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Cue the action-packed scenes! The climax of a movie’s flow, the parts where your heart pumps wildly in your ribcage, veins coursing with adrenaline. This cinematic sound effect is the key to get the rhythm going when you’re sitting in your seat, gripping your soda and holding on to the edge of your seat while your eyes stay glued to the screen.
You’re instantly hooked in the heat of the moment as the lead actor gets frantically chased and shot at by the bad guys, parkour-ing across the city to save that one other guy who knows the password to save the world because he just cannot let him die. Or maybe your heart skips a couple beats – perhaps five – as you watch an entire military fleet get wiped out from a nuclear blast from the inside of the battleship on the front lines, thanks to some ingenious wiring by someone gone rogue from their tech team. Yep, the good guys just lost their entire right wing. Or some careless idiot left an important gate open, so when the sole surviving bunch of humans wake up in the dead of night, the entire street is filled with the growls of hungry, vicious undead.
But hold up. Turn the volume down and rewatch that entire scene again — it probably won’t have as much effect as you felt it did when you saw it the first time, with sound. And that sound, baby, is called a bass drop!
Yeah okay, so what’s a bass drop?
You’ve probably spent some time with your earphones or headphones on while you were out running in the name of fitness, listening to your EDM playlist to shave off the monotonous vibe. Whether you’re tuning in to euro dance, house, or trance, there’s that one drop in your favorite track which fuels your workout – and that’s the bass drop.
As Wiki describes it:
A drop in popular music, especially electronic dance music styles, is a point in a music track where a sudden change of rhythm or bass line occurs, which typically is preceded by a build section and break.
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.
Bass drops don’t just appear in EDM, but also in dubstep, metal, rock, hip-hop and pop genres too. And moving away from the music world, bass drops lend that slice of emotion into the storyline of video games. In a way, these special sound effects do work to produce an impact on the way we perceive and remember a scene – through heightening a specific emotion without actually distracting a viewer from the visuals.
Interested in making your own bass drop sound effect?
Using a free software like Audacity, you can completely customize a bass drop track from scratch in less than a minute. Get creating! Download Audacity for free, or check out more sweet clips on our Create Inspire channel.