Turn Up the Music: Electronic/Dance Music

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Need some tunes to get your party started? Check out our guide to the best electronic/dance music to get everyone moving. From classics to new hits, we’ve got you covered.


Electronic/dance music, also known as EDM, is a broad range of percussive electronic music genres made largely for nightclubs, raves and festivals. It is generally produced for playback by disc jockeys who create seamless selections of tracks, called a mix by segueing from one recording to another. EDM producers also perform their music live in a concert or festival setting in what is sometimes called a live PA. In Europe and North America, EDM is more commonly called dance music or simply dance.

The term “electronic dance music” (EDM) was first used in the early 1980s by British journalist Simon Reynolds in reference to the growing number of genres influenced by electronic music at the time. These genres were promoted largely via underground rave parties held in warehouse spaces and other rural locations away from city centers. As the scene grew larger and more mainstream s some members split off to form their own new genres, such as trip hop and intelligent dance music (IDM).

The History of Electronic/Dance Music

Electronic/Dance music has its origins in the 1970s, with artists like Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder. In the 1980s, the genre exploded in popularity with the advent of acid house and techno. Today, electronic/dance music is one of the most popular genres in the world.

Early Beginnings

electronic/dance music has its roots in the early 1900s, with the invention of the electrical telegraph and telephone. These devices allowed for the first time, the transmission of music over distance without the need for physical media like records or CDs. The first EMS systems were used in public places like dance halls and nightclubs, where they were used to create special effects and to enhance the atmosphere of the venue.

One of the earliest examples of electronic/dance music was created by Russian composer Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin in his work “Prometheus: The Poem of Fire”, which included a part for an “automatic orchestra” that was played by a keyboardist and featured prominently in the work’s finale. In 1911, French composer Edgar Varese created “Poeme Electronique”, which was composed specifically for an EMS system installed in Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet.

The firstEMS systems were extremely rudimentary by today’s standards, but they laid the groundwork for the development of more sophisticated systems that would eventually lead to the modern day versions we know today.

The Birth of House Music

In the early 1980s, clubbers in Chicago were getting tired of the same old disco tunes. They wanted something new to dance to, something with a faster tempo and a rawer, more energetic sound. So, some of the local DJs began experimenting with mixing different styles of music together to create a new sound that would come to be known as house.

One of the most important early figures in house music wasDJ Frankie Knuckles, who was spinning records at a club called The Warehouse. Knuckles developed his own style of mixing, which incorporated elements of disco, soul and pop into a more driving, pounding sound. This new sound caught on quickly with clubgoers, and soon Knuckles had people coming from all over to hear him spin at The Warehouse.

House music quickly spread beyond Chicago’s city limits, and by the mid-1980s it had become a global phenomenon. In 1988, British duo The KLF released “What Time Is Love?,” which became one of the first house tracks to achieve mainstream success. From there, house music only continued to grow in popularity, giving birth to subgenres like acid house, deep house and hard house. Today, there are few corners of the world where you won’t find people dancing to the sounds of house music.

The Rise of EDM

Electronic dance music, also known as EDM, is a broad range of percussive electronic music genres made largely for nightclubs, raves, and festivals. EDM is generally produced for playback by DJs who create seamless selections of tracks, called a mix by segueing from one recording to another.

EDM producers also perform their music live in a concert or festival setting in what is sometimes called a live PA. In Europe, EDM is more commonly called ‘dance music’, or simply ‘dance’.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, following the emergence of raving, pirate radio, and an upsurge of interest in club culture, EDM achieved widespread mainstream popularity in Europe. In the United States at that time, acceptance of dance culture was not universal; although both electronica and dance-oriented recordings were widely available and accepted in Europe, they were mostly considered underground affairs in America.

EDM’s commercial breakthrough came in the form of house music, a style of dance music that was created by African American DJs in Chicago in the early 1980s. House music quickly spread to other American cities such as Detroit, New York City, and Newark – all of which had large African American populations at the time – and then to the rest of the world. By the 1990s, house music had become one of the most popular genres of electronic dance music.

The Different Genres of Electronic/Dance Music

Electronic/Dance music can be broken down into many different sub-genres. The most popular genres are House, Techno, and Trance. However, there are also many other genres that are not as well known such as Drum and Bass, Dubstep, and Hardstyle.


House is a genre of electronic/dance music that originated in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States in the early 1980s. The name is derived from the Warehouse nightclub in Chicago, where House music was first popularized. At the time,DJs were playing a mix of disco and electronic music. House was a reaction to the disco sound and was created by DJs who were tired of the predictability of the music. They began to experiment with different sounds and rhythms to create a new style of music.

The key elements of House are a strong 4/4 beat, Yamaha DX7 synthesizers, drum machines, and Roland TB-303 bass synthesizers. House music is often characterized by a repetitive four-on-the-floor drumbeat, off-beat hi-hat cymbals, and melodic synthesizers. The tempo of House music is usually between 115 and 130 beats per minute (bpm).

