4 Key Aspects Of Good Music (You Must Know) (2023)

4 Key Aspects Of Good Music (You Must Know) (1)

What makes your music sound good?

Youprobably have a different answer for every track you listen to. In some tracks, you love the bassline. In others, you love the groove. Or you love the general vibe of the track – it’s common.

But even though good music is completely subjective, it’s still helpful to narrow down what makes music sound good – especially when you’re a music producer trying to make your music sound better.

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Maybe your beats sound soulless, your melodies lack impact, or your music sounds flat and thin. By reading this article, you will get the ability to narrow down what is missing to make your music sound better.

Let’s start with the first key element to good-sounding music, vibe.

1. Vibe

4 Key Aspects Of Good Music (You Must Know) (2)

The vibe is super hard to put your finger on. But when you listen to some music, it’s there. You feel it. You get ‘the vibe’ or ‘vibe out’ to the track.

Another word for vibe can be ‘soul.’ It’s like your music is its entity with stories to tell and emotions to share.

(Video) Basic Music Theory EVERY Musician Should Know

So how can you make your music more vibey?

Often, it comes down to four things:

  1. Arrangement and mixing
  2. Chords and progressions
  3. Sound selection
  4. Groove

All artistic choices in your studio change your music’s vibe. Sometimes, it’s in the groove – some bongo drums will give you a different vibe than steel drums. Other times, it’s your sound selection. Depending on what atmospheres, instruments, sounds, or vocals you choose, you will affect the vibe. Same with keys, chords, and chord progressions.

Audio effects and mixing choices can also affect your vibe. More or larger reverb can give you a more spacy feel, and chorus effects might give your sound a warmer, older school flare.

Your music vibe is hard to pinpoint, but it becomes a lot easier if you narrow it down to these three things.

2. Groove

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Interesting grooves can sometimes make a whole track. And at the same time, a boring groove can ruin an otherwise great arrangement of sounds.

With interesting, dynamic rhythms, you change the foundational part of your music – which can transform your listener from statue to headbanging god.

There are many tricks you can do to improve your grooves, and we outlined a couple of our tips in this article called Guide: Humanizing MIDI Drums in Ableton.

In that article, you will learn how swing and velocity play important roles in not only humanizing your drums – but making them more interesting.

(Video) 4 Inventive Key Changes in Pop Music

You have a solid foundation for a world-class EDM track with a great beat.

3. Emotion

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The third aspect of great music is emotion – meaning what you or a listener feels when listening to your track. This aspect is also tricky to pinpoint into music production techniques as it entails many different things.

However, at the center of musical emotion is music theory. And namely, chords, chord progressions, and music modes. What key your music is playing in will set the tone for your entire composition. And within that key, you can use different chords and progressions that create entirely different vibes and feels.

Your choice of sounds and instruments also affects emotion – as well as your arrangementand mixing choices. Putting a scratchy vinyl sampled voice in the background will give the listener a different emotion than putting a clean voice upfront in the mix.

At the heart of great music will always be emotion. And if you can make your listeners feel something – you have something great to work from.

4. Energy

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Music is dynamic and ever-changing. Like playing the guitar, you can pluck each note with a different force, changing your track's energy and overall vibe. Energy is a key aspect of why we listen to music. Often, we try to harness this energy in various activities. If you blast heavy dubstep, trance, or even metal music at the gym, you know what I’m talking about.

Many things go into musical energy. Tempo and groove are major, as most perceive faster tracks with heavier beats as more energetic. But that’s not all. Your arrangement choices also play a vital role in energy buildup and release.

For example, the drop removes the low-frequency energy in a breakdown before the track explodes and punches you in the chest with hard-hitting bass. That's a play with sonic energy right there.

(Video) Why do Composers select particular keys for their music?

In your production, you can think of energy as dynamics and changes. If all your sounds play at the same volume repeatedly without major changes in composition, your music will sound flat. Play with the energy, and you will get vastly better results.


Good music is subjective. But in almost every case, good music will hit at least one of the outlined aspects of this article. Often, you listen to music because of its vibe, groove, emotion, or energy – and that goes for most of your listeners as well.

