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What is Layering in music?

2 January , 2018

Chto takoye leyering

Layering – a musical effect that indicates the saturation of audio material using layers with characteristic sounds.

Indirectly, this term can also be referred to as Overproduction – the excessive use of sound effects, layers or manipulations in the production of music. It is not always clear what critics call “layering” but there are at least a few general uses of the term:

  • Heavy use of sound processing effects such as reverb, reflection or dynamic range compression
  • A heavy layer (or multi-track) in the context of pop and rock music to saturate the source material
  • Heavy use of pitch correction, time and quantization.

All three values ​​share the idea that the composer or mixing engineer made “unnecessary” additions during the production process, which directly affected the quality of the music. Critics and producers have little consensus as to when the use of technology becomes excessive. For this reason, some manufacturers consider the term useless, confusing, and subjective.

To date, the use of the expression “layering” means saturation of the material with the help of additional tracks (without changing the melodic component), one of the characteristic instruments / sounds / synthesizers. With proper mastery, you can get dense saturated material. It is used, most often, in dynamic dance styles.

The bass layering can be explained by a simple example: in Deep House, the main bass part (which runs mainly in the mono channel) can be compacted with two additional tracks that are placed (partially or completely) in the left and right channels, and then the project is reduced to eliminate frequency conflicts between the barrel and the three low-frequency layers.

The layering of synthesizers can have more global scales in 5, or even 7 sound layers. They must be thoroughly cleaned with an equalizer and other methods to obtain juicy batches.

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