Produce Electronic Music: Create an EDM Production with Ableton Live for Beginners | Toneaffair | Skillshare

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Produce Electronic Music: Create an EDM Production with Ableton Live for Beginners

teacher avatar Toneaffair, Composer, Music Producer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Intro Video


    • 2.

      Project Video


    • 3.

      Setting up Ableton Live


    • 4.

      Creating Powerfull Drums


    • 5.

      Chord Progression


    • 6.

      Crafting a Basslines


    • 7.

      Adding a flying Lead Sound


    • 8.

      Arrangement of your Track


    • 9.

      Automation to add movement


    • 10.

      The Drop


    • 11.

      Mix and Mastering


    • 12.



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About This Class

>>> Hello and welcome to my Skillshare course <<<

In this course you will learn the basics of an electronic music (EDM) production. After completing this course, you will be able to create a great sounding EDM track from scratch. We will use Ableton Live as our DAW. 


Who is this course for?

If you want to have a great starting point to learn about the basics of an electronic music production, this course is for you! We will create an EDM track from scratch together. In this journey you will learn about the structure of an EDM track, the instruments and effects, mix and mastering as well as many more neat production techniques. This course includes all the knowledge that you need in order to get your production started. It is a beginner friendly course. However, you should know the basics of how to operate Ableton Live. 


What will you learn from this course?

  • Understand the basics of EDM
  • Setting up Ableton Live
  • Creating powerful drums with layering
  • Composing an intense chord progression
  • Crafting your own bassline
  • Adding a flying lead sound
  • Structure and arrangement of a track
  • Use automation to make the energy flow
  • Crafting an exciting drop
  • The use of midi and audio effects
  • Mix and master your track


What are the requirements?

This course is beginner friendly. If you are starting out producing music, you will learn about all the important elements of an EDM track. However, you should know how to operate Ableton live. This course does not explain the fundamentals of the DAW itself. 

You will need Ableton live for this course. All versions, Suite, Standard and Intro are welcome. As the Intro version does not feature a synthsizer, we will use a free third party Plugin (Vital) in addition to Ableton Live. I will also provide a basic sample pack with drums and loops to get you started. 


Who am I?

My name is Julian and I have been working as a professional in the music industry for the past 18 years. I look back on numerous releases as a producer for other artists and myself under various artist names. Music has been my passion ever since and I am delighted to share my experiences to help you become a better producer. I have been the personal coach for many students in the past and I have been teaching Ableton Live at the EMS (Electronic Music School) in Berlin. 


This is the outline of what to expect from this course. I am very much looking forward to assisting you to raise your music production skills to the next level. Thanks a lot for your interest and see you in the first session.


Meet Your Teacher

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Composer, Music Producer


A tone is a sound that can be described as linear combination of sine and cosine waves. An affair is a sexual relationship, romantic friendship, or passionate attachment between two people without the attached person's significant other knowing. Welcome everyone to Toneaffair!

