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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.

Great to see other peoples work flow and grab that valuable insight. I didn't learn anything on a technical level but a year ago I would have been lost! Lots of great information here!!!

I've learned a lot about myself as a producer. I'm an avid Logic Pro X user. In this course, I was able to enhance my skill and create music based on feeling. I have my own sound and I was happy to hear that it's okay to have your own sound. Tim is my all-time favorite producer and I'm glad I purchased this course. Thanks Masterclass!

I could feel the passion and energy of Timberland, powerful! It made me think about what is most important in the creative process (Energy) and the methods of capturing musical ideas, of course also technical things, but these are what really matter. Thank you for the great amount of inspiration and wisdom you have given. The truth, great experience. thank again.

This class was amazing, from the skills taught, to the energy and positivity that Timbaland brought to each lesson. I was completely new to beat-making and I can confidently say I learned valuable information that allowed me to create some of my own beats.


Rod H.

Is there something like the simpler that timbo uses that I can find in logic. I know that logic has the new sampler and they've gotten rid of the old sampler but I'm trying to be able to use the sampler just like how he used it in the videos.

Aeon D.

Learning a lot from this masterclass class ! At @18:31 Timbaland says hes "going to share some stems" but I don't see the download? I looked thought the workbook but I didn't see a link and ran a search for keyword "stems". Thank you! - L


I was so inspired, made a great beat after about 6 episodes! His energy is awesome. I don't even mind if he'd just talk about feel for the next few episodes. It's worth it for me!

Evgenia S.

I got a bunch of positive energy! Cool to watch this work process of Tim's team. Awesome music! Thanks!

Germán C.

Why is everyone using different softwares? Which software can anyone recommend to me to start practicing music production? Very good class!

A fellow student

I would like an individual masterclass from each of Tim's team members in their respective roles.

Mike E.

When making music, don't worry too much about making a hit. Have fun with it. Music is all about expression and feeling good. I would tell my teens to have fun and create music to their best potential. Also to listen to numerous different sounds to curate your own.

Will G.

I love how Fede puts Vulf Compressor on everything lol - It does sound amazing though - respect!

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