Rhythm and Blues, also pronounced as RnB or R&B, is a very popular music genre that combines jazz, blues and gospel influences. Many music producers try to make a living out of the production of R&B beats. The beat is a song without the lyrics. Producers offer the beats on download sites where artists can download them. This is a very lucrative business while a beat can be sold unlimited times as it is leased to the singer. This means that the artist is allowed to use the beat for promotion on music websites or a mix tape.

How to produce an R&B beat

Like a lot of other music genres an R&B beat consists of a chorus and a verse. The chorus is the active and louder part of the beat. The chorus is played more than once and the singer repeats the same lyrics in every chorus. In some cases an R&B beat starts with the chorus to get the attention of the listener. The verse sounds less hard and the lyrics are different from every other verse in that song. The musical arrangement of the verse contrasts the chorus melodically. An R&B beat could look like this.

Chorus – verse 1 – chorus – verse 2 – chorus – verse 3 – chorus – chorus.

Most R&B music makes use of the following instruments.

Chord Layers
- Organs
- Piano
- Synthesizer
- Guitar

- Bass guitar
- Double Bass
- Bass Synthesizer (this has a modern sound)

- Synthetic drums
- Kick with a sub harmonic bass
- Snare/Clap
- Hi Hat
- Cymbal/Crash

Adlibs (these are musical phrases in between the lyrics of the vocals)
- Synthesizer
- Harp
- Flutes

An R&B beat must have a solid and good sounding chord progression. A few modulations will give the listener also a nice feeling. Without this it would sound monotonous and cheap. A jazz inspired R&B chord progression with seven and nine chords could look like this.

iii9 - VI7 - ii9 - V7 - ii9 - V7 - Imaj9 - VII7

What software is recommended to produce R&B beats.

There is much software to produce R&B beats. Beginners use software like Fruity Loops. This software is very easy to use but there are some limitations. It is perfect for creating R&B music with samples and synthesizers but not very good for recording live audio like an acoustic guitar or vocals. Other software like Logic Pro, Cubase and Protools are more effective and they have better plugins. Plugins are little software programs which can be put on an audio track. They can help make the sound quality better. Think of plugins like a compressor, an equalizer and a reverb. Famous and very good sounding plugins are made by software publishers from Waves. An example is a plugin that simulates a hardware channel strip from SSL (Solid State Logic) with compression, gate and equalization.

Besides recording audio, most music production software can record MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface). MIDI is a way of communication with software instruments like synthesizers and samplers. MIDI has a lot advantages over real audio like quantizing, easy editing and flexible time signature and tempi. With these MIDI instruments there is no need for recording audio from instruments like i.e. a bass guitar or drums. Samplers use high quality samples and tend to sound like real instruments.

These are the basics of R&B beat production with music production software. Remember that there are no rules, just guidelines. Happy music making.

Author's Bio: 

Marcel van Ling finished the School for Audio Engineering (SAE) in 2005 and has a lot of experience as a musician. He is the owner of HotBeatStore.com and MoSound Productions.

He produces RnB beats and knows a lot about music production software, listen to examples of his music on this online beat store