How to create a dance track
How to Make Electronic Dance Music (EDM) – Berklee Online Take Note
Electronic dance music (EDM) is currently one of the hottest genres in popular music. From underground dance music to the global success of chart-topping electronic music producers like Calvin Harris, Skrillex, and Tiesto, the scene is growing.
Because of this explosion in popularity, there is an endless list of sub-genres in the field. Not to mention, a variety of tools and technology you can use to create the beats, sounds, and arrangements electronically. However, to become an electronic music producer, you have to be dedicated to your craft.
Whether you’ve already created a few tracks or are simply considering getting into the genre, here’s what you need to know about becoming a successful electronic dance music producer.How to Start Producing EDM
- Research different EDM artists. It’s always a good idea to explore what’s out there before forging ahead. Find what speaks to you.
- Consider what genre of electronic music you want to produce. You could pursue house, trap, ambient, dubstep, or create your own thing.
- Choose and learn a DAW. A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is the software application you’ll use to produce, edit, and record your music. Berklee Online offers a robust music production curriculum, with DAW-specific courses available. Some of the most popular include Logic Pro, Cubase, Pro Tools, and Ableton Live.
- Start experimenting! Take the tools you’ve acquired and make things happen. You’ll likely feel frustrated along the way, but embrace it and keep trying new sounds and arrangements until you get comfortable with the software and process.
This first stage is all about start soaking up knowledge, mastering skills, and seeing the progress. Once you’ve found your favorite DAW and are getting the hang of how things work, the EDM world is your oyster.Music Concepts You Need to Know to Make EDM
With electronic music, there are three key fundamental areas you should focus on.
- Music Theory. You may think that music theory doesn’t apply in electronic music production. But the genre is still a compilation of sounds and rhythms and relies on the same basic musical concepts.
- Arrangement. Once you’ve covered the basics there, you can move onto structure and arrangement. That way, you can take a short musical run and expand it into a full-length song. There are courses specifically designed for structure and arrangement in electronic music composition, including the Berklee Online courses Composing and Producing Electronic Music 1 and 2 and Keyboard for the Electronic Musician.
- Mixing. The final key area you need to understand is mixing. There are courses to help you master this concept as well, including the Berklee Online courses Mixing and Mastering for the Electronic Musician and Sound Design for the Electronic Musician. By learning the basics of digital audio and mixing best practices, you’ll figure out how to put your ideas together and come out on the other side with something you’re excited to present.
Becoming an electronic dance music producer takes hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Following this career path means you’ll be constantly learning about new techniques, so don’t be too hard on yourself as you evolve as both a producer and musician.Improve, Connect, Repeat
You’ve learned the software, you’ve learned how to mix properly, and you have a few tracks ready to be released into the world. What are you waiting for?
Whether you’re releasing your music on SoundCloud or YouTube, it’s important to get feedback. It’s a daunting and vulnerable part of the process, but it’s essential if you want to grow. Send your tracks to friends as well as other electronic music producers in the industry to identify your weak points.
While you’re doing that, make connections with others in the industry and build relationships. You never know what opportunities will arise down the road. When you network with other electronic music producers, you meet potential collaborators and learn from other artists above your skill level.
At the end of the day, you have to stay passionate about the genre and excited to absorb new information every step of the way. With a solid foundation, you’ll become a master electronic music producer and continue to innovate as you create a career in EDM.
Become a better electronic music producer with Berklee! Explore our offerings:
- Bachelor of Professional Studies in Electronic Music Production and Sound Design
- Bachelor of Professional Studies in Music Production
- Master of Music in Music Production
- Electronic Music Production and Sound Design Advanced Professional Certificate
- Composing and Producing Electronic Music Professional Certificate
- Sampling and Sound Design for Electronic Music Professional Certificate
How to make electronic dance music in minutes - Tutorials
Tutorials / 22 August 2018
The North of England. An epicentre of the Northern Soul movement in the 60s and early 70s, venues like Wigan Casino became iconic for not only for the music, but for the dancing that went on inside. People would travel from far and wide to hear the music being played, but mostly to show off their moves on the dance floor.
