The Different Sub Genres of 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 a fan of electronic dance music, you might be wondering what the different sub genres are. Here’s a quick guide to help you out!


Electronic dance music, or EDM for short, is a genre that covers a wide range of styles. Though it is typically associated with club culture and the rave scene, there is a lot more to it than that. In recent years, EDM has become one of the most popular genres in the world, with artists like Calvin Harris and Avicii topping the charts.

There are many different sub genres of EDM, each with its own distinct sound. Here are some of the most popular:

-House: House music is characterized by a 4/4 beat and often features synthesizers and samples from other genres of music. It originated in Chicago in the 1980s and was popularized by clubs like The Warehouse.

– techno: Techno is a more experimental form of house music that often features distorted or synthesized sounds. It originated in Detroit in the 1980s and was popularized by clubs like The Music Institute.

– trance: Trance is a type of electronic dance music that is characterized by hypnotic melodies and repetition. It became popular in the 1990s and was often played at clubs or on the radio in Europe.

– drum & bass: Drum & bass is a fast-paced form of electronic dance music that features breakbeats and basslines. It originated in London in the early 1990s and was popularized by clubs like Fabric.


House is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the 1980s in Chicago. The name is derived from the Warehouse club in Chicago where House music was first played. House music is characterized by a 4/4 time signature, a strong bassline, and a repetitive melody.

Deep House

Deep house is a subgenre of house music. It originated in the 1980s, initially fusing elements of Chicago house with 1980s jazz-funk and touch of 1988 acid house. The style is often characterized by hypnotic rhythms, Soulful vocals, soft keyboard sounds and the occasional saxophone.

Tropical House

Tropical house, also known as trop house or tropical pop, is a subgenre of deep house that originated in the early 2010s. The genre is broadly influenced by Caribbean and Latino music, as well as French house and nu-disco.

Tropical house is typically characterized by laid-back, smooth melodies and rhythms with an emphasis on atmosphere and rhythm rather than melody or complex harmonic progression. The genre often features steel drums, marimbas, and other tropical percussion instruments, as well as synth pads and lead melodies reminiscent of 1980s lounge music or easy listening.

Tropical house generally has a slower tempo than other genres of electronic dance music, ranging from approximately 105 to 115 beats per minute. The genre gained mainstream popularity in the early 2010s with hits such as Kygo’s “Firestone” (featuring Conrad Sewell) and Matoma’s “Old Thing Back” (featuring Ja Rule and Ralph Tresvant).

Future House

Future House is a sub-genre of Electronic Dance Music that first gained popularity in the early 2010s. The genre is a fusion of deep house and EDM, with elements of trap and bass music. Future House is characterized by its use of synthesizers, percussion, and vocoders.

The genre was popularized by artists such as Tchami, Oliver Heldens, Don Diablo, and Calvin Harris. The sound of Future House has been described as “groovy”, “energetic”, and “funky”.


Techno is a subgenre of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan in the United States during the mid-to-late 1980s. The first recorded use of the word techno, in reference to a type of music, was in 1988. Techno is generally characterized by a repetitive 4/4 beat, hypnotic rhythms, and often, the use of sampled or synthesized sounds.

Detroit Techno

Detroit Techno is a subgenre of electronic dance music that originated in Detroit, Michigan, in the late 1980s. It is characterized by a heavy use of synthesizers, drum machines, and sequencers, and a lack of vocals.

The first Detroit Techno tracks were made by Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson, who were collectively known as the Belleville Three. These producers were influenced by European electronic music, particularly that of Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder, as well as the funk music of Parliament-Funkadelic.

Detroit Techno was initially popular in the clubs of Detroit and its surrounding suburbs, but it soon spread to other cities in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. In the 1990s, Detroit Techno was increasingly incorporated into other genres of electronic music, such as trance and techno.

Minimal Techno

Minimal techno is a subgenre of techno music characterized by a stripped-down aesthetics that is minimal in nature. This style of techno typically features syncopated percussion patterns with minimal melodic or vocal elements. The focus is placed on the rhythmic elements of the music and often uses Repeating basslines, drum machine patterns, and synth pads.

Acid Techno

Acid techno is a subgenre of techno that is defined by the use of the Roland TB-303 bass synthesizer. The style developed in the mid- to late-1980s, and reached its height of popularity in the early 1990s. Acid techno is characterized by its use of acid house style synth lines and drum patterns, and its focus on minimalism. The style is often noted for its psychedelic sound, which is created by the use of the TB-303’s built-in effects.


Trance is a subgenre of electronic dance music that developed in the early 1990s. It is characterized by a tempo of between 130 and 160 beats per minute, and is often produced with synthesizers and drum machines. The genre is related to other styles of electronic dance music such as techno and house, and often features repetitive, hypnotic, and melodic elements.

