88 EASY MUSIC THEORY TIPS – Computer Music issue 269 is out now

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Music is one of those fields in which there’s always something new to learn, no matter what level of musician you consider yourself to be. 

While an in-depth music theory background is by no means essential to create great tunes, we’re always keen to squeeze our in-house experts for as much accessible and useful know-how as we can get our hands on.

That’s why this month’s approachable collection of bite-sized, categorised hints and tips is the perfect springboard to help you make better tunes. 

Across 16 pages and six videos, and progressing through beginner-level theory and basic definitions through to more advanced concepts, we’ll highlight everything you need to take your songwriting, arranging, production and even mixing to the next level. 

This issue’s tips and videos include:

  • A music theory ‘jargon buster’ to get you started
  • Note names and intervals – the basics
  • Keys and key signatures explained
  • Ten chord rules you need to know
  • Chord inversions, voicings and voice leading
  • Five ways to determine the key of a song or melody
  • Everything you need to know about scales 
  • The circle of fifths – what it is, and how to use it like a pro
  • Chromatic, parallel and diatonic modulation
  • Modes 101
  • Common progressions ripped apart
  • And more!

Watch one of the videos from the feature below, and get the rest only with CM269.


FREE VST/AU Drum Machine: Trax CM

A cut-down version of Thenatan’s Trax drum machine, Trax CM is a self-contained source of sampled drum and percussion sounds for trap, EDM, hip-hop and other electronic styles, presented in a mixer-style interface that facilitates filtering, distortion, pitch adjustment, reverb and more. 

In the below video, we’ll we’ll take you on a tour of Trax CM’s controls, and show off some of its 20 awesome kits while we’re doing it. Get the plugin in VST and AU formats for PC and Mac with Computer Music issue 269.



In the 15 years or so since individually established producers Jamie Quinn (Matrix) and Brendan Collins (Futurebound) joined creative forces, Matrix & Futurebound have become one of the biggest acts in UK electronic music, occupying a seat at the very top table of drum ’n’ bass.

Known for their clean, impactful and diverse sound, the pair have also remixed a panoply of stars including Eric Prydz, Tinie Tempah and Emeli Sandé, and regularly play DJ sets at club nights and festivals around the world. 

This year sees the release of their second album, Mystery Machine, some 12 years after the first, Universal Truth. With Brendan living in Liverpool and Jamie a Londoner, putting it together involved a lot of remote collaboration, enabled by the miracle of software technology.

In this month’s Producer Masterclass and its hour-long accompanying video, Brendan and Jamie walk us through the production of the track Let It Go, from Mystery Machine. Check out the first half of the video below, and access the full video and interview feature with Computer Music issue 269.



This issue’s royalty-free sample packs are…

  • POWER SYNTHS – an exclusive pack of assertive synth hooks, analogue sounds, rhythmic grooves and more
  • LOOPMASTERS CM269 – an essential selection of sounds from LM’s latest releases


  • An exclusive interview with Detroit techno legend CARL CRAIG
  • Give your tracks pro warmth, grunt and bite with our MIXING WITH DISTORTION tutorials
  • Master the basics of modular synthesis with THE CM GUIDE TO FATHOM CM – PART 1
  • Explore EXOTIC SCALES with music theory expert Dave Clews
  • ACM tutor Shea Stedford shows you how to imbue lacklustre samples with missing density and depth
  • Italian producer and performer GIORGIA ANGIULI talks music software
  • 22 reviews of the latest music-making products including Rob Papen Vecto, Roland Cloud TB-303, IK Multimedia SampleTank 4, DMG Audio Multiplicity and more


Get this issue now

Print + DVD | | Android | | iOS | | Digital cross-platform

Digital editions include all extra content, now available via FileSilo (see page 5 in the mag)

Subscribe and Save

Never miss an issue with a CM subscription, print or digital!

Computer Music

Computer Music magazine is the world’s best selling publication dedicated solely to making great music with your Mac or PC computer. Each issue it brings its lucky readers the best in cutting-edge tutorials, need-to-know, expert software reviews and even all the tools you actually need to make great music today, courtesy of our legendary CM Plugin Suite.

Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects… image
Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects…
…with the latest issue of Computer Music magazine