Electronic Music Genres


Breakbeat (breakbeats or breaks), are a collection of sub-genres of electronic music, chiefly exemplified by drum and bass and jungle, usually characterized by a non-straighted 4/4 drum pattern (as opposed to the steady beat of house or trance). These rhythms may be characterised by their use of syncopation and polyrhythms, which are prominent in all music of African origin, including much Afro-American music. Much breakbeat based music proceeds from the sampled drum parts of old funk and jazz records, see break.


House music refers to a collection of styles of electronic dance music, the earliest forms beginning in the early- to mid- 1980s. The name is said to derive from the Warehouse club in Chicago, where the resident DJ, Frankie Knuckles, mixed old disco classics and Eurosynth pop. Club regulars referred to his selection of music as “house” music. However, since Frankie was not creating new music at that time, it has been argued that Chip E. in his early recording “It’s House” defined this new form of electronic music and gave it the name “House Music”.

What Is House Music? Plain and simple, House is music to “jack your body” to. According to Candy J., one of the first female vocalists and producers of house music, “Original house was something like sex. People danced so hard that sweat would be everywhere. Literally! No one cared who they were rubbing up against, as people began creating their own love scenes on the dance floor. That’s how the word “jack” was created – by the way people danced with one another on the dance floor, jacking their bodies all night long to the beat of the music. You would see some of the freakiest things on the dance floor between four, five, sometimes an entire group of people! This, for me, was the phenomenon of house music.”

In its simplicity, the house sound calls for a deep pounding bass kick (usually created by a Roland 909 or 808 drum machine), a snappy snare, hi-hats that are bright in quality or phased to set another dimension, a funky driving bass line, and sampled phrases played in sync with the rhythm track. The typical beats per minute of house music circles around 128 and that can +8 or -8 in any direction at any given time. House tracks are very repetive but raw and melodic enough to lock the individual in the groove and keep he/she dancing for hours.

Some of the original house musicians are Jesse Saunders, Marshall Jefferson, J.M. Silk (Steve Hurley and Keith Nunally), Farley “Jackmaster Funk” Keith, Chip E., Fingers Incorporated (Larry Heard, Robert Owens, and Ron Williams), and Rodney Bakerr.

Like it or not, house music was first and foremost a direct descendant of disco music had already been going for ten years when the first electronic drum tracks began to appear out of Chicago, and in that time it had already suffered the slings and arrows of merciless commercial music exploitation, dilution and racial and sexual prejudice which culminated in the ‘disco sucks’ campaign. In one bizarrely extreme incident, people attending a baseball game in Chicago’s Comiskey Park were invited to bring all their unwanted disco records and after the game they were tossed onto a massive bonfire.


The terms ‘jungle’ and ‘drum and bass’ are commonly — and mistakenly — thought to indicate separate genres; confused by the fact that there is no universally accepted semantic distinction between the terms. Some associate jungle with material from the first half of the 1990s which is commonly based on irregular beats and simple bass lines, and see Drum and Bass as essentially succeeding jungle with the late 1990s post-techstep developments such as regular breakbeats and increasingly complex bass lines. Others use jungle as a shorthand for ragga jungle, a specific sub-genre within the broader realm of drum and bass. In the UK, the term jungle seemed to fall out of popularity in the mid 1990s, while in the USA the term was popular until the late 1990s and early 2000s. This could explain some of the confusion regarding the terms. In the US, the combined term “Jungle Drum and Bass” (JDB) also has some popularity, but is not widespread elsewhere and is increasingly falling out of use.


Techno is a form of electronic music that emerged in the mid-1980s and primarily refers to a particular style developed in and around Detroit and subsequently adopted by European producers. “Techno” is also an informal and misleading term often used in North America, and perhaps elsewhere, to describe all forms of electronic dance music. In the early eighties a trio of pioneers in Detroit began merging the sounds of synthpop and Italo-disco with funk. Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson were high school friends who went to dance parties where the music ranged from Kraftwerk to Parliament. They listened to an influential radio DJ, The Electrifying Mojo, who played European imports alongside Prince and the B-52’s. In 1981 Atkins and Richard Davies, aka 3070, started releasing records as Cybotron. Techno was born.


Trance music is a subgenre of electronic dance music (EDM) that developed in the 1990s. Perhaps the most ambiguous genre in the realm of EDM, trance could be described as a melodic, more-or-less freeform style of music derived from a combination of techno and house. Regardless of its precise origins, to many club-goers, party-throwers, and EDM adherents, trance is held as a significant development within the greater sphere of (post-)modern dance music. By some, it is even regarded as a personal rediscovery of the origins of music and the effect that rhythm and melody has on our introspective and extrospective selves.

The first forms of trance music emerged in the early 1990s as the dance revolution gripped the UK and mainland Europe. House music had already taken hold, and techno had also become popular in Europe by this time. Most of the dance music being produced at the start of the decade was sampler-based; sampling technology was relatively new at the time, and had become affordable enough for it to be mainstream. By the middle of the decade, however, dance pioneers were looking to take their sounds in a new direction; this led to the reappearance of the synthesizer, which had been rather overlooked since the dance music revolution of the late 1980s.

One particularly influential track, certainly to UK producers, was Future Sound Of London’s “Papua New Guinea”. Released in 1991, it was basically a breakbeat track. Where it differed to others in its genre is that, instead of fast piano chord riffs or searing stab samples, it featured lush, sweeping melodic pads and haunting, echoing tribal vocals. In the UK, following the transition from huge outdoor raves to the luxury of indoor superclubs, rave music gave way to piano house; in countries such as Germany, however, the dance music of choice was techno, and some producers started to add interesting melodies to the techno sound. Gradually, this led to the earliest forms of trance music. Early tracks included “Age of Love” (by Age of Love) and “Stella” by Jam and Spoon, as well as “Dreams” by Quench (1993).


One response

8 11 2012
Nathaniel Clapsaddle

I always love to go on parties since i can meet more people and acquaintances. .

My blog

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