Electronic dance music (EDM) has become a global phenomenon in recent years, with millions of fans around the world dancing to the beats of their favorite DJs. But as an aspiring EDM producer, you may be wondering if you need to have a formal understanding of music theory to create your tracks.

The short answer is no, but it can help.

Many successful EDM producers have little or no formal training in music theory. In fact, some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Skrillex and Deadmau5, are self-taught musicians. However, having a solid understanding of music theory can give you an edge over other producers and help you create more complex and interesting tracks.

What is Music Theory?

Music theory is the study of how music works. It includes concepts such as harmony, melody, rhythm, and form. By learning about these concepts and how they relate to one another, you can better understand how to create different musical elements in your tracks.


Harmony refers to the way different notes and chords work together in a piece of music. Understanding harmony can help you create chord progressions that sound pleasing to the ear. You can also use harmony to create tension and release within your tracks.


Melody is the main musical element that listeners remember after hearing a track. It’s often created using a specific scale or set of notes that work together harmonically. Knowing how to construct melodies that fit well with your chords can make your tracks more memorable.


Rhythm refers to the timing and duration of notes in a piece of music. It’s what makes people want to dance! Understanding rhythm can help you create interesting drum patterns and basslines that keep your listeners moving.


Form refers to the overall structure of a piece of music. It includes elements such as verses, choruses, and bridges. By understanding form, you can create tracks that have a clear structure and keep your listeners engaged from start to finish.

The Bottom Line

While you don’t necessarily need to have a formal understanding of music theory to create EDM, it can certainly help. By learning about concepts such as harmony, melody, rhythm, and form, you can create more complex and interesting tracks that stand out from the crowd.

However, experimentation and creativity are also key components of producing great EDM. Don’t be afraid to try new things and push the boundaries of what’s possible in electronic dance music!