Electronic music – or “electronic dance music”, EDM – is music made from, you guessed it, electronic musical instruments. But that doesn’t mean that all EDM is purely electronic. While purely electronic music is the norm, there is EDM out there that uses both electronic or circuit based instruments mixed with human vocals to create its unique sound.
EDM has caused a huge ass hullabaloo in the mainstream music scene in the past few years, thanks to creators like Calvin Harris, Skrillex, and Diplo, popular artists within the music industry. But it might surprise you to learn that EDM has actually been around for far longer than that. In fact, the first instance of electronic music is considered to have been developed in as early as 1897. So if you think electronic music is a new concept, think again.
But it has evolved and changed since its creation, and as it changes distinctive styles and genres within the EDM scene have emerged, leading to some confusion over the different subgenres. There’s no way for us to explain every single type of electronic music genre out there, we do our best here at listing some of the most noticeable and significant EDM styles.
Types of Electronic Music
One of the biggest styles of EDM music, house music was developed by dance club DJs in Chicago. Heavily influenced by 1970s soul and funk music, and even disco, the house subgenre was created so people could dance.
More or less the de facto dance club music around the world since the late 80s, house music can be identified by a few key things. Such as the usage of a prominent kick on, often over a repetitive drum beat.
There are many types of house music, such as acid house, acid house, and electro house.
Prominent House Artists: Swedish House Mafia, deadmau5, Avicii
One of the more popular styles of EDM music, dubstep was made further more popular due to it blowing up in mainstream music. It has been said to be the genre that pushed EDM into the spotlight. Originating in Britain in the late 90s, it utilizes the distinct sounds of the thumping on a heavy bass drum line, jarring beat drops, and of course, its signature “wub” sounds among its electronic notes. It averages at a BPM of around 132-142.
Prominent Dubstep Artists: Skrillex, Skream, Flux Pavilion
Created in Germany, trance is mostly popular in Europe. Trance uses a BPM ranging from 110-150 and is known for its somewhat repetitive melody building and subsequent breakdown. Trance listeners have said that they enjoy it due to its repetition, as it lets them get lost in the music.
Prominent Trance Artists: Armin van Buuren, Markus Schulz, Aly & Fila
Trap is reminiscent of rap, and utilizes deep 808 kick drums, rhythmic snares forming double-time, triple-time, and divided hi-hats, and a symphonic use of various instruments. It also uses prominent rapping, with often gritty lyrics. Its sound is typically much harsher and darker than other EDM sounds and it keeps a tempo of around 140 BPM.
Prominent Trap Artists: CRNKN, Carnage, Mayhem