The Different Electronic Music Categories You Should Know About

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


In order to appreciate electronic music, it is important to understand the different genres and subgenres. This blog will explore the different categories of electronic music and what makes each one unique.

Electronic Dance Music (EDM)

Electronic Dance Music, or EDM for short, is a genre that encompasses a wide range of sub-genres. It’s a type of music that is made with the intention of being danced to, and it’s often played in clubs, festivals, and parties. EDM is a broad term that can be used to describe anything from techno and house to dubstep and trance.

What is EDM?

EDM stands for electronic dance music. It is a type of music that is produced electronically for the purpose of being played in nightclubs, festivals, and other events where people dance.

The term “EDM” was first coined in the 1980s, but the genre has come to encompass a wide range of styles and subgenres that have evolved over the past few decades.

Today, EDM encompasses everything from house and techno to dubstep and trance. It is one of the most popular genres of music in the world, and its popularity shows no signs of waning any time soon.

Characteristics of EDM

EDM is generally characterized by sparse, syncopated rhythmic patterns with prominent sub-bass frequencies and synthesizers. The genre has seen a revival in popularity in recent years, with festivals such as Tomorrowland and Ultra Music attracting tens of thousands of revellers from around the world.

There are many different sub-genres of EDM, each with their own distinct characteristics and loyal following. Here is a quick guide to some of the most popular:

· Techno – This is one of the oldest and most well-established genres of electronic dance music, dating back to the 1980s. Techno is typically characterized by a 4/4 beat, heavy use of synthetic sounds and a dark, often futuristic tone.

· House – Another genre with roots in the 1980s, house music was initially influenced by disco and soul music. It is typified by a 4/4 beat, use of samples from other tracks and a focus on creating a catchy, danceable sound.

· Drum & Bass – This genre developed out of breakbeat hardcore in the early 1990s and is characterized by fast-paced beats (usually around 160-180 BPM) and heavy use of bassline synthesizers.

· Dubstep – A relatively new genre that first emerged in the early 2000s, dubstep is characterized by its ‘wobble’ bass sound and half-time beats. It has become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to its heavy use in television and film soundtracks (most notably Inception).

House Music

House music is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the 1980s in Chicago. It is characterized by a four-on-the-floor drum beat, minimalistic percussion, and occasionally vocoded vocals. House music quickly spread to other American cities like Detroit, New York, and Los Angeles.

What is House Music?

House music is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in African American and Latino communities in Chicago in the early 1980s. Named after the city’s iconic House of Blues club, house music quickly spread to other dance clubs and eventually became a global phenomenon.

With its origins in soul and disco, house music is characterized by a thumping 4/4 beat, deep bass lines, and often repetitive or looping melodies. House tracks are often built around samples from older songs, giving them a distinctive retro sound.

While house music is often played in nightclubs, it has also found popularity as a radio genre, with many dedicated house music radio stations and shows around the world. House DJs are also frequently heard at major music festivals like Tomorrowland and Ultra Music Festival.

Characteristics of House Music

House music is a genre of electronic dance music characterized by a repetitive four on the floor beat and a tempo of 120 to 130 beats per minute. It was created by DJs and music producers from Chicago in the early 1980s, as they combined elements of existing disco tracks with newly recorded Italian-American electronic music.


Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in the late 1980s. It is characterized by a repetitive 4/4 beat and often has a fast tempo. Techno is often used as a term to describe various styles of electronic dance music that are derived from or related to the original techno sound.

What is Techno?

Techno is a type of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan in the 1980s. The first techno track is generally thought to be “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force, which was released in 1982. Techno is known for its heavy use of synthesizers and drum machines, and its fast tempo. It typically ranges from 120 to 150 beats per minute (bpm).

Techno is divided into various subgenres, such as acid techno, hard techno, minimal techno, and tech house. Most subgenres of techno are based on the original sound that emerged in Detroit in the 1980s, but each has its own unique characteristics. Acid techno, for example, is known for its distorted bass lines and acid-like melodies, while minimal techno is characterized by sparse arrangements and a focus on texture over melody.

Characteristics of Techno

Techno is a genre 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. Many styles of techno now exist, but Detroit techno is seen as the foundation upon which a number of subgenres have been built.

Techno is generally characterized by a repetitive 4/4 beat, synthesizer-generated looping or riffs, and Futurist or dystopian lyricism. technicians create music using various electronic musical instruments, often with an emphasis on synthesizers and drum machines. They create rhythmic patterns and loops to be played by a DJ at a club or rave; these tempo-related tracks are sometimes referred to as “beats”, “tracks”, or simply “music”.


Trance is a genre of electronic music that emerged in the early 1990s. It is characterized by a tempo of between 125 and 150 BPM, repeating melodic phrases, and a lack of dynamics. Trance music is often used by DJs to induce a state of euphoria in their listeners.

What is Trance?

Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that developed in the early 1990s. It is characterized by a tempo of between 125 and 150 beats per minute, repeating melodic phrases, and a musical form that builds up and down throughout a track.

There are many different subgenres of trance, each with its own distinct style and sound. The four most common subgenres are progressive trance, uplifting trance, hard trance, and vocal trance.

Progressive trance is characterized by a more driving, relentless beat and longer, more complex melodies. Uplifting trance often features beautiful melodies and positive-sounding lyrics. Hard trance is typified by hard-hitting basslines and dark, atmospheric soundscapes. Vocal trance typically features female vocalists singing over soaring synth melodies.

While the exact origins of trance are difficult to pinpoint, the genre can trace its roots back to the early 1990s rave scene in the United Kingdom. Early pioneers of the style include Sasha & Digweed, Paul Oakenfold, Nick Warren, and Pete Tong. In the years since, trance has continued to evolve and mutate, giving birth to new subgenres and hybrid styles.

Characteristics of Trance

Trance is a genre of electronic music that emerged from the British new-age music scene and the early 1990s German techno and hardcore scenes. At the same time trance music was developing in Europe, the genre was also gathering a following in the Indian subcontinent.

Trance typically contains highly melodic, euphoric, and often major-key tunings on synthesizers, as well as expansive breakdowns and buildups with sustained breakdowns often lasting several minutes. As a result, trance is often described as “resolution” music.

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