The Difference Between Electronic and Dance Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

When it comes to music, there are a lot of different genres and subgenres. But what exactly is the difference between electronic and dance music? Let’s take a closer look.


There is a lot of debate surrounding the differences between electronic and dance music. While there are some similarities, there are also some key differences that set the two genres apart. Here is a look at the main differences between electronic and dance music:

-Electronic music is typically created by one or more DJs using computers and electronic instruments. Dance music, on the other hand, is usually created by a band or group of musicians using traditional instruments.
-Electronic music tends to be more experimental and innovative, while dance music is more focused on creating a catchy and accessible sound.
-Electronic music often has a slower tempo and focus on atmosphere, while dance music is typically upbeat and fast-paced.
-Dance music is often created with the intention of being played in clubs or at parties, while electronic music can be enjoyed in a variety of settings.

What is electronic music?

Electronic music is a genre of music that is made with electronic musical instruments or electronic sound effects. This genre can encompass a wide range of styles, from dance and club music to ambient and experimental music.

Its history

Electronic music is a genre of music that is produced using electronic devices and instruments. It emerged in the mid-20th century and has since become one of the most popular genres of music in the world.

There are various types of electronic music, including: dance, techno, house, trance, dubstep, and more. Each type of electronic music has its own unique sound and style.

The history of electronic music can be traced back to the early 1900s, when pioneers such as Luigi Russolo and Edgar Varèse began experimenting with new ways to create music using technology. In the 1950s and 1960s, composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez continued to push the boundaries of what was possible with electronics in music.

In the 1970s and 1980s, electronic music became more commercially viable with the advent of affordable synthesizers and drum machines. This led to a boom in popularity for genres such as disco, new wave, synth-pop, and hip-hop.

Today, electronic music is more popular than ever thanks to its infinite possibilities for creativity. With new technology emerging all the time, there’s no telling what exciting new sounds will be created in the future.

Its sub-genres

broadly, electronic music includes any music made using electronic instruments or technology. This can range from early 20th century music composed using only electronic instruments, to late 20th century works that mix traditional acoustic instrumentation with electronic elements. More specifically, electronic music often refers to music that has been created using synthesizers, samplers, and sequencers.

There are many sub-genres within electronic music, each with their own unique sound and history. Some of the most popular sub-genres include techno, house, trance, drum and bass, and dubstep.

What is dance music?

Dance music is a genre of music that is made to make people dance. It is usually played in clubs and is often high energy and fast paced. Electronic music is a genre of music that is made with electronic instruments. It can be played in clubs but is not always high energy.

Its history

The origins of dance music can be traced back to the disco era of the 1970s. However, it wasn’t until the early 1980s that electronic music really began to take off with the advent of new technologies such as synthesizers and drum machines. This new type of music quickly gained popularity in nightclubs and soon became known as “dance music.”

Dance music continued to evolve throughout the 1980s and 1990s with the rise of subgenres such as house, techno, and trance. In the 2000s, dance music experienced a major resurgence thanks to the popularity of electronic dance music (EDM). Today, dance music is one of the most popular genres in the world and shows no signs of slowing down.

Its sub-genres

Dance music is a catch-all term to describe a broad range of styles that emerged from the disco era in the 1970s. It includes everything from pop-oriented disco to the more underground styles that were popular in nightclubs.

Dance music has since evolve into a vast and hugely diverse genre, with sub-genres including house, techno, trance, drum and bass, dubstep and more. The one common thread that links all of these styles together is their focus on rhythm and melody, which encourages dancers to move their bodies.

The difference between electronic and dance music

The main difference between electronic and dance music is the tempo. Electronic music is usually slower and has a more laid back feel to it while dance music is more up tempo and has a more energetic feel. Electronic music is also usually more experimental and has a wider range of sounds while dance music is more focused on a specific sound or style.

The instruments used

The defining characteristic of electronic dance music, or EDM, is the use of electronic instruments and technologies to create music. But what distinguishes EDM from other genres that use electronic instrumentation, like rock or hip-hop? The answer lies in the relationship between the music and the dancers.

EDM is designed to be danced to. The tempo is fast, the energy is high, and the beats are catchy. This is in contrast to genres like trance or ambient music, which are designed to create a more atmospheric experience that can be enjoyed without dancing.

To create this dance-friendly sound, EDM producers make heavy use of synthesizers, drum machines, and computer-generated sounds. These elements are combined with traditional instruments like guitars and live drums to create a unique sound that is specifically designed for dancing.

The tempo

Dance music is almost exclusively based on a 4/4 time signature, meaning that there are four beats in a bar. This means that the tempo is usually around 120-130 bpm (beats per minute). Electronic music, on the other hand, can be based on any time signature and tempo. For example, dubstep is often in a half-time feel, meaning that the snare drum only hits on the 2 and 4 beat instead of the 1 and 3 like in most other forms of electronic dance music. This gives dubstep a much slower and heavier feel than other genres like electro house.

The vocals

The main difference between electronic and dance music is the vocals. Electronic music is mostly instrumental with the occasional vocal track, while dance music is vocal-driven. This doesn’t mean that electronic music can’t have great lyrics, but the focus is usually on the beat and the production. Dance music is all about the hook, so the vocals are always front and center.


In conclusion, electronic and dance music are two genres that are often confused. Electronic music is a genre of music that is created using electronic equipment, while dance music is a genre of music that is designed for people to dance to. While there are some similarities between the two genres, they are ultimately quite different.

Similar Posts