The Acme of Skill

Sun Tzu said it 2500 years back in “The Art Of War”:

The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.

The mix is not unlike the battlefield… There’s lots of fighting going on!

But what is the highest point of skill?

Everyone knows you must craft each sound with plenty of thought and precision…

Use your “troops” wisely…

Allocate each element a space of their own.

The end result – victory, loss or something in between – depends on the quality of your decisions.


Last week I spoke about sounding large. I’ve also talked about how arranging is mixing.

These are both tactics for resolving conflicts.


It doesn’t stop there: You need to analyze the frequency content of your elements and use EQ to sculpt them. You must use dynamics to your advantage. Learn to know when to restrict and when to let it loose.


But the master of all lessons…

“The acme of skill” as Sun Tzu put it…

Is that of designing your music to avoid conflicts from the ground up.

For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.


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  • Great point! The kick drum and bassline in my production have been battling in my production, its only recently that I’ve begun to be much more selective in the kick I choose and its frequencies. This is very helpful! Eliminate any muddyness prior rather than trying to eliminate it later, which can sometimes seem impossible especially if the original kick has mostly sub frequencies.