Do you have enough contrast?

Contrast is essential in composition (and production and engineering too!). Any musical or sonic statement only makes sense in comparison with (or relief from) something different.

Of course, you know this.

Light and dark, smooth and harsh, quiet and loud, happy and angry, dense and sparse, consonant and dissonant, etc… You’re nodding your head, but are you really implementing this?

Listen to (or think about) the song you’re working on RIGHT NOW. Whatever’s open in your sequencer (or at the top of the ‘recent files’ list). Whatever you’re just about to spend your next session working on. Whatever you’re writing in your sketchpad.

Is there enough contrast?

If there’s scope for more contrast, don’t be lazy – think up some ways to make the contrast more striking and more definite. Look at each section of the song and ask yourself – “What am I trying to achieve here? What is this section doing?”. How can I give it more of what it wants to be?

Be bold. Push yourself. You might even have to push past your fears.

Don’t settle for making the best music you can. Strive to do even better.


  1. Hi Kim, Can You Please Explain What Is Contrast In Detail, Please. Is Contrast The Dynamic Range Of The Song? I Ask This Because You Talk About The Loud And Soft Part Of A Song. All I Need To Know Is What Is Contrast, I Don’t Think Your Post Explains That.


  2. @Gugulethu

    I briefly mentioned some of the kinds of contrast:

    “Light and dark, smooth and harsh, quiet and loud, happy and angry, dense and sparse, consonant and dissonant, etc”

    It applies to any compositional technique though. It’s not just the volume, and it’s not just the energy level of the song. It can be anything – texture, pace, rhythm, colour, instrumentation, etc.

    I must admit though… Judging from your website, I’d expect you to understand this!


  3. OK, Thanx for clearing that for me, much appreciated and about the site hmmmm…we learn everyday, I learnt that (contrast) at production school but I won’t lye to you I didn’t understand it I always thought it had to do with dynamics.

    Thank You Kim!

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