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Unread 03-30-2012, 06:11 PM   #1
Lateralus_32
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Default Theory of Dubstep Music

Could someone please explain the theory of dubstep in a way that a 101 level student can understand? I really liked Burial then I lost interest in it but I want to know more about it. I'm really curious, thanks.
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Unread 03-30-2012, 06:33 PM   #2
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0.5/10
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Unread 03-30-2012, 06:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmiLe) View Post
0.5/10
You think I'm trolling? Check this link.

http://www.looperman.com/forum/thread/86051

Some person broke down dubstep into bar numbers and described what goes in each section.

Dubstep is so damn popular among kids, I'm kinda surprised no one has created any theories to describe what it actually is.
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Unread 03-30-2012, 06:41 PM   #4
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Dubstep, like any other music genre, follows several specific conventions. You can learn about these by listening to it.
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Unread 03-30-2012, 06:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lateralus_32 View Post
You think I'm trolling? Check this link.

http://www.looperman.com/forum/thread/86051

Some person broke down dubstep into bar numbers and described what goes in each section.
For those who don't want to click the link this is what he said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jahknow
here is a very simple and straight forward structure for dubstep

4/4 at 140bpm

measures
1-32 = intro (keep it simple, and easy to fallow rhythmically so dj's will want to match it up in the heat of a mix, or while performing)
33-64 = bass and drums - main meat of the tune
65-96 = add something (like a pad or slight change in bassline, some congas, or a arp synth) keep it rollin
97-112 = break (take out most) (put your little voice sample in here, and a riser or a buildup take out the drums maybe the bass too.)
113-160 = All in (bass, drums, pads) - climax of the tune..
161-176 = subtract something (take out the congas, or the synthy arp thing)
177-208 = outro (take out more stuff, get minimal here)
209 = ending (a little sound, or a delay echoing off into the distance, or your little voice thing you used in the break.) I like to mix tunes that I can ride all the way to the end, and let the song mix itself out with the last little noise.

I like to put fills in 1 or 2 measures before each change, i.e, measure 63 and 64 would be a drum fill, or a pause, or something to give it character. I find it nice to make each fill different. and that takes away from such a repetitive feel.

so fills would be measures
31-32
63-64
95-96
111-112
159-160
175-176
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Unread 03-30-2012, 06:47 PM   #6
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Good starting place- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubstep

Some key features around 140 bpm, but the drums seem to be half that speed. Think of it like this. An offbeat snare beat will have snare on beats 2 and 4, while the bass drum would be on every beat or beats 1 and 3 (they are heard more on 1 and 3 in any case because that's when the snare is not playing). But in dubstep, the snare would only be on beat 3.

Even though the drums have a feel of being slow, the other instrumentals and samples tend to be best described as written as if the drum beat were twice as fast, so the songs don't really feel slow because of the instrumentals. In a way, the drums have a much more passive role in dubstep, they mostly keep the beat and stay out of the way in instrumentals where as in other electronic music, the drums will play a more key role. That's not to say you can't do some interesting stuff with the drums, ie some embellishing type stuff, syncopated rhythms, triplets, etc.

The wobble bass is a major feature, which is a loud distorted bass sound (there are tutorials on youtube you can watch to see exactly what properties give the bass the dubsteb bass sound). The wobble comes from messing with low frequency oscillators, which when manipulated in different ways (IE volume, cutoff, resonance, pitch, etc) create the wobble effect. A lot could be said on this, but basically what happens with the wobble bass is it can take one sustained note on the bass and makes it sound like multiple notes, manipulating it into different rhythms. It also can bend the pitch, create wah effects, and other effects (kind of like those slushy toilet bowl sounds lol).

In a very simple way, think of a studio where you see a bunch of knobs that affect different properties of music. Traditionally, you change these setting to give your song a different overall sound. You change the timbre (sound qualities) of different tracks. Well traditionally, you would set these knobs the way you want for a song and leave them there. You may make a few changes to them. If there's a section of a song you want a certain track to sound louder in, you will raise the volume, or you might fade the tracks at the end of the song. In dubstep, you would be constantly messing with all these knobs to change the sound of your tracks. This doesn't just change the tone of tracks, it makes new sounds, generally very percussive sounds. Of course, in dubstep songs, people aren't necessarily going in and messing with all this stuff when the record the song. Different software/synthesizers allow you to have this effect. And it's not just mindlessly turning knobs, you have to know what you are doing. I've messed around with dubstep in different programs. It's a little confusing at first navigating your way through envelopes/LFOs and stuff if you don't go in already understanding how to make dubstep or without understanding the elements of the software that are important to make dubstep.
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Unread 03-30-2012, 06:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhenPeonsAttack View Post
Good starting place- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubstep

Some key features around 140 bpm, but the drums seem to be half that speed. Think of it like this. And offbeat snare beat will have snare on beats 2 and 4, while the bass drum would be on every beat or beats 1 and 3 (they are heard more on 1 and 3 in any case because that's when the snare is not playing). But in dubstep, the snare would only be on beat 3.

Even though the drums have a feel of being slow, the other instrumentals and samples tend to be best described as written as if the drum beat were twice as fast, so the songs don't really feel slow because of the instrumentals. In a way, the drums have a much more passive role in dubstep, they mostly keep the beat and stay out of the way in instrumentals where as in other electronic music, the drums will play a more key role. That's not to say you can't do some interesting stuff with the drums, ie some embellishing type stuff, syncopated rhythms, triplets, etc.