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Level: Beginner

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1. Intro Video: Hello and a warm welcome to my Skillshare class. This is tone. If f from Berlin, Germany and I will be your mentor over the next hour. In this course, you will learn how to make a great sounding electronic music production from scratch. My name is Julian and I've been working as a professional in the music industry for the past 18 years. Music has been my passion ever since and I'm delighted to share my experiences to help you become a better producer. I've been the person who called for many students in the past, and I've been teaching Ableton Live at the electronic music school in Berlin. As a music producer, I look back on numerous releases for other artists and myself under various artists names. Here are some examples of my work. Engineering. This course will teach you all the essential elements of an electronic music production. We then create a track together from start to finish. Once you have completed this course, your track will be done to this way. All the important steps we recovered and give you a great guideline on how to approach your own productions in the future. What are the subjects that we will learn about? Setting up able to live, creating powerful drums with layering, composing an intense chord progression, crafting your own baseline, adding a flying lead sound structure and arrangement of a track. Use automation to make energy flow, great transitions which glue the parts together. Crafting and exciting drop the use of media and audio effects, mix and master your truck. So what do you need in order to get started? And what should my fields be like? This is a beginner friendly cost. If you're just starting out creating your own music, this lessons were super charged to production process. However, you should know how to operate a bit in life, this course does not explain the fundamentals of how to operate this piece of software. You will need Ableton Live for this course. All versions, suites, standards in intro are welcome. I will also provide basic sample pack with drums and loops to get you started. This being said, I'm very much looking forward to assisting you to raise your music production skills to the next level. Thanks a lot for your interests in theory. In the first question. 2. Project Video: Let's talk about the project for today's class. We will create a track from scratch together. This way, all the elements of an electronic music production will be covered. Each lesson will guide you through a specific topic of the creation of a track of the years of teaching other people, I found out this is the most effective way. You will need to have Ableton Live installed on your computer. All versions are welcome, as we will use a third party plugin as a synthesizer. I will also provide a sample pack with all the important sounds to get you started. Make sure to download everything before you start because you will find the links in the description. After completing the course, you may want to upload the check to the gallery. This way you can chat to other participants and myself about what you've been creating once you're ready, open, able to live, and start producing. See you in the next lesson. 3. Setting up Ableton Live: Hello and welcome to the first lesson. Today's lesson is pretty straightforward. It's all about the setup of Ableton Live, including the install of the vital signs as well as the sample BEC. First up is the vital signs. You will find the link in the description to the website. You basically just click on get vital to the basic option here, it is free, however, you will need to make an account. Once it's properly installed, you will find the sinned under plugins are the units for Mac users. V is T for Windows users and Mac users. So I choose Audio Units, vital audio like ascent. Let's check me. It works. Yes, it does. Alright, good. So the second step is also pretty straightforward. We want to install the sample pack to a better life. On the left side in the browser, you simply click on Add Folder. You choose the destination. In my case, it's on the desktop, say Open. And now it will read these samples to your library. It's a pretty straightforward sample pack with all the things that you will need for this class. We have some drums, including kick drums, clubs, snares, etc. Then we have some effects including buildups, some fields, etc. I will also provide a couple of loops. And last but not least, there are some one-shot samples like basis steps, etc. So with these samples and the vital soon, you are basically ready to go and create your first track. That's it for the setup of able to life. See you in the next lesson. 