Arts & Entertainment, Music

Structuring Songs


Lesson time 12:03 min

You've developed your chord structure, arranged it with exciting synth sounds and added drums -- now deadmau5 shows you how to combine all those elements into an exciting song

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Copy, Copy, Add and Subtract • Find the Right Track Length • Think Ahead to Your Live Set • There’s More to Music Than Big Drops


So you you've made your eight bars of loopy, loopy goodness. And it just sounds really good if you just let the thing play for hours on end. Making it interesting is about minor, sometimes major variations to that same bar and then carrying that on and adding really interesting breaks or swells and dips. Taking out all the percussion and the drums, and then doing something completely different, but in the same key as your main theme. That's what kind of keeps something interesting. Arrangement in dance music or in EDM is pretty hard coded into the intro, breakdown and then your whole main hook and then break down again. That's the formula. Just like pop has a formula. And just like country has a formula. Structuring a song, you're going to see an arrangement kind of like this. It's very atypical for dance music and EDM, whereas is like just by looking at it, I can already tell you what's going to kind of go on here. Whereas all the little dots and lines and grids and all the pieces are just elements of the song. So it's basically it starts out one way and then there's two elements kind of come in over that amount of time. And then it kind of goes up to the thing. And then you have this like this period in this area here where it's kind of a breakdown or looks like, because obviously not a whole lot of drums and other stuff coming back. And then after that, it comes back. But if you kind of look at this from a condensed view, the whole track is more or less this section right here. And this is how I kind of start. So this is where the song gets built. So here is, like with everything playing at the same time. So this is where the most elements are playing. There's no rule as to how many times you need to have a hook go or a duration of bars or time or something like that. But if it's going to be the prominent in the track, it should take up a third of the whole track, I think. And then the way you would arrange a track is basically, let's delete this whole arrangement. Now, let's say I wanted, oh, let's, here's this piece. If I go through and start soloing elements you can kind of-- You kind of hear every individual element of the track. And this track was surprisingly minimal. So it has a bass, a voice track and there's the lead. So I guess at that time when I wrote the track, I thought OK, well let's just start with-- That. And then as that goes, we'll kind of let that do its thing for one bar. And then we'll bring the kick in. Which is that collapsed. So then there's the kick. And let's say at that point bring in the snare or a high hat. Then you hear the high hat come in there. And then it's just basically deconstructing your main part here and then constructing a sequence out of it. It's really that easy. But then it's going in and making small little variations or stacking parts. Here I have ...

About the Instructor

Before he was deadmau5, all Joel Zimmerman wanted for Christmas was old toasters to take apart. Now, you can watch him take his music apart. In his first-ever online class, Joel teaches you how he approaches melodies, mixing and mastering to make unique sounds you can't find in a cookie cutter sample pack. You'll not only get his lessons, you'll learn how to create your own music without spending money on million dollar gear.

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6 hours of instructions, 23 video lessons, and a downloadable course workbook.

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