Saturday, January 18, 2014

Editing Breakdowns in Dance Music Tracks

I just put together a pair of videos that will teach you how to cut breakdowns out of dance music tracks. And then I added a third video, which is even more useful, to show you how to enhance breakdowns by adding extra loops or other clips (basic remixing). If you're a DJ, you might find these to be pretty useful. But before I begin, what exactly is a breakdown and why might you want to remove it? Well, in simple terms, a breakdown is a short section of a song that's a lot quieter than the rest of the track. It probably has no bass or kick drum, or maybe no rhythm at all. If you're on the dance floor, this is the section where you suddenly have less structure to guide you, and it gives you a moment to catch your breath.

Breakdowns aren't necessarily bad. I find that they're often the most interesting part of a song. If I'm playing to a captive audience where most listeners are driving, studying, working out, going for a run, etc., then I prefer to leave the breakdowns in place. And even on a packed dance floor, it's nice to play an occasional breakdown to give the dancers a few seconds to catch their breath. But when the dance floor is packed, I don't want to play several breakdowns in every song I play. That's too much "down time." So I'll cut a lot of breakdowns out, which lets me keep the energy levels higher on the dance floor. Or, as you can see from the third video, sometimes a better approach than cutting out a breakdown is to spice it up by adding a strong back beat to it.

I have three videos to describe everything you need to know. They go through all the technical steps in enough detail that you should be able to figure out how to edit/remove breakdowns using common audio editing software. The first video covers the process in depth, and the second video shows a faster way to remove sections of a track if you're an Ableton user. The third is probably the best (but you should watch the other two first) because it will start to teach you basic remixing techniques:

If you enjoyed these tutorials, and are interested in any aspects of Audio Recording and Editing, DJ'ing, or Music production, check out the Videos page on my DJ website at the following link, and share a link to anything that you enjoy there:

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