Rhythm Made Easy: Accents

As a music producer, part of my job is knowing how to make a good loop. Some producers prefer to know intuitively, and rely on intuition for their whole career. But since intuition is mysterious and unreliable, I prefer to rely on knowledge wherever possible.

One spot where you can add knowledge is with where you place accents.


Accents are notes played a little different than their counterparts. A common example is when a drum loop has hi hats on the “and” of every beat (as in “one and two and…”) for two or four bars, and the last one is switched to an open hihat. This sudden change from a closed hihat to open hihat is the listener’s clue that the next bar is more important in the structure of the track.

I figure most people know about accents. But putting it in writing helps me remember how easy it is to add these when I’m wondering, “What should I do to make this better?”

Now here’s the fun part.

Music production has no limit on how you can use accents. Technically putting a “wub” sound at the end of 4 bars is doing the same job. The only problem is whether it seems like the sound “fits”.

What makes the sound seem like it fits? I’d love to know the answer, but there probably isn’t a simple one. “It sounds like an instrument already used,” and “It sounds like a patch or sample commonly used with similar other tracks,” both seem true.


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