Juxtaposition Contrast


Sonic juxtaposition & contrast and emotional variation is an extremely powerful tool for creating an exciting and dynamic song. A mixdown with a linear emotions and soundscapes throughout can become frustrating, lifeless and unmemorable. When mixing consider how much more life can be injected by introducing juxtaposition into your arrangement. Some basic techniques are: Soothing vs Aggressive, Loud vs Quiet, Complex vs Simple. Trying introducing more of these extremes into your mix to introduce life and a dynamic landscape into your song. This will create a stronger emotional response in the listener

Some examples of good Juxtaposition are:

* Busy vs Calm (Sonic Contrast): If your chorus or main section features loud distorted guitars and powerful drums then consider use of a soft verse, with clean, atmospheric and emotive guitar sequences, strings and a softer drum track. Many classic songs feature strong sonic contrast in the arrangement. From the mix engineering perspective this is achieved through softening EQ, FX and volume in less important sections, narrowing stereo field, so that when the main section comes in the EQ is brighter, FX more engaging, stereo field wider, and the whole piece will be dramatically opened up.

* Emotional Contrast (Aggressive vs Sweet): A very dry, distorted and aggressive section leading to an atmospheric, paddy section with soft anthemic. This would be achieved through used lots of distortion in the first section and dry sound and then switching to more spacy effects and processing in the 2nd section.

* Dynamic Contrast (Loud vs Quiet): If you examine the overall levels in a cinematic score youβ€˜ll notice how extreme the level changes are and youβ€˜ll often find this in pop music. This is a much overlooked technique to introduce stronger dynamic contrast into your arrangement sections, and if need be you can even automate your master fader a little to accentuate the changes.

* Aesthetic Contrast (Intense vs Soft): For example, if you have a club track with a bright saw-based hook lines, punchy chords and hard drums, you should consider contrasting this section with a paddy and deeper dubbed-out section with atmospheric melodies. If you didn't weave in this softer section the and you only have bright and intense sounds then track would get exhausting on the ears and soul, but introducing 2 aesthetically contrasting sections creates a more dynamic, exciting and varied piece. Likewise, if your track is sounding overly digital, then juxtapose it with a highly organic instrument sound choice (guitar, violin, ethnic instrument), or vocal part.