Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Eurodance Instruments and Tools

In order to summarize our previous chapters and also to make sure you get close the classic 90s Eurodance sound please pay attention to the following image:

For leads/pads/strings I recommend the following synths: Roland D 50, Juno 106, Jupiter 8, Roland U 220, Roland JD 800/JD 900.

Of course you can add extra instruments and sound effects, but I will leave that to your personal preference.

This is the last post this year so I wish you all A Happy New Year!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Mixing: Tips and Tricks

Mixing your Eurodance song takes time and practice.

Here are some useful tips and tricks when mixing:

- cut narrow - boost wide

- roll off the low end

- try to cut more than boost

- boost moderatly and subtly

- try to stick to smaller dB adjustments

- be careful about boosting around 200-250 Hz (muddy zone)

- mix with professional headphones, hear it on good audio monitors

To compress or to equalize first? There is no general rule. If you change your EQ settings very often, you may benefit most from placing the compressor first; but if you set your EQ once, then you could benefit from placing the EQ in front.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bass Paterns

When it comes to constructing the bass line for your Eurodance song the posibilities are endless.

Start constructing with the first note of your chord. If needed you could also use the other notes of the chord.

Use your imagination and create a catchy bassline that sounds good to the ears.

Mastering Your Eurodance Song

Mastering should be done by a professional!

So I won't be covering this topic, although you can find basic mastering methods by searching the Web. However, a professional mastering studio will make your song really stand out from the crowd ;)

Recording and Mixing the Vocals

The vocals play an important role in Eurodance music, so pay attention when recording and make sure you choose the right singer(s).

Use a condenser microphone while recording. Also use a pop filter/an audio editor and remove all the pops from the audio file.

Double the vocals and add a delay of 50-120 ms to the copied version.

Panning: center


General settings:

Ratio     : between 2:1 and 7:1
Attack   : between 1 and 7 ms
Release  : 50 ms / auto
Gain      : between -3 and -10 dB
Knee     : soft


Remove everything below 150 Hz

Add air by boosting around 12 kHz


You can add reverb, but there is no rule how much rever to add, it's just personal taste.

Mixing: The Synth Leads/Strings/Pads

Panning: for synth leads: stereo (fully left/right) or central
               for synth strings: at 4 o'clock


Some general settings for leads:

Ratio     : between 2 and 8:1
Attack   : between 3 and 10 ms
Release  : 40 ms / auto
Gain      : between -8 and -10 dB
Knee     : hard

EQ (leads/strings/pads):

muddy frequencies: 250-800 Hz
add body: 100-250 Hz
add clarity: 6-8000 Hz
add brightness: 8-12000 Hz

Mixing: The Bass

It's important to avoid the clash with the kick, so sometime the bass may be harder to balance.

Panning: central


Some general settings:

Ratio     : around 1:8
Attack   : between 1 and 10 ms
Release  : 20 ms / auto
Gain       : between -6 and -13 dB
Knee     : hard


Remove the frequencies lower than 50 Hz

Boost between 60 and 80 Hz to fatten up the bass

For more clarity boost between 400-800 Hz

Mixing: The Drums

Ok, let's talk about the mixing of the drums. Please note I'm not a mixing specialist and I'm also learning myself.

The drums and the bass should sit at the front your mix, with everything else located centrally behind them.


Kick    : always central
Snare   : slightly right or (most of the time) central
Hi-hats : far left with a delayed version in the far right (create a hi-hats track copy, link them to different mixer channels, pan to different sides, delay second track to 35-45 ms)
Claps   : central


Here are some general settings for the drum loops:

Ratio     : between 5:1 and 10:1
Attack   : between 1 and 10 ms
Release  : between 40 and 100 ms
Gain       : between -5 and -15 dB
Knee     : hard


The Kick

The kick is one of the most important components of an Eurodance track.

It's made of two components: the attack and the low-frequency impact.

