Electronic Music Genres Explained

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re new to the world of electronic music, you might be wondering what all the different genres are about. Here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular styles.


There are many different types of electronic music genres. In this article, we will explore some of the most popular ones.

Techno is a type of electronic dance music that was developed in the 1980s. It is characterized by a heavy use of synthesizers and drum machines. Techno is often associated with the rave culture.

House is another type of electronic dance music that originated in the 1980s. It is characterized by a 4/4 time signature and a steady beat. House music often has a soulful or funky sound.

Trance is a type of electronic music that was developed in the 1990s. It is characterized by a hypnotic quality and a focus on atmosphere and melody. Trance music often has a spiritual or uplifting feeling.

Drum and bass is a type of electronic music that was developed in the 1990s. It is characterized by its fast tempo and heavy use of basslines. Drum and bass often has a dark or menacing sound.

Ambient electronic music is characterized by its soothing and relaxing qualities. Ambient music often has a slow tempo and includes sounds from nature such as rain or birdsong.

What is Electronic Music?

Electronic music is a genre of music that is created with the use of electronic instruments and electronic music production. It is a broad genre that can be divided into subgenres such as house, techno, trance, drum and bass, and dubstep.


electronic music was first created in the early 1900s. The first electronic music instruments were called “theremins.” Theremins were created by Russian scientist Leon Theremin.

Some of the earliest electronic music was created for the theremin. In 1929, composer Joseph Schillinger wrote a theremin concerto, one of the first pieces of music specifically written for the instrument. In the 1930s, American composer and musician George Antheil wrote Ballet Mécanique, a work for Theremins and other percussion instruments.

During the 1940s and 1950s, electronic music began to be used in movies and on television. One of the earliest examples is Paul Hindemith’s score for the 1947 film ” murderer.” In 1950, Italian film director Mario Bava used electronic music in his film ” black Sabbath.”

In the 1960s, electronic music became more popular with the development of new types of synthesizers. These included the Moog synthesizer, invented by Robert Moog in 1964. Synthesizers were used extensively in popular music during the 1970s. Groups such as Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra made electronic music using synthesizers and drum machines.

In the 1980s, electronic dance music (EDM) emerged as a new genre of popular music. This style of music is often characterized by repetitive beats and melodies. EDM is typically produced using computer software rather than traditional instruments. Some well-known EDM artists include Daft Punk, deadmau5, and Skrillex.


The first electronic music was created in the early 20th century. Musicians used electronic instruments and inventors such as Thomas Edison and Leon Theremin created new ways to create sounds. In the late 1940s, composers such as Pierre Schaeffer and Raymond Scott started to experiment with tape music, using reel-to-reel tape recorders to create new sounds.

During the 1950s, composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez began to experiment with electronic music, using a variety of different equipment. In the 1960s, musicians such as Pauline Oliveros and Yoko Ono started to experiment with avant-garde approaches to music. In the 1970s, composers such as Brian Eno and Kraftwerk began to experiment with popular music styles, while other musicians such as Yellow Magic Orchestra blended traditional Japanese music with electronic music.

In the 1980s, electronic dance music became popular, with genres such as house music, techno and acid house being developed. In the 1990s, a range of new electronic genres emerged, including drum and bass, jungle and trip hop. In the 2000s, electronic music became more mainstream, with artists such as The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers enjoying success in the charts.


Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means, and that produced using electronics only. Electromechanical instruments include telegraphy, telephony and gramophones, and computer music includes sound produced by digital synthesis and computer-generated soundscapes.

Today, popular genres of electronic music include EDM, techno, house, trance and drum & bass. These genres often feature heavy use of sub-bass frequencies, synthesizers and distorted sounds.

Types of Electronic Music

There are a variety of electronic music genres, each with their own distinct style and sound. The most popular genres include dubstep, techno, and trance. In this article, we’ll explore each genre in depth, discussing their history and evolution.


House is a genre of electronic music characterized by a repetitive four-on-the-floor beat and a typical tempo of 120 to 130 beats per minute. It was created by DJs and music producers from Chicago in the early 1980s.

The first use of the term “house” in reference to electronic music was in a tracks named ” Jack the House”, produced by Gene Chandler in 1984. Despite the name, house music is not related to other genres such as disco or soul, but it did absorb some elements from these genres.

House music is often described as feeling ” robotic” or “ machine – like”, because of its heavy use of drum machines and synthesizers. It also frequently uses samples from other songs, which are then manipulated with filters and effects. House tracks typically have a length of six to eight minutes, and they are usually played by DJs in clubs or at dance music festivals.


Techno is a form of electronic dance music that originated in Detroit, Michigan in the United States during the mid-to-late 1980s. The first techno tracks were produced by Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson, who are often referred to as the ” Belleville Three”. Techno is generally repetitive instrumental music produced for use in a continuous DJ set. The central rhythmic component is most often in common time (4/4), where time is marked with a bass drum on each quarter note pulse, with sub-bass frequencies providing the counterpoint.

Up until the late 1980s, the term “techno” was used to describe various underground music genres such as acid house, Detroit techno, and rave. In 1988, Atkins published an article in Metro Times titled “Looking for Techno”, where he attempted to define the musical style: “Techno…is a pure evolutionary development of Afro-American electronic dance music called house.” He later suggested that the music was inspired by “the genius of people like Kraftwerk, George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, Giorgio Moroder and Yellow Magic Orchestra.”

Drum and Bass

Drum and bass (commonly abbreviated to D&B, D+B or DnB) is a genre of electronic music characterised by fast breakbeats (typically between 150–180 beats per minute) with heavy bass and sub-bass lines, sampled sources, and synthesizers. The music grew out of the UK’s jungle scene in the early 1990s. Stylistically, drum and bass incorporates a number of styles including breakbeat hardcore, techno, dubstep, electro, and occasionally house.

The music isdominated by a relatively small group of record labels, artistsand nightclubs. The most prominent figureheads in the genre are GoldieandLTJ Bukem. Other significant Record labels include Metalheadz, RAM Recordsand Hospital Records. Prominent clubs include Fabric and The End(both in London). Drum and bass has established itself as oneof the most exciting and forward-thinking genres of electronic musicwith a global fan base that spans all ages and cultures.


Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in South London in the late 1990s. It is generally characterized by sparse, syncopated rhythmic patterns with prominent sub-bass frequencies. The style emerged as an offshoot of UK garage, drawing on a lineage of related styles such as 2-step and dub reggae. In the United Kingdom, the origins of the genre can be traced back to the growth of the Jamaican sound system party scene in the early 1980s.

The music generally features a syncopated bassline with heavy drums and sparse arrangements often featuring distortions, reverb-heavy washes of sound, and occasional samples. Dubstep producers often use a variety of digital audio workstations (DAWs) such as Reason, Ableton Live and Logic Pro to create their tracks.


Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that developed in the early 1990s in Germany. It is characterized by a tempo of between 130 and 160 BPM, repeating melodic phrases and a musical form that build up and break down throughout a song.


We hope you enjoyed our electronic music genres explained guide! As you can see, there is a dizzying array of sub-genres and sub-sub-genres out there, but don’t let that overwhelm you – the best way to get started is just to dive in and start listening. And if you’re looking for somewhere to start, we recommend checking out our list of the 50 best electronic albums of all time.

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