Uplifting Trance

Uplifting trance (sometimes called anthem trance) is a subgenre of trance music characterized by a tempo of between 125 and 160 BPM, melodic synthesizer lines, and uplifting, often emotional melodies. The genre developed in the early 1990s in Germany.

The breakdowns in uplifting trance often lead to anthemic synth riffs accompanied by piano stabs or simple basslines. The track will then usually build up again to the climax, which is often signalled by a breakdown featuring a more forceful synth riff played over the same rhythm previously used in the breakdown. This usually happens two or three times throughout the course of a track, although some tracks may only have one breakdown.

Melodic Trance

Melodic trance is a subgenre of trance music that focuses on melodies and emotions. The style is well known for its use of classical chords and elements, as well as its uplifting and often positive sound. Melodic trance is often used in film scores and video game soundtracks, as well as in mix compilations.

Psychedelic Trance

Psychedelic trance, psytrance or psy is a subgenre of trance music characterized by arrangements of synthetic rhythms and layered melodies created by high tempo riffs. Psytrance lies at the hardcore, underground end of the diverse trance spectrum. The genre offers variety in terms of mood, tempo, and style. Psytrance tracks are usually between 145 and 150 BPM but some can be much faster.

Drum and Bass

Drum and Bass is a sub genre of electronic dance music that originated in the early 1990s in the United Kingdom. It is characterized by fast breakbeats, often with heavy bass lines. Drum and Bass can be divided into two sub genres: jungle and drum and bass.


Neurofunk is a subgenre of drum and bass that first emerged in the early 1990s. It is characterized by hard-hitting basslines, complex syncopated rhythms, and often dark, menacing atmospheres.

The neurofunk sound was pioneered by producers such as Goldie, Roni Size, and Photek. It has since been developed and pushed forward by a new generation of producers such as Noisia, Spor, and Rockwell.

Neurofunk is not for the faint of heart. It is a aggressive, in-your-face style of drum and bass that will get your heart racing and your head nodding. If you’re looking for a challenge, neurofunk is definitely the way to go.

Jump Up

Jump up is a fast paced sub genre of drum and bass, characterised by its quick breakbeats and heavy basslines. Jump up tracks often have a ‘call and response’ structure, with the MC calling out over the track and the crowd responding. This style of drum and bass first emerged in London in the early 1990s.

Notable jump up tracks include “Terrorist” by Matrix & Futurebound, ” Ruffneck Sound” by Mark System, and “Bungalow Bill” by Roni Size & Reprazent.

Liquid Funk

Liquid funk is a subgenre of drum and bass that was heavily influenced by jazz and funk. It has a smoother sound than some of the other subgenres, with a focus on melody and atmosphere.


Despite being one of the newer genres of Electronic Dance music, Dubstep has already made a huge impact on the music industry. This genre of music is known for its heavy bass and unique sound. Dubstep is a subgenre of Electronic Dance music that originated in the early 2000s.


Brostep is a sub genre of dubstep that is characterized by its aggressive, bass-heavy sound. It is often referred to as “drumstep” or “filthy dubstep” due to its heavy use of drums and percussion. Brostep is typically produced with software such as Ableton Live or Logic Pro, and often features thick, layered basslines. The genre first gained popularity in the early 2010s, and has continued to grow in popularity since then. Some notable brostep artists include Skrillex, Excision, and Datsik.


Wonky is a relatively new sub genre of dubstep that is characterized by irregular, syncopated rhythms and often off-kilter melodies. The wonky sound is often compared to that of a wonky wheel or a car with a flat tire, hence the name. Wonky tracks are often minimalistic, with few elements and a focus on the rhythmic elements rather than the melodic.

UK Garage

UK garage, or UKG, is a genre of electronic music originating from England in the early 1990s. The genre combines elements of drum and bass, house, and hip hop. It is distinguished from other genres by its use of syncopated 2-step beats and deconstructed club-friendly sampling.

UK garage productions frequently make use of sub-bass frequencies and drum patterns that draw from jungle and dubstep. The earliest form of the genre was known as speed garage, and was characterised by sped-up house or techno tracks with heavy basslines. This style was developed in London clubs such as The Box in the mid-1990s, before evolving into a more eclectic sound with different tempos and rhythms.

UK garage became commercially successful in the late 1990s, reaching its peak between 1998 and 2002. It was often associated with fashion, particularly baggy jeans, crop tops, and Nike Air Max sneakers. UK garage tracks often featured MCs rapping over the instrumentals; early records often sampled classic soul or R&B tracks. By 2001, the popularity of UK garage began to wane in favour of grime (a genre that developed from UKgarage), but it has remained an underground dance music genre with a devoted following.


Overall, electronic dance music has something for everyone. Whether you like your tunes fast and furious or slow and dreamy, there’s a sub genre out there that will suit your taste. So get out there and start exploring!

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