“Tension and release” is a phrase you must have heard before. This principle is essential since it underpins almost all music. One of the key reasons why listeners believe music tells a story is because of the use of tension and release. Tension and release refers to the build-up of musical tension that gradually fades and relaxes in a musical sense. A moment of restlessness in the music creates anticipation and the resolution of the drama resolves this tension for the listener. There are many ways how tension and release can be introduced to electronic music tracks. In this article, we will show you how to increase the energy of your buildups with rhythmic tension in your harmony.
Let’s start with the short sequence we created in our SoundBridge: DAW, which contains the full mix without the chord progression.
To begin, let’s create a chord progression that we will work on.
Once we’re finished with that, we’ll move on to the track’s buildup section. As we said, there are numerous ways to create tension in the buildup section. However, when it comes to chord progressions, one of the best methods is looping and the use of rhythmic tension. It’s all about deviating from the established chord progression and building tension with rhythm. You can loop the first portion and speed up the progression as it gets closer to the release (drop). Let’s write our progression in this manner and listen to it.
To make it more energetic, we’ll add a snare drum fill with a few uplifters and automate the synth’s high-pass filter towards the drop.
Finally, let’s hear how our build-up and drop sounds now.
So, this is how we can increase the energy of our buildups using rhythmic tension in our harmony.
If you liked this article on buildups, here are some more on the same subject: