It can be difficult to define what exactly trance music is, especially in a world where creative minds are fusing electronic styles all of the time, and bending the limits of what a certain genre represents. On a technical level trance music is a fairly fast type of electronic dance music, running at between 128 and 150 beats per minute. It usually changes every 32 beats and aims to delight the listener with beats, melodies, and hypnotic noises, which culminate in a trance like state, especially when experienced live, or at a loud volume. Trance is not just a genre, it is a feeling.
A Bit About Trance…
The great genre of trance is believed to have been born in Germany (where else given its underground dance music scene) in the early 1990s, but it is really quite impossible to say that it was not around before. It evolved out of synthesized dance genres before it, such as disco and house music in the early 80s. Techno artists began to experiment with layering and repetition and began to discover the trance like effects that the genre holds now. Music is always an evolution, and trance is no different.
As trance music gained popularity on the rave scene it began to spread across the globe, absorbing different influences and forming sub-genres. It reached a commercial peak in the mid-late 90s, but artists are still slamming beats down on the world of electronic music today.
Sub Genres Of Trance
Due to the human need to categorize, and to further categorize, and to subcategorize, the trance genre has been broken down into sub-genres, which describe the composition and emphasis of the music. The reader should regard these sub-genres as being loose at best, and a lot of recent trance music is hard to pin-down.
Anthems/ Uplifting Trance
Nice build-ups rise from the ashes of breakdowns, providing mesmerizing trance states, which are then followed by melodic drops of epic proportions. Uplifting trance and anthems contain all of these elements, but anthem trance is generally considered a little more hard hitting, and party starting. These are the sort of tunes that you might expect to hear in super-clubs around the famed trance island of Ibiza, although it also sounds great even when played through second hand stereos bought from Gumtree.com or usedhifishop.co.uk!
Progressive trance is all about the build-ups! It creates atmosphere and a continuous feeling of peaking through its intense and unrelenting approach to build-ups, with drops becoming much more subtle, and less emphasis placed on hypnotic melodies.
The clue is in the name really! This sub-genre of trance is highly vocal orientated, and is sometimes known as “pop trance”. The vocals provide a sort of chorus set-up which are not used in other types of trance. Vocal trance has opened up the genre to the eyes of the mainstream.
From the commercial to the underground now, and psychedelic trance is about as underground as it gets. Taking its roots in the Goa parties of the 70’s psytrance uses a continuous rolling beat with psychedelic melodies, noises, and samples, to create a mind-bending and almost irresistible trance state. It was an evolution of techno, as it fused with Indian sounds to become a kind of New-Age yoga.
A fusion which uses a techno style beat and speed (140BPM) along with trance like instrumentals and breakdowns. Not as hard as hard-trance, but still great for a rave.
Hard trance is go, go, go! Pounding bass and beats keep you dancing all night, but some of the harder stuff is too much for some people, who prefer a more melodic approach.