Guide to Electronic Dance Music: The Basics

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A guide to electronic dance music, including its history, genres, and key artists.

Introduction to Electronic Dance Music

Electronic Dance Music, or EDM for short, is a type of music that is made specifically for dancing. The music is often high energy and upbeat, making it perfect for getting people moving on the dance floor. EDM has become increasingly popular in recent years, and there are now many different sub-genres of the music. In this guide, we will introduce you to the basics of EDM and some of the most popular sub-genres.

What is Electronic Dance Music?

Electronic dance music, also known as EDM, is a broad range of percussive electronic music genres produced largely for nightclubs, raves and festivals. EDM is generally produced for playback by DJs who create seamless selections of tracks, called a mix by mixing different songs from any number of genres.

The term “electronic dance music” refers to any music that is made using electronic equipment and played in a nightclub, rave or festival setting. The term can apply to various genres of music, such as House, Techno, Drum & Bass, Dubstep and Trance.

Although the term “EDM” has only been used since the early 1990s, the history of electronic dance music goes back much further. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, groundbreaking DJs and producers began creating new electronic sounds using analog synthesizers and drum machines. These pioneers laid the foundation for the modern EDM scene.

History of Electronic Dance Music

Electronic dance music, also known as EDM, is a broad range of genres that evolved from the use of electronic instruments and technology in the disco era. This type of music became popular in nightclubs and dance clubs in the late 1970s and early 1980s. EDM encompasses a wide range of subgenres, including house, techno, trance, drum and bass, and dubstep.

The history of electronic dance music is often traced back to the disco era. In the late 1970s, DJ pioneer Giorgio Moroder created a new sound by combining synthesizers with disco records. His work paved the way for other producers to experiment with electronic music. In the early 1980s, house and techno emerged as popular subgenres of EDM. These genres were characterized by the use of drum machines, synthesizers, and other electronic instruments.

In the 1990s, EDM began to evolve into a more mainstream genre with the help of radio and television exposure. DJs such as David Guetta and Tiesto helped to propel EDM into the mainstream with their popular radio mixes and club hits. In recent years, EDM has become one of the most popular genres in the world with festivals such as Ultra Music Festival and Tomorrowland attracting hundreds of thousands of attendees each year.

The Different Types of Electronic Dance Music

Dance music has come a long way since the days of disco. With the advent of electronic music, the genre has exploded in popularity. There are now many different sub-genres of dance music, each with their own unique sound and style. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular types of electronic dance music.


Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan in the United States during the mid-to-late 1980s. The first techno tracks were produced by Puerto Rican DJ/producer Juan Atkins, who later founded the influential Metroplex label. Atkins is often credited as the “godfather” of techno, and his style of techno, which blended elements of Chicago house with Kraftwerk-inspired electro, would go on to be hugely influential. Other early Detroit techno producers include Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, both of whom also had a hand in shaping the sound of techno.

Characterized by its minimalistic, robotic sound, techno is often thought of as a very “cold” genre of music. It typically features repetitive 4/4 beats, synth melodies and basslines, and sparse arrangements. Unlike many other genres of electronic dance music, there is often very little rhythmic variation in techno tracks; they tend to keep a steady pulse throughout. This can make them quite hypnotic and trance-like in nature.

Techno reached its commercial peak in the early 1990s with the advent of so-called “superstar DJs” like Carl Cox and Pete Tong, but has remained an underground phenomenon for the most part. In recent years, however, there has been something of a revival in interest in techno; arguably led by German producer Paul Kalkbrenner (whose 2008 track “Sky & Sand” was a massive hit across Europe), a new generation of DJs and producers are keeping the sound fresh and exciting.


House is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the Chicago club scene in the 1980s. It is characterized by a 4/4 time signature, a heavy bassline, and simple, catchy melodies. House music quickly became popular in clubs and on dance floors around the world, and today it is one of the most widely-played types of EDM.


Trance is a genre of electronic dance music (EDM) that emerged in the 1990s. It is characterized by a tempo of around 130-160 beats per minute, density of the musical composition, and often by the remixing of existing songs. Trance tracks are often composed with spacy synth pads, foreboding baselines, and overlaid with emotional or spiritual vocals. The genre developed out of the new age music and rave scenes of the 1980s and 1990s.


Dubstep is a type of electronic dance music that originated in the early 2000s in the United Kingdom. It is characterized by its heavy basslines, syncopated rhythms, and chopped-up samples. Dubstep tracks are often around 140 beats per minute and often have a dark, atmospheric feel to them.

The Culture Surrounding Electronic Dance Music

Electronic Dance Music, also commonly known as EDM, has taken the world by storm in recent years. This type of music is known for its heavy bass and drop, which can create an energetically charged atmosphere. EDM has become popular at festivals and nightclubs, and the culture surrounding it is unique. In this guide, we’ll give you a crash course on all things EDM.

The Rave Scene

For many people new to the EDM scene, the rave culture can be a bit daunting. With its own set of customs, dress code and jargon, it can be hard to know what’s expected of you if you’ve never been to a rave before.

Raves are typically all-night dance parties that take place in large venues, such as warehouses orfields. They usually feature different DJs playing a mix of electronic dance music genres, such as trance, house and techno.

The dress code for raves is often casual and relaxed, with party-goers wearing comfortable clothes that they can dance in. Many people also wear colourful or fluorescent clothing, as well as face paint or Glow sticks.

Rave culture is often associated with the use of illegal drugs, such as Ecstasy or MDMA. However, not all raves are drug-fuelled events – many people choose to enjoy the music and atmosphere without taking any substances.

The Club Scene

Electric dance music has its roots in the club culture of the 1980s and 1990s. The first clubs dedicated to EDM were in Chicago and New York, but the scene quickly spread to other major cities in the US and Europe. The club culture surrounding EDM is often characterized by hedonism and excess, with parties that go on for hours or even days.

In recent years, the EDM club scene has been increasingly commercialized, with VIP sections and bottle service becoming more common. This has led to some tension between long-time fans of the music and those who are newer to the scene. Nonetheless, going to an EDM club is still considered by many to be a rite of passage for fans of the genre.


Festivals are one of the best places to experience electronic dance music. There are typically a wide variety of EDM genres represented at festivals, so there is something for everyone. Festivals are also a great place to see your favorite DJs in action. Many festivals take place in stunning natural locations, so you can enjoy the music and scenery at the same time.

If you are interested in attending an electronic dance music festival, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, festivals can be quite pricey, so be sure to budget accordingly. Second, many festivals require attendees to be 18 or older, so check the age requirements before you purchase tickets. Finally, be sure to pack all of the essentials: sunscreen, insect repellent, comfortable shoes, and plenty of water. With these tips in mind, you’re sure to have a great time at any EDM festival!

The Future of Electronic Dance Music

Electronic Dance Music, or EDM for short, has been around for quite awhile and its popularity has been on the rise in recent years. The genre has been growing and evolving and is now one of the most popular genres in the world. With the rise in popularity, there has been a lot of speculation about the future of EDM.

The Rise of EDM

Since the 2010s, electronic dance music (EDM) has been on the rise in popularity, with mainstream artists such as Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta, and Calvin Harris producing hits that have topped the charts around the world. This rise in popularity has also led to a new wave of EDM festivals, such as Tomorrowland and Ultra Music Festival, which have become some of the most popular music festivals in the world.

Similar Posts