EDM Song Structure

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DJ-Daz
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Have you ever wondered what the song structure is on EDM tracks? What do they call the various bits and sections?

It's actually very easy, but if you don't know, you don't know, and you're about to learn it.


I've colour coordinated the energy levels. Red is high, orange is building up, yellow is low.
<Intro up to 32 bars -><Breakdown><Build up-><Drop------><Breakdown 2><Build up 2><Drop 2><Outro>
|--------------------||------------||----------||-----------||--------------||----------||--------||-------|

And that's it.

Now what actually happens during these sections?

1. Well, the intro usually starts of quite minimally and adds instruments and melody as it progresses. Old house/dance tracks from the 80s and 90s can have incredibly short intro's, some as short as 2 or 4 bars.
2. The Breakdown usually involves all the melody and beats from the end of the intro, and maybe some vocals, but it will drop other things to keep it at a lower energy level.
3. After the breakdown we have the build up. This part will have the energy rise by halving the beats and sampling the melody and or vocals. It usually builds to a crescendo ready for the...
4. The Drop Now this is where all the exciting parts of the song are, the really high energy section. If you want to hear a world-class drop, listen to Martin Garrix - Animals. It has all these sections distinctly broken up from one another.
5. The breakdown 2 can and normally is just a melody or vocal or single instrument, though it depends on the genre and producer and what they feel the song needs. So this part does vary quite a bit.
6. The second build up, this is often a repeat of the first one, but it can differ.
7. Drop 2, strangely I've heard songs that really pile on the energy level here, yet others bring it down ready for the outro.
8. If you're still listening and not mixing, then you must be pissing. No DJ on the planet should play this part. It's basically the same as the intro, but instruments, vocals and melodies fall off until all that's left is a basic drum beat.

These are guidelines and not hard and fast rules. So listen carefully, DJ'ing is 95% preparation and 5% perspiration.


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User avatar
DJ-Daz
Site Admin
Posts: 159
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2020 2:16 pm

Another DDJTips tutorial on this top, explaining how to break down a song. So for me it explains what I knew instinctively in works I can understand.
https://www.mixcloud.com/DJ_Dazbo/
https://gallery.dj-daz.com
if Americans knew how the American government treats Americans, it would go to war with America to liberate Americans from America
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