How to Make Electronic Music: A Beginner's Guide

How to Make Electronic Music: A Beginner's Guide How to Make Electronic Music: A Beginner's Guide

If you're just getting your feet wet with electronic music, then you've got a vast world to explore. With countless plugins, synths, and an ever-evolving range of production styles, the possibilities with electronic music are near-endless.

Of course, the very abundance of resources that makes electronic music so varied can also make it somewhat daunting for beginners to step into. Where do you even start when there's a universe of YouTube videos, articles, and online courses surrounding the topic?

That's exactly why we're here. In this guide, we're going to break down the essentials of making electronic music, from the basics of synthesis to the maze of production software and hardware. Whether you're looking to produce dance floor-ready techno, ambient soundscapes, or anything in between, I have an array of insights and tips that'll hopefully inspire you to refine your skills!

What Is Electronic Music?

Electronic music, in its broadest sense, goes far beyond the scope of a typical genre. It's truly a method that has completely changed the way we create and consume music.

Unlike organic music, which relies on the natural sounds of acoustic instruments like guitars, strings, pianos, and live drums and percussion, electronic music is often composed of synthesized sounds and textures.

At its heart are analog synthesizers and other electronic instruments, such as electric organs and drum machines, which have surged in popularity over the decades.

Of course, electronic music nowadays has evolved from using the tactile knobs and electronic systems of wires and circuitry found in old analog hardware to the sleek interfaces of computers and digital software instruments.

Most electronic music producers lean heavily on computers, leveraging DAWs and their endless palette of sounds and effects. I like to think of this shift as the democratization of music production, as it made it accessible to anyone with a computer and a creative edge.

Though electronic music was originally an underground movement (think back to the birth of house music in Chicago in the late '70s or the introduction of Krautrock in Germany in the late '60s, which was a sub-genre of experimental rock that involved synths, sequencers, and tape loops), it has now permeated mainstream culture, influencing everything from pop to hip-hop.

It's pretty fascinating to see just how many contemporary electronic music producers weave acoustic elements back into their tracks now, such as Bonobo, Tycho, and Four Tet. It's somewhat of a newer fusion that creates a rich, textured sound to pay homage to the past while still pushing the lines of innovation.

Electronic music production is such a vast umbrella that it's difficult to boil down to one definition (I'd have to write a whole book if I wanted to keep from leaving out some of the most important details). Nevertheless, if you're someone who wants to become an electronic music producer, I feel as though there are good places to start in order to get your bearings straight.

Must-Have Software and Tools

As you venture your way into making electronic music, there are a few tools you'll want to pick up along the way. Each piece of equipment on this list plays a unique role in the production process, from the DAW, which is the heart of your digital studio, to hardware synths and drum machines, which give your sound a unique fingerprint.

Let's take a little dive dive deeper into how each of these tools can elevate your electronic music production.

Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

At the core of every electronic music producer's setup is the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) .

Your DAW is going to be your primary tool. It's the central hub where all of your creative ideas come to life. With a DAW, you can record, edit, mix, and master your music. Essentially, you have a comprehensive environment to make electronic music however you please.

Now, while every producer has their own favorite DAW, I've come to believe there are some that are simply better for making electronic music than others, including:

  • Ableton Live: I've been a huge fan of Ableton Live for a decade now, especially because of its intuitive session view. It's also a favorite for many electronic music producers for live performances and MIDI sequencing capabilities.
  • FL Studio: With its user-friendly interface and powerful pattern-based sequencing, FL Studio is another heavy hitter for electronic music producers who want to start out with a massive array of built-in synths and effects.
  • Logic Pro: Apple's Logic Pro is another one of the most comprehensive production suites, and like most Apple products, it's sleek and easy to use. Plus, you get an extensive library of sounds and loops to get you started.
  • Propellerhead Reason: With its quality virtual rack of synths, samplers, and effects that can be interconnected in endless ways, Reason offers what might just be the most unique and experimental approach to music production.

Each DAW brings something unique to the table, but when it comes to which one supports your needs best, it's completely subjective. I'd recommend trying them all out to see which one integrates most naturally with your workflow.

