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Structuring Dance Music.

26 Mar

I apologise about not updating more regularly firstly.

I shall be explaining how to structure your track. which is what i found the hardest out of all things to do with music (Strangely). The first thing you should know is that a little bit of maths is involved here (i see you all turning your web browser to Facebook).  as simply as i can put it music structure is called bars. You will see in the top half of logic there are numbers and lines, these are markers of the bars. you’ll see that in the picture below coloured red.

The structure goes up in bars of 4,8,16,20 etc . normally a house/electro track will have an intro of 32 bars. then a breakdown between 16-32 bars then the main element of the track for up to 32 bars then a breakdown again then another drop then an outro for 32 bars.

(This is purely on the norm of tracks i listen to by the way dont let anyone tell you how you should write your music but this is how i’ve been taught.)


I should mention here that when i say 32 bars that means go up to the 33rd bar. example is: 2 bars = 1”’2”’3

I hope that makes sense? if not please ask questions and ill try help! also again if you have an easy way of explaining please comment!




DJ Exam

21 Jan

SO last night my course at uni had an exam DJ’ing live in a club. It was a few of our first times playing out and i’d love to say it went without a hitch! Nerves flying around everywhere i forgot to pull my crossfader over at the start and nothing playing for about 30 seconds but after that it was ok and i just got into it playing some good songs and an intro with martin luther kings famous “i have a dream” speech!

everyone had a great mix and i just hope noone failed!! if you wanna here my set Click here: MIX

Or here: MIX

but never ever click here: MIX



15 Jan

Ok. So the bass. Ye. I would start off by saying that no matter what bass sound you put in the mix, wether it be a Sub bass, mid range bass, or a bass thats not quite a bass but you consider it a bass anyway, should always compliment the kick. What i mean by this is that in dance music the bass and kick go hand in hand and drive the song forward (my dad calls these two the spine of a song).

So despite all the side-chaining going on both these things (kick and bass) need space in the mix. Now one way i was taught was to bus* your kick and basses together and chuck a compressor on the bus channel. This makes both sounds have their separate space. It is especially noticeable if you have the bass in mono (which generally is what most people have). In the compressor i normally have it set to peak mode and then play around with the other settings until it sounds right.

To make a bus you select your channels you want on that bus by holding shift and clicking on the channels then click on send and click on the bus channel you want (mines normally bus 1 just as a force of habit).

If i forgot anything please let me know 🙂




Making a good house beat.

8 Jan

Everyone has there own way of making the drums sound amazing. I have found that the kick and the bass are the most essential things in dance music so to get them right first and then build everything around them.

I normally start with getting a heavy bass drum with lots of bottom end in it and then Eq it so the high end is almost non existent then get a kick with little bottom end but a nice high end frequency. Eq a little of the bottom out so u can only just hear it being a kick and not a snare sound.

You could also put an open hi hat on the top of the kick sound and compress it and move the Eq around until you find that nice high end kick you want.

The bass and kick go hand in hand so i will show how to make sure they don’t clash throughout the song int he next blog 🙂

*I should also point out that sample packs are essential for the kick (unless you own a good drum machine). I normally use the vengeance sample packs as you get lots for your money


Audio manipulation in Ableton and Logic

7 Jan

So what’s better to use Ableton or Logic for manipulating audio. Both are good in my opinion its just to do with how you feel comfortable doing it i guess!

There are plenty of ways to cut up a vocal or a melody to make sure it fits in your tempo choice if you have a change from say 140 to 128 BPM (Beats per Minute). I normally just cut up the audio using the marque tool in Logic. Which can be found in top right hand corner of the arrangement window. You can select this where the arrow is pointing in the picture on the right:

It’s probably useful to insert the beat you want in first. Then cut up the vocal or melody around it. notice the progression of the cut up audio in the picture till i have to what i wanted.

Now Ableton. Well Ableton is good because it detects the BPM of the song and trys to select markers on the audio automatically so you can move the audio about (If it doesnt come up automaticlly just press warp in the box next to the audio). The markers are the yellow arrows you see above the audio clip (you can open the bottom audio section just by double clicking on the audio clip in question). You can see by this picture where everything is:

I’ve heard people calling this warping but i just call it audio manipulation. I hope this has been helpful if you have any questions do ask! 🙂


Sidenote: I should stress you can do the marker method in Logic as well and you can do the cut up method in Ableton. If you need me to write about that then please let me know! 🙂

MIDI and other such stuff.

6 Jan

I guess i’m going to start with MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface). MIDI enables electronic instruments to communicate with a digital interface ie. your macbook pro. I’m guessing most people use a MIDI keyboard to play melodies onto their chosen software so ill explain that now.

What you’ll see on your arrangement window when you play in some notes will be a little rectangular box that indicates what note you played in there. The top half of the following picture shows the arrangement window and how midi looks in there.

MIDI not only reads what note you play in but at what velocity its played at (velocity meaning how hard you push the note). This is shown on the software in a change of colour. The bottom half of this picture shows the piano roll. In here you can move the notes around and shorten them as much as you want. This is why MIDI is industry standard.

I hope this helped? remember MIDI is just the communication between the instrument and the computer.