A Beginner’s Guide to Electronic Dance Music Genres

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A beginner’s guide to the most popular electronic dance music genres. Get to know the history, key artists, and defining tracks of each genre.

Introduction to Electronic Dance Music

Electronic dance music, also known as EDM, has been around for decades and has evolved into many different sub-genres. In this guide, we will introduce you to the most popular EDM genres, including house, techno, trance, drum and bass, and dubstep.

What is Electronic Dance Music?

Electronic Dance Music, or EDM as it’s commonly known, is a set of percussive electronic music genres produced primarily for use in live performances, DJ sets, and nightclubs.

The music is oftenhigh-energy and designed to get people moving, but it can also be slower and more introspective. The key characteristic of EDM is that it is created with electronic production equipment, rather than acoustic instruments.

This guide will give you a brief introduction to the most popular EDM genres, so that you can start exploring the world of electronic dance music!

History of Electronic Dance Music

The history of electronic dance music is a long and varied one. It began in the late 1970s with the advent of disco music, and then took on a life of its own in the 1980s with the rise of house and techno music. The 1990s saw a further diversification of the genre, with the rise of trance, jungle, and drum & bass. And in the 2000s, electronic dance music has only continued to grow in popularity, with new subgenres and subcultures emerging all the time.

Today, electronic dance music is one of the most popular genres in the world. It is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds, and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Whether you’re a seasoned raver or just getting started, this guide will introduce you to some of the most popular electronic dance music genres out there.

The Different Genres of Electronic Dance Music

There are many different genres of electronic dance music, and it can be hard to keep them all straight. This guide will help you learn about the different genres so you can decide which ones you like the best. We’ll start with the most popular genres and then move on to some of the more niche genres.


Techno is a genre of electronic dance music that emerged in the Detroit area in the 1980s. The first techno tracks were produced by artists such as Juan Atkins and Derrick May, who were influenced by the electro-funk sound of Kraftwerk. Techno is typically characterized by a repetitive four-on-the-floor beat, a thumping bassline, and synthesizer melodies.


The biggest sub-genre of dance music, house is defined by a thumping four-on-the-floor beat, simple melodies and chords, and often a ” vocal sample “. The earliest house tracks were produced by DJs from Chicago’s underground club scene in the early ’80s, and the style soon found its way to Europe, where it was further developed by Scottish producer Dave Clarke and others. The style’s popularity exploded in the late ’80s and early ’90s with the rise of acid house, a sub-genre characterized by the use of a 303 bass machine.


Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that is characterized by a driving, often repetitive beat and synthesizer-heavy melodies. Trance tracks are usually 150-180 BPM and build up to a “drop” or climax, which is often accompanied by a breakdown of the main melody. Trance music is often uplifting and euphoric, making it perfect for dancing or listening on a long drive.

Drum and Bass

Drum and bass is a style 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 often incorporates elements of other genres, such as jungle, dub and hip hop.


Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the early 2000s in the United Kingdom. It is characterized by a heavy bass sound, often with half-time rhythms, and filigree, syncopated drum and percussive patterns. The style emerged as a rave and club subgenre in London and has since spread to other parts of the world.


Trap is a sub-genre of hip hop that originated in the early 2000s in the Southern United States. It is typified by sub-divided hi-hats, heavy, sub-bass layered kick drums in the style of Tritonal and basslines that drop every fourth beat. Trap music features repeated use of 808 snare drums, ratchet claps, and melodic synth pads. It has its roots in Southern hip hop and gangster rap, but has been influenced by electronic music from Europe (particularly Dutch house and dubstep) as well.


We hope you enjoyed this guide to electronic dance music genres. With so many different types of EDM out there, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of trance, techno, house, or any other genre, we hope you’ll be able to find the music that you love.

Similar Posts