Sound Libraries and Sample Packs

Next, we have sound libraries and sample packs, which are the building blocks of electronic music. Whether you're looking for crispy drum loops, searing synth leads, or an old-school R&B vocal that you can chop up and re-pitch, having access to these resources is important.

Over the past few years, I've become a huge fan of Splice (as have many others who produce electronic music). With its subscription-based model, you get credits that you can trade in for a vast, genre-spanning collection of samples and loops.

If you're someone that likes downloading full packs, I'd recommend checking out Loopmasters. They also offer a wide range of high-quality packs across various genres, from vintage drum machine samples to contemporary synths.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention Native Instruments Komplete. While not a sample pack per se, Komplete does offer and endless library of instruments, effects, and sounds, which are killer for general music production.

If you want to use your sound libraries and samples packs in your DAW, you'll want some sort of tool that allows you to play them back or manipulate them in different ways (time-stretching, pitch-shifting, etc.) Luckily, most DAWs come with built-in samplers and drum machines for this very purpose.

For example, Ableton Live’s Sampler and Drum Rack both provide powerful sampling and beat-making capabilities, an each has extensive modulation and editing options.

If you're in Logic Pro, you can use the Quick Sampler , which is great for importing and playing back a variety of sample formats. It also comes with fairly detailed editing and customization.

Of course, there are also third-party options, such as NI's Kontakt, which has a deeply customizable sampler, as well as a massive sound library and third-party expansions, or Serato Sample, which makes it easy to sample music from a variety of sources, and use quick chopping, time-stretching, and pitch-shifting tools.

Plugins and Virtual Instruments

Here's the fun part.

Plugins and virtual instruments are key components in the electronic music production process. It's a black hole that you can truly spend forever exploring, as there are thousands of different effects plugins and VSTs out there. I would say the best thing that you can do right now is get your hands on a few in different categories and get to know them as best as you can.

Here are a few types to look out for:

  • Synth Plugins: Generate electronic sounds using synthesis (as with an analog synth), great for creating unique leads, basses, pads, etc.
  • Effect Plugins: Enhance or alter sounds with effects like EQ, compression, reverb, delay, distortion, modulation, and more.
  • Sampler Plugins: Play back or manipulate digital recordings or samples.
  • Drum Machine Plugins: Emulate drum machines or samplers, great for playing or drawing out beats and rhythms.
  • Sequencer Plugins: Great for the arranging and sequencing music. These often come with advanced pattern and loop creation capabilities.

Like I said, you could spend decades exploring plugins and virtual instruments from different developers, and what might be a must-have VST for one electronic music producer could be a flop for another. It's up to you to do research and find the ones that suit you best. You can even explore sites like Equipboard to find out what your favorite artists are using.

However, since you're here, I'll give you some of my favorite recommendations that I use in most of my tracks, starting with effects plugins:

  • FabFilter Pro-Q 3 : Not one mix goes by without this incredibly versatile and user-friendly EQ from FabFilter. It's great for surgical and dynamic EQing and has a beautiful interface that provides an overview of the frequency spectrum.
  • Valhalla VintageVerb: Probably my most often-used reverb plugin, especially when I want lush, vintage-inspired reverbs for adding depth and space to any track.
  • Soundtoys EchoBoy: I can't think of a more versatile delay plugin. You get a suite of rich, analog-sounding delay effects that's diverse enough to cater to all electronic music genres.
  • iZotope Ozone: For mastering, Ozone includes everything you need for a polished, professional-sounding finish, from EQ and compression to stereo imaging and limiting.
  • Xfer Records LFOTool: If I have a track that needs movement, I often look to Xfer Records' LFO Tool, which provides an easy way to add tremolo, auto-pan, trance-gate, side-chain compressor simulation, and dubstep-type wobble effects with minimal effort.
  • FabFilter Saturn 2 : Another one of my favorite FabFilter plugins, Saturn 2 has a massive range of distortion, saturation, and amp modeling effects, great for when your tracks needs warmth or grit.

