Emotional progressive house is a subgenre of EDM that is melodic, uplifting, and often with a hint of melancholy.
It usually has a 4/4 beat, a tempo of 120-130 beats per minute, and a focus on emotional vocals and piano melodies, which often build to a climax with a euphoric drop, but they can also be more mellow and introspective.
In this article, we’re using a tutorial as our guide, so read on to see how to make an emotional progressive house track, because (insert your own fantastic reason here).
At the Beginning, There was a Key
Now, to get started, you need a key. Basically, once you have chosen your key, you can start writing your chord progression, and then you can start writing your melody. You want to create an emotional melody and chord progression. Then, add leads, chords, bass, drums and FX. Finally, create a break and build up. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? It is and it isn’t. It doesn’t have to be too hard when you have a tutorial to follow, and presets to use.
The key (excuse the pun) to making emotional music is to get the chords and melody right. In the tutorial, they use the keys of F# and B minor. They started by drawing down some bass notes starting with F#, then drew down some more notes that would fit, which would then become the chords.
The top note was A, because it fits in all the chords, then a G# to add some more emotion. Then, the magic sound, the Esus4, which sounds emotional and builds tension.
WTF is Esus4?
Great question! Using a normal minor C chord, to make a suspended chord, you replace the 3th with a 2nd or a 4th, which would make this an F. This is a Csus4, which sounds open and more neutral. The point of this is that when using it as a final bar of a chord progression, you create a tense and emotional feeling.
Writing a Catchy Melody For Your Emotional Progressive House Track
So at this stage, you’ve got A, G# and then you must fill up the space by adding new notes. Voila! You have chords. Next up is writing the melody for the chords. The melody is what will carry the emotion of your track, and the ⅓ step will make your melody more unique. Choose an A for an uplifting melody. Once that’s done, the rest will be easy too, but don’t forget to use some variation before you go on to make the leads.
Creating Powerful Leads For Emotional Progressive House
Ok, so what’s a lead and how is it different from bass? Well, the lead carries the melody, while the bass supports the harmony. The lead can be an instrument, a vocal, or a synth, and seeing as this is EDM, we’re using the latter.
For the leads, In the tutorial, they use a couple of layers which all come from presets:
- Magnatron lead
- Orchid drops
- Angel One Lead
- Lead from Saga
- Lead with some white noise
- A mono lead to support the mids
After the Leads are in, it’s time for the mixing. Use an equalizer to cut the bad frequencies, a little bit of soundgoodizer, some OTT to glue the leads together, and some after-equalizer. Don’t forget to add reverb to make the leads sound less dull and empty.
Using Chords to Create Emotion in Progressive House
The chords are your main support element in progressive house. They add emotion to the leads and fill up the sound.
For the chords, use a couple of layers to get a fuller sound:
- A piano
- A saw lead
- A pluck saw kind of sound
For the effects, an equalizer will cut out a bit of the high frequencies, which then stops the leads and chords from clashing. Then some OTT to glue the chords together, a dimension expander to add depth to the sound, and quite a bit of reverb to make the chords sound more ambient. You can also add some Soundchain but not at 100%.
Creating a Driving Bassline
The bass is what will give your track its power. Try using a couple of different layers for the bass. To make the drop sound powerful, have the bass follow the rhythm of the melody. Here are the layers:
- Overdrive bass
- A thin grunge bass
- A rolling bass sound
- A saw bass
- A sub
You should also add some ambient sounds to fill up the drop more, like an ARP and Vocal Ambient.
Unlocking the Power of Preset Samples
At this point in the tutorial, in between the bass and the drums, there is a tip or two on presets. So, you could, of course, go ahead and make your own, but they’re using presets called, “Progressive Sounds”, which will take your progressive house tracks to the next level.
Adding Life to Progressive House with The Drums and FX
Next up, the drums and FX are what will make your track come to life. The drum beat consists of a few elements:
- A punchy kick
- Some rides
- A tiny clap
- A shaker loop
- Some FX to make it smooth
Once you have all of the elements for your drop, you can start putting them together.
Create an Emotional Break and Build up for your Track
The final step is to make a nice emotional break and build up. For the break, use acoustic instruments and combine them with pads. Use a soft piano, strings, a guitar with a lot of reverb, and a really wide pad.
For the build up:
- Buildup drums and FX
- Main leads with filter cutoff
- The break elements with a reverb automation
Putting the Final Touches on Your Progressive House Track
Once you have all of the elements for your track, you can start mixing and mastering it. This is a complex process, but there are many resources available online to help you learn how to do it. When your track is mixed and mastered, you can export it and share it with the world.
Emotional progressive house music is constantly evolving, but it always remains true to its core values of emotion and melody. Start by creating an emotional melody and chord progression, then add leads, chords, bass, drums, and FX. Finally, create a break and build up.
Remember that it’s often about telling a story. Use your track to take the listener on a journey, from the break to the build up and finally to the drop. With a little practice, you will be able to create an emotional progressive EDM track that will move your listeners.