Voice Leading For EDM

Voice Leading Is A Good Guide, Not A Rule

November 4, 2018

What is voice leading?

Voice leading is a fundamental component of music theory that enhances the linear movement between melodic lines or voices to create a single musical idea. Essentially, voice leading is the musical art of combining vocal or instrumental progressions over time to create harmony.

That's the formal definition. You can also think of voice leading as the practice of minimizing large jumps between intervals either in melody or in chord progressions. This is why chord inversions can have such a huge impact on the overall vibe of a progression. 

If you've ever watched a music theory course or taken music theory in school you've probably heard about this concept. Voice leading is a core component of classical and jazz music. 

But what about EDM, Hip Hop, or Pop? The answer is a yes and no. Sometimes tight voice leading is just what a melody or progression needs and other times it is not.

Voice Leading In Chord Progressions

Creating great chord progressions can by really difficult regardless of what genre you produce. There are so many factors that can limit your creativity. Creating perfectly voiced chord progressions requires a fair bit of music theory knowledge and a if you're playing the chords on a keyboard, it goes without saying you need to know chord shapes. 

 

This is a huge component of why it took us over 3 months to create thousands of production ready chord progressions for producers to get inspired by.

The general idea is that you typically want tight voice leading from chord to chord, but that's not a definite rule. I would suggest you learn a pretty basic chord progression or two and experiment with voice leading and inversions so you can see and hear first hand how big a difference slight tweaks in chord structure can have.

Tight voicing includes not jumping large intervals from chord root note to chord root note. An example of this would be in root position, going from C Major up to A minor. That's a 9 semitone jump. We will check this example out in the video.

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