Electronic Dance Music: Derivative Forms

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


What is Electronic Dance Music?

Electronic Dance Music, or EDM, is a broad range of genres that emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These genres were characterized by the use of synthesizers, drum machines, and electronic sounds in order to create a danceable, club-friendly sound.

EDM has since evolved into a wide variety of subgenres and styles, each with its own distinct sound and feel. Some of the most popular ED


Electronic dance music has come to be known by many names over the years. It is sometimes called club music, or more recently, EDM. Whatever you call it, this type of music has been around for decades and shows no signs of slowing down. In this article, we will take a look at the history of electronic dance music and some of its most popular subgenres.

Defining Electronic Dance Music

Electronic Dance Music, or EDM for short, is a genre of music that emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Characterized by a heavy emphasis on rhythm and melody, EDM is often created with the use of synthesizers, drum machines, and computer software.

While there is no one definitive sound that can be said to typify EDM as a whole, the genre is generally characterized by a fast tempo, driving beat, and repeated melodies. Common sub-genres of EDM include house, techno, trance, and dubstep.

EDM has its roots in disco and electronic music of the 1970s and 1980s. In particular, the 1980s electronic dance music scene in Chicago played a significant role in the development of the genre. Today, EDM is enjoyed by millions of people around the world and is frequently performed at nightclubs, festivals, and concerts.

The History of Electronic Dance Music

The history of electronic dance music is complex and nuanced, with different subgenres traced back to different regions and cultures. However, there are some commonalities that can be found throughout the genre.

Early electronic dance music was often characterized by repetitive beats and simple melodies. This was partly due to the limitations of early synthesizers and samplers, which made it difficult to create complex sounds. As technology progressed, however, producers began to experiment with more diverse sounds and rhythms.

House music, which originated in the 1980s in Chicago, is typically considered the earliest form of electronic dance music. This genre was influenced by other genres such as disco and soul music. House music often features a four-on-the-floor kick drum pattern, synthesizer basslines, and off-beat hi-hats.

Detroit techno, which emerged in the late 1980s, is another early form of electronic dance music. This genre was heavily influenced by European electronic music, particularly Kraftwerk. Detroit techno typically features atmospheric pads, deep basslines, and intricate rhythms.

Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the 1990s in Germany. This genre is known for its deeply emotive melodies and ethereal soundscapes. Trance often features soaring synth leads, driving basslines, and fast-paced rhythms.

The Different Types of Electronic Dance Music

There are many different types of electronic dance music, each with their own subgenres and subcategories. The four main types of electronic dance music are house, techno, trance, and Drum & Bass. Within each of these main genres, there are many different subgenres that have developed over the years.


House is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the 1980s in Chicago, Illinois. It was created by DJs and music producers who were influenced by disco, soul, and funk. House music is characterized by a repetitive 4/4 beat, a deep bassline, and often includes synthesizers and drum machines. House music quickly became popular in clubs and remains one of the most popular genres of electronic dance music today.

There are many subgenres of house music, including deep house, tech house, minimal house, progressive house, ghetto house, and more.


Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in the mid-to-late 1980s. Techno is generally characterized by a repetitive 4/4 time signature, a thumping bassline, and synthesizer-generated hooks and melodies. The Detroit-based music scene was a major influence on the development of techno, with pioneering producers such as Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Carl Craig all helping to shape the sound.

Techno was initially popularized in Europe, particularly in Germany and the UK, before becoming a global phenomenon in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In recent years, techno has undergone something of a resurgence in popularity, with many young people rediscovering the genre.

There are many different subgenres of techno, including acid techno, hard techno, minimal techno, and tech house.


Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that developed in the early 1990s in Germany. It is characterized by a tempo of between 124 and 160 beats per minute, repeating melodic phrases, and a musical form that builds up and breaks down throughout the song. Trance songs typically have a 4/4 time signature, with a sub-genre and variation called half-time that uses a 2/4 time signature.

