A sidechain in the audio-technology world means something different that what musicians/producers typically associate it with. Most of the time, sidechaining involves compressing the volume of an instrument when a more prominent sound plays at the same time. People might referring to this as “ducking” the volume.
Anyways, this is only one of the many uses of sidechaining – but this is certainly one of the most common scenarios.
But say that you don’t have the ability to use a DAW’s and mixing console’s compressor to do a volume ducking sidechain. You are not out of luck.
As a composer, have you thought of writing in volume swells? When you have an instrument whose attack you want to accentuate, try ducking the volume of all the other instruments and have them swell to an increased volume right after the initial attack.
This will create for of an artificial sidechain that can be used in the concert hall and in recordings, too!
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