How to Make Electronic Dance Music with a MIDI Controller

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you want to make electronic dance music, you need a MIDI controller. In this article, we’ll show you how to choose the right controller for your needs and give you some tips on getting started.


MIDI controllers come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional producer, there’s a MIDI controller that’s perfect for your needs. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to use a MIDI controller to make electronic dance music.

First, let’s talk about what a MIDI controller is and what it can do for you. A MIDI controller is an input device that allows you to control digital instruments, performances, and recordings. They come in all shapes and sizes, from small devices that fit in your palm to full-sized keyboards that take up half of your studio.

MIDI controllers usually have some type of keyboard, but they can also have pads, faders, or other types of controls. The most important thing is that they send MIDI signals to your computer, which then translates those signals into sounds.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about how you can use a MIDI controller to make electronic dance music. We’ll go over some tips on choosing the right controller for you, how to set it up, and some ideas on what you can do with it.

So if you’re ready to make some music, let’s get started!

What is a MIDI Controller?

A MIDI controller is a hardware device that allows you to create and control sounds on your computer or other MIDI-enabled devices. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from simple pads and keyboards to more advanced controllers with built-in displays and software integration. MIDI controllers can be used to create any kind of music, but they are particularly well suited for electronic genres like dance and hip-hop. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to use a MIDI controller to create your own EDM tracks.

Setting up your MIDI Controller

Now that you have your MIDI controller it’s time to set it up so you can start making some music! The first thing you need to do is connect your MIDI controller to your computer. If you are using a USB MIDI controller then you will just need to plug it into an available USB port. If you are using a MIDI controller with a DIN connection then you will need a MIDI interface which will convert the signal from your controller into something your computer can understand.

Once your MIDI controller is connected to your computer, the next step is to launch your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). This is the software that you will use to create your music. There are many different DAWs available, but some of the more popular ones include Ableton Live, Logic Pro, and FL Studio.

Once your DAW is open, the next step is to create a new project. In most DAWs, this will be done by clicking on File > New Project. Once you have created a new project, the next step is to add a track. In most DAWs, this can be done by clicking on Track > New Track. When prompted, be sure to select MIDI track as the type of track that you want to create.

Once you have created a new MIDI track, the next step is to select your MIDI controller as the input for the track. In most DAWs, this can be done by clicking on the drop-down menu next to Input and selecting your MIDI controller from the list of available devices.

The final step in setting up your MIDI controller is to configure the parameters that you want to control with your knobs and faders. In most DAWs, this can be done by clicking on the drop-down menu next to Output and selecting All Notes from the list of available options.

Creating a basic melody

Now that you have a MIDI controller and a DAW set up, you’re ready to start creating some music! In this section, we’ll focus on creating a basic melody.

1. To get started, create a new MIDI track in your DAW.
2. Next, select an instrument from the instruments library. For this example, we’ll use a simple piano sound.
3. Now it’s time to start playing some notes! Experiment with different rhythms and melodies until you find something you like.
4. Once you have something you’re happy with, it’s time to add some dynamics. In electronic music, dynamics are often created by adding effects like reverb or delay. Experiment with different effects to see what sounds best with your melody.
5. When you’re happy with your melody, it’s time to add some accompaniment. In electronic music, this is often done by creating a bassline or chord progression using another MIDI track. For this example, we’ll add a simple bassline using a synth sound.
6. Now that you have a basic melody and accompaniment, it’s time to add some percussion! Percussion is often the backbone of electronic dance music, so it’s important to get it right. Start by adding a kick drum on each beat using a drum machine or sampler instrument. then, add hi-hats on the off-beats for a more syncopated feel. Finally, add claps or snaps on the 2nd and 4th beats of each measure for added emphasis.
7 . Once you have all of the elements of your song in place, it’s time to mix and master it! This is the process of balancing all of the tracks in your song and making sure they sound good together. This can be a complex topic, but there are lots of resources available to help you get started (including our own course on mixing and mastering!).
8 . When your song is finished, export it as an MP3 or WAV file so you can share it with the world!

Adding drums

Adding drums to your EDM track is a great way to add energy and keep the beat going. If you’re using a MIDI controller, you can use the drum pads to trigger different sounds. You can also use the knobs and faders to control the volume and mix of your drums.

Creating a chord progression

To create a chord progression, first decide on the chords you want to use. A good place to start is with the major and minor chords in the key of C: C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim. You can also add seventh chords (like C7 or Dm7) and ninth chords (like C9 or Dm9) for more complexity.

Once you’ve decided on the chords you want to use,000 figure out the order you want to play them in. This is where a MIDI controller can come in handy, as you can experiment with different chord progressions quickly and easily.

Once you’ve settled on a chord progression, it’s time to add some melody. A simple way to do this is to play the progression on your MIDI controller andrecord it into your DAW. Then, add a lead line or melody over top of the chords using a synthesizer or other instrument.

Finally, don’t forget to add some rhythm! Electronic dance music is all about the beat, so make sure your track has a solid foundation of drums and percussion. You can use a drum machine or sampler to create your own beats, or buy professional drum loops online or in your local music store.

Arranging your song

When you have a basic understanding of how to use your MIDI controller, it’s time to start arranging your song.

A good way to start is by creating a basic chord progression. A chord progression is simply a series of chords that are played in order.

For example, a common chord progression in electronic dance music is A-minor, D-minor, and G-major.

To create this chord progression, you would start by selecting the A-minor chord on your MIDI controller. Then, you would select the D-minor chord and finally the G-major chord.

Once you have your chord progression, you can add other elements to your song such as a melody or bass line.

If you want to create a melody, you can use the MIDI controller’s Piano Roll feature to input notes. Alternatively, you can also use the MIDI controller’s step sequencer to input notes.

If you want to create a bass line, you can use the MIDI controller’s synth engine to create a bass sound. Once you have created your sound, you can use the MIDI controller’s step sequencer to input notes.

Exporting your song

Now that you’ve finished writing your song, it’s time to export it so you can share it with the world. In this section, we’ll go over how to export your song as an MP3 file.

First, open up your DAW and find the “Export” or “Render” function. This is usually located in the File menu. Once you’ve found it, select the “MP3” option from the list of export formats.

Next, choose a location on your computer where you want to save the MP3 file. Make sure to give your file a name that you will remember.

Now, click on the “Export” or “Render” button and wait for the process to finish. Once it’s done, your MP3 file will be saved and you can share it with anyone you want!


With a MIDI controller, you can create professional sounding electronic dance music without spending a lot of money on expensive equipment. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can produce your own tracks and mixes that will sound great on any sound system. With a little practice, you can become a master of the art of making electronic dance music.

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