Techno Music: The Different Genres

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Techno music is a type of electronic dance music that emerged in the late 1980s. The different genres of techno music include acid techno, Detroit techno, and hard techno.


Techno music is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan in the 1980s. The genre developed from the use of synthesizers, drum machines and turntables, and is characterized by a repetitive 4/4 beat. Techno was one of the first genres of EDM to gain popularity in nightclubs and remains one of the most popular today.

There are many subgenres of techno, each with their own distinct sound and style. The four most common subgenres are trance, hard techno, acid techno and minimalist techno.

Trance is a subgenre of techno that is characterized by dreamy, hypnotic melodies and driving beats. Trance music is often emotional and uplifting, and is designed to induce a state of trance-like euphoria.

Hard techno is a harder-edged subgenre of techno that often features distorted synth lines and pounding drums. Hard techno is designed for dancing, and is often played in underground clubs and warehouses.

Acid techno is a subgenre that emerged in the early 1990s UK rave scene. Acid techno tracks often feature 303 basslines and acid house-style melodies. Minimalist techno is a more recent subgenre that emphasizes simplicity and minimalism. Minimalist tracks often feature sparse arrangements with few elements other than drums and percussion.

What is Techno?

Techno is a broad term used to describe electronic dance music that originated in Detroit, Michigan in the 1980s. The term “techno” was first used by a Detroit DJ named Juan Atkins. Techno is characterized by a heavy use of electronic instruments and synthesizers.


Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in the late 1980s. Detroit techno is a type of techno that was developed in Detroit, Michigan in the 1980s. It is characterized by a strong 4/4 beat, sparse melodies, and a hypnotic feel.

Minimal techno is a form of techno that emerged in the early 1990s. It is characterized by stripped-down, repetitive beats and often uses minimal equipment.

Hard techno is a form of techno that emerged in the mid-1990s. It is characterized by hard, fast beats and often has an industrial feel.

acid techno is a form of techno that emerged in the late 1980s/early 1990s. It is characterized by its use of acid-sounding synth lines.


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 recorded use of the word techno, in reference to a specific genre of music, was in 1988. Many styles of techno now exist, but Detroit techno is seen as the foundation upon which many other subgenres have been built.

Techno is generally characterized by a repetitive four on the floor beat, often accompanied by syncopated basslines, sequenced patterns played on synthesizers, and digital sounds produced using drum machines. These elements are often mixed with samples from other songs or dialogue from films or television programs.

The First Wave: Detroit Techno

The first wave of techno emerged from Detroit in the early 1980s, with artists such as Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson creating a new style of electronic music based on the use of synthesizers and sequencers. This new music combined elements of Chicago house, disco, and electronic experimental music to create a sound that was both futuristic and rooted in the past. These early pioneers of techno would go on to influence the development of other genres such as trance and jungle in the 1990s.

The Second Wave: Chicago House

In the mid-to-late 1980s, after the first wave of techno from Detroit had passed, a new subgenre emerged from Chicago. House music was created in nightclubs such as the Warehouse and the Music Box, where DJs Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy played extended dance tracks that were produced on inexpensive synthesizers and drum machines such as the Roland TR-808 and TB-303. House tracks typically have a 4/4 time signature, a moderate tempo, and use few or no vocals.

Techno Today

Techno music has changed a lot since it first originated in the late 1980s. It has evolved into a wide variety of different genres, each with its own unique sound and style. In this article, we’ll take a look at the different genres of techno music and how they’ve developed over the years.

Minimal Techno

Minimal techno is a minimalist subgenre of techno music characterized by a minimalistic aesthetic that is often achieved through the use of repetition and iteration, and by tempo usually being around 130 beats per minute. Flavors of minimal techno include microhouse and tech-house. Despite the genre’s name, minimal techno’s simplicity doesn’t mean it is created with only a small number of elements; rather, the goal is to reduce the most elements possible while still creating a catchy, repetitive melody.

Tech House

Tech house is a musical genre that emerged in the early 1990s, characterized by a fusion of techno and house. The term ‘tech house’ is sometimes used to describe a subgenre of house music that features elements of techno, such as strong beats and synthesizer-driven melodies. However, tech house is also sometimes used to refer to the broader category of music that includes both house and techno.

Tech house tracks often have a hypnotic quality, with repetitive melodies and basslines. They are often produced with electronic equipment such as drum machines, sequencers, and synthesizers. The first wave of tech house was influenced by the acid house and Chicago house scenes of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The second wave was driven by the popularity of club culture in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Today, tech house is one of the most popular genres of electronic dance music (EDM). It is often played at nightclubs, festivals, and similar events. Some notable tech house artists include Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox, Steve Lawler, Laurent Garnier, Marco Carola, and Maceo Plex.

Techno Trance

Techno Trance is a subgenre of trance that developed in the early 1990s. It is characterized by a tempo of between 130 and 160 BPM, featuring synthesizer-based melodies and basslines. The style emerged as a result of the fusion of techno and trance music.


Now that we have looked at the various subgenres of techno, we can see that there is a lot of variety within the genre. When most people think of techno, they probably think of the harder, more industrial styles such as hardcore and gabber. However, there are many other subgenres that are worth exploring. So get out there and start listening!

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