Fast forward to the 80s in Manchester and Tony Wilson, a news reporter, music lover and Factory Records owner would open a new venue inside an old factory – which many cite as the birthplace of modern DJ culture, The Hacienda. Recognised as the first place where people faced the DJ and praised them for the music they were playing, the trend quickly spread worldwide and dance music was born. 4/4 Beats made the music easy to predict and therefore to dance to, and DJs spliced tapes and mixed records together so there was never a break in the music, from opening, right through to the clubs closing time. The music influenced people dancing, and people dancing, influenced the music.
Today, Electronic Dance Music has taken on many forms and is influenced by a wide range of other genres. Subgenres include House, Techno, Trance, French Disco, Deep House, Funky, Latin House, Afro and EDM (yes it’s a sub-genre all on its own!) to name but a few. But whatever the sub-genre and style, the fundamentals of the music are always the same. It’s the predictable nature of the music that is what makes it easy to dance to. The 4/4 beat, the break, the build, the drop, all employed by the various subgenres, all of which stress different importance to different elements. With techno, the is more sub sounds, less breaks and it’s often more industrial. House often has more open hi-hats and groove and the sound is more positive in nature.
If you consider yourself the next Richie Hawtin, Derrick Carter, Seth Troxler or Dixon, just know that on BandLab, we’ve got you covered. As well as having your own Digital Audio Workstation to take with you anywhere which is accessible via the cloud on your laptop, here you have full access to sound packs, midi loops, drum machines, and loads of features and FX to get you on your way to making your very first bomb for the dance floor. Here we’re going to show you a few…
Learn How to Recreate that Alan Walker drop on BandLabThe Looper
If you have little or zero knowledge of how dance music stars put their music together, then that’s ok, you can start with the Looper. The Looper is accessible on mobile and has built-in sound packs in loads of different genres and the tool never goes out of time or key! Just select looper, choose your favourite sound pack and away you go. Sound packs include:
- Tropical House
- Atmospheric Dub Techno
- Classic Disco
- EDM Starter
- Indie Electro
- Electronic Fusion
- Pop Funk
- Techno Dub
- Minimal Techno
- Progressive House
The Looper is It’s a great way to generate ideas quickly. Record on the go and make edits later in the bedroom when you have access to your speakers.Loops
For greater control over what you are producing, check out the mix editor on your laptop. Loops give you a lot of creative freedom to select, drag and create your sound from a library of beats all made by our in-house professional sound team. Again, there are loads to choose from and for Electronic music, here are just a few of our favourites…
- Classic House
- Synthwave Ultra
- Progressive House
- EDM Express MIDI Pack
- Classic Acid
- Deep House Essentials
- Nu Disco
- EDM Megapack 1 & 2
- Minimal Masters
Where would Dance Music be without the drum machine? The Roland 909 was, and still is an absolute signature of the dance music sound, forming the basis of almost all dance music through the 90s. Use the Techno Throwback kit to emulate that sound and then get playful with other elements. Maybe you like it afro and percussive, or maybe you want elements of Prince’s sound.
Whatever your take on Electronic Dance Music might be, there are loads for you to play around with on BandLab, so give some of our awesome tools and loops a try and who knows, maybe we’ll see you sharing a stage with the stars real soon!
Read more: How to produce a beat like Avicii on BandLab
How I learned to write dance music and started releasing on labels — Music on DTF
A big story about finding yourself in creativity. With pictures and music.
Hi, I'm Muchkin. I write music. I make money with soundtracks for indie games, and for my soul and career I also make tracks in the genre of melodic house and techno. About how I came to composing, I wrote in a recent text. Now let me tell you about my path in dance music.
Screenshot of my latest project so far
Somewhere in the ninth grade, I first heard Prodigy - Voodoo People (Pendulum Remix) as part of a mix from DJ Stroitel. I got crazy and started to get interested in drum and bass. I listened to Pendulum, Noisia, Spor, danced drum and bass dance, which we called drumstep.
