Facts & Information
This section provides information on the history and production of the bubblegum dance genre, and is divided into two sections: General information and Technical information.General Information → Technical Information →
Bubblegum Dancer would like to thank producer/songwriter Dirty-Z for compiling the below information and mp3 samples on bubblegum dance production.
Generally, a bubblegum dance song will consist of a chorus, pre-chorus, two verses (though sometimes more), and a bridge. Sometimes a pre-chorus and/or bridge will be absent. A common bubblegum dance song layout is as follows: chorus, verse 1, pre-chorus, chorus, verse 2, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, chorus. The pre-chorus serves as a connecting piece to the verse and chorus while the bridge usually connects 2 final chorus repetitions together. Like a lot of other pop music, a common way to finish a song is with the chorus pitch shifted up by one or two notes.
In terms of composition, most BGD consists of simple triad chords. Appropriately, the melodies confine to the keys in which the corresponding chords are written (i.e. if the triad chord played is A minor, the melody will only consist of keys that conform to the A minor key, at least for the duration of that chord).
Most bubblegum dance ranges from 130 to 145 beats per minute, though other reggae or pop-influenced productions are generally slower ("Barbie Girl" by Aqua clocks in at 130 beats per minute and "Space Invaders" by Hit'n'Hide is 137 BPM, but "Poppa Joe" by Yummie is only 110 BPM). Some bubblegum dance exceeds 145 beats per minute, especially that which borders on the happy hardcore genre ("Play With Me" by Evelyn is 160 BPM).
Usually, bubblegum dance is sung by a chirpy female. Producers will employ various studio effects to make the vocals sound high-pitched or helium-filled. In addition to the female, it is very common for a low-toned male to rap or sing, which was also popular in '90s Eurodance music.
Pad:Chords are often played as whole or half notes throughout the song's entirety using synthesizer pads. A common technique in bubblegum dance is to also layer pads with supporting gated pads with a phaser plugin and panning from the left speaker to the right speaker, giving the following effect.
- LEAD SYNTHESIZER
Typically a lead synthesizer will supplement the vocal chorus, which either conforms to the vocal melody or is a different arrangement of related notes.
Popular Leads & Supporting Elements:
- Acoustic Piano
Acoustic Piano:Borrowed from the genre of house music, some bubblegum dance consists of rhythmically played piano chords. The piano sound itself often has a sharp, spiky sound, which was also immensely popular in the genre of Eurodance. (Examples: "Hit'n'Hide On A Ride" - Hit'n'Hide, "In The Game (The Football Song)" - Ch!pz, "Candy Girl" - Bambee)
- Detuned Saw
Detuned Saw:As Trance music became widely popular in the late '90s and early '00s, frequently used elements elements such as the detuned saw lead began seeping into BGD productions. (Example - a lot of tracks from Bambee's "Fairytales" album use this as a lead synth, "Jet Set Life" - Smiles & More).
- Nylon Guitar
Nylon Guitar:Popularized by and used in a large number of Johnny Jam & Delgado productions, its use in BGD was innovative as being played in short, rhythmic repetitions (sixteenth notes or shorter) of triad chords, a lot like the acoustic piano element. Though this sound originated from the Roland JV1080, future synthesizer releases from the company would contain the patch, such as the JX-305. (Examples: "Barbie Girl" - Aqua, "Together Forever (The Cyber Pet Song) - Daze", "Little 1" - Creamy, ""Baywatch" - Blue Monster & Bikki, "Bumble Bee" - Bambee, "Hero" - Miss Papaya, and many, MANY more)
Pizzicato:A short and lovely plucking sound, the pizzicato saw widespread use in many genres of popular European dance music after being featured as the lead synth sound in "Encore Une Fois!" by Sash! and "Insomnia" by Faithless. (Examples: "Lilali" - Kim'Kay, "Captain Karaoke" - Tiggy, "Supermodel" - Bambee, "The 7 Jump" - Ken-D)
- Sawtooth Wave
Sawtooth Wave:Found in a wide variety of synthesizers, this simple but highly useful sound wave is highly distinguishable and recognized as being crucial to the success of a lot of catchy European dance melodies from the late '90s to the early '00s. This is another element that has been characterized as belonging to the Trance genre, though many different genres incorporate its use. In BGD, the sawtooth wave is often used as the lead synth. (Examples: "Vad Heter Du?" - Caramell, "Dam Doo Bee Doo" - Kinga,"We Like To Party (The Vengabus)" - Vengaboys, "The Happy Hook" - Ch!pz, "I Do" - Solid Base)
- Acoustic Piano
Bass - A large number of bubblegum dance songs have simple bass lines that hit on every offbeat. However, some have more creative, house-inspired bass line arrangements.Popular Bass Sounds:
- Lately Bass
Solid Bass:An extremely popular bass sound for BGD comes from a patch known as the "Lately Bass", a preset found on the FM synthesizer Yamaha TX81Z. Also common is the "Solid Bass" preset from the Yamaha DX100, which is related to but slightly different from the "Lately Bass". The following is a sample of the "solid bass" hitting on every offbeat with a percussion track.
- Organ Bass
Organ Bass:The "organ bass" is prominent in a lot of songs by the Vengaboys. The organ can also used as a supporting element to the main bass line, which is seen in a lot of House Of Scandinavia and Johnny Jam & Delgado productions. (Examples: "Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!" - Vengaboys, "Summer Boogie Nights" - Coconut Girl, "Sunqueen From Hula Bay" - HulaGirl)
Like a lot of electronic dance music, one of the primary features of bubblegum dance is its "four to the floor" percussion. This consists of symmetrically spaced kick drums that hit on each beat of the 4/4 measure. The kick drums used in BGD are usually tight and compressed, which make the percussion track thump. Generally for the chorus percussion, there is a clap that hits on every other beat and an open hat that hits on every offbeat. Closed hats often hit on every beat and many times are shuffled in various ways.
The exact arrangements of the percussion can vary from the verse, bridge, pre-chorus, and chorus, sometimes incorporating "breakbeats" that differ from the usual four to the floor pattern. Snare drum rolls are often used in building up or transitioning from one portion of the song to the other (snare_roll.mp3) (i.e. from the pre-chorus to the chorus) and crash cymbals usually signify the end of a transition within the song (i.e. the first beat of the chorus after the pre-chorus).
It's also common to use other percussive elements like ride cymbals and rimshots to texturize the percussion track. Many of the percussive elements present in BGD come from or sound close to instruments present on the Roland TR-909, a drum machine that has been incorporated in many, many dance tracks. The following sample contains a typical percussion arrangement with the kick, hats, and clap for the first measure, with ride cymbals and differently arranged closed hats added onto the second measure for comparison. There is also a crash cymbal present on the first beat.
Bubblegum dance is usually littered with a wide variety of sound effects. These can include sci-fi sounds, rising effects, filtered noise, magical effects (such as a rising/falling harp effect, cartoon sound effects, and more.