A Blog about Music Production, HipHop, and Life

A Few Questions About Theory and Finding Music: R&B

Posted by Ms.Tris On January - 7 - 2009

R&B Producer Rodney “Dark Child ” Jerkinss

Hey everybody! I had some really good questions ending out last year. I usually answer them in the comment section. Recently I started using post to get the word out to everyone. I can’t do this for all comments, but some which are about theory, hardware and software in general, or that several people need help on.

Here are a few about R&B, but covers music theory in general.

I’m beginning to learn music theory and I seem to be having very little luck
formulating an R&B/Ballad type of song, I was wondering if you could give me any
pointers.2nd I was wondering how do I find out what key a song is in, because I
listen to r&b and soul music and can’t seem to figure it out.Last but not least
where do I find import european soul that you once mentioned. I know I’m asking
a lot of questions but you seem to be a wealth of knowledge and I wouldn’t ask
if I hadn’t already tried to figure out on my own. Well Thanks in advance

When I create R&B tracks, I usually start with the melody and follow with the chord progressions. If you listen to some of today’s R&B you’ll notice that there really isn’t too much going on. Some of the main ingredients are: melody, bassline, and a few harmonic chord progressions. The song format is pretty similar to hiphop, rock, gospel and other genres: Song Intro, Verse, Chorus/Hook, Verse, Bridge, Chorus/hook, Outro. Some R&B may have 3 Verse or only 2 Verses which are paired with the other sections. Song structure is actually up to the producer, but usually follows a mix of the above formats . The most important part of R&b is usually the vocals. Let’s take a listen to ” Say My Name” Destinys Child produced by Rodney “Dark Child” Jerkins:

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In this ” Say My Name” snippet, Rodney has: Intro, Verse, Bridge, Chorus/Hook. They are quite obvious to hear. 28 sec a change occurs from intro to verse, 58 sec verse to bridge,1:11 secs bridge to chorus.
This was released in 99, but it’s still one of my favorite R&B tracks. You can hear Rodney’s “Key/ Key Signature” of the song in the first verse. Finding the correct key usually takes a bit of knowledge about major and minor scales. Learning scales through playing and listening will help you identify the “Key or Tune” much faster. For us newbies in theory there are other ways which will take a bit of ear training.
Here are two videos that will lead you in the right direction. Both require playing or humming a music source, listening, and trying to recreate the melody by humming, playing or singing the “main” melody. It’s sort of hard to put into words but you will understand after watching..

How to determine the key of a song (PIANO) by:

PianoPodDotCom Youtube
The song is actually ” Strangers In The Night” but the basic concept can be used for many genres including R&B :-)..

The next one is from
He uses “Happy Birthday” as example..we all know that one…

After listening and using the techniques in the videos, I found ” Say My Name” is in the Key of “C”

Now for the European Soul Question: Crate diggers would bash me if I told you specifics .. 🙂 ..but for my readers I go far beyond the norm..well at least a step out of “the secret box”… I will give a couple sponsored sources, then you can have fun digging for your treasures…**when you by from, or sign up through the site links you help sponsor which is greatly appreciated**

Amazon has made it easy to buy World Music and there are a lot of snippets to listen to here:

Amazon World Music

Another great resource for finding World Music is a paid service with thousands of songs to download and browse full length: Real Rhapsody

You noticed I used the term World Music, but try looking for international music as well. Once you are in the main category try searching in the “Pop” genres of World/International. From here you can get valuable info on the labels that released the songs, even find precious vinyl over the net.

Now it’s time to get to my first full day back to music this year..

Happy Music Creating and Finding!
Pz Til Later

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About Me

Introducing Ms.Tris Beats a Hip Hop Producer, Artist,and Blogger from Baltimore, MD. Currently producing for a host of Maryland\'s hottest Mc\'s, and artist from all over the country. Her music is in demand to the who\'s who in Baltimore Hip hop. Please enjoy your visit as Ms.Tris takes through her musical journey of production, hiphop and life....



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