How to Make a Club Song

By Heather Bliss

A club song can be a one-way ticket to notoriety for the musician who is just starting out his career. Though it seems like an enigma to produce, modern music-making technology has made it easier and faster to create your own songs. Computer composition tools are more accessible than ever, and they help the modern musician compose simple songs quickly and with precision. With some simple planning and creativity, you can create an energetic club song that could gain you some notoriety as a club music composer.

Club Song

Consider the audience. Think about which type of club you'd like to play your song and begin composing your song based on the tastes of the guests at that type of club. If you are making a club song for a goth dance club, you will have to think differently than if you are creating a song for a techno dance club.

Get a beat. If you are using Reason software, the easiest way to get a beat started is to use the Redrum plugin. If you plan to make a club song for a dance club, you will most likely want your beat to be within the range of 90-120 beats per minute. Beats per minute is a measurement used to identify the tempo of a song, and dance songs generally fall within that range of tempo. You must also consider the number of beats per measure; dance songs are usually 4/4 or 6/8 time, and waltz songs are 3/4 time. When reading the time signature as a fraction, the top part of the fraction indicates the number of beats per measure, and the denominator at the bottom indicates the type of beat. If the denominator is 4, the unit of measure is a quarter note, and it if the denominator is 8, the unit of measure is an 8th note. Thus, a 4/4 time signature indicates that there are four beats in each measure, and each beat is 1/4 of a whole measure. A 6/8 time indicates that there are 6 beats of 1/8 note length in each measure.

Get some sounds you like. Several of the plugins in the Reason music-making software allow you to import your own sounds. If you have an audio editing program such as Pro-Tools, you can easily import sounds and make your own drum beats and loops. The type of sounds you use will depend heavily on the style of club music you choose to make.

Get a vocal hook. Your hook is the central melodic idea of your song, and will be the part you repeat most often. If you are doing industrial or techno music, you can use a spoken hook, particularly an old radio announce clip, if you find one that says something interesting. In most other styles of club music, your hook will need to be a melodic chorus, possibly with lyrics that are simple and relevant to the club. You will know you have a good hook when you can't get it out of your head later.

Vary the beat. In standard composition training for popular dance songs, composers recommend changing something about the beat pattern or sound timbre once every 4th repetition. Psychological studies suggest that the brain begins to expect change on the 4th repetition of an idea, and continued repetition of the musical idea without variation can make the listener bored.

Add some finishing touches and lay the song down on a recording device or in recording software. Don't forget to copyright your music to protect your intellectual property from improper use or theft. Then, burn the song onto a CD, or convert it in iTunes and e-mail an MP3 sample to your local clubs.

Tip

Use a booming bass beat. A loud, booming bass beat will drive people do dance by physically pumping them up. Employ dynamic changes and gradual buildups to create emotional swells that compel the clubber to dance.

Warning

Stay true to your creativity. Don't adhere too closely to popular composition rules or your club song may turn out sounding robotic and formulaic.

About the Author

Heather Bliss has been writing professionally since 1998, specializing in technology, computer repair, gardening, music and politics. Bliss holds an Associate of Arts in journalism from Moorpark College. She also has a Bachelor of Arts from California State University, San Marcos, completed with a focus on music and performing arts technology.