A Beginner’s Guide to the Genre of Electronic Music

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 genre of electronic music, including its history, defining characteristics, and subgenres.

Introduction to Electronic Music

Electronic music is a genre of music that is made with electronic instruments and electronic music technology. It is a diverse genre with many subgenres, and it has been around for over half a century. In this guide, we will cover the basics of electronic music and some of its subgenres.

What is Electronic Music?

Electronic music is a genre of music that is made using electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology. It is a relatively new genre of music, having emerged in the early 20th century.

The term “electronic music” can refer to a wide variety of different styles and sub-genres of music. In general, however, it is used to refer to a style of music that makes use of electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its composition and performance.

There are many different types of electronic musical instruments, and the range of possibilities for making electronic music is vast. However, some of the most common electronic musical instruments used in this genre of music include synthesizers, drum machines, and sequencers.

Electronic music often makes use of played samples from other recordings (often from vinyl records), which are then looped or sequenced to create new pieces ofmusic. This technique is known as “sampling.” Sampling is a key element in many genres of electronic music, including hip hop, techno, drum and bass, and house.

Another common element in electronic music is the use of recorded sounds that have been manipulated or “processed” using effects pedals, effects units, or software plugins. These processed sounds are then incorporated into the composition. This type of sound processing can be used to create a variety of different sonic textures and timbres.

Electronic Music Key Terms:
sampling – the process of taking a recording (usually from vinyl records) and using it as part of a new composition
processed sound – a recorded sound that has been manipulated using effects pedals or software plugins

The History of Electronic Music

Electronic music has been around for well over half a century, but it’s only in the last two decades or so that it has started to gain mainstream popularity. With the rise of electronic dance music (EDM) in the late 1990s and early 2000s, electronic music has become one of the most popular genres in the world.

But what exactly is electronic music? In its broadest sense, electronic music is music that is made with the use of electronic instruments and equipment. This can include anything from synthesizers and drum machines to samplers and computers. However, it is also worth noting that not all electronic music is made purely with electronics; many artists also make use of acoustic instruments, such as guitars and pianos, as well as traditional instrumentation, such as drums and percussion.

The history of electronic music is long and varied, with different artists and styles emerging at different times in different parts of the world. Early pioneers of the genre include musicians like Kraftwerk from Germany, who were among the first to start making music purely with electronic instruments in the 1970s. Other notable early electronic artists include Japanese musician Isao Tomita and British band The Human League.

In the 1980s, a new style of electronic music known as house music began to emerge in Chicago. House music was characterized by its hypnotic rhythms and soulful vocals, and it would go on to become one of the most popular forms of dance music in the world. Meanwhile, another form of electronic dance music known as techno was developing in Detroit. Techno would also go on to achieve massive popularity in the 1990s and 2000s.

Today, there are hundreds of different subgenres of electronic music, each with its own distinct sound and style. Some of the most popular current subgenres include dubstep, trance, drum & bass, ghetto house, hardstyle, and psytrance. With new subgenres continuously emerging, it’s safe to say that electronic music shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

The Different Types of Electronic Music

Electronic music is a genre that covers a wide range of styles. It can be divided into several subgenres, each with their own characteristics. In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the different types of electronic music. We’ll start with the most popular subgenre, trance, and then move on to others like techno, house, and dubstep.


Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in the late 1980s. It is characterized by a repetitive four-on-the-floor beat and often features synths, sampled sounds, and sonar bleeps. Techno was first developed in Detroit, Michigan, by African American and Latino artists. It rapidly gained popularity in Europe in the early 1990s, particularly in Germany and the United Kingdom.


Trance is a subgenre of electronic dance music characterized by a hypnotic and repetitive sound. The genre developed in the early 1990s, mostly in Germany, and achieved mainstream popularity in the late 1990s. Trance music is often associated with the rave culture and is typically played by DJs in nightclubs, festivals and stadiums.

The style of trance typically features a tempo of around 140 beats per minute (BPM), electric basslines, synth pads, arpeggios and lead melodies. The genre also often incorporates elements from other genres, such as house music, pop music and film scores. Trance tracks are often characterized by a build-up and release of energy, which is usually accompanied by a breakdown of the main melody or chord progression.

The earliest examples of trance date back to the early 1990s, when it was still known as “electronica” or “rave music.” In its early stages, trance was closely related to techno and house music. However, as the genre developed, it began to take on its own distinct sound and identity. By the late 1990s, trance had become one of the most popular genres of electronic dance music worldwide.

There are many different subgenres of trance, each with its own unique sound and style. Some of the most popular subgenres include hard trance, progressive trance, psytrance and uplifting trance.


