List of Electronic Music Genres

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for a comprehensive list of electronic music genres? Look no further – we’ve got you covered! From ambient to dubstep and everything in between, we’ve got all the information you need to get started in the world of electronic music.


Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments and circuitry-based music technology. In general, a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means (electroacoustic music), and that produced using electronics only. Acoustic vibrations (sound) are converted into electrical signals by transducers or microphones, which are then amplified, processed and/or recorded by electronic circuits. Electromechanical instruments include mechanical elements, such as strings, hammers and plates that are designed to convert acoustic energy into electrical energy (signals).

Digital electronics are electronic devices that use a variety of discrete digital logic circuits to perform operations on binary data. Electronic music technology is any process by which electronic musical instruments, assemble or process signals to generate sound. Included in this definition are live electronic music performers and DJs who employ various types of data-manipulated electronics to produce unique musical sounds and effects through their performance.

The first electronic devices for performing music were developed at the end of the 19th century, following the technical advances made in electric power and telephony. These instruments were mostly used within orchestras, military bands and other live theatrical productions where the amplified sound was needed to fill large venues with sound. The earliest electromechanical instruments were called telephones, followed by gramophones and then radios; all of these for public address purposes rather than for playback or recording of audio signals.

The term “electronic instrument” was first used in a 1905 article published in The Music Trades magazine to describe an early worldwide patent agreement covering telephone receivers, telephones employing carbon buttons instead of reeds (i.e., vacuum tubes) for amplification purposes and other developments related to electro-acoustics; the term “electronic musical instrument” did not enter common usage until after World War II when Ondes Martenot designer Martenot promoted his invention as an “electronic orchestrion”.

During the 1920s and 1930s manufacturers began producing equipment designed specifically for use in recording studios including acoustic room treatment devices such as reverberation units (i.e., reverb chambers) and echo chambers; amplifiers; loudspeakers; turntables; record players; electric stringed instruments such as guitars, banjos and mandolins; keyboardssuch as pianos, organsand theatrically-oriented stringed keyboard instruments such as harpsichordsand celestes; electric pianosand Hammond organs with built-in leslie speakers; Drumsetsand timpani enhanced with electrical pickupsand tone-altering circuitry effects devices such as echo unitsand spring reverbsas well as outboard reverb units intended for use with amplifiershousing one or more electric guitars.; Leslie speakerswere particularly popular additions to Hammond organsin ballrooms where the swirling effect created by the rotary speaker system added significant visual interest to performances thereby extending the solois’t performance time while reducing listener fatigue..

List of Electronic Music Genres

There are many electronic music genres, and each one has its own sub-genre. The list of electronic music genres below is not exhaustive, but it covers the most popular genres. If you’re interested in learning more about electronic music, make sure to check out the links below.


Ambient music is a genre of music that emphasizes tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm. Ambient music is said to invoke an “atmospheric”, “visual”, or “unobtrusive” quality. According to Brian Eno, one of its pioneers, “Ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.”

The original concept for ambient music was developed in the 1970s by British producer and composer Brian Eno. While working on his album Discreet Music (1975), Eno sought to create a new kind of music that would not require the listener’s full attention, but would still be enjoyable:

My idea was to make a very elegant and beautiful sound environment… or something like a tinted photograph, where the colourcasts an atmosphere over the whole thing. You don’t have to look at it; it’s just there in the background.

Eno’s approach was similar to Erik Satie’s idea of Musique d’ameublement, or furniture music: Satie believed that his keyboard pieces could be used as unobtrusive background music in social settings such as restaurants and salons. Eno took this concept one step further, applying it to the entire sonic spectrum by creating an album (Discreet Music) whose four parts could be played at any volume, or even left off altogether if desired. This album marked the beginning of Ambient as a distinct musical genre.

In subsequent years, ambient music has been created by a variety of artists working in a wide range of styles and traditions; popular examples include Brian Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978), Biosphere’s Cirque (2000), Hammock’s Maybe They Will Sing for Us Tomorrow (2010), and Julia Holter’s Have You In My Wilderness (2015).


Dub is a genre of electronic music that grew out of reggae in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and is commonly considered a subgenre, though it has developed to extend beyond the scope of reggae.

The style is typified by a sparse drum machine-backed rhythm, “echoed” vocals, and an emphasis on sound effects processed through a sound system. Set against the backdrop of poverty and violence in Jamaica, dub was created as an expression of hope and defiance. Early dub producers such as King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry would often remix reggae tracks, adding their own signature sound effects to create new versions (versions) that had a different feel from the originals. As the genre progressed, producers began to experiment with different mixing techniques, usingdelay units and reverb to create more atmospheric tracks.

Dub has influenced many other genres of electronic music, including techno, house, drum and bass, ambient, and trip hop. It has also been a major influence on dancehall and ragga.

Drum and Bass

Drum and bass (commonly abbreviated to d&b, DnB or D’n’B) 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 popularity of drum and bass at its commercial peak ran parallel to several other homegrown dance styles in the United Kingdom including big beat and hard house. Drum and bass incorporates a number of scenes and styles. A major influence on jungle and drum and bass was the original Jamaican dub and reggae sound. Another feature of the style is the complex syncopation of the drum tracks’ breakbeat. This involves using different degrees of delay between different drums in a drum pattern…


Hardcore is a style of electronic dance music that emerged in the late 1980s. It is characterized by its fast tempo and aggressive vocals.


House music is a genre of electronic dance music created by club DJs and music producers in Chicago in the early 1980s.Early house music was generally characterized by repetitive 4/4 beats, rhythms provided by drum machines, off-beat hi-hat cymbals, and synthesized basslines. While house displayed several characteristics similar to disco, it was more electronic and minimalistic, and the frequent use of sampling helped to distinguish it from other genres that were derived from disco.


Techno is a type of electronic dance music played on synthesizers and drum machines featuring frequently repeated sequenced beats.


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 state of Goa.


In conclusion, there are a great many genres of electronic music, and each has its own distinct characteristics. It can be difficult to keep track of them all, but it is certainly worth the effort to find the music that best suits your tastes. With so much variety available, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

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