Composing and Producing Electronic Music 2


Authored by Loudon Stearns


Course Code: OCWPR-398

Next semester starts September 23

12 Weeks

Level 3

Level 3

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


In Composing and Producing Electronic Music 2 you will learn the necessary tools and techniques to create contemporary electronic music in a variety of styles, including techno, dubstep, trip-hop, trap, nu-disco, tech house, and party. In this advanced-level music composition course, you’ll explore musical, DAW, and synthesis techniques appropriate to the style. Switching between many of the popular DAWs, your challenge will be to apply the techniques described in the lessons to your chosen DAW. For each style, you will also be responsible for a research and analysis component, listening critically and adapting to changes in technology and public musical taste. You will then create a complete piece of music for that style.

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Sound design is an integral part of producing contemporary electronic music, so it will be a major focus of this music composition course. We will build on the synthesis lessons from Composing and Producing Electronic Music 1 and introduce sampling as another important tool for sound design.

By analyzing and composing in a variety of electronic music styles, you will gain a deep understanding of many aspects of contemporary electronic music, including beats, harmony, bass lines, groove, melodies, synthesis, audio/MIDI editing, effects processing, sound design, form, performance, and mixing.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Compose and produce in various styles of electronic music, including techno, dubstep, trip-hop, trap, nu-disco, tech house, and party
  • Analyze electronic music to keep up on current trends
  • Synthesize the major components of electronic music
  • Understand the main aspects of groove
  • Utilize complex signal flow for creative purposes
  • Layer acoustic and electronic elements
  • Use automation effectively
  • Compose with harmony appropriate to electronic music styles
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Lesson 1: Your Digital Library

  • Expressive Lead
  • Advanced Modulation: ARP with Random Panning
  • Productive Sound Design
  • Filter Types
  • Warping Waves
  • Harmonic and Inharmonic Sounds

Lesson 2: Techno

  • Techno History
  • Sample Libraries
  • ‘Analysis: ‘Plasticity’ by Plastikman
  • Sampling Technique: Single Sample
  • Acid Bass and the TB 303

Lesson 3: Dubstep

  • Dubstep History
  • Analysis: ‘Sweet Shop’ by Doctor P
  • Dubstep Sound Design
  • Vocal Sampling with Timestreatching

Lesson 4: Trip Hop

  • Trip Hop History
  • Analysis: ‘Teardrop’ by Massive Attack
  • 'Vinylizing' a Sample
  • Beat Shop Systems
  • Trip Hop Sampling Techniques

Lesson 5: Trap

  • Trap History
  • Analysis: ‘Hard in da Paint’ by Waka Flocka Flame
  • Layered 808
  • Multisampling a Trap Melody
  • Hat Pattern Analysis
  • Multisampled Hat Creation

Lesson 6: Nu-Disco

  • Nu-Disco History
  • Analysis: ‘Cloud 9’ by Jamiroquai
  • Nu Disco Pad Synthesis
  • Composing Nu-Disco Chord Progressions
  • Composing Nu-Disco Basslines

Lesson 7: Tech House

  • Tech House History
  • Analysis: ‘Calling’ by Alesso and Sebastian Ingrosso (Instrumental)
  • Analysis: ‘Calling’ (Radio Edit)
  • The Formula
  • Basses and Arps
  • Drums and Conclusion

Lesson 8: Party

  • Party History
  • Fade Transitions
  • Master Your Automation Tools
  • Bass Swap
  • Hard Cut Transitions
  • Reverb Wash

Lesson 9: Form

  • Prepare Your Session
  • Form Analysis
  • Analysis: ‘Feel No Pain’ by Sade
  • Form Analysis
  • Fill Analysis: 'Feel No Pain'
  • Drop Math: 'Feel No Pain'
  • Delay and Reverb

Lesson 10: Image

  • VJ History
  • Mood Board
  • Stereo Image
  • The Arrangement Game
  • Automation Strategies

Lesson 11: Mix

  • Clean the Slate
  • Set the Goalposts
  • Listen Like a Child
  • Shift the Grounds

Lesson 12: Deliver

  • Loudness
  • Sonic Analysis
  • Submix
  • Master
  • Deliver


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
Completion of Composing and Producing Electronic Music 1 or equivalent knowledge and experience is required.

Students should have experience producing electronic music with a Digital Audio Workstation and a Wavetable synthesizer. The lessons in this class will not be giving step-by-step instructions on using a specific digital audio workstation. Students are required to research and figure out the use of standard DAW and sampler functions on their own and with the support of the class community to complete the class work.


  • No textbooks required

Media and Subscriptions

  • Recommended: Subscription to electronic music sound library, such as Splice, Arcade, etc.


  • Full-featured Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), such as Pro Tools (Studio or Ultimate), Logic Pro, Cubase Pro, Ableton Live (Suite or Standard), Reaper, Reason, or FL Studio (Producer or Signature). Note that GarageBand is not acceptable.
  • Virtual instrument sampler with multi-sampling capabilities, such as UVI Falcon, Logic Pro's Sampler, Ableton Live Suite's Sampler, etc.
  • Xfer Records Serum (student discount information available within the course after enrolling)


  • MIDI controller
  • One of the following studio monitoring options (both recommended):
    • Studio monitors (pair), such as JBL 305Ps or better, as well as an audio interface and necessary cables
    • Over-ear studio headphones, such as Sennheiser HD 600, Sony MDR-7506, Philips SHP9500, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, etc.

Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Classes. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


Loudon Stearns

Author & Instructor

Loudon Stearns is an associate professor at Berklee College of Music, a course author and instructor at Berklee Online, and an active media-artist. Within the Contemporary Writing and Production department at Berklee College of Music, he prepares students to work as independent composers and producers in a technology-laden music industry. Online, he focuses on the latest electronic music styles and music-technology innovations, showing students how to analyze contemporary styles and use the latest music technology in their own works. An innovator in both education and art, Loudon authored a Massive Open Online Class, "Introduction to Music Production," that has provided high-quality free education to hundreds of thousands of students, received an award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association for "Excellence in Teaching" and received the "Excellence in Media Art" award from the Emerson College Visual and Media Art department.

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Holding a Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Writing and Production and Bass Performance from Berklee College of Music, and a Master of Fine Arts in Media Art from Emerson College, Loudon pulls from a broad range of skills in the creation of his own multi-media performances that include live music, projection-mapping, dance, visual art and interactivity. Of particular interest is using the entire world as a performance space by using internet streaming to coordinate numerous performers and audiences on vastly different parts of the globe. The technical and aesthetic challenges of this type of performance are new and exciting and require the sort of broad skill-set that Loudon has developed through his extensive institutional and self education in music, sound, performance, motion graphics, photography, programming, and construction. Read Less


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