House is a genre of electronic music that originated in the African-American and Latino communities in Chicago in the early 1980s. It was initially popularized by DJs who played at after-hours clubs and house parties. House music is characterized by a repetitive four-on-the-floor beat and is often accompanied by synthesizers, drum machines, and vocals.

House music quickly spread to other American cities such as Detroit, New York, and Miami, as well as to the United Kingdom and Europe. By the early 1990s, house music had become one of the most popular genres of electronic dance music. Today, house music is still popular around the world and has spawned numerous subgenres, including deep house, techno, trance, and others.

Drum and Bass

Drum and bass is a type of electronic music that emerged in the mid-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 began as a fusion of jungle and techno. It is often considered to be a more intense and aggressive form of techno.


Dubstep is a genre of electronic music that emerged in the late 1990s. It is characterized by its heavy basslines, syncopated rhythms, and dark, often atmospheric sound.

The earliest dubstep tracks were often based on two-step Garage tracks, with the addition of heavy bass and sub-bass lines. These tracks typically had a dark, droning quality to them, with minimal melodic content. As the genre developed in the early 2000s, more emphasis was placed on melody and texture, and dubstep tracks began to incorporate elements of other genres such as Hip Hop, Drum & Bass, and even IDM (Intelligent Dance Music).

Today, dubstep has become one of the most popular genres of electronic music, with countless sub-genres and sub-sub-genres having emerged over the past decade. While the genre is still largely defined by its bass-heavy sound, there is now a great deal of variety within dubstep, and many producers are incorporating diverse influences from across the musical spectrum.

The Future of Electronic Music

Despite the coronavirus pandemic raging on, the electronic music genre has continued to grow in popularity. From stay-at-home DJs to live-streamed sets, the genre has found new ways to reach fans all over the world. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the history of electronic music and its bright future.

The Rise of EDM

Since the 2010s, EDM has been one of the fastest-growing music genres in the world. Over the last decade, we’ve seen a massive increase in the popularity of electronic dance music, with festivals and concerts becoming increasingly commonplace.

In the early days of EDM, the music was largely produced by a small number of pioneers such as Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder and Brian Eno. However, as technology has progressed, it has become much easier for bedroom producers to create high-quality electronic music. This has led to a huge increase in the number of people making EDM, and consequently, a vast increase in its popularity.

The rise of EDM has been fuelled by social media and streaming platforms such as SoundCloud and YouTube. These platforms have made it easier than ever before for people to discover new music, share it with their friends and connect with other fans. In addition to this, platforms like Twitch have given rise to a new generation of DJs who perform live sets online.

As EDM continues to grow in popularity, we can expect to see even more festivals and events being held around the world. We can also expect to see more artists experimenting with different sounds and styles as they attempt to stand out from the crowd. Ultimately, the future of EDM looks extremely bright, and it looks set to continue entertaining us for many years to come.

The Popularity of Electronic Music Festivals

In recent years, the popularity of electronic music festivals has exploded. These festivals, which feature DJs and live performers playing a wide range of electronic music genres, have become some of the most popular events in the world. In 2017, there were over 1,000 electronic music festivals held around the globe, with an estimated 5 million people attending.

This popularity is not surprising, as electronic music has become one of the most popular genres in the world. In 2017, global streaming revenues for electronic music reached $1.1 billion, and the genre is only becoming more popular. This growth is being driven in part by the popularity of electronic music festivals, which help to promote new artists and generate excitement for the genre.

Looking to the future, it is clear that electronic music will continue to grow in popularity. This growth will be driven by factors such as the continued rise of streaming services, the increasing popularity of dance music, and the continued success of electronic music festivals.

The Growth of the Electronic Music Industry

Over the past few years, the electronic music industry has seen a huge growth in popularity. More and more people are becoming interested in the genre, and as a result, the industry is expanding rapidly. This is good news for those who are already involved in the industry, as it means that there are more opportunities for employment and success. However, it can also be a bit overwhelming for newcomers to try and get their footing in this growing field.

TheUnited States is currently the largest market for electronic music, followed by Europe and Asia. In terms of revenue, the global electronic music industry was valued at $7.4 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $9 billion by 2025. This growth is being driven by a number of factors, including the increasing popularity of streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora, as well as the rise of festivals and live events such as Tomorrowland and Ultra Music Festival.

With so much growth happening in the industry, now is an excellent time to get involved if you’re interested in a career in electronic music. There are a number of different roles that you can pursue, from being a DJ or producer to working in event management or marketing. If you’re passionate about music and want to be a part of this exciting industry, then electronic music might just be the perfect field for you.

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