Music is an undeniably important part of our history, for as long as we know, since before recorded history, humans have enjoyed creating and listening to music and they find ways of making it sound different year after year. The 20th century saw great change in the way music is made, however the costs were high if you wanted to sound like the best, then came the 21st century and with it all the wonderful technological advancements that meant almost anyone could reach that same production quality from their bedroom at home. Of course, though this is a wonderful thing it does mean that the music scene has become somewhat crowded and that means it can be hard to find your own unique sound amongst the masses. It’s hard enough to get heard so you want to stand out, create something new, do what we’ve always done since the dawn of music. Now, obviously we can’t tell you how to recreate the wheel but we can you a few tips on where you can start, techniques you can apply either during production or in post. Here are a few tips on how you can create a unique sound.
Each instrument has a unique sound, some have an excellent range whilst other can only play within certain notes. You’ll be amazed by some of the awesome sounds that you can create simply by shifting the pitch of some these less versatile ones. Take for example the xylophone, its notes are based in a mid a high scale, its playing range being between F3 and C7. It’s because of this that it cannot play low notes. If you were to pitch them down a few octaves in post-production you’d find yourself with a new and unique sound that the instrument cannot produce on its own. Give this a try with similarly low ranged instruments and see what cool new sounds you can create.
If you’re recording with live instruments you have a perfect opportunity to get creative and produce some weird and wonderful sounds. Each instrument is played in a certain way (obviously) but now is your chance to experiment with them. Try and think of new ways that you can produce different sounds, mix it up a little. Rather than playing a piano using its keys why not pluck its string? Instead of playing a violin with a bow you could turn it on its side and play it like a guitar. Why not use that same bow on another instrument, like a banjo? There are so many possibilities so think outside the box and see what works.
Making a time stretch is a fairly simple effect, you’ll be making a sound playback either faster or slower. This is nothing new in the world of recording however it can yield some excellent results and completely change the tone of your initial recording. Perhaps the best example of this is in Hans Zimmer’s Inception score in which he used Edith Piaf’s recording of Non, je ne regrette rien and slowed it down to -70% to create one of the most unique soundtracks to date.