Electronic Dance Music Genres

The term “EDM” is used very loosely here, as Electronic Dance Music, to describe all the genres of dance music, rather than the genre used in Europe to describe American “over the top” dance music, characterized by artists such as Steve Aoki and Marshmello. This page describes the main genres of Electronic Dance Music that exist today. We say the “main” genres, because Wikipedia has a page devoted to electronic music genres with over 180 varieties of electronic dance music! Many of the descriptions shown below are abbreviated versions that came from that Wikipedia page. Each genre is linked to our page for that genre, where you can find a multitude of videos celebrating that style of electronic dance music!

  • House – House is a genre of electronic dance music with a repetitive, 4/4 beat, usually with 120-130 beats per minute. It was created by disc jockeys and music producers from Chicago’s underground club culture in the early and mid 1980s, as DJs from the subculture began altering disco dance tracks to give them a more mechanical beat and deeper basslines.
  • Bass House – Like House, Bass House has a repetitive, 4/4 beat, usually with 120-130 beats per minute, but includes a very strong bass element, and often combines house with elements of Dubstep and/or Drum & Bass.
  • Deep House – Deep house is a subgenre of house music that originated in the 1980s, initially fusing elements of Chicago house with 1980s jazz-funk and touches of soul music. It’s known for tempos typically from 110 to 125 BPM, muted basslines, spacious use of percussion elements (typically using a Roland TR-909 drum machine), soft keyboard sounds (pads), use of advanced chord structures, ambient mixes, and soulful, predominantly female vocals.
  • Electro House – Electro house is a music genre characterized by heavy bass and a tempo usually between 125 and 135 beats per minute. Its origins were influenced by tech house and electro, and it has been used to describe the music of many DJ Mag Top 100 DJs, including Benny Benassi, Daft Punk, Skrillex, and Steve Aoki. Electro-house is typified by its heavy bass, which is often in the form of buzzing basslines, such as those created with sawtooth waves and distortion. It is also often in the form of large bass drum sounds in a four-on-the-floor pattern.
  • Future House – Future house is a house music genre that emerged in the 2010s United Kingdom, described as a fusion of deep house, UK garage and incorporating other elements and techniques of other EDM genres. The term “future house” was coined by French DJ Tchami and was first used to categorise his 2013 remix of “Go Deep” on SoundCloud.
  • Progressive House – Progressive house is a subgenre of house music. The progressive house style emerged in the early 1990s. It initially developed in the United Kingdom as a natural progression of American and European house music of the late 1980s. Between 1990 and 1992, the term “progressive” referred to the short-form buzz word for the house music subgenre “progressive house”.
  • Garage House – Garage house (originally known as “garage music”; also “New York house”) is a dance music style that was developed alongside house music. In comparison to other forms of house music, garage includes more gospel-influenced piano riffs and female vocals.
  • Big Beat – Big beat is an electronic music genre that usually uses heavy breakbeats and synthesizer-generated loops and patterns – common to acid house/techno. The term has been used by the British music industry to describe music by artists such as The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, The Crystal Method, Propellerheads, Cut La Roc, Basement Jaxx and Groove Armada.
  • Breakbeat – Breakbeat is a broad style of electronic or dance-oriented music which utilizes breaks, often sampled from earlier recordings in funk, jazz and R&B, for the main rhythm. Breakbeats have been used in styles such as hip hop, jungle, drum and bass, big beat, hardcore, and UK garage styles (including 2-step, breakstep and dubstep).
  • Techno – Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan, in the United States in the mid-to-late 1980s. Techno is generally repetitive instrumental music, often produced for use in a continuous DJ set. The central rhythm is often in common time (4/4), while the tempo typically varies between 120 and 150 beats per minute.
  • Dubstep – Dubstep is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in South London in the late 1990s. It is generally characterized by sparse, syncopated rhythmic patterns with prominent sub-bass frequencies. The style emerged as an offshoot of UK garage, drawing on a lineage of related styles such as 2-step and dub reggae, as well as jungle, broken beat, and grime. The tempo is nearly always in the range of 138–142 beats per minute, with a clap or snare usually inserted every third beat in a bar.
  • Trap – EDM trap is a style of electronic dance music that originated in the mid-2000s and early 2010s. It blends elements of trap music, an offshoot of Southern hip hop, with elements of EDM like build-ups, drops, and breakdowns. A variety of artists spurred trap’s move into pop and EDM.
  • Glitch Hop – Glitch hop is a sub-genre of glitch music (described as a genre that adheres to an “aesthetic of failure,” where the deliberate use of glitch-based audio media, and other sonic artifacts, is a central concern). The genre typically embodies the same aesthetic as glitch music, but with a more urban approach. Notable glitch hop artists include: Machinedrum, Dabrye, Prefuse 73, edit, Jimmy Edgar, Lackluster, and Proswell.
  • Drum & Bass – Drum and bass (also written as “drum ‘n’ bass”; commonly abbreviated as “D&B”, “DnB” or “D’n’B”) is a genre of electronic music characterised by fast breakbeats (typically 160–180 beats per minute) with heavy bass and sub-bass lines, sampled sources, and synthesizers. The sounds of drum and bass are extremely varied due to the range of influences behind the music.
  • Jungle – Jungle is a genre of electronic music that developed in England in the early 1990s as part of UK rave scenes. Emerging from the breakbeat hardcore scene, the style is characterized by rapid breakbeats (often 150 to 200 bpm), dub reggae basslines, heavily syncopated percussive loops, samples, and synthesized effects.
  • Hardstyle – Hardstyle is a Dutch electronic dance genre mixing influences from techno and hardcore. Early hardstyle typically consisted of an overdriven and hard-sounding kick drum with a lot of sustain, with intense faded or reversed basslines accompanying the beat.
  • Trance – Trance is a genre of electronic music that emerged from the British new-age music scene and the early 1990s German techno and hardcore scenes. At the same time trance music was developing in Europe, the genre was also gathering a following in the Indian state of Goa. Trance music is characterized by a tempo lying between 110–150 bpm, repeating melodic phrases and a musical form that distinctly builds tension and elements throughout a track often culminating in 1 to 2 “peaks” or “drops”.
  • PsyTrance – Psytrance, or Psychedelic trance, is a subgenre of trance music characterized by arrangements of rhythms and layered melodies created by high tempo riffs. Psytrance lies at the hardcore, underground end of the diverse trance spectrum. Psychedelic trance has a distinctive, energetic sound that tends to be faster than other forms of trance or techno music with tempos generally ranging from 135 to 150 BPM. It uses a very distinctive bass beat that pounds constantly throughout the song.
  • Ambient – Ambient music is a genre of music that emphasizes tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm. A form of instrumental music, it may lack net composition, beat, or structured melody. It uses textural layers of sound which can reward both passive and active listening and encourage a sense of calm or contemplation.
  • Et Cetera – Some things just can’t be categorized, and when it comes to electronic dance music, some artists just don’t fit into a specific genre. Et cetera, or etc as most people know it, is Latin for “and so forth.” We’ve made this Et Cetera section with those artists in mind!