Drum and Bass

Drum and bass is a type of electronic dance music that emerged in the early 1990s. It is characterized by fast breakbeats (typically between 150 and 180 beats per minute) with heavy bass and sub-bass lines. Drum and bass began as a fusion of jungle, techno, and rave music.

The earliest drum and bass tracks were often played by jungle DJs using turntables and samplers. This style of music was later refined by producers who used digital audio workstations to create more complex arrangements. Drum and bass has evolved since its inception, but the basic elements remain the same.

Today, drum and bass is one of the most popular genres of electronic dance music, with a loyal following around the world. It is often played at nightclubs, festivals, and raves.

The Popularity of Electronic Dance Music

Electronic Dance Music, or EDM, has taken the world by storm in recent years. This type of music is often characterized by its heavy use of synthesizers, drum machines, and computer effects. EDM has become popular among all age groups and is often played at clubs, festivals, and concerts.

The Growth of the Electronic Dance Music Scene

The electronic dance music scene has exploded in popularity in recent years, with festivals and clubs dedicated to the genre popping up all over the world. The music itself is a derivative of various genres, including house, techno, trance, and dubstep.

EDM artists often create their own tracks using electronic equipment, and many live performances involve DJs playing pre-recorded tracks mixed with live instruments. The resulting sound is high-energy and often incorporates elements of pop music as well.

This popularity has led to a growing number of electronic music festivals, which are typically multi-day events that feature multiple stages and dozens of DJs and producers. These festivals often take place in outdoor venues, and attendees can camp on-site for the duration of the event.

The growth of the electronic dance music scene has been driven by social media platforms like SoundCloud and YouTube, which have given EDM artists a wider reach than ever before. In addition, the rise of streaming services like Spotify has made it easier than ever for fans to discover new music.

The Mainstream Popularity of Electronic Dance Music

Since the 1990s, electronic dance music has been gaining in popularity, not only in nightclubs and rave culture, but also in the mainstream music industry. While many forms of popular music incorporate electronic elements, electronic dance music (EDM) is a genre unto itself, characterized by its heavy reliance on electronically produced beats and rhythms.

While EDM has its roots in underground club culture, in recent years it has exploded into the mainstream, thanks in part to the popularity of radio shows and festivals like Tomorrowland. A number of high-profile artists have embraced EDM, including Madonna, The Black Eyed Peas, and Justin Bieber.

The mainstream popularity of EDM has led to a boom in the production and consumption of electronic dance music. In 2014, global sales of EDM albums topped $1 billion for the first time ever. And according to a report from the International Music Summit, EDM is now the most popular genre in the world, ahead of rock and pop.

There are plenty of reasons for the rising popularity of EDM. For one, it’s highly accessible; thanks to streaming services like Spotify and SoundCloud, anyone with an Internet connection can listen to EDM for free. And with the help of social media, word about new tracks spreads quickly and easily.

What’s more, EDM is incredibly versatile; it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and from all walks of life. Whether you’re looking to relax or get pumped up for a night out, there’s an EDM track that’s perfect for you. And thanks to itsrhythmic nature, EDM is also great for dancing – something that can’t be said for all genres of music.

So what does the future hold for EDM? It’s tough to say for sure; after all, no one could have predicted its meteoric rise in popularity over the past few years. But one thing is certain: electronic dance music is here to stay.


Electronic dance music has become one of the most popular genres of music in recent years. It has also spawned a number of derivative forms, such as dubstep and trap. In this article, we will take a look at the history of electronic dance music and its derivative forms.

The Future of Electronic Dance Music

It would be naïve to try and predict the future of electronic dance music, as the genre has proven to be incredibly dynamic and unpredictable. However, it seems safe to say that the popularity of EDM will continue to grow in the years to come, as more and more people are exposed to its various sub-genres and derivative forms. As the industry continues to evolve, we can expect to see new sub-genres emerge, as well as an increase in collaborations between artists from different disciplines. With any luck, this will result in a continued increase in the quality and diversity of EDM releases, and ultimately lead to even more people getting involved in this ever-expanding scene.

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