House became popular in Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with tracks such as “Pump Up the Volume” by MARRS (1987), “Doctorin’ the House” by Coldcut feat. Yazz (1988), “House Nation” by The Hash Bass (1988), and “Rave To The Grave” by Project X (1992). In 1992, Apache Indian’s “Boom Shack-A-Lak” brought elements of Dancehall to House music, resulting in a new subgenre called Jungle/Drum & Bass.

Today, House music is still popular around the world and has influenced many other genres of electronic/dance music including Trance, Disco house, Techno, Minimal techno, Deep house, Garage house, Progressive house Hard house


Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in the mid-1980s. It is characterized by a repetitive four on the floor beat and often has a tempo of between 120 and 150 beats per minute. Techno is often played in nightclubs, at raves, and on the radio.


Trance is a genre of electronic music that emerged from the British new age and rave scenes of the late 1980s and early 1990s. A strong central melody is often emphasized throughout a trance track, and oftentimes build-ups and breakdowns are included to transition between sections of a song. The genre tends to be very uplifting, and is often characterized by repeating melodic phrases.

Drum & Bass

Drum & bass is a type of electronic dance music that emerged in the mid-1990s. It is characterized by fast breakbeats (usually between 150 and 180 beats per minute) with heavy bass and sub-bass lines. Drum & bass began as a Jamaican offshoot of the British rave and hardcore scenes of the early 1990s. The earliest drum & bass tracks were often produced by drum machines and synthesizers, giving the genre a mechanical sound. This gradually changed in the late 1990s as producers began to use samplers and live instruments to create a more organic sound. Drum & bass hassince grown to become one of the most popular genres of electronic dance music, with subgenres such as jump up, liquid funk, neurofunk, rollers, and darkstep gaining popularity in recent years.


Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in London, England in the late 1990s. It is characterized by a sparse, syncopated rhythm with heavy bass and drums. The genre took off in the early 2000s and has since become one of the most popular genres of electronic music.

Some of the most well-known dubstep artists include Skrillex, Bassnectar, and Zeds Dead. Dubstep has also influenced other genres of music, such as trap and future bass.

The Future of Electronic/Dance Music

Electronic/Dance music has been around for quite some time now. It has its origins in the early 1990s and has continued to grow in popularity. Today, it is one of the most popular genres of music. electronic/dance music is usually comprised of synthesized music and is often accompanied by visualizations.

The Mainstreaming of EDM

EDM, or Electronic Dance Music, has been around for decades, but in recent years it has exploded in popularity. What was once considered a niche genre is now one of the most popular genres in the world, with EDM artists selling out arenas and headlining major music festivals.

The rise of EDM can be traced back to the late 2000s, when electronic music started to gain mainstream attention. In 2009, Lady Gaga released her album The Fame Monster, which featured the hit single “Just Dance.” The song was an instant smash hit, and it helped to introduce EDM to a mainstream audience.

Since then, other pop stars have followed suit, incorporating EDM elements into their music. Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Rihanna’s “Work” are just two examples of mainstream hits that have been influenced by EDM.

As more and more pop stars embrace EDM, the genre is only going to become more popular. In the next few years, we can expect to see even more crossover between pop and EDM as the two genres continue to converge.

The Proliferation of Festivals

The proliferation of festivals is one of the most important developments in the electronic/dance music scene in recent years. Festivals provide a gathering place for like-minded fans and a platform for up-and-coming artists to showcase their talents. They also offer a unique opportunity for brands to connect with a young, engaged audience.

The growth of the festival circuit has been driven by a number of factors, including the expansion of the internet and social media, which have made it easier for fans to discover new music and connect with each other. The rise of streaming services like Spotify and SoundCloud has also been a major factor, as they’ve made it easier than ever for people to access a wide range of music from anywhere in the world.

As the festival circuit continues to grow, it’s important to keep an eye on emerging trends. One trend that we’re seeing is the rise of “boutique” festivals, which are smaller, more intimate events that focus on quality over quantity. Another is the increasing popularity of camping festivals, which offer attendees the chance to immerse themselves in the festival experience for an extended period of time.

Looking ahead, it’s clear that festivals are here to stay. As they continue to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of electronic/dance music, they will remain an important part of the scene for years to come.

The Growth of the Electronic/Dance Music Scene

In the past few years, electronic/dance music has exploded in popularity, with festivals and clubs dedicated to the genre popping up all over the world. The rise of EDM has been driven by technological advances that have made it easier than ever for aspiring DJs and producers to create new sounds and share them with a global audience.

As EDM continues to grow, we can expect to see even more innovation in the genre, with new styles and subgenres emerging. We may also see more crossover between EDM and other genres, as artists experiment with incorporating elements of electronic music into their own sound. Whatever the future holds, one thing is clear: electronic/dance music is here to stay.

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