Remove all frequencies under 30 Hz

Apply short boost between 40-120 Hz (for more thud)

Decrease gain between 200 and 350 Hz (muddy zone)

The attack resides between 3-6 kHz (boost/cut for more/less click)

The Snare

Remove all frequencies (apply high pass filter) under 150 Hz

The snap: 2-10 kHz (apply small boosts to brighten)

The body: 400 Hz - 1 kHz

The Hi-hats  

The hi-hats are the brightest instrument in the mix.

Remove all frequencies under 300 Hz

Presence: between 1 and 6 kHz

Brightness: between 8 and 12 kHz

To prevent hiss roll off the requecnies above15 kHz

The Claps

Remove all frequencies under 130-140 Hz

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mixing Your Eurodance Song

Once your song is ready, it should be mixed. I will present below a basic mixing method consisting of the following steps:



What's the role of compression?
It squashes the loudest peaks and boosts the quieter troughs, meaning you can up the overall track volume to get that extra punch. Please note that it's not necessarily for each track to be compressed, it depends. The kick drum, the snare, the bass, and the lead vocals usually get (some) compression and it's less used on acoustic guitars, piano or pads.


What's the role of EQ?
It helps to obtain an audio balance where each instrument (drum beats, bass, lead and vocals) can be distinctly heard.


What's the role of the effects?
They can make your instruments sound more interesting (some of the effects them include delay, reverb, etc.)

Next we will start detailing the mixing for each instrument used in the Eurodance music.

Tools: The Strings/Pads

The most used synths for the strings/pads in the 90s Eurodance were:

Roland U220 - for strings

Jupiter 8 - for strings

Roland D 50

Roland JD-800/JD-900 - for pads

Korg Wavestation - for pads

You could also try the following free VSTs:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tools: The Leads

When it comes to lead synths for Eurodance music there are several options to choose from:

Roland Jupiter 6 and 8

similar free VST:

Roland Juno 106

similar free VST:

Oberheim Matrix 1000

Roland D-50 

Roland JD-800 / JD-900

Korg M1 Piano

Korg M1 Perc Organ

Also great VST is Synth 1 - with the right presets you can get the famous 90s Eurodance lead sound

You could also try  P8 Superwave

Tools: The Bass

One of the most famous bass sounds for the 90s Eurodance was:

TX81Z Lately Bass

You can download the patch for free from here:

tip: if you cannot succesfully load the file into your sfz player, just copy the .sfz file inside the samples directory and also change the "default_path= "

Yamaha DX7 or Juno 106 could also be an alternative

Tools: The Drums

The most used drums for the 90s Eurodance were the TR 909 drums from Roland.
You can download free VSTs for TR 909 below:

The Tools

How to obtain the classic 90s Eurodance sound?

We will soon present you what free tools you can use and how to configure them, stay close!

The Vocals

The vocals play a huge role in the Eurodance music. They are usually done by a solo vocalist or by a duo (female vocalist and male rapper) but this is not a strict rule. Rich melodic vocals are the key of a successful Eurodance song.

Beside the usualy verses and chorus, an important role is played by the vocal riffs (see La Bouche - Be My Lover as an example), don't be afraid to use a lot of "oh la la las" in your songs, even if they sound cheesy - it's an important aspect for the Eurodance music. After all, it's all about joy and having a good time!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Chords

As said before, the majority of Eurodance songs are written in minor keys. When it comes to chord progressions there are some popular progressions available, but again, this is not a strict rule! The following chart shouldn't be followed exactly everytime.

Let's take for example the key of A minor: Am F Dm Em (I-VI-IV-V)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Steps For Making Your First Eurodance Song

Here I'm presenting 3 variants for making your first Eurodance song:


