EDM (electronic dancing music) is everywhere, even if you haven’t been paying much attention to music industry in the past 15 years. What is EDM music, exactly? In this article, Fidlar deeper dives into EDM electronic dance music including what EDM mean, the EDM history, as well as popular EDM genres whether you are a budding producer/DJ or just curious about the art of making it.
What Is EDM Music?
Electronic dance music (also known as EDM, dance music, club music) is a broad term covering various musical styles that emerged around the mid-1980s.
Electronic dance music (EDM), rather than defining a single genre, encompasses styles that range from beatless ambient music and 200-beats per minute hardcore. House music, techno, and drum and bass are some of the most prominent examples.
Electronic dance music, taken as a whole, has many distinguishing features. It is distinguished by intentionally inorganic sounds, timbres and is often produced using cheap equipment from the early 1980s. These include the Roland 303 bass synthesizer and Roland’s 808 drum machine.
On the other hand, ambient music is more focused on sustaining a beat and provides a soothing aural environment for those who wish to wind down after a long night. EDM records are mainly made to be played in clubs by DJs (DJs) and in a mix with other recordings.
However, many tracks have been ported over to the popular music market.
A Brief History of Electronic Dance Music
Are you a witness to the rise in electronic dance music scene?
We can trace electronic dance music’s origin back to Jamaica in the 1960s if we keep the above definition in our minds. They tried to create new music by mixing multiple tracks from reel-to-reel tape recorders.
This particular style of music was known as dub music and became very popular in bars and nightclubs. It was the first form of electronic dance music and even before disco.
Disco music was created to get people moving on the dancefloor. It used drum machines and electronic instruments in order to create synthesized rhythms.
Similar things happened in the 1970s when disco was ending. In the 1980s, synth music or synthpop was created alongside electro music in the ” postdisco” era. As electronic dance music became more advanced and robust, music from this era was recognized and produced in the mainstream music industry in Europe.
Frankie Knuckles, a man who tried to create tracks and sounds by mixing different genres, changing the tempo, and adding drumming. House music was born.
The Beginning of Contemporary Electronic Dance Music Sounds in the 1990s.
This music became so popular that it spread throughout the globe. In the next few decades, many new electronic dance music genres emerged. EDM is now one of the most popular and successful electronic music genres.
EDM today is often defined by remixes and original sounds, created by internationally-famous DJs such as The Chainsmokers and Steve Aoki, Martin Garrix and other well-known names like Skrillex, David Guetta and Daft Punk.
The Most Polular EDM Genres
EDM electronic dance music can be described as a broad term encompassing all electronic music or any other form of electronic dance music. There are many Electronic musical genres, each with its place on the dance music spectrum.
Below we present a list of the most common electronic dance music genres and a few examples.
Ambient music focuses on the atmosphere and musical tones of music rather than rhythm and structure.
When synthesizers were first used to create experimental music, ambient music was created. Brian Eno, an English producer, widely considered a legend in the genre, reportedly invented the term “ambient music.”
One of the newest genres on this list is ample room or big room house. The big room was initially a sub genre within the electro house. Its meteoric rise began around the 2010s with well-known acts like Martin Garrix and Swedish House Mafia.
The big room is well-suited for peak-time events because of its bombastic personality, minimal melodies, and electro-house-style drop. This is why it quickly became one of the most popular sounds at many of the biggest dance music festivals around the globe.
It isn’t easy to know precisely where chill-out ends and where it begins. The music we refer to as chill out can have slow beats and relaxed moods. There are no complex chord progressions or suspenseful melodies. Sometimes, it even has jazzy or classical influences. Chill-out is a way to relax and unwind from everyday stress rather than giving rise to adrenaline.
It is still up for debate what deep house means. The purists prefer the “deep house” tracks by Larry Heard and Marshall Jefferson from the 1980s. This style of house music had a slower tempo and a more soulful vibe through gospel-like vocals and Jazzy vibes than “regular” house.
The people who link the term “deep house” to the recent commercialized version of house music are in the opposite corner. This deep house, which is upbeat, radio-friendly, and summer-like, tends more towards pop-dance or electro-pop due to its frequent use in the pop music industry.
