Texture in music is a blend of mix decisions and production tricks that combine to form the heart and soul of a record’s sonics. Learn how to create it in your tracks.
Texture in music is incredibly important, full stop.
And while the melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic material is what the textbooks would define as the “real” texture in music, its true sense is so much more. To me, it’s the texture of my mixdowns that tickles the aural taste buds and gives the music the justice it deserves.
So, let’s break down texture a little before we explain how you can start introducing better textures into your next project.
1. What Is Texture in a Mix
What the texture of a mix is can be hard to define. It’s the visceral and tactile component of the record’s sonics just as much as it’s the nooks or crannies that form the track’s bedrock. Basically, the texture is where the mix and the production meet but can also stand completely independently of the music itself. It’s a simple concept that can be the single thing that sets your mixes apart from the hundreds of thousands of songs released every day.
On a broad scale, it’s like a bird’s-eye view of decisions common across specific generations of music. The texture of the 70s was characterized by polished guitar licks, cascading analog synthesizers, and robust multi-tracked instrumentation. The sounds of Bowie, Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks are as iconic for their instrumentation and production as they are for their new advances in mixing techniques and hardware.
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