In this tutorial I’m trying to explain what kind is typical uplifting trance song structure and how does it progress. I’m using one of my own songs as an example. I have to say that the song is quite old and trance sounds a bit different these days, but the basic idea is pretty much the same.
In the video, I slice up the song in to 16 bar sections and I try to explain the progression section by section.
Let’s begin. (Remeber to check out my guide on how to make electronic music as well).
The Trance Song Structure
I mentioned bar. Some may wonder what is a bar. 1 bar = 4 beats. If you listen to a dance music, you can hear the basskick beating. Four of those beats forms a bar. Take your favourite dance song and listen to it carefully. If you start counting the beats from the beginning of the song, you notice that usually after 32 beats (thats 8 bars) something happens: new sounds comes in, other fades out, etc. That’s how the song progresses. Every certain amount of time something happens. That’s how you keep up the listeners interest.
So when you start to compose your very first trance song, try to progress in 8 bar sections. (In my example I’m using 16 bars because I wan’t to build up things slowly). Add a new sound after every 8 bars or fade out current ones. Something like this:[bars 1-8: kick drum]- [bars 9-16: kick drum + claps]- [bars 17-32: kick drum + claps + hihat]- [bars 33-40: kick drum + claps + hihat + bass]- [bars 41-48: kick drum + claps + hihat + bass + pads]- [bars 49-56: kick drum + claps + hihat + bass + pads starts to fade out]- [bars 57-64: BREAKDOWN and everything stops. Introduce your idea (usually some nice melody) and build a tension towards the “release” / “climax” / “drop”]- [bars 65-72: Your idea in it’s full power and the tension is built to maximum… the tension is very close to it’s “release” / “climax” / “drop”!]- [bars 73-80: “release” / “climax” / “drop”- highlight of your song where everything plays together: your idea, drums, basslines.. everything! make it “explode”!]- [bars 81-88: “release” / “climax” / “drop” continues!]- [bars 89-96: maybe start to fade out sounds a bit.]- [bars 97-105-etc-etc :Outro. fade out sounds, fade out and fade out even more]-
Below is a very rough visual description of a trance song structure. The picture is a waveform from one of my own songs “The Wall” which I’ll be using as tutorial example in the video at the bottom of this article. Click the picture to see it bigger:
Here’s the video:
You will get the hang of the structure when you start to compose your own song. Hopefully, this tutorial gave you a rough idea of how trance song structure usually goes.