Mixing & Mastering
Electronic Music
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Structure of a Song - EDM & Techno

The process of creating and finalizing a Techno track can be quite challenging. However, with the right techniques and creativity, you can transform your ideas into beautiful compositions. One effective method to speed up the process is by utilizing the EDM song structure.

By implementing these techniques, you can complete your songs more efficiently and reduce the number of unfinished tracks piling up on your hard drive. Regularly releasing music is crucial in gaining traction in the industry and building a loyal following.

Adopting these methods allows you to streamline your workflow and save time during the arrangement process. It's important to keep in mind that finishing your tracks is key to achieving success as a producer. Utilizing EDM song structure techniques can help you turn your musical ideas into polished compositions and share your music with the world.

Here are some of my favourite techniques for getting the arrangement of an EDM song done much faster.

Using these techniques, now takes me only 30 minutes instead of 3 hours!

Structure your Techno Song - Content:

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UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS OF TECHNO ARRANGEMENT

The unique song structure of EDM is what sets it apart from other genres of music. Producers can create a memorable and dynamic listening experience that keeps listeners engaged from start to finish by carefully crafting each section of the track.

Techno arranging is the process of taking raw audio recordings and arranging them into a complete track. This includes adding drums, basslines, synths, and other elements to create a cohesive and danceable piece of music. Techno arranging requires a good understanding of music theory, sound design, and composition techniques.

 

 

CHOOSE THE RIGHT KEY & TEMPO

Selecting the appropriate key is a crucial aspect of song arrangement. The key can significantly influence the mood, energy, and overall perception of the song. It is recommended to try out various keys until you find the one that perfectly aligns with your vision. You can leverage online resources to identify the key of your composition.

Pro Tip: For instance, I prefer to search for my preferred songs on Beatport.com and analyze the key and Tempo to create a song with a comparable vibe.

Create the perfect melody

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I've been making techno music for years and have tried many different tools, but Scaler 2 is insane. It's like a creative sidekick that helps me with everything from start to finish. Also, the arpeggiator is a game-changer for creating astonishing patterns and melodies.

Another super helpful thing is when you hit a creative block, Scaler 2 can give you ideas and suggestions to get you back on track. Overall, Scaler 2 has made my workflow faster and more efficient.

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EDM & TECHNO SONG STRUCTURE Example

A song in the genres of EDM, House, or Techno typically consists of several sections, each with 4-5 main parts such as the intro, build-up, break, drop, and outro. These sections play unique roles in making a song stand out. The creative process has no limits, so the song structure can vary greatly depending on the track.

1. Intro

The introduction of a techno song is the initial part of the track that establishes the tone for what's to follow. Typically, it includes a straightforward rhythm and introduces the primary theme of the song. The purpose of the intro is to gradually introduce the listener to the track and provide a foundation for the remaining part of the song to build upon.

Furthermore, it can serve as a seamless transition for DJs when incorporating the track into a set. The intro's duration can vary, but it's often brief, lasting only a few seconds to a minute. In techno music, the intro plays a crucial role in defining the mood and energy of the rest of the track. It's therefore important to carefully consider the kind of vibe you aim to convey.

2. Build-Up

In a techno track, the build-up is an ever-evolving segment that aims to keep the listener engaged and excited throughout the song. It's the part of the track where the energy and tension gradually increase, leading up to the main drop. The build-up typically starts with a simple beat or melody and adds various elements such as basslines, synths, risers, and percussion to create an intense and climactic atmosphere.

The build-up is a vital part of the structure of a techno track and can last for several bars or even minutes. This is because it helps to build anticipation and excitement for the drop. The sounds and elements used during the build-up are often repetitive, gradually intensifying to give the listener a sense of going on a musical journey to reach the track's climax.

