While music theory has that uncool association with it, tightening up your knowledge as a producer will have a positive affect on your work. Understanding a few music theory tricks will help develop a solid foundation that will effect every type project you work on. Producers music theory should be thought about like more of a framework to inspire and support your musical projects rather than rule them.
1. The Broken Chords
This producers music theory trick plays on improving those clunky parts of your keyboard, breaking up the chords and playing them as a short run of notes. Although it doesn’t add rhythmic interest, it will help you to quickly develop cool ideas for melodies that work best with chord progression.
2. Inversions to Animate Chords
With music theory tricks, you do not have to reinvent the wheel to get optimal results. By simply moving the notes within the chord, you can take the progression in a completely new direction. This can be accomplished without having to change the actual chords. Simply select notes and then shift down or up an octave.
3. Building Extension
A very simple producers music theory trick is to extend regular minor and major triads by adding some extra notes. This can radically change a track.
4. Monotony Rule
While writing melodies can be difficult, if that rhythm has a catchy beat, just stick to one note. Use a monotone melody verse, slowly adding small variations throughout the bridge, and build up to that chorus hook.
5. Borrowing Chords
Diatonic chords are made using notes taken from particular scales. Keyboard white notes would give you the diatonic chords. This is done by adding one note to the next note in that scale. Simple music theory tricks involving borrowed chords involve taking those chords from parallel keys. Using some keys with the same root as the original work perfectly.
6. Layering Chords Together
To create that exotic sound, combine minor and major triads to make polychords. For example, use C major with the chord (CEG), then select a major chord that has a root a fifth above the first chord. So here it would be GBD. Play them together and the end result is CEGBD.
7. Taking Giant Leaps
If you want to kick things up a little when developing a melody, move up your keyboard. A good producers music theory trick is to go up a major sixth or minor. The distance between that root note is a major 6th. For example, for a C, the major jump would be to the A. If you jump from the C to the A while in that melody, you’ll wind up in a completely new location on that keyboard.