4. Creating Powerfull Drums: Welcome to the next lesson. This lesson is all about drums. Drums are very important as they are the foundation of your track. There are two specific things which I want to address in today's class, which is the layering of drums and effects. Those are two techniques which go beyond the usual creation of a pattern. Once we are enabled to life, we simply choose a drum rack, put it onto a midi channel, go to the samples and select the kick drum. We go for this one onto the drum rack and create a pattern. Simple fall to the floor. Now we want to create another midi channel and choose a clap. You go for this one. Drum rack onto the channel. Clip inside the drum rack and create the pattern. Now the interesting part, we want to layer three clips in order to make it wider and punchier in the drum rack, you see there is your main clip. Simply click on the title column, say group. Now we can open it up to have access to the channel. We select two more clips and put them into the channel, which we want to pan to the left and to the right. Adjusted some volumes at the painting and then you have a really nice wide clap. Okay, there is one more thing we can do to make the clip even better. We select the false club, which we put on another drum pads. And in the pattern be copied this one and shifted a bit forward. This way you have this nice sucking in effect, Let's name things properly. Always encourage people to name things properly in order to keep track when your project is growing. First one, kick clip. Next one is the hi-hat. Now for the effects, we want to put a little delay on the high end, which makes it a bit grew via audio effects, delay and delay on top of the hi-hat, the settings, we will dial the dry wet to around 25 per cent. The feedback will go all the way down. The left and right count will be at one. You can also apply bit of the filter. Alright, let's use another Hyatt. Let's adjust the volume is a bit. This one we're going to be down and the other one a bit up. This way you have the best of both worlds. You have the effect hired, which is for the groove and the other high-end, which is for the directness for the heart sound, which is in your face and makes it sound a bit more fat and a bit more direct. Next one would be some percussion. Create a midi channel again. Put drum rack on top and select percussions. We go for the first one. We create. This time we create a two-bar pattern. And onto the percussion, we will also add the delay. At around 25 per cent. Feedback goes to like 15 per cent and the filter is applied to bit. Alright, and another package and this one will do. And on that one we put a little reverb. Dry wet again around 25 per cent. And the decay around 2 s. Next would be to put all of the four tracks into group to apply some effects and compression. Click on the kick, hold down shift and click on percussion, right-click and say Group Tracks. Name it to drum group. First we want to apply an equalizer. We add a bit of a low cut because everything under 30 hz, you won't hear anyways, and you will still remain the kick, the base of the cake. Now you can also dial up the EQ at around 1,000 to 2,000 hz to get a bit of this crisp and crunching us out. Alright, it's starting to sound good. Now for the compression, go to dynamics Glue Compressor. And now we will dial in the threshold while it's playing till it starts to pump a bit. Alright, now we will make up the gain with the other dial. So we have created the drum groove, which you will use for the further creation of the trek. This drum groove sounds a bit more interesting and a bit fatter due to the layering and the effects. So see you in the next lesson. 5. Chord Progression: Welcome to the next lesson. This lesson is all about the creation of a chord progression. Think of the chord progression as being the body, the heart, and the warmth of your trek. It's the harmony of your track. Once we are unable to life, select vital sinned, and drag and drop it to create a new midi track, we will create a pet from scratch. However, this is not a course about how to operate as soon as either, but it's simple enough to make it working patch for our track. First off, we want to activate the filter. This way it sounds much softer. And the next would be, we want to apply an LFO to add some movement to the trek, to the patch. Here. On the right side you see the LFO. It's first, we change on this little note here. We changed it to tempo dotted, and then we go for one-eighth. And to apply the LFO is simply drag and drop it onto the filter. And with this little green dye you can dial in how much to defect. Alright? Now we can also change the shape of the LFO to make it a bit more interesting, I will die a little bit to the left and turn this a bit down. Okay, That sounds good. That's it for vital sign for now. Now, let's create the actual chord progression. I will create a four-bar pattern that is not the one and the best way to create a chord progression. It's basically really personal tastes, how you achieve this in the pattern? I will first select the ground node. Let's solo it first. And now I basically, I shift different nodes on top. It makes sure they sound good together. Okay? Now, for the second batch, okay, The third one, okay, this one box is a really simple pattern, but it works. Let's copy this pattern. Paste it here, and then make a variation. We can now select both of them by holding Shift and say consolidate. This way, both of the fall by loops are being connected to an eight bar loop. But make sure in the pattern to activate the loop again. We want to make it a bit lower so you can select everything and go down semitone by semitone. Invited us and let's activate another oscillator. Use, use classic blend and drag and drop the foot, the LFO to the oscillator. And turned down a bit. We want to add some effects on top and some reverb. Alright, so there we have a really central cooperation which were used in the creation of a check. See you in the next lesson. 