We cannot understand modern music culture without electronic music. The incidence of information and technology in music has transformed it forever, giving rise to a rich spectrum of types of electronic music . We review the most important ones and their main characteristics. INDEX
1. What is electronic music
2. Brief history of electronic music
3. The 11 types of electronic music What is electronic music
The main characteristic of any type of electronic music is that conventional instruments are not used, such as They can be percussion instruments, guitar or bass. Instead, electronic musical instruments are used., usually generated by computer systems or sound equipment. We should not confuse electronic instruments with traditional amplified instruments (such as an electric guitar). Brief history of electronic music
It may seem that electronic music is a recent invention, but the truth is that composers at the end of the 19th century were already interested in the use of technology to generate sound. Later, in the 40s and 50s , the first electronic compositions began to appear. They were usually experimental works or soundtracks for science fiction movies.
One example is this piece titled Elektronische Studie II.
The rise of electronic music did not come until the mid-1960s., with the appearance of the first synthesizers. A synthesizer is an electronic device that, through circuits, generates electrical signals that are converted into sounds through a speaker. Again, the cinema was the platform to experiment with these new sounds.
The Germans Kraftwerk are often cited as the first popular electronic music band, but the truth is that groups like The Residents had already introduced synthesizers in their songs. Throughout the 70’s , the use of electronic instruments became enormously popular, thanks to bands like Genesis or Pink Floyd.
Towards the end of the 80’selectronic music (created exclusively from electronic instruments) evolved and expanded into countless branches. Most of the genres we know today emerged, such as house or techno, although the style that most affected mainstream culture was dance.
That trend continues even today. The more commercial styles have been framed in a broad category known as EDM or electronic dance music . Currently, computer advances and new software allow anyone to compose electronic music. For this reason, the differentiation between musician and producer is usually made. The 11 types of electronic music
The types of electronic music today number in the hundreds. Each one has its own sound or a particular cadence (an aspect to take into account is the bpm or beats per minute). In the following list we have selected the most popular types of electronics. 1. Disco
Genres such as rhythm and blues or funk were the first to incorporate elements of electronic music and synthesizers, giving rise to disco music or, simply, disco. The role of disc jockeys (DJ) was decisive in the development of subgenres such as disco house. 2.dance
We can understand dance as a natural evolution of disco music. When pop or Eurodisco took over the hit lists, electronic music sought to be more accessible to the general public. The word “dance” is also used as a synonym for “danceable” , so the genre is characterized by simple rhythms and catchy lyrics. 3. House
House originated in the early 80’s and was one of the first styles to differentiate itself as exclusively electronic music. Although it continues to incorporate elements of funk or r&b, it has a clearly electronic and minimalist vocation, unlike dance. The rhythm is usually between 120 and 135 bpm .
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The main uniqueness of acid house is that it uses sounds from the Roland TB-303 synthesizer . It has its importance in electronic music as a whole, since it was the subgenre that brought house to mainstream culture. 3.2 Deep House
Deep house differs from other subgenres by being deeper and more ambient , offering a greater acoustic sensation. It does not give so much importance to the climax of the song (the typical “high”) but to a main rhythm that is repeated throughout the track. 3.3 Electro House
Despite being one of the newest genres of electronic music, it is one of the most popular. Electro house is one of the hardest house styles, characterized by abass with a lot of presence and distorted sounds . Most productions are at 128 bpm. 3.5 Progressive House
Uses elements of progression. This means that it builds a composition from rhythms that overlap and complement each other . Later there is usually a breakdown (momentary pause) and a climax. Some claim that the most sophisticated form of electronic music. 4. Techno
It is difficult to discern the line between house, and especially electro house, with techno, which is why both genres are often confused. In general, techno tends to have a more marked and hard rhythm, oscillating between 120 and 150 bpm . 4.1 Tech house
Tech house or techno house combineselements of house and techno . In this way, we find the typical synthesized sounds of tech, with very deep bass lines, mixed with more cyclical repetitions of rhythm, typical of house. 4.2 Hardcore Techno
The most accelerated and frenetic subgenre is hardcore or hardstyle techno, a variation of techno that goes up to 180 bpm . It is characterized by a distorted kick drum, accompanied by dissonant sounds, derived from the Roland TB-303 and Alpha Juno-II synthesizers. 5. Trance
Emerged during the 90s as another branch of house music, trance accelerates the tempo up to 150 bpm to offer a more repetitive and ambient cadence. He often uses a central “phrase”, such as a vocal line or a synth melody, which serves as a common thread. 6. Ambient
The main difference with respect to other electronic genres is that ambient prioritizes the creation of deep and complex atmospheres , over rhythm or beat. The compositions are usually extensive (even reaching half an hour) and go through different phases. 6.1 Chill Out
One of the best known genres. The main objective of a chill out composition is to create a relaxing climax . To do this, it incorporates a wide variety of instruments, sounds and sound resources, such as the sound of waves on a beach. 7. Breakbeat
The central axis of this genre isthe syncopated rhythm known as the Amen break , a drum roll that appears on The Winstons’ Amen, Brother. Other snippets such as James Brown’s Funky Drummer are often used. On these bases, more elaborate songs are built, adding sounds of synthesizers and instruments. 8. Jungle
Jungle draws from the sources of disco and breakbeat music (in the use of syncopated rhythms) but incorporates influences from reggae and dub . 9. Trap
We could say that the term “trap” has two meanings. On the one hand, it is a natural evolution of rap with a slower base. On the other hand, it refers to electronic music with a heavier, darker aesthetic and sound., thanks to the strong presence of bass and minor note scales. 10. Dubstep
One of the most popular genres of electronic music in recent times is dubstep. It is an evolution of drum & bass that develops from the “2 step” a unique combination of bass drum and snare that gives rise to a syncopated rhythm. 11. Minimal
As its name suggests, minimal is characterized by minimalist sounds . Try to build a composition with few rhythms and sounds, taking advantage of all possible variations. It is a very experimental type of electronic music.