Music & Entertainment

Making a Beat: Adding a Topline


Lesson time 22:13 min

With help from New City vocalist Adrian Mitchell, Tim shows you the most important step in making a chart-topping hit— creating the vocal melody or “topline”— and shares his philosophy on lyrics.

Teaches Producing and Beatmaking
Step inside the production studio with Timbaland. In his first-ever online class, Tim teaches his process for creating infectious beats and making sonic magic.
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Okay, so now, I have Adrian, a songwriter, the group of New City, one of my new acts. I got him here. I did a track, yes, well a day ago. And I want to play it for him and show you how we process music, how we go to the next level with something that we already started. So Adrian, what's up, my G? - What's up? - So I'm going to play you what the crew, what we all did. - For sure. - And let this vibe do it. - Yeah, let's let the speakers speak, man. - See, we don't really talk about it. We just let the speakers speak. So with that being said, Chris. [MUSIC PLAYING] [DISTORTED VOICE] Oo. Yeah. And as you see, the speaker was talking to it, as it's talking to you. Break it down now. When you get in the room with the artist, it's all about just conversation, just-- you know, just talking. And you're doing music. There's no thought process. It's all about having fun. And the music come out. Then when you first-- get the first-- oo, didn't . You know what we should do? And everybody is throwing the ideas. You know, once the track is-- like, everybody is just throwing, bouncing out. It's the energy, you know, having a drink, laughing, going in the booth. It's all about making this part fun. Because after this is work. Just be who you are. You're a musical genius. Your gift, your gift to sound, you're presenting sounds to hear his lovely voice, or her voice, serenade across your lovely instruments and your well-thought-out, put-together track. You ready? - I'm ready. Yeah, let's do it. - Come on. Basically, now, he's going to go in. But I know you heard the track before. It had a lot of instruments. But we emptied out some of the instruments to create space. Right, guys? - Yeah. - So now that we emptied out some of the instruments, so Adrian can go in there and layer-- or do what he do, do what he do best, see what-- see what the speakers tell him what to do. That being said, Adrian, you ready? - Yeah, all good. - Let's go. [MUSIC PLAYING] - (SINGING) Trying to talk about it. Maybe fight about it. All them games, I don't want to fight about it. Risk my life with dodging. I put my life on doubt for everything. I can't bring me to you. Tell me when I gotta go. Tell me you want to take it there. Tell me if I'm on a roll 'cause I can be the one . You gotta let me know it. I'm taking you . I'm picking up the focus. Hey, yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm talking about your mornings. Can't get you out of focus. Baby, I know, yeah. Working around for the half of my life, thinking of where I-- no, no, no. The shot is-- - [HUMS MELODY] - (SINGING) I wanna know if you've been talking about us, no, yeah. You've been looking for me, trying to make . Yeah. Yeah. - That's a dope real part. - (SINGING) Working up my focus, trying to make the . Yeah, yeah. TIMBALAND: Pause it. - (SINGING) Yeah, yeah. ...

Find your beat

Grammy-winning music producer Timbaland takes you behind the boards to teach you his process for creating iconic tracks with artists like Jay-Z, Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, and Aaliyah. In his first-ever online class, learn how to collaborate with vocalists, layer new tracks, and create hooks that stick. Step into Timbaland’s studio and learn from one of the industry’s most innovative hit makers.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This class helped give me an overview of the production process of someone I respect greatly. I appreciate his overview and perspective on music production & recording great songs.

Loved this masterclass, Tim has such a charisma and such a passion for his art. True genius.

Great info on the plugins, being open to creating with people and insight on other peoples creative methods! fun class

This class teaches practical ways to capture musical ideas in tangible form quickly. It filled gaps in my process and immediately improved my work.


A fellow student

This masterclass has helped me bring out the best in people i work with ! i actually came on to go over some notes and had to watch timbo in action , truly inspiring . executing your creations is key!. watching his process helps unclutter yourself. ive listened to his music for half my life and now i get to see him in action. so much information in here this is truly your field of diamonds of information !. @bryandavidstheoneandonly

Kevin F.

Tim it's like you in my head. You confirm all the things I thought about making music.

Kevin F.

I always believed that the music tells me what it wants to be. You just feel it. They not worried about the words they mumbling it and feeling it. Its awesome.


It took me some time to find the Stems. If you head to your classes and then click on the timbaland class, it should take you to the overview page. There is a tab for Resources, or you can scroll down to Resources. I've been trying to paste the link onto this comment with no success. Here's my question to those of you who did manage to find the stems. I'm unable to import them into Ableton. Any advice?

Jess N.

I don't see the stems either. I'm enjoying this class but the setup of the resources for all these classes need a lot of work. Great content from the teachers but the MasterClass organization isn't really pulling their weight. The resources I can find don't seem to work in Safari, and in this case, I can't even find the resources. Not very user-friendly.

Kirstine K.

I keep hearing about these STEMS but I don't actually see them in the resources tab. What gives?

Mark L.

Its so crazy how similar Tim's process is to my own, freestyling melodies to come up with songs/lyrics etc.

Mitchel M.

I like this Class a lot, and wow i can't stop watching those great man work. (having fun) So beautifull to see how easy it goes. (a great WOW factor) I hope some day i can do the same, I am working on it . ;-)

Sarah F.

I keep getting an error message for the DOWNLOAD PDF <?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?> <Error> <Code>AccessDenied</Code> <Message>Request has expired</Message> <X-Amz-Expires>3600</X-Amz-Expires> <Expires>2019-06-10T03:05:53Z</Expires> <ServerTime>2019-06-10T16:29:58Z</ServerTime> <RequestId>C844061858B0FCC2</RequestId> <HostId>BT7m/IcUJ3RX0Ke1XSkim7bjc/p8ImHXnaV5OseacCyk7Sq1YD43pScDiPj31NETN3F+JT55ZOM=</HostId> </Error>

Marcelo M.

Creativity surpasses everything, Tim shows us how we can have great things through the simplest things. Simplify the simple. Lesson of gold