If you’re new to the music production world, it can be intimidating to wade through all of the jargon and technical terms. But fear not – we’ve compiled a list of the top 20 music production terms you should know to get you started. Whether you’re an artist, producer, or just curious about music culture in general, these terms will give you a strong foundation in this vibrant field of creative production.
So whether you are new to the music production world and are looking for the terms used by producers to keep up to date with the current lingo then this article should prove helpful.
So let’s dive into these music production terms and see what each one of them means:
Common music production terms:
Equalization, commonly referred to as EQ, is the process of altering the balance between frequency components within an audio signal. Think of it like a tool that lets you alter bass, midrange, and treble settings on a track for a balanced and clear sound.
Compression is the process of decreasing the dynamic range of an audio signal. It helps to balance out levels within a track, making quieter parts louder while keeping louder ones under control. Compressed music sounds more polished and polished; making it ideal for professional production.
Reverb is the sound that remains in space after production has taken place. It gives the music an atmosphere, giving it depth and dimension – like when guitar chords play in large halls sound bigger and fuller.
Delay is a time-based effect that creates an echo or repeating sound. It adds depth and space to a track, often used in guitar solos or to create the illusion of movement within it.
The chorus is an effect that creates the illusion of multiple instruments or voices playing simultaneously. It adds warmth and depth to a track, often used on guitar or vocal tracks.
Mixing is the process of combining multiple tracks or instruments into a stereo mix. It involves adjusting levels, panning, and applying effects to create an integrated and balanced soundscape.
Mastering is the final stage in the production process. It involves adjusting levels, applying EQ and compression, as well as making sure the track sounds consistent across different playback systems.
Digital Audio Workstation, commonly referred to as DAW, is the software used for recording, editing, and producing music on computers. Popular DAWs include Pro Tools, Logic Pro and Ableton Live, and FL Studio. Music production terms
MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. This protocol enables electronic instruments, like keyboards and drum machines, to communicate with a computer. It’s the standard way of recording and playing back digital music.
Sampling is the practice of taking a small section of audio from an existing recording and using it in a new composition. This technique is widely used in hip-hop and electronic music, creating some iconic tracks along the way.
A synthesizer is an electronic instrument that generates sound through oscillators, filters, and envelopes. It has been responsible for some iconic musical sounds throughout history – from “wah-wah” guitar in the 70s to 80s electronica’s iconic “bleeps and bloops”.
Virtual Studio Technology, also known as VST, is a software interface that enables third-party plugins to be utilized within a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). This has become an indispensable tool for producers and musicians, helping shape the sound of modern music.
Automation is the practice of recording changes to a parameter over time. This can be used to create dynamic and evolving tracks, adding movement and interest to music.
Collaboration, or “colab” for short is one of the very popular music Production terms used. Collaborations are a vital aspect of music production. It involves working with other producers, songwriters, musicians, and engineers to create a finished product. “colabs” can take many forms, from online collaborations with producers from around the world to in-person sessions with local musicians and engineers.
A mixing console is a piece of hardware used to combine multiple audio signals. It’s commonly found in professional studios and live performances to adjust levels, apply effects, and route audio signals.
Gain is the amount of amplification applied to an audio signal. It’s commonly used for prepping a track before it goes through effects or mixing with other tracks.
Distortion is the sound created when adding harmonics or overdrive to an audio signal. It’s often employed to give off a gritty or aggressive vibe in rock or metal music.
Frequency response refers to the range of frequencies an audio device can reproduce accurately. It’s an essential factor when selecting headphones, speakers, or other audio equipment.
Headroom is the amount of space between a track’s loudest part and zero decibels relative to full scale. It’s essential to leave enough headroom in your mix in order to prevent distortion and guarantee that the song can be mastered properly.
A stem is an audio track that has been bounced or exported as one unit. These stems can be utilized during mixing and mastering to make adjustments to specific groups of tracks.
That’s about all the important music production terms…
These are just a few of the terms you’ll come across in music production. No matter your level of experience or expertise, learning these terms and concepts is essential for anyone interested in producing music – from experienced professionals to music production newbies.
By understanding them, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively with other producers, engineers, and musicians, allowing your skillset to soar even higher! So go forth, experiment with different effects and techniques, and have fun crafting your unique sound!
Do you know any other popular music production terms?
put them in the comments below!