Then I thought that I also want to write the same energetic cool music with rich drum parts. I had no idea how it was done, and the search led me first to some kind of MIDI editor, in which I made a couple of songs. And then I found FL Studio, a sequencer that I've been using for over a decade. nine0003
The first tracks were terrible.
I shared them under a shameful pseudonym on PromoDJ, in an active community of fellow beginners. We intelligently criticized each other's tracks, not knowing anything at all about how music is created. But it's always like that when you start.
nine0002 Toward the end of school, a dream began to form in me: I will learn how to make cool music for the university, and by the end of the fourth year I will become, if not a world star, then certainly a professional and respected music producer (a person who earns money by creating and performing electronic music ).
I once read the idea that you need to make the first 100 songs as quickly as possible, because after them normal music will follow. In my experience, yes, something like this is
In fact, for four years at university, I basically did only three things: studied (albeit well), played video games and suffered from fears and anxieties. Despite the fact that the dream still lived somewhere on the border of consciousness, and I considered myself a music producer, writing tracks faded into the background. nine0003
It wasn't because I was lazy or because I didn't want to make music. Just because I thought of a great success in advance, creativity turned into a hard and painful task. High anxiety, disorders, traumas, and just the peculiarities of the psyche (which I realized only ten years later thanks to psychotherapy) exacerbated the situation.
For example, I wrote this track for a whole year and spent more than hundred hours on it . That was the pace at which I produced finished works at that time. nine0003
Funny story. Born in Space found some cunning guy on PromoDJ and wrote me, they say, let's release it on my label. I went nuts from the word "label" and agreed. We even signed some kind of contract through the Proton system. After that, the man disappeared. Until now, the composition can be found on streaming services - he released it ten times, probably, and all under different "labels".
I didn't make a dime from it, of course. I suspect that he is alsonine0025
Among my other works during this time, one can single out this psychedelic “neurofunk”, in which everything that is possible is not in tonality. When I wrote it, I did not yet know what tonality was.
This was supposed to be an intro for my friend's YouTube show, but it never launched.
At the university, I wrote little music, but this does not mean that I did not develop creatively. I listened and analyzed bass genres a lot and sometimes through suffering I made tracks. Many did not finish. So there was progress, but very slow.
This composition also took about a year and 60-80 hours of work.
My music from this period seems to meet some minimal requirements of the genres (the structure is readable, the sounds are more or less intelligible, the kick and snare give some kind of energy, sometimes there is even a sub-bass), but they are crooked, poorly thought out and uninteresting .
I just used samples, notes and instruments that seemed appropriate and didn't think about the big picture, melody or atmosphere. And, I suspect, for the better. If I had been worried about this as well, then anxiety would have completely crushed me. nine0003
By the way, my suffering also had some advantages. From the very beginning of working in FL Studio, I decided that I needed to create all the presets for the synths myself, and so I did. By the time I received my diploma, I had a good knowledge of the standard synths of the program and even a small library of presets.
By the way, about the diploma: I wrote this experimental composition dedicated to a headache closer to the defense, which is symbolic.
After my bachelor's degree, I went to the master's program and at the same time started looking for a job. For a year and a half, I was doing all sorts of small jobs (once I even made the whole foley for a short film). I didn’t do much music, although I was able to complete a couple of projects. nine0003
For example, this future beats track inspired by Ivy Lab and Noisia Radio selections.
And an old school drum and bass remix for Dorn (there was a PromoDJ contest).
I was looking for ways to make money on music: I applied to local game and recording studios, I tried my luck in creating beats and stock tracks. In vain. As I studied the market and read the stories of more successful producers, an unbearable, terrible thought formed in my head.
To achieve something, you have to work very hard
That explained a lot.
At the beginning of 2017, I was accepted to DTF. Since childhood, I loved games, I read LKI, the Land of Games and Igromania, so I was very happy with this opportunity.
I was part of the editorial staff for almost two years. At this time it was difficult to find the strength and time for music. I watched tutorials, analyzed other people's tracks, replenished my database of samples and presets, but completed projects during this time can be counted on the fingers of one hand. nine0003
Weird downtempo project - time.
