How Electronic Music Genres Have Evolved

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


How Electronic Music Genres Have Evolved: A History of House, Techno, Drum & Bass, and More


The term “electronic music” covers a wide range of sounds and styles, from the thumping bass of techno and the soaring melodies of trance, to the bleeps and bloops of chiptune and the atonal noise of industrial. It is a genre that is constantly evolving, as new technologies create new possibilities for sound, and new artists find new ways to use them.

In this article, we will trace the history of electronic music, from its earliest days in the laboratory, through its development as a form of popular music, to its current state as one of the most diverse and innovative genres around.

Early Electronic Music

Electronic music has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the early 20th century. In the early days, electronic music was created using a variety of analog devices and was often used for experimental purposes.


Techno is a genre of electronic dance music that is characterized by a repetitive 4/4 beat. It was first created in Detroit, Michigan in the 1980s. Techno is generally produced for use in a nightclub or dance club setting, and has been described as “the sound of machines”. The first techno tracks were made with synthesizers, drum machines, and sequencers, and were often inspired by the work of Kraftwerk.


House is a genre of electronic music that was developed in the 1980s in the Chicago area. The style was influenced by various genres of music, including disco, soul, funk, and rock. House music is typically characterised by a 4/4 time signature, a steady beat, and a relatively simple melody. The first house tracks were produced with analogue synthesizers and drum machines, and later more sophisticated digital equipment became available. House music has been particularly popular in clubs and on dance floors around the world.

Drum and Bass

Drum and bass is a type of electronic music that emerged in the early 1990s. It is characterized by fast, syncopated rhythms and often features samples from other genres of music, such as hip hop, funk, and techno. Drum and bass tends to be produced at around 170 beats per minute (BPM), making it one of the fastest-paced genres of electronic music. It is often used in nightclubs and rave settings.

Modern Electronic Music

Electronic music has come a long way since its inception in the late 20th century. With the advent of technology, new genres of electronic music have emerged and have taken the music industry by storm. In this article, we will take a look at the evolution of electronic music and how it has changed over the years.


Dubstep is a genre of electronic music that emerged in the late 1990s. It is characterized by a tempo of around 140 beats per minute, heavy basslines, and sparse arrangements. The genre grew out of the UK garage and jungle scenes, and is closely related to other styles such as grime and 2-step.

Dubstep tracks are often characterized by their use of WOBBLY bass sounds, which are created by manipulating the low end frequencies of a track. These basslines often have a slow attack and release, which makes them sound “wobbly” or “sluggish.” In addition to these bass sounds, dubstep tracks often feature atmospheres or pads, which create a sense of space and tension. These elements are often combined with syncopated drum patterns to create a signature dubstep sound.


Trap is a subgenre of hip hop music that originated in the early 1990s in the Southern United States. It is typified by its heavy use of rhythmic textures and sound effects, often achieved through the use of electronic instruments and tempo-driven synthesizer music. Trap music is often characterized by its dark, aggressive lyrics and slow, heavy beats.


EDM, or electronic dance music, is a broad range of popular music genres made largely for nightclubs, raves and festivals. It is generally produced for playback by DJs who create seamless selections of tracks, called a mix by mixing recorded tracks. EDM producers also perform their music live in a concert or festival setting in what is sometimes called a live PA. In Europe, EDM is more commonly called ‘dance music’, or simply ‘dance’.

The history of EDM is intertwined with the history of electronic music production. Early electronic music was often played live, using analog synthesizers, drum machines and sequencers. As technology progressed in the 1980s and 1990s, digital instruments and software were developed that made producing and performing electronic music easier and more accessible. These advances helped to bring about the rise of popular genres such as house, techno and trance.

Today, EDM encompasses a wide range of styles and subgenres, from the festive sound of happy hardcore to the dark and gritty sound of dubstep. Despite its many different forms, EDM is united by a common goal: to get people dancing.


In conclusion, electronic music genres have come a long way since their inception in the late 19th century. What started as a niche genre has now become one of the most popular and mainstream genres of music, with sub-genres constantly evolving to keep up with the times. Electronic music will continue to grow and evolve in the years to come, and it will be interesting to see what new sounds and styles emerge from this ever-changing genre.

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