3. Break/ Bridge

In techno-EDM music, a "break" typically refers to a segment of the song where the beat and other musical components fade away, leaving behind only atmospheric sounds, effects, or a simple rhythm. This break serves as a moment of tension and anticipation before the beat returns, signalling a return to the energetic main section of the track.

During the break, there are various techniques that can be used to create an immersive and engaging listening experience, such as introducing new percussion, adding a vocal sample, or gradually using filters to increase the energy and intensity of the track.

Overall, the break is a crucial aspect of the techno-EDM genre as it helps to establish a dynamic and evolving track that keeps the listener intrigued and excited for what is to come.


4. The Peak (Drop / Chorus/ Hook)

In techno music, the drop is the peak of excitement and energy in a song. It combines the beat, bassline, and melody to create a thrilling moment that gets people dancing. The drop is usually repeated at least twice during the song and is the most memorable part of a techno track. To create a powerful and engaging drop, a strong beat, heavy bass lines, and complex synth sounds are typically used.

It's important to craft a well-made drop that is both musically exciting and emotionally engaging for the listener. Take inspiration from your favourite tracks to create your own unique sound.

5. Outro

The outro is where the track ends. This section is designed to bring the listener back down to earth and give them a sense of closure. The outro is about 16 bars long and often features a fade-out or a gradual decrease in tempo and intensity.

USE FILLS TO ADD EXCITEMENT TO THE SONG STRUCTURE

As a music producer, you can use fills to enhance your tracks. Fills are small sound or noise snippets that fill the gaps between different sections of a song. You can choose from various types of fills such as drum fills, synth fills, percussive fills, or reverb washes. Their purpose is to add excitement and interest to your track and to help build anticipation for the next section.

To use fills effectively in your techno tracks, it's essential to keep the structure of your song in mind. Dividing your tracks into 16-bar sections is a good idea. This helps to identify where to add, subtract, or change something in your track, creating a sense of progression throughout your song that keeps your audience engaged and interested.

Aim to do so when adding fills at the end of 8 or 16 bars to build anticipation for the next section. However, it's important to avoid overloading your track with too many fills and effects. Finding the right balance between adding interest and maintaining the focus of your track is crucial to creating a successful techno track.

Apart from adding fills, you should also consider adding subtle modulation to the constant elements in your track. Modulating your background pads or hats will add variation to your track, keeping it interesting for the listener.

It's worth noting that there are different schools of thought regarding using fills in techno music. Cutting elements instead of adding fills can be just as effective. This "less is more" approach can be just as successful as using fills if executed correctly.

USE A REFERENCE SONG FOR ARRANGING YOUR SONG

Looking for inspiration and guidance for your music? Consider using a reference track with a similar vibe, style, or energy as your own work. Take some time to immerse yourself in music that you love, whether it's old records or your favourite Spotify playlist.

To start, load your chosen reference track into your DAW (digital audio workstation) by creating a new audio channel in the arrangement view and dragging it in. Make sure the BPM (beats per minute) matches your song's tempo by warping or adjusting it as needed. This will ensure that the reference track elements sync with your song and make it easier to compare and analyze.

IDENTIFY THE SONG STRUCTURE

To gain a better understanding of the structure of a song, it's helpful to identify the elements and effects present in the reference track. This includes analyzing the verse, break, drop, and build-up sections.

Additionally, take note of how the track transitions between sections, build energy and creates a particular mood using various elements. While it's not necessary to copy everything exactly, aim to capture the overall vibe and idea of the reference track.

PUT IN MARKERS/LOCATORS AND GET CREATIVE

To help organize your music production, consider adding markers, also known as Locators in Ableton, for key moments such as the Verse, Chorus, Breakdown, Drop, Build, and Outro. These markers can provide insight into the structure of your reference track and assist with aligning your own song within its bar counts. By reverse-engineering this song idea and utilizing it as a framework, you can unleash your creativity in music production.