Dubstep with the voice of YouTuber Jacksepticeye - two.
Gloomy base house - three.
Drum and bass, started back in 2016, four.
I tried to send each of these tracks to labels, but they were not taken anywhere. I was surprised: how is it that they have everything. And powerful basses, and cool drums, even some interesting effects. Isn't that enough?
Oh, how little I understood.
In the spring of 2019, I started building a career as an indie game composer. A few months later, this occupation even began to bring in some money and soon became the main one for me. (You can read about this path here.)
I found a way to make money with music and immersed myself in creativity. A little bit not the direction that I dreamed of, but still it was progress. Working on the soundtracks, I learned to feel the music better, learned new techniques and added to my own libraries even more. nine0003
As for dance tracks, at the end of 2019, aggressive and fast base house was popular, and I tried to sit on this hype train.
But no labels took the track, so I released it myself through distributor DistroKid. It was my first "adult" release - the one that appeared on streaming services. So far, I have earned exactly $0.03 on it. That's 17 auditions.
Back in the beginning of 2020, I made time for the LEAVEMEALONE halftime track.nine0002 The flops over the past couple of years made me wonder: what is wrong with my music? Why doesn't anyone want to take it? Reflection and reflection led me to an important conclusion: in the first place, I do not make the music that I really want.
I became interested in making music thanks to drum and bass, then I started listening to dubstep and electro house, and for some reason I always felt that these genres were what I needed to work on. But as soon as I listened to myself a little (which I had never done before), it turned out that I had nothing to express through bass music. nine0003
Therefore, I spent the following months looking for genres that would most accurately reflect my inner state. They were melodic house and techno.
Since April 2020, I have decided to get into dance music properly. Since I used to be able to create compositions only through force, I came up with a challenge for myself: to finish one track every month.
The logic was like this. By forcing myself to work on dance compositions month after month, sooner or later I had to develop all the necessary skills needed to create cool music. nine0003
I was going to basically brute force my creative powers
The first track turned out to be clumsy. The mixing is murky, there is not much development, both drops are arranged as if it were a summer banger, although a soulful melodic techno was conceived. But for starters, it will.
This track (and several others) I released again via DistroKid. Even tried to buy ads for him through Facebook. There were still few auditions (39 to date), but I was resentful of the label system after so many rejections and was determined to make a name for myself. nine0003
The next composition in May, Pasturage, was much softer. Birds, forest, nice sound design and summer rain atmosphere.
For this track, I also purchased advertising. This time I set up the ad better and invested more money, so the output was more tangible. Now he has 138 plays.
The June track Arcane turned out to be mysterious and attractive, like a Celtic forest. Hence the name.
I did not commission advertising for him, because the determination to promote myself in the music industry began to fade. I didn’t pour so much money into advertising tracks, but there was no more extra money. nine0003
The conclusion was that you can break through on your own only in two cases: if you have a lot of money for advertising (I didn’t), or if you know how to do cool PR in social networks (I didn’t know how). So I started looking towardslabels again.
Arcane was not taken to the labels (I did not even hope), but they took Autarca - the July track. Here's a snippet of it, and you can listen to it in full here.
It was released as a compilation on the sub-label of a small St. Petersburg publishing house Polyptych. I knew perfectly well that this would not bring me any money or popularity, but I signed the contract anyway. You have to start somewhere. nine0003
The next track was a bit hooligan Help a Robot. I didn't send it anywhere, because big labels wouldn't take it, and it was long and tedious to look for small labels with such music. How do you even google them? "Labels with frivolous electro-house"?
In autumn I decided to make a three-track mini-album. For some reason it seemed to me that labels were more willing to take EPs than singles.
Even by this moment I had heard a lot of music in the selected genres and realized that in melodic house and techno, few people make tracks shorter than six minutes. So from now on, all my new compositions slowly fade in and out. nine0003
In general, the music has become less hasty and more conducive to immersion and thoughtful listening
As you might expect, my plan to boost my chances with labels with the EP didn't work out very well. The release was eventually taken to the same Polyptych Limited (it will be released on July 5), but I was hoping for something bigger.