In terms of virtual instruments, here are a few I'd recommend scoping, especially if you want versatility above all else:

  • Xfer Records Serum : As one of the top software instruments in electronic music production, this wavetable synthesizer offers some of the highest-quality sound and most flexible sound design capabilities on the market.
  • Native Instruments Massive X : Massive became a staple in electronic music production when dubstep came on the scene, and NI pushed the envelope even further with Massive X. It's a go-to when I need deep, powerful basses and leads.
  • Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2 : Omnisphere 2 might just be one of the most versatile software instruments on the market, with its massive library of sounds and endless synthesis styles. Keyscape is equally game-changing for modeled pianos and keyboards.
  • Native Instruments Battery 4 : My main drum and percussion sampler these days is Battery 4. Not only does it have a huge library of kits and samples for all kinds of electronic music genres, but it also offers deep editing and easy playback capabilities when you upload your own samples.
  • Arturia V Collection : Accurately modeled vintage synthesizers and keyboards is the name of the game with Arturia. If you don't have access to analog hardware, this collection is perfect for adding classic tones to your tracks.
  • Spitfire Audio LABS : I recently started exploring LABS and I love every release they put out. It's ever-growing series of high-quality, free instruments ranging from strings to vocals to experimental sounds, perfect for adding unique textures to your music.

As you continue creating electronic music, you'll fall in and out of love with certain plugins and virtual instruments, though I urge you to keep exploring and keeping up with new releases, as there's always something exciting on the horizon.

MIDI Keyboard or Controller

MIDI, which stands for "Musical Instrument Digital Interface," is the language of electronic music.

It's a technical standard that allows electronic musical instruments, computers, and other equipment to communicate, control, and synchronize with each other. We use it to help different pieces of digital music gear interact with one another. Check out our MIDI guide for more information on how it works.

Now, while you can draw in MIDI notes in your DAW using your mouse or computer keyboard, having a MIDI keyboard or controller makes for a much more tactile and expressive experience. With a keyboard or controller, you can play melodies, drum rhythms, and control synthesizers within your DAW in real-time, giving you immediate feedback and a more intuitive way to produce electronic music.

For me, having a piece of hardware that I can use to create music brings the human touch back into the digital process.

Here are a few MIDI keyboards and controllers I'd recommend looking into: that cater to various needs and budgets:

  • Akai MPK Mini MkIII : If compact and affordable is what you're after, this controller is perfect. The price is easy to swallow for beginners and the 25-mini-key interface is great for those with limited studio space. Plus, you get assignable pads and knobs for even more versatility!
  • Novation Launchkey Series : Though it was designed with Ableton Live, the Launchkey series can work for any DAW. It offers full-size keys, pads, knobs, and faders to control all aspects of producing electronic music.
  • Arturia KeyLab Essential : KeyLab Essential hits a nice balance between features and affordability, and it's perfect for integration with Arturia's software instrument collection. The keybed feels great and there are plenty of DAW controls to make for a more hands-on experience.
  • Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S-Series : If you use Native Instruments' software often, there is no better choice for integration. The S-Series keyboards offer high-quality keybeds with aftertouch, as well as one of the most intuitive browsing and parameter control systems on the market.
  • ROLI Seaboard Block : This keyboard is the black sheep of the MIDI controller market, though if you're looking to explore beyond traditional keyboard playing, the Seaboard's expressive playing surface captures the five dimensions of touch in a way that no other keyboard has matched.

Again, these are just some of my favorites, though there are plenty of other MIDI keyboards and controllers that bring something unique to the table, whether you prioritize portability and affordability or versatility and deep software integration.

Try different ones out if possible and see what gels best with your workflow.

Drum Machines and Samplers

While I don't think drum machines and samplers are "must-haves" for producing electronic music these days, they are important tools to recognize, as they've been the backbone of electronic music production since their inception.

The history of these instruments runs deep, and many of the iconic models shaped the sound of entire genres. For instance, the Roland TR-808 , which came out in the early '80s, became synonymous with hip-hop. Listen to "Planet Rock" by Afrika Bambaataa and you can hear one of the first instances of this drum machine's rise to stardom.

Similarly, the Akai MPC , which was a sampler and sequencer combo, revolutionized the way producers made beats. J Dilla is one of the best examples of a legendary beatmaker who changed the way we make electronic music using the MPC.