If you have an 8-bar loop going that you think sounds boring or soulless, chances are it’s lacking in some of these areas. And by analyzing what it’s lacking, you can change it up to make it a better track.

But as you probably noticed, many of these aspects need technical or musical expertise. For example, you can improve the vibe of your track by knowing better music theory, creating better grooves, arranging, and mixing. These are skills you can learn – quickly.

Great music production is largely about feeling and creative intuition, but it helps to learn the basics well.

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4 Key Aspects Of Good Music (You Must Know) (6)

Picture this. You pour a hot, rich cup of coffee and sit down in your soft, comfortable studio chair to get ready for another productive session.

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(Video) The most elegant key change in all of pop music

Imagine livingthe producer life and having completeself-confidence in music production... knowing how to craft every sound you can imagine from scratch in your favorite VST synth, how to arrange it to professional standards and mix and master it to brilliance.

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(Video) How to tell the key of your sheet music

Thanks for reading, and see you in the next article.

4 Key Aspects Of Good Music (You Must Know) (8)

About the author
Pelle Sundin is a Swedish music producer and writer, active with his chillout project PLMTRZ. He also produces psytrance. When he's not producing, he surfs, skates, and chugs coffee.


What makes good music good? ›


Not only does a good song need to have great chords, melodies, and lyrics, but also should create some sort of reaction, or evoke a specific emotion. A lot of songwriters craft their music from specific events or experiences that they have had, making it very relatable to others.

What are the 7 elements of music? ›

Although the exact definition of music varies widely even in the West, music contains melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre, pitch, silence, and form or structure.

What are the principles of music? ›

Principles of Music - Chapter Summary
  • Rhythm and tempo.
  • The significance of musical dynamics.
  • Differentiating between melody and harmony.
  • Reading notes on the treble clef and base clef staffs.
  • Identifying sharp and flat notes.
  • Musical textures and voices.

What are characteristics of music? ›

  • Tempo: Overall pace of the song; speed of the music. ...
  • Rhythm: In songs, words usually match the rhythm. ...
  • Pitch: High or low tones.
  • Timbre: Color of the sound. ...
  • Dynamics: Loudness or softness of the sound. ...
  • Melody: The tune. ...
  • Harmony: The blending of tones or sounds played or sung simultaneously to make up chords.

What are the 4 qualities of music? ›

There are four sound qualities: pitch, duration, intensity and timbre.

What are the 3 main components of a musical? ›

Musical theater is a combo of four essential elements: songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The words used in a song are called lyrics, and they may include a series of verses, longer phrases, plus a refrain, which is a short phrase repeated at the end of each verse.

What are the 5 elements of music? ›

Melody, harmony, rhythm, and form and the expressive elements of dynamics, tempo, and timbre (tone color).

What are the 6 elements of music? ›

This series introduces the six key elements of music including rhythm, texture, dynamics, pitch, form, and timbre.

What are the 3 characteristics of popular music? ›

Songs that become hits almost always share certain features that are sometimes called the pop-music formula. They have a good rhythm, a catchy melody, and are easy to remember and sing along to.

What is the most essential aspect of the definition of music? ›

Sounds in time” is the most essential aspect of the definition. Music is distinguished from many of the other arts by its temporal quality; its sounds unfold over and through time, rather than being glimpsed in a moment, so to speak.

What are the 8 things of music? ›

  • Basic Related Terms.
  • Rhythm:
  • Dynamics:
  • Melody:
  • Harmony:
  • Tone color:
  • Texture:

What are the elements of music important? ›

The six elements, rhythm, pitch, dynamics, form, timbre and texture, are universally considered to be the fundamental systems that underpin all music. They all have an important part to play in any musical style, be it pop, classical, soul, nursery rhymes… you name it, they're there!

What are parts of music? ›

For the purpose of this class, we will refer to SEVEN elements of music: Rhythm, Melody, Harmony, Timbre, Dynamics, Texture, and Form.

What are the four 4 components of a music culture? ›

Its four components are: ideas about music (belief systems, aesthetics, contexts, and history), activities involving music, rep- ertories of music (styles, genres, texts, composition, transmission, and move- ment), and material culture of music.