In December I finished the new track Rewired and decided to take a break. Working non-stop for nine months (and I also did soundtracks) without tangible results led to the fact that I just burned out. nine0003
Rest helped me rethink my priorities and figure out which way to go. I stopped caring too much about labels and started focusing more on creativity and self-expression. Plus, psychotherapy helped (and still helps) to listen to yourself better.
Rewired was included in the compilation for the Moscow label ONESUN (will be released sort of like in the summer).
I wrote the next composition at a more relaxed pace: burnout forced me to abandon the "one track per month" mode. Simultaneously with the work on the track, I was doing research. He carefully studied music in the chosen genres, pestered successful producers with questions, whom he could reach. nine0003
The result was the biggest takeaway of all time: major labels need unique music first and foremost. One that has not yet been
Within the genre, of course, although the boundaries between melodic house and techno are blurred.
How to achieve uniqueness? For me, the answer is simple: it comes from the uniqueness of the psyche. If you learn to listen well and express yourself adequately, then creativity will be unique. Therefore, when creating Bird Law in January 2020, I tried to listen as often as possible to what melodies, sounds, effects and just decisions resonate with me. nine0003
This track doesn't just meet some technical requirements, it's undeniably my . For example, the title is taken from a comic book that I really like.
It's the law
And the theme of birds in it is not only because of the name, but also because these animals (but not all) touch me and my wife very much. And also partly a track about the love that I feel for my wife, and this has something in common with the comic book. In general, a warm work about good things. The ones in me. nine0003
I don't know how noticeable this is to the outside listener, but I see a massive improvement over the previous compositions. He was even taken to a more serious label - the Italian Natura Viva. They promised to release it as part of a compilation. I don't know when exactly: for some reason, labels rarely notify me about such things, and I myself don't really care. I'm more focused on future works.
The last track so far is called You're Not What Your Mind Tells You. It's about my many battles with my own brain. It is a little sad, but with a light undertone, because no matter how scary the battles are, there is always a possibility to win. At least I can. nine0003
The other day I signed him to the Belgian label Sound Avenue. It will first be released exclusively on Spotify to try and push it into the platform's playlists, and will be released as part of a sub-label compilation in August.
After You're Not What Your Mind Tells You, I again rethought my creative process. Now I try to treat music less as a series of separate projects and more just as a field for experiments, from which cool completed projects will grow. Let's see where this takes me. nine0003
Such things. Thanks for reading. By the way, I will soon launch a course on creating electronic music from scratch. If interested, you can read the details here.
If you like my music, you can subscribe to Soundcloud, YouTube or Spotify. All my future tracks will appear there as well. Also here are my social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch.
Trance track structure. How to write a track in the style of trance
Track structure in trance style. How to write a trance 9 track0210
This resource is intended for those who are interested in the topic of creating music on a computer
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Track structure in trance style. How to write a trance track
1-8 bars: Kick Drum
What is a "bar"? 1 bar = 4 strokes.
If you listen to dance music, you can hear basskick beating. Four of these beats form a bar. Take any dance track and listen to it carefully. If you count the beats from the beginning of the song, you will notice that usually after 32 beats (8 bars) new sounds come in, others disappear... nine0003
This is the progress of the track. Every certain amount of time a track plays, something new happens. This way you can keep the interest of the audience. When starting to create your first trance track, try 8 bar sections to progress (or 16 bars if you want to create a slow track). Add a new sound after every 8 bars and gradually remove sounds from existing ones.
nine-16 bars: Kick Drum + Clap
17-32 bars: Kick Drum + + Clap Hihat
33-40 bars: Kick Drum + + Clap Hihat + Bass
41-48 bars: Kick Drum + + Clap Hihat + Bass + Pads
49-56 bars: Kick Drum + + Clap Hihat + Bass + Pads start to fade
57-64 bars: BREAKDOWN and everything stops. .