MUSIC THEORY MADE EASY! – Computer Music issue 261 is out now

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The average producer can get by with a total lack of musical knowledge, but some theory grounding is guaranteed to give you more professional-sounding chord progressions, basslines and hooks. And guess what? It’s easier than you think… as you’ll find out in this issue’s cover feature!

Over 14 pages and 11 videos, we distil music theory down to the elements we think are most important in the track-building process, showing you how these crucial skills come into play. We’ll start with a skeleton ‘sketch’ track that you can grab from our Tutorial Files folder and set up in any DAW. Using this basic starting point, we’ll then demonstrate real-world uses of the most crucial theory techniques as we build and develop the track to completion.

Topics include:

  • Exploring basic three-note chords
  • Defining a musical scale
  • The basics of bassline theory
  • Ways to come up with a melody
  • Creating variations on a melody
  • Using chord extensions to add flavour
  • Chord inversions explained
  • Strategies for changing key
  • Scale transitions with shared chords

Watch one of the videos from the feature, and get the rest with CM261.


3 FREE PC/Mac plugins worth £59: Kilohearts Snapins

This month’s exclusive Computer Music software giveaway is a three-pack of superb effects plugins by Swedish developers Kilohearts, worth £59. Comprising Pitch Shifter, Reverser and Trance Gate, these tasty little audio processors not only sound great, but are also extremely easy to use, with just a handful of controls to get your head around for each one. 

Pitch Shifter offers two octaves of high-quality pitchshifting; Reverser slices and reverses beats, basslines and anything else you care to throw at it; and Trance Gate creates classic rhythmic gating effects for those hands-in-the-air riffs and lead lines.

Find out how to use your three free Snapins in the video below, and buy CM261 to download the plugins for PC and Mac. 



In this month’s issue of Computer Music, tropical house producer Alex Adair invites you into his north London studio and breaks down the creation of his track Casual.

Check out the first half of the video below, and access the full video with CM261.



This issue’s royalty-free sample packs are…

  • BESPOKE BREAKS – an exclusive pack of faux-sampled drum grooves, beat loops, one-shots, construction kits and processed percussion
  • LOOPMASTERS 1GB PACK – a bumper collection from the soundware titans


  • An exclusive interview with LA-based Kanye collaborators DJDS
  • Unlock the new features in Image-Line’s DAW with THE CM GUIDE TO FL STUDIO 20
  • Strike the perfect balance between jaw-dropping width and mono power in our huge STEREO MIXING STRATEGIES feature
  • Music theory expert Dave Clews explains DOTS AND TIES
  • Our resident Dr Beat shows you how to glitch up acoustic drums
  • Pro producer Ed:it teaches on-the-fly mixing skills
  • 22 reviews of the latest music software including Propellerhead Europa, Audio Damage Quanta, NI Crush Pack 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