1. Hum a dance melody - keep humming until you find that special melody - this is usually the refrain

2. Put the melody on chords and rhythm

3. Build a riff/hook based on your melody or your melody's chords

4. Build the verses and bridge

5. Put them all together and give your song a form

6. Record your song

7. Mix and master it.


1. Build a nice dance music chord progression (bass and rhythm) - use a minor key (Am or Dm for example)

2. Try humming over and find a great melody

3. Build a riff/hook based on your melody or your melody's chords

4. Build the verses and bridge

5. Put them all together and give your song a form

6. Record your song

7. Mix and master it.


1. Create a nice refrain melody on your keyboard - use a minor key (Am or Dm for example)

2. Put the melody on chords and rhythm

3. Build a riff/hook based on your melody or your melody's chords

4. Build the verses and bridge

5. Put them all together and give your song a form

6. Record your song

7. Mix and master it.

You can choose any of the variants above or even start with the lyrics first. There is no special recipe, it only has to sound good to your ears!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Riff

You can build the riff around the melody of your song. Or you can build the riff around the chords. However you do it, the riff is the part of the song that should be memorable to your listener. Also called the hook, it is the part that highlights the chorus.

Famous riff examples:

Now let's try to make a simple riff based on the chords below. We will be using the notes of the chords to build this riff. You can also use the notes around the chords in the given scale.

Am F Am G

The Melody

The melody is the soul of your song. Probably the most interesting melody to the ears is the chorus. 
There are many ways to come up with a melody, this also applies for Eurodance music.

A simple way to come with the melody is to listen the chords and rhythm / bass and rhythm and just hum along. Or you can do vice-versa, start with a melody and build the chords around it. Another method is to just start playing the keyboard.

Whatever method you choose, melodies should be catchy and interesting. It can give your song that special flavour.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Bassline

The bass and drums have a strong connection and Eurodance music makes no exception.

The bassline in Eurodance music follows some typical patterns, but feel free to experiment. I will show below some examples so you can get an idea about how it works.

The bassline outlines the notes of the chords. So you will build your bassline around the chords of your song.

Am  F Am G

Tips: use chord inversions to smooth the bassline and avoid jumping basslines! (first inversion chords are the most commonly used). Use the "contrary motion" in relation to the melody. If the melody goes up, then the bass line goes down, and vice versa.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Drums

Alright, let's start studying the drums in Eurodance music!

As said, the Eurodance music is 4/4, so we have 4 beats per bar.

Now let's listen how it sounds:

The Instruments

The instruments you can use in a Eurodance track are infinite, however there are some which can be found in every track. Let's see which are those.

 1. Drums (synthesizers 4/4, kick bassdrum)

 2. Bass (synth bass)

 3. Lead synth (riff/hook)

 4. Strings (chords)

 And of course, don't forget the melody (vocals)!

We will start studying each of the instruments above and the way these are used in Eurodance music.

The Main Elements Of The Eurodance Music

Like any other songs, the main elements of the Eurodance music are:

1. the melody

The melodies are positive and upbeat. The Eurodance songs are mostly written in minor keys. This blends very well with the positive lyrics creating a very emotional sound. The songs also include rap sections (but there are cases when these ones are missing).

2. the chords

Some popular chord progressions are VI-IV-I-V, I-V-VI-IV, I-VI-IV-V,  I-VI-IV-V7

remember: the big three chords are I, IV and V; III and VI are substitues for the I chord, while II is substitute for the IV chord;

3. the beat (rhythm)

The Eurodance music is 4/4, and the bpm rate is between 110 and 150 bpm (usually 140 bpm)

4. the hook

This is the most memorable part of the song. It's a short riff or phrase that makes the song memorable for the listener. The hook is often found (or it consists of) in the chorus

5. the lyrics

The lyrics are positive and promote things like love, peace, fun. The lyrics are usually in English language.

6. the song sections

A typical Eurodance section contains: intro (chorus) - lyrics (rap)- chorus - lyrics (rap) - chorus - bridge - chorus

Let's study the main elements of the Eurodance songs in this famous song of the 90s: Dreams by 2 Brothers on the 4th Floor.


Eurodance is the famous music style of the 90s. Since I'm a fan of this genre and I couldn't find too many Web resources related to making Eurodance music, I've decided to start this blog. On this blog we will learn together. We will study the famous Eurodance songs and we will explain how a Eurodance song is created. We will put them all together. Every lesson will get you closer to making Eurodance music. Enjoy!