How to Produce Progressive House
Simple elements stack up to make Progressive House achieve its characteristic sound. Here are some tips to help you get that sound.
Simple Percussion with Emphasis
Progressive House tends to keep it conservative where percussion is concerned, relying on a kick, snare and hi-hat to define the beat. Getting the right sound, however, means that you have to get creative with the few tools that are usually employed.
Interest can be added to the percussion line by adding a double bass. The first base line is higher and floats the melody. The lower bass line brings out the song’s groove and is pitched lower.
To make things more interesting, still, try offsetting the drum beats a bit from one to the next. This adds a layer of complexity and makes it sound more like there’s a human being behind the drums.
If you want to get even more power out of your drums, add another kick track. Instead of using another kick sample, however, tune a sine wave to the sound of your kick. If it gets too muddy, a high pass EQ can be used to clean it up.
Build it Up
Progressive House thrives on building up suspense and then releasing it with a huge break. Getting that suspense out of the sound can be accomplished with some established methods that still offer a lot of room for creativity.
Chords that contain five or seven percent semitone intervals, called perfect 4ths and 5ths, respectively, are very consonant sonorities and can be used to build tension in the music as you get toward the break. Adding arpeggiation to the melody can have the same effect and, used together, it can be a great way to build up excitement before you hit the breaks that tend to define this genre.
Give yourself enough time to build up that tension. Introducing elements gradually and not coming at the track all at once are hallmarks of this genre. Be patient and let each individual element contribute its part to achieving the Progressive House structure.
Don’t get carried away with bass, as well. Progressive House, as the name implies, tends to get more and more complex as songs go on and that may mean you need to cut bass at times to avoid a muddy sound. When things start building up, make sure you cut out bass so that the melody isn’t lessened in prominence.