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Your mix will never sound as good as it can unless the groove of the song is emphasized. In this video I'm going to show you how to identify, then emphasize, the groove of song that you're mixing. The groove is the pulse of the song. Every kind of music, regardless of if it's R&B or jazz or rock or country or even some alien space music, has a groove. The better the music is performed the deeper the groove is. A groove doesn't have to have perfect time, because a groove is created by tension against even time.
Music loses its groove if it's too perfect, which is why a song can sound life- less after it's quantized in a workstation; it's lost its groove. The groove doesn't always come from the drums and bass; it can come from other instruments as well. Some songs, like The Police's "Every Breath You Take," has a rhythm guitar establishing the groove, while most of Motown's hits of the '60s relied on James Jamerson's bass. Regardless of what instrument's providing the groove of the song, if you want a great mix, you've got to find it and develop it first before you can do anything else. Let's have a listen to this song and see if you can find the groove.
(music playing) Now on first listen you might think it's the drums, but I think the combination between the kick and the snare and the hi-hat is providing the groove, you probably would be right. Let's listen what the song sounds like without the drum track.
(music playing) Now in this case you can still feel the pulse, and the pulse is coming from the tambourine. If we pull the tambourine out, now listen. (music playing) Now here you have a number of instruments that imply the groove, but you don't really feel it as much as when you have the drums in there, and that's why you have to find that groove and then emphasize it.
Now listen again with just the drums and hear what it sounds like. (music playing) Now you can feel that pulse pretty well. Let's listen to everything together. (music playing) And you can tell, when you put everything together and the groove is emphasized, the song feels really strong.
It feels really compelling to listen to, and that's the important part. You're trying to find that groove, you're trying to emphasize it, and that's what we've done here. In order to practice find the groove, play a song from a genre that you seldom listen to and then see if you can feel the pulse of the song. Try to determine what instruments or instruments are providing it, what makes the groove stand out. Is it because the instruments providing the groove are louder than everything else, is it the tone of those instruments, are they punchier sounding than the others? All these things contribute to the groove.
In closing, your mix will never sound great until you find the groove of the song.
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