6. Crafting a Basslines: Welcome to the next lesson, which is all about baselines. Baselines are very important because they add the sub frequencies of your track. And those frequencies are the frequencies which move your body. So in the meantime, I've changed a bit on my chord progression, which now sounds like so. We will now load weiter sind onto a new midi track. Click on the browser. And in the left column we selected base. And just go for a base, which is to your liking. I would go for that one. We already have our chord progression. So in this case, it's very easy to find the baseline because when you have a chord consisting of three nodes, one of the three nodes is the idea bass note. So we simply copy the pattern from the courts onto the new midi track with the vital sign for the base. And then we can solo both of them. And then we tried to find the best node. So basically try the first one. Doesn't work that well. Second one, they're also not the best node. And the third one. This one works. I delete all the others. Now. I did a mistake here. So let's find a new note. Alright, that sounds good. Okay, now for the actual pattern, there is many standard patterns which you can apply like an offbeat bays are more funky bass. First off would be the offbeat base, which basically is always the kick would be on the one and the two. And 3.2 for the base basically comes on the end. We just shortened the nodes and shift them to the right. Alright, so let's check it out. Okay, let's lower the velocity a bit because the velocity applies to the filter in this particular bass sound. Alright, it works, but it's not really exciting. Okay, Let's try something else. We keep the same notes but at different rhythm to the base. Alright? Okay, now we apply the same rhythm to the other nodes. So let's listen to it with the drums. Okay, maybe we add a bit more variety. E.g. here. We don't use the upper node and make it a bit shorter. There's one more thing which I want to do which is side-chain compression. What is side-chain compression? Side-chain compression is a method to free up some space on one signal controlled by another signal. So the kick and the bass, they are both in the same frequency range. Therefore, there's not enough space in the mix to hear both of them properly. What we can do is put a compressor on to the baseline, which is controlled by the kick. So whenever the kid comes, the compressor, ducks the base, Let's solo the kick and the bass. And then in audio effects, we select the compressor. Then we open it up on the left side. Side-chain audio from kick. Dial up the gain a bit. Now while the track is playing, we can lower the threshold. It starts to pump. And the whole thing sounds much more groovy and punchy. That's it for the bass sounds. See you in the next lesson. 7. Adding a flying Lead Sound: Welcome to the next lesson. This lesson is about a lead sound. Think of the lead sound as the melody, the head portion of your check. Again, we will load an instance of y tilde audio into our track. And we'll go into the browser. On the left side, select lead for the category, and let's check out what sounds do we have? A rather soft sound. This one is interesting, like a horn sound, but it's more of an effect sound. This one is a bit harsh for the ears. Let's cut sweet. This one is a bit harsh, but the same time it's cutting through the mix a lot. And it's quite a memorable sound for the pattern where the lead sound, It's a lot of trying to find something. So I suggest you let play the track in a loop and the same time on the keyboard, just try things around whichever do now. Okay, So I think there are some interesting parts in here. So I will record everything. That's one thing you can do. If you go to edit record quantisation, I would go for a 16th note quantisation this way everything is in time. I'm not happy with this, so I will simply redo everything. I will reduce the length to 16 bar, right? Right-click, I would say consolidate and turn on the loop. Okay? And when I'm not happy with it, I can also go into the pattern and manually add nodes. Okay, I'm happy with this one. The next thing which you can do is let it play in the background and edit a bit around in the suicide. E.g. I want to make it a bit less harsh. So I would dial in some of the filter and maybe change the waveform around. We will come back to the lead sound in the next lesson when we were talking about arrangement. See you in the next lesson. 8. Arrangement of your Track: Welcome to the next lesson, which is about the arrangement of the track. There will be two more lessons which are connected to the arrangement, which is the automation lesson, and also the crafting of droplets. And this lesson is purely about the basic structure of our trek. Alright, so once we aren't able to, and we have our ingredients which are kick clip hired percussion. We have our courts, we have our base, and we have our lead sound. That's basically everything that we need in order to make a great track. That's why we start with creating all the parts that we need. Now we can arrange them in the timeline. We are aiming at a length of around three to 4 min. That's quite usual length these days. So what I do is I select all of the midi clips and make them longer to we hit our target of three to 4 min hour, go