Different Styles of Electronic Music

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

Check out this blog post to learn about the different styles of electronic music and how they evolved over the years.

Electronic Dance Music

Electronic dance music is a broad range of percussive electronic music genres made largely for nightclubs, raves, and festivals. EDM is generally produced for playback by DJs who create seamless selections of tracks, called a mix, by segueing from one recording to another.


House is a genre of electronic dance music that was created in the early 1980s in Chicago. It was originally inspired by disco, but quickly developed its own unique sound and style. House music is characterized by its heavy use of synthetic sounds, repetitive 4/4 beats, and soulful vocals. It often incorporates elements from other genres of music, such as funk, soul, hip hop, and disco.


Techno is a type of electronic dance music that was developed in Detroit, Michigan in the late 1980s. The first techno tracks were produced by DJs and producers who were influenced by the electronic music of Europe, particularly the German group Kraftwerk. Detroit techno is characterized by a hard, driving sound that is often accompanied by overdubbed synthesizer and drum machine tracks. Techno is usually played at fast tempos, with a strong emphasis on the bass line.


Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that emerged from the British new-age music scene and the late 1980s. At the same time, trance music was developing in Europe. In the 1990s, trance genres began to diversify with the development of more sophisticated styles. Trance music has been described as having a “cathartic, uplifting” or “void” feeling. It is typified by a tempo of between 125 and 150 BPM, repeating melodic phrases and a musical form that opens and closes with a musical climax (a musical phrase that isrepeated multiple times).

Hip Hop

Hip hop is a style of electronic music that originated in the African-American community in the United States in the late 1970s. It is a style of music that is characterized by a strong rhythmic element, often with a heavy bass line, and often with rhymes or sung vocals.


Trap is a style of hip hop music that was developed in the early 1990s in the Southern United States. It is characterized by heavy bass, 808 drums, and sampled music from old arcade games and horror films.


Grime is a genre of electronic music that emerged in London in the early 2000s. It developed out of earlier UK garage and jungle scenes, and is characterized by rapid, syncopated breakbeats, often infused with elements of hip hop and dancehall. MCs often rap over grime tracks, using the genre’s signature call-and-response style.


Drill is a type of hip hop that originated in the city of Chicago in the early 2010s. It is defined by its dark, violent, and often paranoid lyrics, and its minimalist, spooky beats. Drill is typically characterized by its use of trap beats and Auto-Tuned vocals.


EDM is characterized by a strong danceable 4/4 beat, often with synthesizers and drum machines providing the instrumentation. The genre originated in the rave and club scenes of the 1980s and early 1990s, when DJs began playing more electronic dance music at clubs.


Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in South London in the late 1990s. It is generally characterized by sparse, syncopated rhythmic patterns with prominent sub-bass frequencies. The style emerged as an offshoot of UK garage, drawing on a lineage of related styles such as 2-step and dub reggae. In the United Kingdom, the origins of the genre can be traced back to productions by artists such as Horsepower Productions and El-B.

The first dubstep tracks were released in 1998 by Bigtrain and Truth, but the style did not gain mainstream popularity until around 2005 when it began to be featured on UK pirate radio stations such as Rinse FM. The popularity of dubstep grew rapidly in the early 2010s, culminating in commercial success for artists such as Skrillex and Nero. In 2012, Billboard magazine declared dubstep one of the “50 Sound Tracks That Defined a Decade”.

Today, dubstep has influences from a variety of electronic dance music genres such as grime, Drum and Bass, house, techno, and garage.

Drum and Bass

Drum and bass (also written as “drum ‘n’ bass”; commonly abbreviated as “D&B”, “DnB” or “D’n’B”) is a genre of electronic music characterised by fast breakbeats (typically between 150–180 beats per minute) with heavy bass and sub-bass lines, sampled sources. Drum and bass began as an offshoot of the United Kingdom’s rave and hardcore techno scenes of the early 1990s. Over the first decade of its existence the incorporation of elements from various musical genres led to many permutations in its overall style.



Hardstyle is a sub-genre of EDM that originated in the Netherlands in the early 2000s. The style is characterized by its heavy basslines and synth melodies, which are often distorted or “screeching”. Hardstyle tracks typically have a tempo of 150-175 BPM and are often played at events such as hard dance festivals.

Some of the most popular hardstyle artists include Headhunterz, D-Block & S-te-Fan, and Coone. Hardstyle has also been incorporated into other genres of EDM, such as dubstep and trap, by artists such as Skrillex and Flosstradamus.

Future Bass

Future bass is a subgenre of electronic dance music that originated in the 2010s. The style is characterized by bass-heavy drops and synthesizer-heavy melodies. Future bass music often has a dreamy or melancholic atmosphere.


Future Bass is a genre of electronic dance music that emerged in the 2010s. It is characterized by a heavy bass drop, often accompanied by sub-bass frequencies and syncopated rhythms. Future Bass music often has Elements of Trap, Hip Hop and Dubstep, and is frequently described as a ” hybrid” genre.

The term “Future Bass” was coined by American DJ and producer Dillon Francis in 2014, when he released his song “I.D.G.A.F.O.S.” on SoundCloud. Since then, the genre has gained popularity among producers and DJs around the world, with artists such as Flume, Illenium, Seven Lions, Marshmello, Slushii and San Holo leading the charge.

Future Bass can be divided into two sub-genres: Chill and Melodic. Chill Future Bass is generally more relaxed and subdued, with mellow melodies and laid-back vibes. Melodic Future Bass, on the other hand, is more upbeat and energetic, with catchy melodies and hard-hitting bass drops.


Future Bass is a genre of electronic music that combines elements of trap music with those of synth-pop, EDM, trip hop and ambient music. It typically features a thumping, four-on-the-floor bass drum, syncopated percussion rhythms, melodic leads and synth pads. Future Bass songs often have adrop, or breakdown section where the rhythm and melody change for a brief period of time before returning to the original motif.


Trap is a genre of electronic music that originated in the early 2000s in the Southern United States. It is a subgenre of hip hop that incorporates elements of EDM and often employs Trap-style vocals. The term “Trap” refers to places where drug deals take place.

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