The beauty of using hardware drum machines and samplers over their virtual counterparts is that you get the tactile experience and analog sound. I, as with many other producers, find the physical interaction with knobs, pads, and faders far more inspiring.

Plus, the unique sonic characteristics and limitations of hardware can spur in-the-moment creativity, Of course, there’s also the aspect of live performance, and there's no doubt that hardware makes for a more reliable and visually engaging set.

While you should definitely look at what some of your favorite artists and producers are using to start building your collection, here are a few of my favorite drum machines and samplers that I often find myself recommending to others:

  • Roland TR-8S : If you're like most producers and don't have thousands of dollars to spend on an original TR-08, I'd recommend looking at the TR-8S. This relatively recent Roland release delivers classic TR-series drum sounds with sample playback capabilities, making it a versatile tool for live performance and studio work.
  • Elektron Digitakt : For the on-the-go producer, this compact drum machine and sampler is one of my favorite choice. It has wildly powerful sequencing capabilities and tons of onboard sound design tools.
  • Akai MPC Live II : For legendary MPC workflow and standalone flexibility, thanks to its built-in speakers and rechargeable battery, the MPC Live II is a great for production on the go.
  • Korg Volca Sample : This affordable and compact sample sequencer is perfect for beginners, as it provides tons of liver performance power and has tons of features and connectivity options for real-time groove making.
  • Dave Smith Instruments Tempest : While it's had its fair share of controversy over the years, this collaborative drum machine from Dave Smith and Roger Linn is one of my favorite options for getting that powerful analog drum machine sound.

Hardware is making a big comeback, which is why anyone learning electronic music production should explore this side of the tool shed as well. Even if you don't have a massive budget, there are still plenty of options out there!

Audio Interface

You can certainly get away with learning electronic music production on nothing but your laptop, but if you're looking to get serious with your electronic music production setup and build a bridge between your instruments, microphones, and your computer, you'll need an audio interface.

In short, an audio interface converts analog signals into digital audio data that your DAW can process and vice versa. Beyond conversion, an audio interface can also significantly improve the sound quality of your recordings compared to the built-in audio inputs and outputs of most computers, as well as provide essential features like mic preamps, direct monitoring for latency-free recording, and multiple inputs and outputs for connecting various audio sources and outboard gear.

Audio interfaces come in all shapes and sizes, though if you're unsure where to start, here are a few options for different budgets:

  • Budget-Friendly :
    • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) : One of top recommendations for beginners who want an interface with high-quality preamps and a durable build.
    • Behringer U-PHORIA UM2 : An extremely affordable option that provides all the basics needed to get started with home recording.
  • Mid-Range :
    • Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII : Impeccable audio quality and real-time UAD processing, perfect if you want to step up your production game.
    • Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 : Offers a good balance between features and price, with multiple inputs/outputs and low latency.
  • High-End :
    • RME Fireface UCX : Known for its reliability, exceptional audio quality, and low latency, suitable for small, professional studios.
    • Apollo x4 by Universal Audio : With four Unison preamps, UAD-2 Quad Core processing, and superior conversion, you get the best of UAD hardware.

The right audio interface for you will depend on your specific needs.

If you're recording multiple microphones at once, for example, having numerous inputs and outputs is necessary. If you're on the go a lot, however, portability might be the biggest selling point. Regardless, investing in an audio interface is a must if you want to up the quality of your music.

Headphones or Studio Monitors

As you start making you own music, you'll need something to listen back to it on.

One of the first things you'll have to decide on is whether to invest in headphones or studio monitors. Each serves a unique purpose in the music production process, and in reality, having both is the best option.

Studio monitors provide a more accurate representation of sound within a room, allowing you to understand how your music will translate in real-world environments. They also offer a spatial and dimensional perspective on your mix, helping you make informed decisions about panning, depth, and stereo imaging.

Headphones , on the other hand, offer detail and isolation. They're great for identifying subtle nuances in a mix that might be overlooked on speakers, such as low-level noise or clicks and pops. Headphones are also key for late-night sessions or if you're working in untreated spaces where you can't accurately monitoring through speakers.

