How to Compose Electronic Music

Making music can be one of the most rewarding creative pursuits you undertake, yet if you lack access to proper tools it can also become frustratingly time consuming and frustrating.

Computers are at the core of modern production studios. From there, you can access an infinite array of new music genres and production methods.


Electronic instruments differ from their acoustic counterparts in that their sounds come from electrical signals transmitted across strings or wind passageways, which can then be recorded and played back using music production software known as digital audio workstation (DAW). Although there are several such DAW programs on the market, beginners might benefit from starting off their journey in electronic music with programs such as LMMS, Audacity or GarageBand which offer numerous features to get their creativity going.

Initial steps toward using music production software may seem intimidating, but you can ease into it more easily by learning as much as possible and practicing. Select a program that meets both your creative and budgetary requirements; for beginners, MIDI controllers such as Native Instrument’s MASCHINE may provide the feel of playing an instrument with access to numerous software sounds and effects; alternatively samplers offer even more sound options and serve as the basis of projects.

Producing electronic music requires full engagement from you as the producer, so creating an environment free from distraction is of utmost importance. Many producers find they are better able to focus when working in a studio or home recording setup rather than an office, laptop, or elsewhere. Once ready for taking the next step, try setting aside some purposeful practice time each day; perhaps recreating three melodies from popular songs every day over a month-long period would help your skills and creativity to flourish over time.


To compose electronic music, a few pieces of hardware will be necessary. At its core lies music software on a PC or laptop; for optimal control and results, desktop PCs tend to offer greater control and precision than their laptop counterparts. Depending on what genre or style of production is best suited to you, additional controllers may also be needed, such as Native Instrument’s MASCHINE with its extensive library of studio-quality samples, drum kits, effects and physical interface that allows greater precision than keyboard or mouse alone.

No longer does making electronic music require costly and bulky equipment that took up an excessive amount of space; but as computers became more powerful, all that expensive hardware has been replaced with software emulating its function – meaning anyone with access to suitable software and some basic pieces of gear can now start creating electronic music on any laptop or iPad!

Electronic music’s core piece of hardware is the sequencer. Like a tape recorder for music, sequencers record and edit individual notes as they’re played on the keyboard. Most electronic musicians utilize sequencers built into computer programs or plugins available free for download; but dedicated sequencer hardware such as Korg Electribe or Yamaha Pads and Keyboards exist as alternatives.

As well as needing something to create sound, electronic musicians also require two main pieces of hardware: samplers and synthesizers. Samplers work similarly to effect units in guitar amplifiers, enabling you to add various sound effects that alter the tone of songs you are recording. Synthesizers on the other hand generate sound using electrical signals and circuitry; they can reproduce sounds of acoustic instruments or generate completely unique tones.

Electronic music production is cognitively demanding and requires full focus. Therefore, ideally produce in an environment free from distractions such as Ableton open on one screen and Facebook on the other – this way your concentration won’t get diverted!


First steps when writing electronic songs involve designing its structure. This means deciding how each element of your track fits together – for instance, an intro > verse > chorus > climactic hook arrangement. Furthermore, emotional, textural and tonal dynamics must add tension and drama, leading up to that final climactic hook at the end.

Soft synths, samplers and recorded audio are often employed when producing electronic music, although actual instruments or vocals can add depth and character. Producers may use layering – when different sounds are played simultaneously to produce new ones – or granulation to achieve this end.

Once a song’s structure is in place, its producer can begin creating individual parts for it. This may involve finding suitable sounds and making adjustments to their pitch, frequency and amplitude as needed. Looping can also give continuous music playback with more natural results.

Beginning any electronic music production requires designing a drum beat. Genres such as dance music and synth-pop depend on an engaging rhythm to drive energy and drive performance. Producers may create one from scratch or adapt existing beats for use in their production style; for instance, some producers add breaks – an old tradition from hip-hop and dance music which involves taking small portions from other recordings and playing them backwards to form breakbeats – as a signature feature.

Other parts of a track may be added using melodic composition. In this form of composing, melodies are composed around chords and bass in accordance with rules of harmony and music theory; certain notes might complement one chord while others clash against it and create tension.

At the core of creating electronic music is learning to work in an environment without distraction, commonly referred to as deep work. Composers need this skill in order to stay productive if they wish to create meaningful compositions without spending hours fiddling around with DAW software and watching phone notifications pop up as you compose, taking away from productive time spent writing lyrics or composition. Commit yourself fully and allocate enough time each day towards practicing your craft by applying theory into practice.


Finding new electronic music track ideas can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can employ to spark inspiration and start the production process. One such technique is listening critically to music you admire and dissecting what makes each piece special – this will help you become an even greater composer!

Exploration can also help spark inspiration as a music producer, such as playing around with different tools that are available to you. This might involve exploring new sounds, genres of music or visual styles. Joining online communities where other producers share their creations may provide fresh perspectives that could spark your next track idea.

Through history, every type of music has changed in response to technological innovations and novel modes of expression. Pre-World War II music witnessed this evolution by exploring electromechanical instruments (such as theremins and Hammond organs ) leading to electronic sound synthesis in the 1940s – providing composers with many new sonic elements mainly focused on timbre. At the same time they provided freedom from traditions such as tonality and chromatic scales which previously constrained them as composers.

Post-World War II computers revolutionized music production, enabling it to take place much more rapidly. This gave rise to many novel techniques such as loop-based composition and microtimbres – the latter of which allows musical composition in short looping snippets that can then be repeated over and over, saving time and energy as this method requires less complete performances of an entire composition.

Electronic music writing is a versatile technique, used to compose virtually all forms of musical genres ranging from hip hop and dance music production, all the way through to rappers such as Skrillex who create tracks solely using computer technology.