USE THE REFERENCE TRACK AS A GUIDE

After analyzing the reference track, utilize it as a reference for organizing your own song. Ensure that your drum structure is similar and that you have the same build-up and breakdown lengths. This will aid in identifying any missing elements from your song and provide a clearer direction for your next steps.

PLAY ALL LOOPS AT ONCE AND REMOVE PARTS TO BUILD THE SONG STRUCTURE

Transform your musical ideas into polished songs through the power of subtraction. To begin, duplicate your loops until you have 4-6 minutes of audio. For the climactic finale, unleash all the tracks, but mute as many elements as possible for the other sections, creating a stripped-down foundation that can be enhanced later with additional instrumentation.

As you work on the arrangement, let your imagination take over and lead your listeners on a captivating musical journey with fluid transitions, dynamic build-ups, and explosive climaxes.

A useful tip for structuring your song is to embrace the subtraction approach using the reference song method. This technique will help you achieve a professional and beautiful arrangement.

SAVE A PROJECT AS A TEMPLATE

Using song structure templates can simplify the songwriting process by providing a pre-designed outline that can be customized to suit the requirements of new music production. Templates save time, enabling you to focus on the creative aspects of the song.

A song structure template ensures that songs follow a consistent structure across various projects. This can be particularly useful for producers working on multiple projects to maintain a consistent style.

Templates can also stimulate creativity by providing a starting point for the creative process. A pre-made structure can assist you in exploring new ideas within the established framework, resulting in more innovative and exhilarating compositions.

SET DEADLINES TO FINISH A SONG

It's essential to hold yourself accountable for completing your music if you want to stay motivated and productive. One effective approach is to set and share deadlines with those around you. By letting your friends, fans, and yourself know about an upcoming release date, you generate excitement and interest in your music. Additionally, you give yourself a sense of responsibility to achieve your objective.

Avoid the mistake of endlessly working on your song without deadlines. Instead, use the power of deadlines to push yourself to new heights of creativity and speed in your music production. The added motivation of knowing that you will disappoint someone if you fail to meet your goals can be the impetus you need to release music faster and more efficiently.

LIMIT YOUR TIME: TAKE A FIXED DAY FOR ARRANGEMENT

As a musician, it can be difficult to maximize your creative potential and streamline your workflow. However, by focusing on your arrangements, you can get your music completed and released more efficiently.

One useful approach is to dedicate a specific day or period to solely concentrate on Arrangement without starting a new song. Rendering your song parts and reloading them into your digital audio workstation (DAW) can also be helpful in this endeavour. This will allow you to solely focus on the Arrangement and avoid getting bogged down in the creative process of sound design.

Remember, a well-structured and cohesive arrangement can make a significant difference in taking your music to the next level. Therefore, it's crucial to give your Arrangement the attention it deserves and watch your music come to life.

TECHNO ARRANGEMENT CONCLUSION

To begin creating a captivating Techno track, start by experimenting with a single loop and removing elements without losing the overall feeling. You can draw inspiration from artists like Flug, Slam, Mark Broom, Adam Beyer, and Alignment, who use unique arrangements and sound palettes that still get people moving.

Timing is a crucial factor to consider when arranging your Techno track. The track's vibe and intended audience will determine its structure, including when to introduce breaks, drops, and transitions. Think about the time of day or night you plan to play the track to help guide your decisions.

It's also important to keep the track's flow in mind and consider how it will transition into and out of other tracks. This seamless transition will contribute to the overall experience for the listener.

Finally, you should ensure that your track is compatible with others and easy to mix. Knowing which tracks you plan to mix with and how you will mix them is crucial to creating a cohesive musical experience. Keep the structure of your track in mind to make it easy to mix with other tracks.

Wishing you an enjoyable experience crafting your very own song!

I am Marcus, a music enthusiast who runs a mixing and mastering business. Additionally, I compose insightful articles for my blog and produce music as a member of the techno duo Agravik.
Marcus
Mixing & Mastering - Mastrng.com
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