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Little delay technique

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  • Little delay technique

    Hey guys! I'd love to share this little delay technique I started playing around with recently. May not be new to everyone else, but I am loving it.

    I use FL Studio, and this technique is simply a matter of arrangement, where I place the notes, no use of effects.
    First, here is an image to underpin the technique:


    In FL Studio, Quarter Notes are called "Beats"; 8th Notes are called "1/2 Beats"; and 16th Notes are called "Steps".
    Essentially, in a 4/4 Time Signature, there are 64 1/4's of a 16th Note, and 32 1/2's of a 16th Note in a whole bar of 4 beats.
    Here's what I do:

    1 - Open the Piano Roll
    2 - set "Snap To Grid" as 1/2 step or 1/4 step (in other words, you can "shrink" notes down to 1/2 a 16th Note or 1/4 of a 16th Note).
    3 - place the note for whatever instrument it is 1/2 or 1/4 AFTER (to the right) of where it "should" normally go, that is, so the instruments "hits"/plays a fraction of a second later.

    Like so...
    The above image is of ONE "beat" (one Quarter Note).
    Divided into 4 16th's by the top BLUE squares.
    Sometimes I place a note where the GREEN square is - 1/2 of a 16th later that what is "expected" by the listener.
    More often, I place a note where the ORANGE square is - 1/4 of a 16th later than what is "expected" by the listener.

    The delay is barely audible, especially to the untrained ear.
    But it is felt. At least, that is what I experience. If you listen to my Bare Remix of "Georgina" that I posted - I use this delay technique primarily on the gentle piano notes that come in at 2:49.
    See if you can sense the delay. I think what it gives to the tune is a feeling of.....laziness, really. Not laziness in terms of bad production, but laziness in terms of makes the tune even more chilled out, laidback.....LAZY. Which I think really works for ambient/chillout genres. (Note however that I do not use the delay on ALL the piano notes).

    Of course, the reverse of this technique is to place notes 1/2 or 1/4 of a 16th note EARLY, to the left, "BEFORE" they would be expected by the listener. This would, as a result, create a feeling/sense of urgency...things arriving before they should.

    What do you think?

    These are all ideas that play around with listeners' expectations, which we as producers, I think, should manipulate by either satisfying the expectations, or violating/not meeting the expectations; in order to affect our listeners' moods and give them different experiences. These ideas are coming to me as I read This Is Your Brain On Music.

    Last edited by ; 06-29-2014, 05:56 PM.

  • #2
    I try to do similar things with some of my sequencing. Sometimes I'll try to mix it up with some notes arriving late and others early. Its success does not seem to be guaranteed (at least, in my experience).

    John Bonham was a master of playing behind the beat. Some of his grooves are legendary. If you listen to the Police, the drums are often ahead of the beat.
    Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello


    • #3
      For me, I am starting off small. I've found in the past that if I get a new idea I go over board on it and it ends up sounding like sh*te. So I am using these effects sparingly and testing where and how to make them work. As always, less is more.