Electronic music creation involves many steps and stages. Finding inspiration – such as an appealing drum sound that becomes the cornerstone of your song – is paramount to this process.
Techno and trance music use 4/4 kick beats of approximately 140 BPM to match the heart rate of energetic club dancers, while other genres may employ broken beats for an off-kilter feel.
Stage 1: Finding Inspiration
Electronic music is an artform that brings together technology and creativity. Producing it requires knowledge of digital audio workstations (DAW), sound design principles, song arrangement techniques and more – but even experienced producers may struggle with creative blocks from time to time. In order to stay inspired and produce quality tracks again, you should try new methods of finding inspiration; such as visiting beautiful landscapes, viewing photographs on your screen or seeking advice from fellow producers about your songs.
One of the primary reasons people abandon music production is failing to find sufficient inspiration to begin creating their own compositions. This is especially true when trying to master a new genre or style – for instance if you’re new to electronic music try listening to various artists in that genre until something inspires you; this will speed up learning and accelerate progress faster.
Experimentation is another great way to find creative inspiration when it comes to electronic music, providing you with the chance to familiarize yourself with different sounds and effects while giving you an understanding of what you’re doing and sparking fresh ideas for future projects. YouTube tutorials or articles online may also be useful; learning basic music theory will enable easier communication of your ideas to others as well as allow for creative solutions when faced with obstacles.
When stuck in your creative process, one technique to help is breaking your songs into smaller parts and focusing on each element of music separately. This will prevent being overwhelmed by an entire project at once and once momentum begins building it’s important not to stop; creating tracks you are proud of takes time but by honing your skills each week you should see improvements over time.
Electronic music’s journey is an intriguing one, full of many unpredictable turns and turns along its path. Beginning with the Theremin in 1909 to dance music’s advent in the 80s, its unique sounds have captured many musicians’ imagination and continue to progress today – leaving its future bright.
Stage 2: Arrangement and Composition
Once you have an understanding of the basic principles of production, the next step should be arranging and creating musical ideas. Most electronic genres follow an intuitive structure which makes learning simpler; focus on this step for songs with deeper and more complex musical depth.
Composing and arranging music involves exploring various sounds and styles. While creating songs is a creative endeavor, experimenting with different instruments, techniques, sounds, plugins or techniques is also crucial in coming up with creative solutions for songs. Finding new sounds may even spark whole new visions for songs! “Happy accidents” sometimes happen while exploring their limitations – try playing with new tools!
Electronic music often centers on rhythmic beats that drive songs forward – particularly dance genres such as drum and bass and trance – providing energy and driving the track forward. While many electronic genres rely on such beats for rhythm, other types such as ambient, experimental or IDM may feature less pulsing beats that drive its songs forward.
At this stage, it’s essential to take your time and carefully consider each decision you make. Though you may experience false starts during this stage, persevering will eventually show progress; just put in the work! You’ll soon see that slowly but surely your skillset is improving over time.
As part of your success as an electronic producer, it’s equally essential that you identify what drives and motivates you; whether that means the desire to produce music of your own or facing difficult obstacles head-on. Staying focused and committed even when things get difficult is paramount if you wish for long-term success in this career path.
By the end of this step, you should have developed a solid grasp on how to compose and arrange music in various electronic music styles. This knowledge can allow you to craft unique interpretations of popular styles while adapting quickly to changes in technology or musical taste. But keep in mind that this stage is just one step of an ongoing journey and that returning to its roots may yield additional knowledge and learnings.
Stage 3: Recording
Once a producer is happy with the basic structure of their song, recording can begin. The initial step should be recording individual instrument sounds and any vocals. To be successful at this step, one needs a solid understanding of digital audio workstations (DAWs), sound design principles, and song arrangement techniques.
Electronic songs tend to feature verse sections with four, eight or sixteen bars to provide rhythmic balance and pacing for their listeners. Genres such as dance music, techno and EDM often culminate in build-up sections leading up to chorus or drop points of their songs.
Ambient, experimental and IDM are genres of electronic music which stray further away from being structured around beats; often even without one at all! Producers must carefully balance various elements within these genres in order to create tracks with energy that resonates through.
Innovative electronic musicians are exploring new methods of performing live. While traditional musical instruments were once used, more recently laptops, modular synthesizers, and other tools have been utilized by musicians for live electronic music production – leading them down the path toward laptop performance, looptronica or live coding.
Another method for performing electronic music is through the use of an elaborate sound system and DJ decks, enabling producers to share their compositions with audiences who cannot see their performers perform them live.
Successful producers have an ability to discover and cultivate their own signature sound and genre, something which takes time and patience – but can be extremely satisfying for the artist.
Once the track has been recorded, it is time to mix and master it. This step involves taking individual instrument and vocal tracks and balancing their volume levels until you achieve your desired sound for your song. At this stage it is crucial that a strong understanding of harmonics, loudness and frequency response exist as this can affect its final product significantly.
Once the final product is ready for distribution and promotion, the next step should be distribution and promotion. Although this task can be time consuming and challenging, making money through online platforms such as Spotify or SoundCloud may still be possible.
Stage 4: Mixing and Mastering
Once the composition and arrangement stages have been completed, it’s time to move onto mixing and mastering. These final steps in the production process ensure your music has an polished, professional sound comparable to commercially released releases.
Mixing is the process of blending multiple track layers together into a cohesive song, which involves balancing out various sounds within your song – from kick drums and basses to high-frequency frequencies and panning for stereo width and depth. Sounds that have more bright, dry or heavily processed elements such as reverb/delay effects are typically placed further back while more natural, warm-sounding elements tend to appear closer to the front of the mix.
This stage can be great fun and is your opportunity to start developing your producer skills. Now is a good time to try different techniques and see what works for your song, as well as exploring more technical matters such as learning jazz theory or studying an audio engineering textbook.
Mastering differs from mixing in that mixing focuses on individual elements within a track while mastering considers its overall sound as a whole. While mixing utilizes specific EQ settings and compression measures to sculpt individual instrument tracks, mastering utilizes subtler broad strokes that affect every aspect of a song simultaneously.
At mastering, your goal should be to ensure that each song has an even loudness level, comply with industry standards for digital file or CD encoding, add album artwork and metadata (track titles, artist names, cover art, UPC/EAN codes, CD text and ISRCs) to ready them for distribution.
At this step, it is often advised to hire a specialist mastering engineer, as this will give your track an industry-level sound. But before reaching this step it is wise to begin experimenting with your mix; any issues missed during recording or mixing can only become more pronounced during mastering.