Recording and producing music has never been easier.
Then all you have to do is post your work online, watch it go viral and start planning how to spend your millions.
Well, maybe it’s not that easy. After all, there are a thousand people just like you doing the same thing every single day.
Getting noticed in such a crowded field takes a lot of hard work and a lot of patience. And it requires selecting the right genre of music to record.
In this article, we identify the best genres of music that you should record in your home studio in order to make the most of what you’ve got.
The easiest genre of music to record in your home studio has got to be pop.
When you break down the structure of most pop songs, you will find that they are made up of four chords.
Of course, not all pop songs will be four chords, some will be two while others are eight.
The four chords of a pop song, however, will usually be made up of One, Four, Five and Six chords.
Once you recognize this chord progression you will be able to easily identify it in many of the most popular pop songs, especially those coming from the 50s and 60s.
The instruments that are used commonly in pop music are the voice, guitar, bass guitar, piano, and drums.
Blues is another music genre that makes use of simple chord progressions.
The most common chord progression in Blues music is One, Four Five. Blues music is fun, simple and extremely soulful.
It has a rich history which dates back to the 1930s. The three main instruments used in Blues music are the voice, the rhythm guitar, and the lead guitar.
Rhythm guitars play chords rather than single notes.
Blues guitars make use of specific chords that have a unique sound. These are referred to as ‘7’ chords.
The lead guitarist plays a single note line such as a guitar solo or a guitar riff.
The two most common scales in Blues music are the Blues scale and the minor pentatonic scale.
Rock and Roll was an outgrowth of R&B and western swing, which was a popular style of country dance music.
It was, and generally still is, played on the same types of instruments as Rhythm and Blues.
These are the electric guitar, the double bass, and drums. Often the guitarist will also act as a vocalist.
Rock has a strong blues beat, with melodies that are more akin to country music.
Rock music began with the same chord progressions as country music but, over the years, rock composers have toyed with these progressions to make their music stand out.
Common rock chord progressions are I-VI-IV-V, I-IV-V-I, and I-V-VI-III-IV-I-IV-V.
Country music is another genre that is ideal for recording in your home recording studio.
The country has its roots in traditional Western folk music that came out of the Mississippi Delta. The country follows a pretty simple chord structure.
There are twelve essential chords in country music. It uses a lot of major guitar chords and utilizes the dominant 7th chords.
Country music often uses a pared-back style that features a single performer with an acoustic guitar and his or her voice.
This makes it relatively easy to work through the mixing process.
However, there are certain sub-genres of country music that use a range of instruments in very precise ways. This can complicate the mixing process.
What are the worst genres of music to record in a home studio?
The more complex a genre of music is, the harder it will be to record in your home studio.
Probably the most difficult would be metal. Metal requires the greatest amount of aptitude and skill to achieve that perfect mix.
A great metal song is loud, fast and locked into the grid.
The level of accuracy and attention to detail needed for metal are not common in other genres, which rely more on swing and groove to drive the track.
Metal generally has more beats per minute than any other genre.
You need to be very good at editing tasks like time alignment and sample replacement being essential for consistent sound quality.
Once you reach the mix session stage of the process, you have a got a whole lot of instruments to work with.
Metal bass guitars often reach higher into the mid-range in order to achieve a clanky bass tone.
At the same time, extended-range guitars reach down into bass guitar territory to sound heavier.
The next hardest genre to record would have to be orchestral music. That comes in a close second behind metal as the most complicated musical genre.
There can be hundreds of musicians all playing together in a single room. Dozens of microphones are used with the different instruments often masking each other.
This is a genre of music that you should definitely leave to the professionals.
The final hard genre of music to record is country. But wait, didn’t we put the country on our list of the easiest forms of music to record?
We sure did – so we need to make a proviso here. The country is known for its simplicity of form, making it one of the most user-friendly genres to record generally.
However, there is a sub-genre of the country that relies heavily on live acoustic instrumentation.
Over recent times, the country has become more and more influenced by rock and pop. In this progression, the acoustic elements have not faded away.
Things like acoustic guitars, banjos, mandolins are commonly used. Recording and mixing them takes a special skill.
You have to capture the unique characteristics of the instrument in the recording session and then mix them in a way that enhances their effect alongside the rest of the track.
Do you have any tips for recording difficult genres of music?
Here are some tips to help you to record the most difficult genre of music – heavy metal:
- Never roll off the bass – as the producer of your music you need to decide what single instrument will dominate the bottom at 20 Hz to 100 Hz. This will usually be the bass guitar. It is this instrument that will provide the heaviness that your heavy metal music demands. If you roll off both kick and bass guitar frequencies, your music will sound too dull.
- Use a heavy-denseness that is rich in harmonic guitar effects combined with double guitar tracking – you can do this by using a guitar distortion pedal which is referred to as a Big Muff. You can also make the guitar sound heavy by layering guitar tracks in the stereo field and using a slight delay between the tracks.
- Use ‘Natural Delay’ between tracks – give yourself a natural delay when you are tracking instruments. This will contribute to more heaviness in the overall mix.
- Experiment with natural reverb rather than artificial reverbs – you will be getting natural reverb naturally when recording with microphones. As an example, when you are recording instruments in your home recording studio with mics and amps, you will pick up the ambiance and reverb from around the room. In most genres, you will want to eliminate these sounds, but in heavy metal (or rock) it can be beneficial. It can add to the warmth and depth of the music without bringing in artificial reverb settings. If you are recording drums, try doing so in a room with a cement floor, a concrete wall, and a small room. This will allow you to record the tightness of the drum sound.
- Set low mixdown volume – It may sound confusing but setting mixdown volume to low is actually very loud. You should set the mixdown to a volume between -3db and -6dB in order to produce the loudness, denseness, and awesomeness that you need.
In this article, we have identified some genres of music that are relatively easy and others that are more difficult to record and produce in your home studio.
At the end of the day, however, the best music genre for you to record is the one that you are most passionate about.
So long as your heart is well and truly invested in the process, your mind will be able to work out the kinks!