Electronic Music Basics: What You Need to Know

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re new to the world of electronic music, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. In this blog post, we’ll give you a basic overview of everything you need to know to get started. We’ll cover topics like the different types of electronic music, the gear you’ll need, and where to find good music to listen to. By the end, you’ll have a good foundation to start exploring this exciting genre of music.


Electronic music has come a long way since the days of the synthesizer. Today, electronic music producers are using a variety of tools to create their sound, including computers, samplers, and even traditional instruments.

If you’re new to the world of electronic music, you might be wondering how it all works. In this article, we’ll give you a crash course in electronic music basics. We’ll cover topics like composition, sound design, and mixing. By the end of this article, you should have a good understanding of what it takes to produce your own electronic music.

Composition is the process of creating a piece of music by choosing which notes to include and arranging them in a pleasing way. In electronic music composition, the producer often works with MIDI files, which are digital representations of musical notes. MIDI files can be played back on a computer or synthesizer to create the desired sound.

Sound design is the process of creating new sounds for use in electronic music production. Producers can create sounds using synthesizers, samplers, and other sound-generating devices. They can also use field recordings or found sounds as source material for their work.

Mixing is the process of combining multiple tracks of audio into one final track. Producers use mixing techniques to control the levels of each individual track, as well as the overall balance of the mix. In mixing, producers must also take into account factors like dynamics and EQ (equalization).

What is electronic music?

Electronic music is music that is made using electronic devices. It can be made using a wide range of different devices, including keyboards, computers, synthesizers, and even household items like lamps and toasters.

Electronic music has been around for over a century, but it has only become popular in the last few decades. In the past, electronic music was mostly used by avant-garde musicians and composers who were interested in exploring new sound possibilities. But in recent years, electronic music has become more mainstream, with many different styles and subgenres emerging.

Today, electronic music is made by both professional musicians and amateurs. It is used in a variety of settings, including clubs, concerts, festivals, and even movies and TV shows.

The history of electronic music

The history of electronic music is fascinating and complex, with a wide variety of artists and genres emerging over the past few decades. While electronic music has its roots in the early 20th century, it didn’t gain mainstream popularity until the late 20th century.

Electronic music is created using a variety of electronic devices, including synthesizers, drum machines, and computers. It can be broadly divided into four categories: dance music, experimental music, ambient music, and foreground music.

Dance music is the most popular style of electronic music, and includes genres like house, techno, trance, and drum & bass. Experimental electronic music includes avant-garde styles like musique concrète and noise music. Ambient electronic music is designed to create a sense of space or atmosphere, and often features long, sustained chords or drones. Foreground electronic music is designed to be listened to closely and often tells a story or evokes an emotion.

Some of the most famous electronic musicians include Kraftwerk, Daft Punk, Aphex Twin, and Brian Eno.

The different genres of electronic music

Electronic music encompasses a wide variety of genres, all of which are created with electronic musical instruments or digital signal processing (DSP) techniques. The main genres are techno, house, trance, drum and bass/breakbeat, dubstep, trip hop and ambient.

Techno is a style of electronic dance music that originated in Detroit in the early 1990s. It is characterized by a repetitive 4/4 beat and often features synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines. House music is another form of EDM that originated in Chicago in the mid-1980s. It is similar to techno but has a steadier beat and often features soulful vocals.

Trance is an upbeat genre of electronic music that developed in the early 1990s. It often includes elements of house and techno but has a more cerebral sound with sweeping melodies and hypnotic rhythms. Drum and bass/breakbeat is a form of EDM that originated in London in the early 1990s. It is characterized by fast breakbeats (usually around 160-180 beats per minute) and often includes samples from other genres of music such as hip hop, dub and reggae.

Dubstep is a form of electronic dance music that emerged from London in the late 2000s. It is characterized by heavy basslines, dark melodies and aggressive vocal samples. Trip hop is another form of EDM that developed in the early 1990s, originating in Bristol, England. It has a downbeat sound featuring spaced-out drums and atmospheric textures. Ambient music is a genre of electronic music that focuses on creating an atmosphere or mood rather than rhythm or melody.

The equipment used in electronic music

If you’re interested in making electronic music, there are a few things you should know about the equipment used. Electronic music is made using a variety of different devices, each with its own purpose.

The first piece of equipment you’ll need is a synthesizer. A synthesizer is an instrument that generates sound electronically. Synthesizers can create a wide range of sounds, from imitations of other instruments to completely unique sounds.

Next, you’ll need a sequencer. A sequencer is a device that helps you create and edit musical sequences. Sequencers can be hardware devices or software programs.

You’ll also need a drum machine. A drum machine is a device that produces drum sounds. Drum machines can be used to create rhythms and beats for your songs.

Finally, you’ll need an amplifier and speakers. These will be used to play your music loudly enough for people to hear it.

With these four pieces of equipment, you’ll be able to create electronic music of your own!

How to get started in electronic music

Electronic music can be created using a wide variety of methods and instruments, including everything from computers and synthesizers to drum machines and turntables. It can be difficult to know where to start if you’re interested in making your own electronic music.

In this article, we’ll give you a basic overview of the equipment and skills you’ll need to get started in electronic music production. We’ll also provide some resources for further learning.

To get started in electronic music production, you’ll need access to some basic equipment. At a minimum, you’ll need:

-A computer: You’ll need a computer with enough processing power to run the software you’ll be using. If you’re planning on doing any serious music production, we recommend investing in a desktop computer rather than a laptop. Laptops are often less powerful than their desktop counterparts, and they can be more difficult to upgrade.
-An audio interface: An audio interface is a hardware device that allows you to connect your instruments and microphones to your computer. Most audio interfaces will also include some kind of software for recording and


Now that you know the basics of electronic music, you can dive right in and start creating your own tracks. Remember to have fun, experiment, and don’t be afraid to try something new. With time and practice, you’ll be able to create the music you’ve always wanted to make.

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