What are the 4 elements used to create music? ›

The Four Elements of Music – Musical DNA, and How Music Works
  • Quantifying the Ethereal: What is Music. Music is sound. ...
  • Element #1: Pitch (What Note Is It?) ...
  • Element #2: Tone, or Sound Quality (aka “Timbre”) ...
  • Element #3: Volume. ...
  • Element #4: Time (Rhythm) ...
  • Artful Combinations = Musical “Color”

What are the 4 dimensions in music? ›

If you look up “music” on Wikipedia, it is defined by pitch, rhythm, dynamics, timbre, and texture.

What are the two most basic aspects of music? ›

Of these five elements, there are two that almost always come first: melody and rhythm. They are not only the two most fundamental parts of music, but they are very probably the very first components of music experienced by human beings.

What are the 3 expressive elements in music? ›

Composers use expressive elements to make music come alive. Expressive elements are articulation, dynamics, and tempo. Articulation is how notes sound - smooth, short, etc. Dynamics are how loud or quiet the music is performed.

What are the 5 music skills? ›

Your concept of approaching music education in terms of the “Big 5” (rhythmic, tonal, notation, creativity and executive skills) clearly and concisely captures the various aspects of musicianship.

Why are the 7 elements of music important? ›

The elements of music can be seen as being the building blocks of music. Without them, music (of any style/age) would not exist because sound itself would not exist! Think of the elements of music like the crucial elements of a car.

What are the 4 vocal forms of classical music? ›

Vocal music – opera, oratorio, and song – became more and more dramatic during the period. The Classical concerto developed from the Baroque concerto.

What type of music has four movements? ›

A symphony is an extended musical form written for an orchestra. Traditional symphonies contain four movements, at least one of which uses sonata form.

What can you say about good music? ›

Music Quotes
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  • Music is a moral law. ...
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  • I think music in itself is healing. ...
  • Without music, life would be a mistake. ...
  • Music doesn't lie.

What makes music beautiful? ›

Music is beautiful because of the complex manner in which vibrating air molecules are produced, transmitted, detected, and perceived by human beings. [1] R.

What makes music sound good or bad? ›

The researchers' results show that musical chords sound good or bad mostly depending on whether the notes being played produce frequencies that are harmonically related or not.

How do you make good music? ›

The following set of music production tips will look at 10 simple ways to improve your music production process and avoid sounding amateurish.
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  2. Reduce Muddy Sound With EQ. ...
  3. Beware Of Stacking Big Phat Presets. ...
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  5. Be Aware Of Over-Limiting.

What is the best description about music? ›

Music is generally defined as the art of arranging sound to create some combination of form, harmony, melody, rhythm or otherwise expressive content. Exact definitions of music vary considerably around the world, though it is an aspect of all human societies, a cultural universal.

How do you describe someone who is good at music? ›

virtuoso Add to list Share. A virtuoso is an incredibly talented musician.

What are 3 facts about music? ›

Americans spend more than four hours a day listening to music. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem is the first rap song to win an Oscar. The most expensive musical instrument in the world is a Stradivarius violin, with one being sold for $15.9 million. A person's heartbeat mimics the beat of the music he or she is listening to.

What makes music happy? ›

While there are many ways to weave emotion into music, two of the simplest are tempo and key. Happy tunes mostly have fast tempos and major keys. Sad songs often have slow tempos and minor keys.

What makes a music interesting? ›

An occasional surprise note, dropped beat, change in tempo or key change keeps the music interesting. The combination of familiarity and surprises ultimately leads to the activation of reward centers in the brain. Put simply: you like that tune.

What makes the best sound quality? ›

What is the best audio format for sound quality? A lossless audio file format is the best format for sound quality. These include FLAC, WAV, or AIFF. These types of files are considered “hi-res” because they are better or equal to CD-quality.

What makes sound quality good? ›

There are objective standards that define sound quality: Low distortion, wide frequency response, and uninhibited dynamic range. Those are hardware-oriented standards, but they still apply to recordings to some degree.

What makes a sound quality? ›

Sounds may be generally characterized by pitch, loudness, and quality. Sound "quality" or "timbre" describes those characteristics of sound which allow the ear to distinguish sounds which have the same pitch and loudness. Timbre is then a general term for the distinguishable characteristics of a tone.


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