Drop (music)

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A drop in popular music, especially electronic music styles, is a point in a music track where a switch of rhythm or bass line occurs and usually follows a recognizable build section and break.[1]

The term "drop" comes from the composer or producer "dropping in" the primary rhythmic and foundational elements previously hinted at into the mix more or less at once. Related terms, typically describing certain types of drops, include "beat-up" (so named because it is a point where the producer brings up the foundational kick drum beat after having faded it down during a break or buildup) and "climax" (typically describing a single particularly striking drop heard late in the track).

Although mostly used in contemporary EDM, the "drop" was undoubtedly invented by rock and roll artists in the 60s and 70s. Most notable of these was Led Zeppelin's Dazed and Confused on their 1969 self-titled album (The drop occurs at 3:28).


Many genres of EDM can have more than one drop during a track, especially if the song is built on a "dance-pop" verse/chorus with vocals; a drop of some kind is typically heard somewhere during each chorus as the high point of that verse/chorus cycle. Most genres, however, tend to emphasize a single drop as the beginning of the high point, or climax, of the entire track; in vocal subgenres this is typically the last repetition of the chorus, while in nonvocal genres it typically occurs in the last quarter of the track.

  • In trance, eurodance, hardstyle, hardcore and dance genres of the more melodic style, it is known as a climax. In Trance is more known as 'breakdown'. This is where the melody and accompanying melodies come in with the drums and usually a syncopated bassline, giving the track a 'bouncy' feel.
  • In dubstep, the drop involves a heavy full bass line and commonly a "wobble" or "vowel" bass accompanied by a strong shuffling beat. In other dubstep styles there can be powerful chords and/or emotional melodies combined with varies of common dubstep bass lines.
  • In hip hop and other forms of electronic music, a reintroduction of the full bass line and drums after pulling them back for a verse or buildup is known as a drop. There are usually more than one in these genres; the first drop and the climax are particularly emphasized.
  • In metalcore subgenres, bass drops are often utilized under the first chord of a breakdown, to emphasize the breakdown and give it a pronounced presence. A bass drop in this genre using a sample pad triggered by the drummer or a backing track going to a venue's PA.[2]
  • Electronic music DJs sometimes perform what is called a "double drop": beatmatching two tracks in such a way that the drop, and hence the respective climaxes of both tracks, occur at the same time.[3]



  1. ^ Walmsley, Derek (2010). "Dubstep". La guida alla musica moderna di Wire (in Italian). p. 103. ISBN 9788876381805. 
  2. ^ Peterson, Elaine (2010). "Musical Representations of Physical Pain". Maldynia: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on the Illness of Chronic Pain. Hoboken: CRC Press. p. 141. ISBN 978-1-4398-3631-6. 
  3. ^ Steventon, John (2010). DJing For Dummies (2nd ed.). Chichester, West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons. p. 251. ISBN 978-0-470-66405-6.