There are many different genres in EDM. Only ‘House’ music genre can be divided in Tropical House, Progressive, Melodic, Bigroom .etc. But what a lot of these genres have in common, is that the structure is very set: Intro, Breakdown 1, Build-up, Drop A, Breakdown 2, Build-up, Drop B. In this article, I want to tell you a little more in-depth about how to make and how to structure an EDM song.
With house songs, this is usually either a kick with some percussion and melodic elements to introduce the feeling of the track or a fade in of a melodic layer. This part is usually underrated, as it looks so simple, but actually sets the theme for the entire track.
This should be the most mellow part of your track. It is the part where you introduce the melody and sound design, but also the part where you want the atmosphere to be calm. If your track is played on a party, this is the part where the people are not very energetic, but that’s a good thing. You want to save all the energy for the drop.
Now comes the good bit. In the buildup, you take all the melody layers in the breakdown plus some of the layers you’re going to use in the drop and build up the energy of your track. Add a buildup snare and a pitch riser for some extra energy. However, I’ve seen this error being made constantly: Keep the transitions flowing. You don’t want to just end the breakdown and start a buildup. Maybe have a reversed crash right before the buildup and a crash impact when you start it.
Also, what I said about having some drop elements in your buildup, fade them in so you can connect the breakdown to the drop better. The buildup isn’t just for building up energy, it’s to glue your track together. Me personally, I always first do the breakdown, the drop and then the buildup so I can fit them together better.
TIP: Add a high-pass filter effect to your master channel and intensify it as you progress in the buildup. This will not only help to transition from the breakdown to the drop, but also, it will make the bass in the drop hit much harder.
Now, the best part of a song: the drop. Everyone layers their drop differently and it also really differs in what style you make. Sometimes, you’d like to add a ride to your kick in the second half of the drop or maybe even a clap. That part is entirely up to you. Just make sure the drop is the most energetic and memorable part of your track. If your track is all about melody, make sure the best and catchiest melody is in the drop.
In a lot of EDM genres, you can easily copy and paste your breakdown, buildup and drop to the second part of your track. You can also choose to introduce a new melody or chord progression. Again, this is entirely up to you. If you want to change it around, all of the tips I put above still apply.
I really hope you learned something from this article and if you liked it feel free to share with your friends.