What is Electronic Dance Music?

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re into music, you’ve probably heard of electronic dance music, or EDM. But what is it, really? In this post, we’ll explore the history and origins of EDM, and take a look at its current state.

What is EDM?

Electronic Dance Music, also known as EDM, is a type of music that is created with the use of electronic instruments and equipment. This type of music is often played in clubs and festivals, and is also popular among many people who enjoy listening to it at home. EDM has many different sub-genres, and is usually characterized by a heavy beat and a catchy melody.

Defining the genre

Electronic dance music, also known as EDM, 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.

The origins of EDM date back to the early 1970s when pioneers like Giorgio Moroder and Klaus Schulze created electronic soundscapes using sophisticated analog synthesizers. By the late 1970s, electronic dance music had become a staple at underground clubs and discotheques in Europe. In the 1980s and 1990s, techno and house music genres emerged from Detroit and Chicago respectively and quickly became popular in dance clubs worldwide.

In the early 2000s, a new wave of European DJs including David Guetta, Tïesto, and Armin van Buuren helped to popularize EDM on a global scale. Today, EDM has transcended its club roots and can be heard in everything from pop music to film scores. The genre continues to evolve with new subgenres emerging all the time.

The history of EDM

The history of EDM is often traced back to the disco era of the late 1970s, when DJs began experimenting with electronic instruments and drum machines. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that EDM began to take on its modern form. This was owing to the development of new technologies like synthesizers, samplers and drum machines, which made it possible for DJs and producers to create novel soundscapes.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, EDM was strongly influenced by acid house music, a style that emerged from Chicago’s underground club scene. This style was characterized by the use of acidic synth lines and trance-like beats. In the mid-1990s, a new style of EDM called techno emerged from Detroit. Techno was darker and more experimental than acid house, and it quickly spread to Europe where it became hugely popular.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a new wave of EDM artists began to experiment with elements of other genres, giving birth to sub-genres like trance, progressive house and hardstyle. In recent years, EDM has become one of the most popular genres in the world, thanks in large part to its popularity among young people.

The Different Types of EDM

Electronic Dance Music, or EDM for short, is a broad range of electronic music genres that are usually played in clubs, festivals, and concerts. The music is characterized by a fast tempo, repetitive beats, and synthesized sounds. EDM can be divided into subgenres such as house, techno, trance, and dubstep.


House is a style of electronic dance music that originated in the early 1980s in Chicago. It is characterized by a four-on-the-floor drum beat, deep basslines, and synthesizers. House music quickly spread to other areas of the United States and then to the rest of the world.


Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan in the United States during the mid-to-late 1980s. The first techno productions were largely influenced by the sound of Chicago house music, as well as disco and electro. In the early 1990s, a more stripped-down sound known as acid house or techno trance began to develop in Europe. By the end of the decade, techno had become one of the most popular genres of electronic dance music.

The basic structure of techno consists of four on-the-beat kicks, hi-hats on every quarter note, and an occasional clap or snare on the second and fourth beats. The kick drum often has a “click” sound to it, while the hi-hats are usually played with a closed or partially closed hi-hat technique. Most techno tracks also feature synthesizers and programmed drum machines.


In general, trance refers to a kind of electronic dance music (EDM) that is characterized by a hypnotic, repetitive sound. Typically, trance tracks have a very catchy melody that is backed by a driving, pulsing beat. The result is a sound that is both highly danceable and extremely infectious.

Trance music first gained popularity in the early 1990s, and has remained one of the most popular genres of EDM ever since. While the sound of trance has evolved considerably over the years, the basics remain the same: catchy melodies, driving beats, and an overall feeling of euphoria.

If you’re looking to get into trance music, some of the most popular artists include Armin van Buuren, Tiesto, Ferry Corsten, and Paul van Dyk.

Drum & Bass

Drum & bass (also written as “drum ‘n’ bass” 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, synthesizers, and samplers. Drum and bass began as a hybrid of breakbeat hardcore and reggae/dub.

The Culture Surrounding EDM

Electronic dance music, also known as EDM, has become one of the most popular genres of music in recent years. It has its roots in the club culture of the 1980s and 1990s, and has since grown to become a hugely popular genre of music. EDM is known for its high energy, often fast-paced beats, and its ability to get people up and dancing. The culture surrounding EDM is one of the most important aspects of the genre.

The fashion

When it comes to the fashion of electronic dance music, there are no rules. You can dress up or dress down, as long as you’re comfortable. The most important thing is to express yourself and have fun with your outfit.

There are a few staple items that you’ll see at nearly every EDM event, though. These include:

-Kandi: Kandi is colorful beaded bracelets that are often exchanged between friends at EDM shows. They are a symbol of peace, love, and unity.
-Furry boots: Furry boots (often called “plur boots”) are a popular choice for both men and women at EDM events. They keep your feet warm in the winter and look pretty damn funky, too.
-Glowing accessories: LED gloves, glasses, hula hoops, and other accessories that light up in the dark are popular among ravers. They add an extra element of fun to the party and help you stand out in a crowd.

Of course, these are just a few examples. You can wear whatever you want to an EDM event – there is no dress code. So wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and happy!

The music festivals

Each year, electronic dance music (EDM) fans flock to massive festivals around the world to hear their favorite DJs spin. From Ultra Music Festival in Miami to Tomorrowland in Belgium, these events bring together people of all ages for a weekend of non-stop dancing.

But EDM festivals are about more than just the music. They’re also about the community that surrounds the music. At these festivals, you’ll see people from all walks of life coming together to enjoy the same thing: a good time.

This sense of community is one of the things that makes EDM so special. It’s a genre of music that is truly for everyone. Whether you’re a diehard fan or just getting into the scene, there’s a place for you at an EDM festival.

The Future of EDM

Since the late 2000s, EDM has been increasingly growing in popularity within mainstream popular culture. In 2012, a survey conducted by the International Dance Music Awards found that over 60% of respondents believed that EDM was becoming more mainstream. This rise in popularity has been attributed to a number of factors, including the increasing accessibility of electronic music production software and hardware, the increasing prevalence of social media platforms such as SoundCloud and YouTube, and the increased commercial viability of electronic dance music.

Within popular culture, EDM has often been associated with drug use, particularly MDMA (ecstasy) and ketamine. This association is reflected in the often- used terms “party drugs” and “rave drugs”, as well as in popular culture depictions of EDM concerts and festivals. However, not all attendees of EDM concerts or festivals use drugs; a 2013 survey found that only 33% of respondents reported using drugs at EDM events.

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