for a roughly like a three-minute track. There is no right or wrong when doing the arrangement is basically a measure of personal taste. It always makes sense to start with some parts and then add, add up the other parts later on. So I will start with the bass and the kick. So all of the other tracks clip, Hi ahead. Percussion, chords and lead sound. I will just draw to the right side. Then it's a bit of improvisation. When the next part starts, it's a bit of feeling. Let's add the clip now. And then the cosmos. And the next would be our columns. Okay, and around, around here, we will add a mini drops. So I will get rid of the kick from bar 25 to B23. And after the mini drop is done, I will add in a hi-hat, then deletes all next time. Okay? And now we're basically sketching out the drops. So at bar 95, I will get rid of the kick for 32 bar. And one after another, delete the elements at when the job is done, everything will be back in again at the same time. So let's first the kick is out. Then we say the hi-hat, the clip and the percussion, and maybe for the rest, even cards. Tickets, rid of the lead sound here. So this would be the sketch for our drop. Okay, I'm not really happy with this. I will let the courts play and make the length of the drop even a bit longer. Like so. But we will leave it for now like it is, because we're coming back to it in the, in the drop lesson. From here on, we will let everything play everything is that the peak energy of the check. And now one after another element you will get rid of in order to end the track. So our first off, I will end the lead sound. Then the hi-hat. Maybe a bit short, but earlier, the clap. And for the rest, basically the chords. So this will be our ending. Hello. So for the purpose of shooting this video, it's rather short arrangement. In the next lesson, we will take care of the automation, which is part of the arrangement as well. So see you in the next lesson. 9. Automation to add movement: Welcome to the next lesson. This lesson is all about automation. It's the second part to our arrangement lesson as automation and the energy flow, which automation is about is a really important part in electronic music. We're going to automate two things. In this lesson. We want to automate the filter cutoff on the courts. And we want to automate a filter on the drum group or especially on the kick. So first off, the courts reopen the little menu with the little triangle on the left and say configure. This way we can say which parameter we want to automate. Just move the cutoff fader a little tiny bit. And this way we have now control over it here. To enter automation mode, you either press a or you press on the little sign on the upper right corner of a butter knife. Let's make it a bit bigger, going to automation mode to filter cutoff. And now we see our automation. So the way I do it normally is I let the song play and during the song plays, I adjust the parameters. My likings started with lower and then try to make an energy flow which makes the song interesting. Next off, we want to do a little filter automation on the drums. Let's say on the kick mainly because we want to cut off the low end in order to make transitions to the next part. I will select a filter, put it onto the kick track, and change it to a low-pass filter, to a high pass filter. And automation mode. I want to have less of the base frequency coming through on the bass drum before the next bar hits. So in order to achieve this dial in some of the filter, and that will automate the on-off parameter, not the filter itself. This way we always have the same amount of filtering applied. We may come back to automation in the next chapter, which is about the drop. We will use quite a bit of automation in there. So see you in the next lesson. 10. The Drop: Alright, welcome to the next lesson, which is about the drop. The drop in electronic music is the peak part of energy which mostly comes without the kick. And then we're heading to a part where the kid comes back in and you have the maximum peak of energy. So it's a really important part in making the trek shine. There's two things which you want to do in this lesson. First off, we're going back to automation. And the second one is you will use one of the samples or maybe some more of the samples from the samples that I've provided to make it even bigger or even catch you. First off, the automation. Let's go back to automation, filter cut off. The last lesson. We already did a bit of it, but we want to make it more extreme. Let's listen with everything together. So here it doesn't sound really good, but everything comes back in because the courts, they are losing the rhythm and the groove when they are at the maximum filter cutoff. This why we want to go back to the original state really a tiny little bit before the actual heat comes. So we shift the point a bit to the left and lower it a bit down. This way it's more interesting. Let's mute delete for now. Okay, that sounds about right. Second thing, we want to check our samples. We have some interesting effects here, buildups. Let's check the build-ups. Go for this one. We just put it on in your audio track. It's fits just right into the gap. And you can hear the, it also stops a tiny little bit before the actual account, one on the next bar. So when the buildup has got, the buildup sample