Passing Notes

This channel is sponsored by Spitfire Audio

Using Unconventional Scales

In this installment of Passing Notes, we break down a universal workflow for analyzing unconventional scales and incorporating them into productions.

Generating Chords and Melodies with Random MIDI

In this sequel to our Passing Notes article about auto-generated parts, we use Live’s Random MIDI device to generate a long chord progression and two melodic leads.

Further Chords

Dance music theory expert Oliver Curry demonstrates how to break away from basic chords and create more complex harmonic structures…

DAW & Drum Machine Swing

Swing functions were first introduced to drum machines 34 years ago, but the concept still causes confusion. In this extended…

Auto-Generated Parts With Follow Actions

In this new Passing Notes, we use Ableton’s Follow Action and Random MIDI features to produce a Leftfield-style drum pattern, a complex bass line and an endless chord progression.

Orchestral Techniques from Jeff Mills’ Amazon (Blue Potential Version)

In this new Passing Notes we use Spitfire Audio’s new Originals orchestral instrument plug-ins to recreate two sections from the Detroit Producers’ collaboration with a live orchestra.

Lessons From Disco

Dance music theory expert Oliver Curry examines how classic disco uses chord inversions and careful placement of instruments to great…


Polyrhythms in dance music are an amazingly simple way of adding complexity to your tracks. Dance music theory expert Oliver…

Parallel Chords

In this new Passing Notes we focus on the technique of parallel chords, which are one of the tried and tested means for catchy progressions in dance music.

Kerri Chandler Chords: The Ultimate Guide – Part 2

In the second part of this two-part Passing Notes series, we break down advanced chord tricks used by one of the true pioneers of house.

Ostinatos and Acid Riffs

In the latest instalment of our dance music theory column, we take a look at how repeating melodies can be…

Contrary Motion

In this week’s Passing Notes we look at a simple but powerful technique that can inject emotion and movement…

Kerri Chandler Chords: The Ultimate Guide

We break down Kerri Chandler’s top chord tricks by analyzing some of his classic tunes.

Breaking Down the Strings and Arpeggios of Black Water by Octave One

In our latest Passing Notes feature, we take a better look at the theory and arrangement behind Black Water by…

Disco House Basslines

Disco house basslines are unashamedly retro, harking back to the 70s heyday of white suits and platform boots. Oliver Curry…

The Chords and Arpeggios of Todd Terje

In this latest Passing Notes article, we take a better look at Todd Terje’s evergreen “Preben Goes to Acapulco…

Dissonant Polyrhythm Basslines

Polyrhythms in dance music are a simple yet effective technique for adding a sense of complexity to your tracks. In…

No Strings Attached: Resampling Custom String Samples

Sampling strings from existing records is a staple technique in dance production, but it has its downsides. Creating your own…

Legato Synths: Glide, Slide & Portamento

Legato playing styles allow for smooth, seamless transitions between notes. Dave Clews explores how they can be…

Bored of 4/4: Other Time Signatures In Dance Music

In our latest Passing Notes article, dance music theory expert Oliver Curry explains why it’s OK for producers to…


Oliver Curry explains the theory of counterpoint, with help from JS Bach, Steve Reich, The Orb, Lorn and children’s…


Attack’s resident dance music theory expert Oliver Curry explains how emphasising off beats can change the feel of a…

Sampled Chords

Our resident music theory expert Oliver Curry explains how sampling chords can add timbral complexity, distinctive harmonic character and a…

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