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When you want to create some smooth sounding LoFi Hip Hop Beats, you will definitely need to gain some knowledge about music theory and how to build a great musical fundament for your creations. Finding a smooth sounding chord progression can be a great starting point for any musicproduction. In this article I want to give you some inspirational ways for creating smooth chord progressions in any DAW like fl studio, ableton cubase, logic etc.
Table of contents:
- Some Basic Knowledge
- Tools For Interesting Chord Progressions
Some Basic Knowledge
Before we will cover some tools that could help you generating interesting chords for LoFi Hip Hop Beats, I want to give you a general overview over the theoretical knowledge, that you’ll have to understand in order to profit from the tips, I am giving you in the following sections. If you are already familiar with the topics listed above, you can skip this part and go directly to the section, where I am giving you some inspirational tools for finding some interesting LoFi chords.
Musical scales are a very important thing to know about, when it comes to creating any type of music. A scale is basically a set of notes that is put into a specific order. Choosing your scale in the first step of your beat making process, will lead it into a specific style of musical expression. If you compare a simple major with a minor scale, the major scale will sound bit „happier“ than the minor one. Besides, there are a looot more scales to choose from, but explaining this topic in detail would go beyond the scope of this article. The basics you’ll have to know for understanding the following tools, is that each note of a scale fits within the key you are playing it in and how to build them on your own. To get a deeper understanding of this topic, I would recommend you to watch the video below:
Chords In General
After we have finally managed to understand the anatomy of musical scales, which is basically separated into different orders of whole- and halfsteps, we need to have a look at how to build chords in general. Here is another great video, that is explaining this topic pretty well:
Tools For Interesting Chord Progressions
After we have understood the basic anatomy of musical scales and chords, we can dive into some interesting ways for creating some smooth chord progressions – YAY!
Quick tip: I recently released an article, where I am giving some tips about creating some groovy LoFi Hip Hop drum patterns. If you are interested in this topic as well, feel free to read it here: LoFi Hip Hop Drums Tipps
1. Circle Of Fifths
The circle of fifths is a musical tool that will help you to find some smooth chord progressions for your LoFi Hip Hop Beats. To understand it, you will need to have a look at how it is structured: The circleis basically separated into 12 sections named by every note of a chromatic scale. While it has many uses in music theory, it can also be used as a visual representation for some chord progressions that fit well together. While all major keys are represented on the outer side of it, you will find the corresponding minor keys on its inner side. Used right, it can be an amazing lo-fi chord generator! All you really have to know is that all chords, that stand next to each other are chords that potentially fit well together as a progression. To help you getting a deeper understanding of it, I will embed another video that is explaining this topic as well:
Quick Tip: If you are struggling in using the circle of fifhts, you can also find some great apps, that help you using it. One example is the “TONALY” App which is available for Android and IOS.
2. Using Chord Generators
There are some dope websites and apps, that could help you to find you a smooth chord progression for your next beat. While learning something new about music theory and experimenting is essential for getting a better musician, chord generators can be a pretty helpful source of inspiration. Besides using the features of your DAW that will instantly build some chords for you by simply selecting them, (For FlStudio in particular, this would be the “stamp” feature of the piano roll) there are some great websites, that can feed you with valuable inspiration.
Here are some examples:
3. Using Existing Tracks As An Inspiration
There are a few things in music, that inspire you more than the songs you love. When you are familiar with the fundamentals of building chord progressions, it’s pretty easy to get inspired by some existing tracks. You can always have a look at some free websites or apps, that have uploaded some chord progressions of popular songs. If you want to go a step ahead, you can try to learn how to read notes and buy some sheet music as a source of inspiration. Another way could be to use a feature of your DAW to convert the audiofile of an existing song into a MIDI track and use it for your own musical creation. Here is also a short list of some websites, that will give you some information about the songstructure of existing tracks:
4. MIDI Libraries & Sample Packs
This is probably the simplest way for getting inspired. There is a huge market for lofi sample packs. From a pre-made LoFi drum beat to a smooth LoFi piano sample, you can find great loops for nearly any instrument on online shops such as Splice or Primeloops. Another great way could be to download some MIDI files of popular songs and re-arrange them directly in your DAW to avoid annoying copyright issues. There really is a lot to discover in the myterious depths of the internet.
If you want to compose some great beats, you will have to get familiar with some basics of music theory. Interesting chord progressions can play a huge role in your LoFi Hip Hop song structure. In this article, I gave you an overview over the theory, that is related to this specific topic and listed 4 inspirational ways for coming up with some great chord progressions for your future projects. Because LoFi samples often sound very jazzy, I would recommend you to learn different jazz scales and practice them on your MIDI-Keyboard or to get inspired by existing tracks from popular Jazz artist such as Chet Baker or Bill Evans. This will definitely help you to get a better feeling when it comes to creating your own music. Hope that this was helpful for you!
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