Trap melodies: Getting started
So you want to make a Trap beat but don’t know where to start? When it comes to making Trap melodies, EVAbeat have got you covered. Follow the steps below and you’ll be in business in no time.
Tempo and feel
Before you get into it, what type of vibe are you going for? Do you want to make a beat for the club or something a little slower and more contemplative? Are you making EDM Trap like Flosstradamus and DJ Snake or Trap more true to Hip Hop, like that produced by Lex Luger or Metro Boomin? Consider this when choosing your tempo and key.
For the tempo, Trap usually falls in the 100-176 BPM range. I’ve chosen 150 BPM. Bear in mind that Trap could really be viewed as half speed, so in my case 75 BPM – the double speed is generally used to make it easier to program fast hi-hat patterns or snare rolls. For this post though I’m just focusing on helping you create a killer melody.
Next is choosing the key. You can really choose whichever key you want and it’s great to experiment and find out which ones you like the most. For this melody, I have decided to go with F Minor. This is a key used fairly commonly in Trap productions and is one that has a really dark feel to it. If you check out my previous blog post on choosing the right musical key, F Minor is described as “Deep depression, somber lament, groans of misery and longing for the grave”.
Pick your sound
There are lots of different types of sounds you could choose, from pianos to big synth patches and string stabs. I like to keep it dark and eery sounding. For me, the best Trap uses sounds similar to those in Horror or Suspense movies. For your melody, it really depends on the feel and mood you’ve chosen. I recommend listening to some of your favourite Trap beats and taking a note of the sounds they used. This will give you a really good idea of what works for your tastes.
Generating the best melodies with Melody Sauce
When creating Trap melodies with Melody Sauce there a few things to select that will get you a great result quickly.
Leave Swing, Triplet and Syncopation all off. These controls can work brilliantly when making complex off beat rhythms for genres like Techno, but aren’t as useful for Trap.
As I am making faster Trap, I have selected my speed as Fast and used the Dark and Simple pad.
The video above is the first melody generated with these settings, which has given a result I’m really pleased with. Now I have a great melody to work with, I drag it out of the Melody Sauce VST and into my DAW. As this is a fast pattern, the melody is 4 bars in length. I want my pattern to be 8 bars in length, so I’ve simply copied and pasted the MIDI that Melody Sauce generated for me. At this point I could edit the final bar of the 8 bar pattern to give a bit of variation, but I like how it has come out so I will leave it. As Trap is a repetitive genre, if you did to decide to edit a pattern like this I wouldn’t recommend doing anything too complex. Staying within the notes of the scale, I would focus on the final 6 notes highlighted in the image below. It’s worth spending a bit of time here playing about and seeing what works. Changing the notes in the final bar of 8 is pretty typical of Hip Hop and Trap melodies. The repetitive looping pattern before the final bar creates tension as our brains are waiting for the melody to resolve. Changing the notes in this final bar resolves this tension. If you come up with something you like but want to try more variations, copy and paste the version you like so you don’t lose it!
Next up I generated another Trap melody with my speed selected as Slow and using the Dark and Complex pad.
The third melody generated gave me a section I really liked, so I dragged into my DAW to edit. On the slow setting the melodies generated are 8 bars long and as the section I liked was the last 4 bars, this was my area of focus. As you can see from the video below, I copied and looped 3 of the 4 bars, leaving the final bar to now be the final bar of the new 8 bar pattern.
As you can see from the processes detailed in this blog, it is really quick and easy to create Trap melodies with Melody Sauce. You can easily get melodies ready to go with a couple of clicks and no editing of MIDI at all, or make them your own with a couple of quick edits. Happy melody making!