Having both tools at your disposal is hugely beneficial, as it can help you see what your mix sounds like in different listening environments, so that you know your music sounds great on a wide range of playback systems.

Here are a few of my recommendations for each:

Headphone Recommendations:

  • Budget: Audio-Technica ATH-M40x - Excellent sound quality and durability at an affordable price.
  • Mid-Range: Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO - Known for their detailed, balanced sound and comfort. I love using these for long mixing sessions.
  • High-End: Sennheiser HD 650 - Top-tier open-back studio headphones for outstanding natural sound fidelity and accurate bass response.

Studio Monitor Recommendations:

  • Budget: Presonus Eris E3.5 - Super compact and affordable, yet deliver a clear and accurate sound profile for small home studios.
  • Mid-Range: Yamaha HS5 - Perfect for a flat response and excellent sound reproduction, especially when mixing in untreated rooms.
  • High-End: Adam Audio A7X - Great for professional music producers and engineers who want precise bass response and detailed upper frequencies.

When I started producing electronic music, I worked on headphones for about a year before upgrading my studio setup, so if studio monitors aren't in your audio production budget right now, I wouldn't fret too much about it. Just make sure to take frequent breaks if you're only listening on headphones to maintain perspective and keep your ears from getting fatigued.

How to Make Electronic Music

Electronic music production is vast . I certainly can't promise you that by reading this article that you'll master the art, though I can hopefully provide you with some insight into my experience producing electronic music over the past decade and you can use that as inspiration on your own journey.

I like to think of the music creation process in three stages:

  1. Ideas: In the first phase, you sketch out your initial ideas, experiment with sounds and patterns, and gather ideas or inspiration from other artists that you like.
  2. Arrangement: Once you have your ideas down, you can structure them into a coherent flow, creating a track that'll take the listener on a journey from start to finish.
  3. Refinement: This is the mixing and mastering phase, where you'll polish your track and make sure all of the elements sit nicely together.

It's important to note that every producer walks their own unique path through these stages.

Some may start with a catchy melody and build around that, while others with chop up a few samples and bang out a cool sequence on an MPC. Others might take the traditional approach and use the standard pop arrangement structure to build a song from the ground up, starting with drums then bass then guitar and so on.

The beauty of electronic music production lies in this diversity of approaches.

While I'm about to share the method that works best for me, remember that there's no one-size-fits-all process. It's all about finding the workflow that ignites your creativity and allows your ideas to flow freely.

Finding Your Sound

When you're first learning how to make electronic music, the most difficult part can be finding your sound.

There are so many subgenres under the umbrella term of "electronic music," and each has its unique palette of sounds, rhythms, and structure. Here are some of the popular subgenres, to name a few:

  • House
  • Techno
  • Dubstep
  • IDM (Intelligent Dance Music)
  • EDM (Electronic Dance Music)
  • Trance
  • Drum and Bass
  • Future Bass

As a new producer, I think the key to discovering your sound amidst this diversity is exploration and experimentation.

Take a deep dive into different subgenres, not just as a listener, but as a student. Create short pieces or beats inspired by different styles to see what resonates with you and gets your creative juices flowing. You might also try collaborating with other producers who can offer new perspectives and inspire directions you might not have considered on your own.

This approach requires active listening . It's one of the most powerful tools for understanding the nuances of each subgenre. When you listen to a track, try to dissect it: identify the core elements that define its sound, from the tempo and drum patterns to the synth choices and the structure of the arrangement. Pay attention to how tension and release are crafted, how the track evolves over time, and what emotions or atmospheres are evoked.

To this day, taking an analytical approach to listening is one of my favorite ways to learn more about a song.

Getting the Foundational Groove

At the heart of electronic music lies the groove, which we often get from drums and percussion .

BPM (Beats Per Minute) plays a critical role in defining the subgenre, and though you can always experiment, most listeners have expectations when they listen to certain kinds of electronic music.

For instance, techno typically ranges from 120 to 135 BPM , and has a four-on-the-floor kick drum pattern, while traditional house music is often more soulful and uplifting vibes, floating between 120 and 130 BPM , with a slightly funkier and groovier drum pattern.