Disco is where traditional music styles like rhythm and blues, soul, funk, soul, and pop collide. It was a trendy genre of electronic music in the 1970s and 80s. Although disco was a more acoustic-based genre than electronic, it was one of the main influences on house music. We just had to include it.
Drum and bass
Drum and bass, commonly abbreviated as DnB, originated in the U.K. during the 1990s. It’s built on fast-paced beats with non-standard rhythms. Sometimes, it may have raw or heavy bass rips to achieve an aggressive sound.
However, this all depends on the sub-genre. For example, liquid drum and bass is more melodically-oriented and gentler than liquid drum and bass.
Dubstep can be confused with drum and base by people who don’t understand what it is. However, it is slower-paced and not as beat-like as drum and bass. However, it does feature unconventional rhythms and is well-known for its unique sound element: The wobble bass (or the ‘wub).
Electro house was born when electro, originally a fusion between funk, early hip hop, and New York bogie, became known as the house scene in the late 1990s. This sub genre characterized by a powerful bassline and kick drums, can be described as a more pumped-up version of regular house music.
Hardcore, also known as hardcore techno, was created in the Netherlands in 1990 and is undoubtedly the most challenging style. Hardcore is fast-paced, with 160 to 200 beats per hour.
It is often referred to as violent by people who prefer more delicate music. Kick drums are the true hallmark of hardcore music. They are intense and can be used with distortion effects.
Hardstyle, as the name suggests, is also one of these more complex styles. Although it is melodically more focused than hardcore, it is not as noisy (sorry, hardcore fans). Its place in electronic music is somewhere between hard techno, hardcore, and sometimes trance music.
One of the first to embrace electronic music production was house music. House music was influenced by its acoustic-driven cousins like soul, jazz, and disco. However, it had an electronic sound that was driven by dusty drum machines.
If you take out disco, house music is the essential genre. It started in Chicago’s club music scence with seminal Chicago house artists like Frankie Knuckles. The visionary ideas of others led to the takeover of other great American cities, such as Detroit and New York.
Soon, it spread across the globe, including Europe. It rose from underground to become one of the most popular and well-known genres in the dance music scene. House music is the father of many other musical genres like detroit techno and trance and has evolved over the years in many forms.
Check out this article about House music for details: What Is House Music? Best Things to Know 2021
In the sense that there are two camps with different views about what progressive house means, the progressive house faces the same problems as deep house. Purists and long-time listeners associate the progressive house with early adopters like John Digweed and Sasha, Eric Prydz, and possibly even Deadmau5.
This sub genre keeps the “progressive” theme close by, building layer upon layer. This house also borrows heavily from early trance music.
This is the other form of progressive house, which is more popular and commercially successful. It is often accompanied by simple song structures, radio-friendly vocals, and catchy melodies.
Although it has many similarities to a big room, it is more melodically expressive. This musical genre house was first to make it into mainstream music long before the deep house became more popular.
Some of the first examples of pop-meets-progressive-house tracks are songs like ‘Clarity’ from Zedd feat. Foxes, Afrojack feat. ‘Take Over Control’ Eva Simons and Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” Artists like Hardwell and DubVision are good examples of this type of electronic music.
Techno would be the dark side of house music. Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson were the mainstays of this genre, also known as the Belleville Three. Techno music emphasizes the atmosphere and builds up with a long build-up.
It has a steady beat that is four to the floor, but is more raw than house music. Hip hop is different than techno in that it’s more melodic than techno
Trance music is about captivating people with its awe-inspiring ambiances, epic breakdowns, and stunning melodies. Trance was a minor genre in the house spectrum. It shared many characteristics with techno, house, new age, and synthesizer pop, which gave it its dreamy atmosphere.
A List of The Biggest Electronic Dance Music Festival
Ultra Music Festival (UMF)
Ultra Music Festival began as a party at the Miami Winter Music Conference in 1999. It has since expanded to other parts of the globe. Ultra Music Festival is an international festival that has been held in countries like South Africa, Croatia (Ultra Europe), and Japan.
Electric Daisy Carnival
Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), billed as the biggest electronic music festival outside Europe, has been around since 1997. EDC has been a popular event across the United States since 1997. It was originally a two-day festival in 2009, and then it became a three-day event for 2011.
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