is done. We also get rid of the base. Alright, That sounds about right. So, but there are more effects we have down lift. I like that one. So as you can hear, it's a bit of an uplift and then we have the crash. So we need to place it accordingly. Like really makes sure that the transient is exactly on the next bar. Like so. Okay, It sounds good. Maybe there's more of an impact. We can use this one, maybe to get into the part where the kick is missing, where basically all the drum elements disappear. Yeah, that sounds about right. Okay, so let's listen to the whole thing. Maybe also the lead sound. We also want to get rid of the high frequencies. So I put a filter on there and I would automate the filter a bit. Alright, that sounds like a good job to me. Well, you can get much more extreme as everything. But the purpose of this lesson is to keep it short and straightforward. So that's it for the job for now. Next we'll be mixing and mastering. See you in the next lesson. 11. Mix and Mastering: Welcome to this next lesson, which is also the last lesson of this course. It's about mixing and mastering. I don't want to go into much detail here because mixing mastering is basically huge topic which in can make a whole course about a rather want to show you some little tips and tricks to make yourself a gym, to make your track sound grade right away before you want to export the first time. So first off, mixing. Mixing is basically about finding the right space and frequencies for your elements in the track. That they all have space and that they all are placed in an interesting way. We have the stereo field, the panorama, which is left and right. You have the frequencies 20-20 thousand hz, and you have the depths, which is like the room. And in this three-dimensional room, you can place your elements of the track. What we want to do, we want to put an equalizer on all of the different tracks. So let's choose the EQ Eight. And on the kick drum, let's solo it and check how it sounds and also looks like. Or is they can listen to frequencies from 20, 20,000 hz. So everything which is below that, which you can see there's a lot of you won't even here, so we can get rid of it. To do this, we select and use the low cut. Can hear the sound does not change, but there's a lot less energy wasted. Now. If you want to get a bit of this click, you can dive in a bit like around 1,000 K. This way it gets a bit crisper right off of the clip. We also want to get rid of the low end here, but a bit more. And maybe dial in some high frequencies To make it even crisp. Same goes for the hi-hat. Hired isn't high frequency every way so we can grid it all of this. Okay, That sounds about right in the high frequencies. Otherwise, it would get too harsh for the ears and the percussion. We do the same. Get rid of the low frequencies. And dial in. Big Crunch in is around 2000 K. Let's check it together. I think the clubs be too loud. Alright, next we want to do some of the Penning. Maybe put the percussions bit to the left and the higher bit to the right. Too much. Okay, so let's check the base, which has tons of low end. So the same like with the kid cake. We make a low cut. Still have the base frequencies, but it's less than energy that gets wasted. In the course. And for the courts, we do the same, get rid of some of the low end. And maybe a bit crisper and the highest. Hey, that sounds Alright. Okay, now for the mastering part, first alphabet equalizer. And there it would make sense to dial in a bit on the 1,000 hz to make it a bit Saudi bit crisper. And get rid of the, put in the low cut to get rid off the low frequencies. Okay. Next would be a compressor. I would suggest just dial it in a tiny little bit till it starts to pump up. Just a tiny little bit. As I said, that Sinatra professor mastering, it's just something to make it sound trick to make your track sound a bit better in order for your first export. So it's quite a lot actually. So let's use one of the utilities and reduce the gain so much that we are like around minus six decibel here. Okay? And last but not least, let's put a little limiter on top and make it as loud as you can before. It basically sounds trashy. You can see it starts to the yellow, the little yellow bit starts to pulsate a bit. That's basically what you want to have. So it should basically drive into the limiter without sounding distorted. As you can see, we don't have any clipping anymore. In order to export, we simply use this clamp from the beginning to the end. We say File Export. And then you may also want to do an MP3 export and you track layout is done. Alright, that's it for the super quick and dirty mixing mastering. See in the next lesson, which is also the outro. Thanks a lot. 12. Outro: That's the end of our little cause of how to produce EDM was able to life. Thank you so much for participating. I hope you've learned something and found it interesting and entertaining. We have talked about all the basics that you need to produce your own track. However, we only scratched the surface with those short lessons. I will do future classes which go into more detail to enhance your music production skills even more. Feel free to publish your check to the Skillshare Gallery in order to discuss your music with me and other students of this class. Again, thanks a lot and see you in a future lesson.