Dubstep, which is known for its heavy bass and syncopated grooves, typically hovers around 140 BPM , which creates a bit of space for those iconic, weighty half-time drum patterns.

Drum and bass takes this even further at almost 160-180 BPM , using sped-up breakbeat rhythms that deliver more intense and chaotic energy.

Of course, we also have ambient electronic music that eschews traditional drum beats for a more fluid, evolving texture. Sometimes, there aren't any drums at all. Rather, it focuses on creating a more atmospheric landscape.

Knowing the typical tempos and drum patterns of these subgenres can help you align your tracks with genre conventions. Of course, like I said, don't be afraid to experiment with tempo and rhythm to find your unique sound!

Drafting Up Your Beat

I always feel that starting with the drums is a solid strategy for electronic music production.

The rhythm section can set the foundation for a track's tempo and energy and establish a groove that the rest of the elements can lock into. Think of it as laying down the backbone of your track first.

Though electronic songs can change pretty drastically from one to the next, the key components of most drum grooves include the kick, the snare or clap, the hi-hats, and additional percussion, which can add a little flavor and texture.

When you start making your own drum beats, there are several approaches you can take:

  • Using Drum Samplers: I'm a huge fan of Native Instruments' Battery 4, as you can load up your own drum samples and create MIDI grooves from the ground up.
  • Flipping Breaks, Loops, and Samples : Being able to slice up breakbeats and loops is an old-school approach, but it's still a key component of making electronic music and inspiring new ideas.
  • Listening to Reference Tracks: I recommend spending time analyzing the drum grooves in tracks you like and trying to replicate them. Pay attention to the different layers, the swing or straight timing, and how the beat complements the track’s overall feel.

Let's take a look at how you might go about creating a simple house beat:

  1. Start with a Kick Drum : Find an ideal house-style kick and place it on each beat of the measure (1, 2, 3, 4) to get that iconic four-on-the-floor rhythm.
  2. Add a Clap or Snare : Layer a clap or snare on the 2nd and 4th beats to start building the groove.
  3. Introduce Hi-Hats : Add closed hi-hats in between each kick and snare hit for a steady, driving rhythm. If you want a more fluid feel, you can use eighth notes.
  4. Incorporate Percussion : To spice up your grooves, you can add some percussion elements, like shakers or tambourines.
  5. Experiment with Loops : If I want additional texture in my grooves, I'll often overlay a looped percussion or top loop to fill it out.

Creating a beat is as much about experimentation as it is about following a formula, so play around with all of these elements above and tweak them to your own liking.

Laying Down a Bass Line

Laying down a bass line is where your track really starts to gain momentum. A bass should complement your drum groove but and bridges the rhythmic and harmonic elements of your music, which we'll get more into in a bit.

Here’s a simplified approach to creating an interesting bass line:

  1. Select Your Sound : Start by choosing a bass sound that fits your genre. Synth basses are versatile and can be shaped extensively, while sampled basses can add a real-world texture to your track. A
  2. Craft a Groove : Begin with a basic pattern that follows your drum groove, then experiment with syncopation or additional notes to create rhythm and interest. I recommend listening to bass lines in other electronic tracks that you like and seeing what kinds of techniques they use.
  3. Vary Your Notes : Don't be afraid to deviate from the root note. You can explore the scale for different note options. Not sure how to implement scales based on music theory? Check out some of our blogs on the topic .
  4. Layer a Sub Bass : If your bass needs a bit more 'oomph' in the low-end, you can add a clean, sine wave-based sub bass underneath it. Just make sure it’s in tune and rhythmically aligned with your main bass.

Whatever your approach, just know that the bass line is a fundamental element in any electronic music track, so take time refining it and don't be afraid to make changes until you find the perfect groove.

Arranging Your Chords

Next, you'll want to start developing a chord progression for your track. Your chords are there to lay the emotional groundwork upon which you'll build your melodie and other textures. They have the power to evoke certain moods, build tension and release, and guide the listener through a narrative.

Of course, the way we approach chords can significantly change from one genre to the next. For example, in ambient electronic music, for example, lush, extended chord progressions can be good for creating a sense of depth, while in house or techno, simpler chord stabs without much harmonic movement might be a better choice.