The wobble bass is a major feature, which is a loud distorted bass sound (there are tutorials on youtube you can watch to see exactly what properties give the bass the dubsteb bass sound). The wobble comes from messing with low frequency oscillators, which when manipulated in different ways (IE volume, cutoff, resonance, pitch, etc) the wobble effect. A lot could be said on this, but basically what happens with the wobble bass is it can take one sustained note on the bass and makes it sound like multiple notes, manipulating it into different rhythms. It also can bend the pitch, create wah effects, and other effects (kind of like those slushy toilet bowl sounds lol).

In a very simple way, think of a studio where you see a bunch of knobs that affect different properties of music. Traditionally, you change these setting to give your song a different overall sound. You change the timbre (sound qualities) of different tracks. Well traditionally, you would set these knobs the way you want for a song and leave them there. You may make a few changes to them. If there's a section of a song you want a certain track to sound louder in, you will raise the volume, or you might fade the tracks at the end of the song. In dubstep, you would be constantly messing with all these knobs to change the sound of your tracks. This doesn't just change the tone of tracks, but makes new sounds, generally very percussive sounds. Of course, in dubstep songs, people aren't necessarily going in and messing with all this stuff when the record the song. Different software/synthesizers allow you to have this effect. And it's not just mindlessly turning knobs, you have to know what you are doing. I've messed around with dubstep in different programs. It's a little confusing at first navigating your way through envelopes/LFOs and stuff if you don't go in already understanding how to make dubstep or without understanding the elements of the software that are important to make dubstep.
Thanks this is exactly what I was looking for.
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Unread 03-30-2012, 06:56 PM   #8
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Im more interested in how long this will remain popular. I think that is pretty hard to say.
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Unread 03-30-2012, 06:57 PM   #9
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Too early to say whether this is a fad or a trend, but it will be interesting to observe.
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Unread 03-30-2012, 07:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ChewingSaur View Post
Im more interested in how long this will remain popular. I think that is pretty hard to say.
It's been fairly popular for a while now I'd say (or maybe it just feels that way). So it probably won't go away anytime soon, and other genres will probably start including elements of dub step if it does, if they haven't done so already.
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Unread 03-30-2012, 07:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lateralus_32 View Post
Could someone please explain the theory of dubstep in a way that a 101 level student can understand? I really liked Burial then I lost interest in it but I want to know more about it. I'm really curious, thanks.
Eventhough Burial was considdered dubstep when it came out, right now it kinda falls outside the genre into 2-step or post-dubstep. More ontopic though, I think a good place for info about music would be a forum of a music related site. Ask around and google. That way you can get some diffrent views by knowledgeble people because music is, and will always be, a very subjective thing.
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Unread 03-30-2012, 07:44 PM   #12
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theres a difference between dubstep and bro step lets describe those maybe we should ask skrillex fans for the difference?
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Unread 03-30-2012, 09:39 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Cp34mvp View Post
theres a difference between dubstep and bro step lets describe those maybe we should ask skrillex fans for the difference?
Maybe you should actually contribute instead of posting this elitist bullshit. We get you don't like brostep.

WPA hit the nail on the head. One thing I wanted to add was about the snare. The snare needs to be really, really big. Layering is key. Reverb helps. In pretty much every dubstep song, the snare is really distinct.
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Unread 03-30-2012, 09:43 PM   #14
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I don't like dubstep either but I still like to be informed.
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Unread 03-30-2012, 09:46 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Lateralus_32 View Post
Dubstep is so damn popular among kids, I'm kinda surprised no one has created any theories to describe what it actually is.
What? I don't mean to be rude, but you don't know what it is, and that doesn't mean no one else does.
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Unread 03-31-2012, 12:23 AM   #16
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Vid would work properly if Bassnectar wasn't such a greedy stupid phaggot.
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Unread 03-31-2012, 12:40 AM   #17
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I made another attempt to get through a Skrillex song but the vibrations in the center of my brain were very sinister and unnerving. I got through about 60% before the fear set in. Do I stop or do I push through it?

Oh man... its not even notes, its all numbers. This is a complete mindfuck. A pure note is not a number and cannot be measured by any electronic instrument. A pure note played by a human being simply is. Dubstep is mindfuck frequencies of terror. I'm done.

Edit: Listening to Mozart's "Turkish March" performed by the Italian virtuoso Massimiliano Ferrati. The fear is dying and the emotion of music is coming back to life.

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Unread 03-31-2012, 12:52 AM   #18
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Does anybody else get nostalgic when thinking of the pre dubstep era (i.e Justice)???
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Unread 03-31-2012, 01:39 AM   #19
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You can all thank Cher for popularizing it. Bitch.
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Unread 03-31-2012, 02:04 AM   #20
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Burial is considered to be pretty fringe on the dubstep scene right now, but we'll see how long that lasts. His take on the genre has already spawned James Blake and The xx (which in turn spawned Drake and The Weeknd) so if that's more of the style you're looking for it wouldn't hurt to check those two out. James Blake is a pretentious, pompous, overblown dick but some young urban professionals actually like his music enough to play it whenever they host dinner parties. The xx are actually very good though.
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