Dynamics is a word that you hear musicians using a lot and with good reason: it’s important. Dynamics breathe life into music and when used correctly creates a lot of excitement. When most musicians talk about dynamics they are referring specifically to volume and how it fluctuates, but there are other ways to create dynamics in music outside of just playing louder and softer. A big part of music production is helping to accentuate the existing dynamics of the song.
One of the most obvious places to accentuate a song’s dynamics is in the chorus. To illustrate how we do this, we’re going to dissect what we did on “She’s Got It ” by Sean Waldron. “She’s Got It” is a high energy track that has a killer chorus that we really wanted to feel momentous and big. The first thing you have to do when making something big is to actually make something small. We start the song with the guitar performances focused in the center of the stereo spectrum. This keeps Sean’s guitar work (a hallmark of his sound) front and center while leaving lots of space on the edges to use later to make things “big”.
There are several different ways we could have gone about making the chorus big, but we chose a technique known as doubling. Instead of having one performance of Sean’s electric guitar in the chorus (like the verses and the bridge) we had him play through it two extra times. Each extra performance is panned to different sides of the stereo spectrum (hard left and hard right) and the end result is a “wall” of guitar that gives Sean’s chorus the lift it deserves.
After doubling the electric guitars the chorus had a much bigger feel, but still needed something to push it over the top. The magic bullet proved to be a couple performances of acoustic guitar, panned hard left and hard right, and voila….The Sweet Spot. A chorus that pops and dynamics that don’t require you to bash the crap out of your instrument!*
Now that you know how we iced the cake I’m sure you’d like to take a bite of it and you can do just that on March 18th when Sean releases “She’s Got It.” Check him out at www.seanwaldronmusic.com and check back next month for more stories about finding the production Sweet Spot!
*Please be advised that drummers should always bash the crap out of their instruments.