While you don't have to be a music theory expert, having a solid grasp of theory can help you make more informed decisions about chord voicings and progressions. The beauty of music theory is that it's all about knowing the rules so you can break them. Plus, it gives you the power to communicate certain emotions and ideas through your music,

If you want to learn more about music theory, check out our guide to creating chord progressions .

Writing a Melody

So, what is a melody?

At its most basic, it's a sequence of notes that serve as the main theme or focal point of a piece of music.

It's the part of the track that listeners remember most, meaning a good melody should be memorable. From a music theory standpoint, it should also fit within the harmonic context of your track.

One of the main things to consider when creating a memorable melody is the power of repetition .

A repeating motif or phrase is a great way to anchor your track and give your listener a sense of coherence, though you also have to refrain from using too much repetition, as you melody can end up sounding monotonous.

I'd recommend actively listening to music with strong melodies to get some inspiration.

Analyze how these melodies are constructed, note how they interact with the chords and rhythm, and how they use repetition and variation to create movement and emotion. You can draw inspiration from these songs without outright plagiarizing them, too, just as artists have been doing since the beginning of time. Everything is built off of something before.

Tying It All Together

Next, you want to begin finding ways to tie all the elements of your track together.

While electronic music can vary in terms of structure, most pop-style electronic tracks will follow a standard structure that has ups and downs from start to finish.

From the intro, you might move into the verse, where the story starts unfolding. That can lead into the pre-chorus or build-up to ramp up tension to the chorus, hook, or drop, which acts as the climactic point of the track.

From there, you might add a solo section to showcase a particular synth or vocal line, or a bridge for a moment of contrast or reflection before the final chorus, drop, or outro.

Mixing and Mastering

Finally, we get to the mixing and mastering process, which are the critical stages in the post-production process. At this point, the focus should be turning your collection of individual tracks into a cohesive, polished piece of music for release.

In mixing , the goal is to balance levels, pan your different instruments in the stereo field, apply EQ to clear up frequency clashes, compress to even out dynamics, and use effects like reverb and delay to create three-dimensional depth.

Mastering is the final step, where the mixed track is polished and prepped for distribution. At this stage, you'll fine-tune the overall sound, make sure songs are consistent across the album or EP if you're creating a project, and check that the music sounds its best on a variety of playback systems.

Both of these processes require a detailed ear and a deep understanding of how sound behaves, and while you can certainly develop your skills enough to mix and master your own tracks, it's typically beneficial to have someone else perform these duties when you're first starting out, as it's good to have someone with a fresh set of ears and specialized equipment.

Best Resources for Learning How to Make Electronic Music

Beyond this article, making electronic music is a continuous learning process with plenty of trial and error and experimentation. Fortunately, there are countless resources available that cater to producers of all levels, including:

Here's a list of different resources and why they're beneficial for expanding your knowledge and skills:

  • Online Tutorials and Courses : Platforms like Skillshare, Udemy , and Coursera offer courses on electronic music taught by industry professionals, which can range from beginner to advanced levels.
  • YouTube Videos: Channels like Point Blank Music School and ADSR Music Production Tutorials provide endless free tutorials, tips, and techniques on various aspects of the music-making process, perfect for visual learners.
  • Forums and Online Communities : Communities like Gearslutz, Reddit’s r/edmproduction , and KVR Audio are great for connecting with other producers, sharing music, getting feedback, and discussing production techniques.
  • DAW-Specific Resources : Most DAWs have official forums, tutorials, and documentation. I'm a huge fan of Ableton’s Learning Music website, which has endless DAW-specific tips, tricks, and guides.

Our blog is also packed full of helpful resources for making electronic music, whether you're learning music theory, how the music industry works, or how to approach song arrangement.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to make electronic music isn't something you're going to do overnight.

In the end, the ultimate goal is creating a track that makes you feel something — a track you can be proud of. Music is constantly evolving, so there's no reason to tie yourself to a set of rules. However, understanding the tools above and how to use them can help you create something that's both beautiful and unique in the vast world of electronic music.

Bring your songs to life with professional quality mastering, in seconds!