Bruno Mars: Production Techniques

hi everybody I’m Rick piano on today’s everything music we’re going to be discussing pop music production techniques because of Bruno Mars’s win at the Grammys yesterday I thought I would talk about one of his big hits called 24k magic and talk about how he uses a less is more approach and production let’s get started okay I’m gonna play the track from the top with the lead vocal muted so you can get a sense for how the Arrangements put together so starts out with this basic synth pad with a vocoder sound over it here’s the basic synth pad kind of 80s pop synth pad has a sharp attack and then you have this [Music] which which kind of sounds like a vocal [Music] lead vocal [Music] libo guys like a melody solo part that has distortion at Elizabeth just happily tunes with here’s now you have this alternating kick drum there’s one playing forward one reverse other than that once it gets into the groove there’s really just four elements in the drum groove you have kick drum snare hat and then clap track that’s the rhythm section on the clap track we have some occasional reverb hits like here other than that that’s essentially the groove of the rhythm section it’s all programmed all placed there the hi-hats program but but someone might play that session it’s not true this group would actually to me would sound better if a human being played it the kick drum is one sample no variation in the amplitude of it but it’s got a lot of power – it’s got a lot of its kick this low end good clean low-end okay let’s bring in the synth bass next the synth bass enters with a just a descending glissando [Music] you hear that little pitch bend down each time that gives a little bit more movement to it let’s add the drum groove to it with the collapse incredibly well-balanced through here the low-end is just right in the synth bass that’s five tracks that’s all very sparse now the next thing that we’ll add is a little guitar part but when you’re the guitar so the guitar is coming in with a real simple simple thing that you would hear in funk music the C minor seven [Music] definitely played you can tell it’s played because because you can actually hear the guy sliding around like that then the next thing so we have we have a guitar part very simple a simple keyboard bass a four-part drum groove and then you have these since there’s two main synth parts begins with a swell [Music] and if I put in the bass glissando now the synth part is really the the main driver of the harmonic progression in the tune this one particular part it has a panning line sections for two different parts being played here for the guitar okay so one arranged mental change that happens in the second verse is that the kick drum drops out check it out so right here but essentially it’s it’s very similar they do that just to give it a little bit of a lift there so that the when the second verse comes in there’s some type of change there’s a little bit of excitement that happens in the track when the kick drum returns in there the next really different section is the bridge I’ll check it out when he does this break it down like this break it up essentially doing a slow down her right and you have this realistic echoed out what’s the sound okay so let’s talk about some of these vocals that are going on here in the bridge now you see what he says come on now it goes to really they cut the reverb on tone now sorry magic don’t fight the feeling ignite the feeling just put your pick then you have this vocal that fades in a super distorted [Music] Wow tell a distortion would be it’s a lot of reverb on it we bring in that backwards kick drums [Music] the vocal production is really outstanding here even with all the tuning if he even if this isn’t your thing you can really appreciate the way that the vocals are put together the way they’re interlocked not just arranged mentally but EQ is there’s some lo-fi you’ve got some of these vocoder effects you’ve got some super tuned vocals you get some distorted vocals you have echoed vocals you have a lot of reverb vocals but they all interlock very well there’s a real barrier to entry for pop music production especially when you’re talking in the higher echelons when you’re talking about Bruno Mars or max Barton Max Martin for example has very sophisticated arrangements for example you get these sounds like this then unless your solo tracks you wouldn’t know how to even create sounds like that because you can’t isolate that right or something like this that backwords bass so sometimes the only way to learn how to do this stuff is either to work with people like this or try to guess what they’re doing because that is really the top people in the business the things that they’re doing are so sophisticated it may not be your thing I said it before you may think oh I don’t like this kind of music but for people that like pop production we’re talking about really really sophisticated sonic pallets knowledge of arrangement you need to immerse yourself in that if you’re gonna be successful in that world now the Max Martin track is very sophisticated arranged mentally whereas the Bruno Mars was much more sparse you can really get your head around it the production was mainly in the vocal part and not as much in the rhythm section part Max Martin it’s really in both at least in this track but you don’t need to be able to do that to have a massively big record as Bruno Mars proved that’s all for now please subscribe here to my everything music YouTube channel if you’re interested in the be out a book and go to my website at and find it there thanks for watching


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