You’re walking through the aisles of your favorite store and you hear the jingling of a melody you can’t quite place. You start humming along and search for the first lines of the text. Even before you know which song you’re listening to, you know it’s Christmas.
Christmas songs have some basic elements that make them easily recognizable. All you need is the knowledge, a copy of MAGIX Music Maker, and you can get to work. So what makes a Christmas hit and how can you write your own Christmas song?
1. Know Your Tools
There are a few instruments, which are classic elements of a Christmas song. Use them, because they will help you create the atmosphere of your song quickly. Here are some ideas:
- Sleigh bells – (alternatively, you can even use the “Latin – Shaker B” patch with some effects)
- Upright (or a muted, staccato) bass – (Look for the “Folk Bass Plate”)
- Strings, woodwinds, or soft brass – (Try using the “String Ensemble”)
- Warm guitars – finger-picking or jazz guitar works well
- Bells – (Check out “OrchChimes” from the “Score- Dramatic Stories” Soundpool)
There are already a number of great virtual instruments in Music Maker, which you can use to give your song the right feel. Explore and experiment!
2. Build the Scene
Part of writing a Christmas song is creating Winter imagery through sound. Sleigh bells with constant 8th-note rhythms represent dogs in the snow or reindeer in the sky. Strings, woodwinds, and brass instruments are the snowfall, the wind, angelic voices, or perhaps the Winter sky. Try to use soft, swooning sounds to create your atmosphere, leaving lots of space for vocals. In general, it’s a good idea to use warm sounds and long notes. This will help you to create a Winter feel with your music.
Now, you need to tell a story using the images those element create. Be creative and write your own! Since the lyrics are telling a story, they also need to stand out in front of the backing track. Pay close attention and adjust the volume levels so that this is the case.
3. Think in Theory
Don’t get scared! Theory in this case means steps – sort of like dancing up and down musical stairs.
Most Christmas music is written in a Major key. Think: Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-do. These are the steps behind the Music Maker numbers 1-7 (Note: some Soundpools don’t include pitch 7) from your interface. Try to take steps like Fa to Do (or a Mi-La step) most of the time and walk up and down the numbers. This normally creates a good effect for a Christmas song, but experiment until you find a melody that you think works best.
Most importantly: have fun creating music and enjoying a project which celebrates the season!
MAGIX also has extra Soundpools this December with a special holiday touch. Check out a free trial of the latest version of Music Maker and visit the new In-App Store to find Soundpools and expand your media library.