Music & Entertainment

Making a Beat: Creating a Breakdown


Lesson time 19:21 min

Tim believes that contrast is essential in keeping a song interesting from the first beat to the last. Here he shows how to create that contrast without changing the song’s chord progression.

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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Everybody want to know what makes a hit song. There's no formula, really, to a hit song because I believe a hit song is really about the energy that you put out. If you really feel strongly about the record and you know it means something to you, it really manifests itself to the world. But a hit song, to say, oh, that's a hit, we-- I know always do it myself. But now, I'll just be like, if it feels good. It might not feel good to others, so it might don't be a hit. But it's a hit to me. And as long as it's a hit to you, then it's a hit. But you can't go in the process saying, oh, this a hit, because it could be the one that you don't like is the hit. So then what happens? You're confused. You really don't know. So it's all about your energy, what you put into the record. And your feeling of what you feel is contagious, and it passes throughout the room. And you're like gauging off of your peers, your friends and stuff. And if you got like 25 or more people that's like, oh, I love this record. Then you give it to radio or whoever. There's 100 more. And you hoping that it manifests itself to the world. But for the most part, you have fun doing it, and it moves you. That's a hit. [MUSIC PLAYING] - All right, cut me on. Now cut it down some. All right. [MUSIC PLAYING] Here we go. Right here is your part. A breakdown, right? But you should make a-- - I have something that I did. TIMBALAND: You got something? OK. FEDE: It might be cool. [MUSIC PLAYING] - Talk to me, speakers. Yes, yes, he put a-- shh. - For that breakdown, well, here's the bass. TIMBALAND: What bass is that? FEDE: That's a bass that I made on Silence. TIMBALAND: That's it. That's all you need to tell me, that you made. I know I can't find it. - It's really easy, very, very easy. Like basically, in Silence, if you start with an initialized preset, you get this, this sound wave. [SOUND PLAYING] And then you have an option to add more wave forms to it. It's called unison. So I added eight voices and detuned them-- really easy. [SOUND PLAYING] And it sounds like that, almost like Lady Gaga. But now we put a filter to it. [SOUND PLAYING] And that's the bass. This sound-- [SOUND PLAYING] - Woo, woo, ooh, ah. It's like this, it say, ooh-- oh, keep going. I heard a melody. I don't know. - So that sound, how you make that sound, there's a thing that's called Evo. It's like something that you put on your guitar, and it makes the notes extra long. So what I did is I sampled one note for a very long time. So if I play one key, you actually can hear that note. [SOUND PLAYING] So with one note, you can actually spread it in the keyboard. And that means that every note you play is going to have a different timing. Because when you start stretching things pitch-wise, then your timing change. So the lower notes are longer now. So if you play chords, it gives you a cool...

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.

Open my mind. Make me love more music and learn how to behave to achieve what i am looking for.

It opened my eye to see what this music producing is all about. Thank you

This class is fun and inspiring. This is a real step-by-step "how to" in Timbaland's creative process, which as a musician, I am really enjoying.

I have learned a lot in terms of making beats, sounds, making progress and taking out time to really learn your craft. Plus love what you do with a passion. Create with your heart. Study the greats. invest in yourself. Never quit.


Craig O.

Anywhere in the course do they say how/which settings they are using in simpler for the clean vocal sampling and chops? I try to get them to sound this smooth...but so far I am not successful. Thank you in advance!

Kirstine K.

Casie, I hope you can read this. It doesn't work. I get a broken link that's

Kirstine K.

I am trying to get the STEMS. I go to the course main page>resources>view details it then says “loading details” but no STEMS.

Buck B.

I was incredibly relieved to see that someone finally removed that tiny piece of lint from Tim's shirt. Was having a serious Howard Hughes moment there for the last couple lessons. I can breathe now. Thank you.

Xavier L.

You have made so many things so clear and open to me. I no longer feel out of place musically. You let me know that it's cool to be on your own creative realm...!

Marvin B.

When he said "I'm gonna share some stems with you, so you can be a part of team TIMBO" I thought we were getting some of the actual stems but I cannot find anything on the website or the PDF file. Anyone knows if it was legit?


How's Tim doing that full track remix through the Simpler at 16:08? "Is he just dropping it on the master track? anyone got a youtube link to how to set that up?

Natalie F.

Great lesson! I love that he said that to make a hit, it's all about the energy! So True!!

Travis C.

When he said "I'm gonna share some stems with you, so you can be a part of team TIMBO" I thought he was gonna say write something and submit it! haha. This is a dope track

Rocky B.

It's unreal how polished their work is and how smoothly they work together. That track is incredible