We look into how to structure a track for the dance-floor: intro, build-up, breakdown, drop, ending.. the whole thing 😉
Put yourself in the shoes of a DJ: it’s useful to have a little intro of just rhythm to transition from the previous track to your track. That’s why it’s a great idea to just start with just drums. 16 bars or 32 bars will give the DJ enough time to mix in your music.
BUILD UP ARRANGEMENT
A great idea with dance music is to deliver that sense of constant evolution of the sound to keep the audience engaged. If you start with just a kick drum, then you can add the hi hat, and then you can add in more percussion, then you can add the bass, keyboards, and more elements before the vocals. Use the elements of the song in a way that in each section something new happens.
PLAY WITH EXPECTATIONS
If you’ve been on the dance-floor before, you know that after a long and repetitive drum roll something is sure to happen! It may be a drop, it may be the beginning of a new musical section. Every moment of suspension implies an imminent resolution. As you get confident with building dance arrangements you can play with the audience expectations in whatever terms or style you decide.
BREAK IT DOWN
Break it down. Then build it up, and up, and up… and then hit the dace-floor in the face with a fat drop 😉 Give your public a little break. Let them catch their breath. Build up tension again and then release the hounds! The breakdown section of a dance track is where you can make people go nuts.
Once the intro is gone, you’ve presented your groove, you’ve presented your melody. You made people dance and you broke it down – then it’s time for your finale! A very effective way is to play all of the elements of the arrangement together and have them drive the song right up until the end. Having the fullest part of the song for the ending is a great way to close your track. Then you might want to consider adding 16 more bars of just drums again, or maybe drums and just one harmonic element. This will give the DJ a comfortable way to mix the next track in.