One of the biggest trends in electronic dance music is the inclusion of more complex, expensive instruments. The reasons for this are varied, but typically include a desire to create a fuller, more meaningful song, a need for a certain feel or “tempo,” or a desire to express musical ideas quickly and easily without the restrictions of an instrument. While certain instruments are commonly used in electronic dance music, others are becoming rarer. We’ll examine some of the most common ones as well as the ones that are starting to make a comeback. Some examples of electronic instruments used in electronic dance music include the snare, the cymbal, the claves, the sitar, the tambourine, the piano, the violin, and the sampler.
Snare drum is a repetitive striking sound that is typically found in club and tribal mixes. It’s most popular with the drum beat and was used frequently in the earliest electronic dance music. Snare drums can be found in a huge variety of sizes and styles, so they can match the style and feel of any song. A snare drum sample is often used as the starting point in creating a rhythm for a track, or to build upon what has already been produced. Many producers consider the snare to be one of the most important electronic dance music instruments.
A snare sample can be anything – a square wave, a triangle wave, a noise sample, etc. The most common types of sample are those which come from a room/car/hillside. For example, a car driving by might break the sound of the car’s tires, and a hillside might contain many miles of silence. Many companies are continually trying to make cars have better sensors and recorders. In this case, the snare drum samples are the golden egg.
A percussion instrument is anything that strikes a surface, such as the tambourines, cymbals, maracas, bells, etc. Sampling the sound of percussion instruments has certain advantages. For instance, if the percussionist hits a wall and makes a loud noise, the sound will travel far beyond where the percussionist is positioned. This way, if the same sound was played in another room, it would have a slightly different impact with different accents, depending on the length of the reverberation and the thickness of the walls.
Percussion instruments are used in electronic dance music, because they give a sense of rhythm and are a fundamental building block of most popular tracks. But how do they work? The drummer or bass player kicks the drum shell with his feet, striking the drum cymbals. The hi hat sounds with his mouthpiece, and the percussionist strikes the hi hat cymbals using his sticks. The drummer uses his feet to hit the hi hat cymbals, and the bass player uses his hands to hit the snare drum sample.
Many other instruments are also commonly used. Examples include the cymbals, percussion, tympanias, congas, samplers, snares and kettledrums, bell jars, and maracas. They are all instruments that have a specific use and can be used to create special sound effects. Some are used simply for play, some to produce different sounds, and some to generate sounds that alter the pitch of the sound in another way.
Each of these instruments is essential to a DJ mix. They provide the framework through which the rest of the electronic set is built. For example, the snare drum is used to drive the rhythm section through drum samples and other sounds, while the bass drum is used to create the head-beat in the sample-shaping music. The hi-hat produces the pad sound at the end of the hi-hat sample, while the cymbals provide the beat.
With many other types of electronic dance instruments, it is possible to build and mix entire sets using only one piece of equipment. A DJ set that contains more than one of each of these instruments is referred to as a “fusion” electronic dance set. And by using more than one of these instruments at once, the DJ can alter the perceived tempo and pitch of a song or introduce another sound. It can even be used to introduce a synthesizer into a song (known as a “synthesizer”). These are just a few of the myriad applications available for DJ mixers today.