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What Is Dubstep?

what is dubstep

The sounds of hard-hitting drops, shocking wobble bass and menacing vibes have grown to be closely associated with what’s known as Dubstep, a subgenre of electronic dance music.

Check Out The Top 10 Best MIDI Keyboards to Make Dubstep Beats

It all started in South London, England in the late 90’s where Reggae, Dub, Grime, 2-Step Garage and Drum and Bass all played roles in the development of Dubstep.

Characteristics Of Dubstep

In the beginning, Dubstep could be described as having a dark vibe with less emphasis on vocals. As the genre evolved throughout 2002-2005, a series of DJ’s and producers began incorporating sound system thinking, dub values and the bass weight of Jungle music to Dubstep.

A wide variety of different sounds and influences were also integrated with the genre including orchestral melodies. From around 2009 onwards, many Dubstep producers began remixing popular songs from other genres which helped further grow the sound of Dubstep and today, you hear that same sound being incorporated into original songs from other music artists.

The main characteristics of Dubstep are:

  • Wobble Bass: One of the most distinct characteristics of Dubstep is the wobble bass (wub). This is the sound of a rhythmically manipulated and extended bass note.
  • Heavy Bass Drop: Another distinct feature of Dubstep is the heavy bass drop (inheristed from Drum and Bass) that is found in the beginning/main section of a track with a second bass drop in the second main section. The added intensity of the drop is a result of the silence and then the build-up that precedes the drop.
  • Syncopated Rhythms: Dubstep usually features rhythms that is syncopated, meaning that they’re unexpected so the result is an off-beat tune. It can be better described as “placement of rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn’t normally occur. This is used in many other musical styles from funk and reggae to rap and samba.
  • Fast Tempo: You’ll find that most of Dubstep is produced at a tempo of around 138-142 beats per minute.

Subgenres Of Dubstep

Dubstep started to become commercially successful towards the end of the 2000’s and has had a notable influence on other genres.

It has also spawned several subgenres, the most popular includes:

  • Post-Dubstep: Urban music that has influences of certain aspects of Dubstep can be described as Post-Dubstep. While some may argue that this isn’t really a subgenre, but rather a collection of interactions and ideas. The tempo that typically characterizes Post-Dubstep is around 130 BPM, slightly slower than Dubstep itself. Some artists that produce “Post-Dubstep” songs have incorporated elements of ambient sounds and RnB.
  • Brostep: Americanized Dubstep has been termed as Brostep and features a much more aggressive sound with “robotic fluctuations and metal-esque aggression“, which was made popular most notably by Skrillex. The heavy dubstep sounds of Brostep has gained attention from heavy metal bands and has been described by Mixmag as “a viciously harsh, yet brilliantly produced sound that appealed more to Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails fans than it did to lovers of UK garage“.

Dubstep is a relatively new genre and it’s still evolving, so it’s likely that a new generation of Dubstep producers will bring out a new sound. If you want to learn how to make Dubstep beats, you must first get familiar with the characteristics and patterns of a typical Dubstep track and constantly practice and refine your skills. It takes time, patience and creativity to make any beat worth listening to.

If you want to learn how to make Dubstep, I recommend that you check out The Ultimate Guide On How To Make Dubstep.

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