonance may not be necessary in techno music.
  • 🎡
    04:32
    The low end and high hats in techno tracks are atonal, but the acid synthesizer riff in the middle can be repetitive and doesn't need to harmonize with other elements, allowing for creative freedom.
  • 🎡
    05:31
    Repeating notes can create a sinking effect, while a chromatic approach allows for playing any key on the keyboard regardless of scale, and using random pitches or continuous pitches can create modular and bloopy sequences.
  • πŸ’‘
    06:35
    Pay attention to the timbre of the sound in techno music theory, specifically focusing on distortion and detuning to create a unique texture.
  • 🎢
    07:41
    Detune oscillators, stack voices, add distortion and reverb for intense and rowdy techno sound; play lead on keyboard, create rack, share online if asked.
  • 🎡
    09:41
    Use the m185 mac for live device to create random sequences and the fosicon d16 emulation for 303 style sequencing in techno music, embrace dissonance and repetition, pay attention to timbre and character, focus on distortion, and take care of one another.
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