Electronic dance music

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Electronic dance music
Stylistic origins Electronic music
Dance
Typical instruments Synthesizer, drum machine, keyboard, sampler, sequencer, computer
Other topics
Disco, Euro disco, post-disco, house, techno, trance music, trip hop, dubstep

Electronic dance music, often simplified as EDM, (occasionally referred to as electronica or dance) is a form of electronic music which is meant to be danced to, often in the setting of a nightclub, discothèque or party. Generally, electronic dance music is created by producers and composers, and is then used by DJs, or disc jockeys, in the above settings. Electronic dance music takes many forms and styles. As a genre, it is generally up-tempo music created by electronic software and machines, such as synthesizers, drum machines, keyboards, samplers, sequencers and computers. Occasionally, the term "techno" is used to describe electronic dance music in general, despite being a generalisation as techno is a distinguishable subgenre of EDM.

History and origins[change | edit source]

Being quite a generic term, EDM has a variety of 'origins' and derivations. EDM can be said to stem from a fusion between regular dance music and electronic music. One notable example can be Donna Summer's 1977 single "I Feel Love", which combined elements of disco with electronic music. The innovative blend helped trigger several major EDM genres, such as Hi-NRG, Eurodance and techno music.[1][2] Giorgio Moroder, who co-wrote the song and was also one of its producers, additionally created some of the earliest forms of electronic dance music. Kraftwerk are also credited as influencing electronic music.[3] Whilst a lot of electronic dance music originates from disco, this is not the case for all EDM.[3]

The song which has been credited as bringing EDM into mainstream popular music is Madonna's 1998 single "Ray of Light".[4] Whilst it is attributed as helping bring the genre mainstream, electronic dance music existed and had enjoyed popularity years before the single's release; house music, for instance, had been popular in the United States since the early 1990s (its popularity can also be attributed to another Madonna single, 1990's "Vogue").[5]

Different forms of electronic dance music[change | edit source]

There are different types of EDM, each varying in style and sound. This is a list of some of the major electronic dance music genres (each genre may additionally have further subgenres, which have not been looked at in too much detail for this section):

  • Euro disco - starting in the 1970s, Euro disco was a more pop-based form of disco music.
  • Italo disco - starting in the late 1970s, Italo disco is a form of EDM which came from disco music; whilst it kept a lot of disco's main characteristics, it made much stronger usage of synthesizers and drum machines in order to have a more futuristic sound.
  • Hi-NRG - starting in the late 1970s, Hi-NRG is a form of EDM which bases itself on disco music, with the exception that it is generally faster. It uses staccato beats and octave bass lines.
  • Garage house - starting in the late 1970s to early 1980s, garage house based itself on disco music, yet also incorporated synthesizers and drum machines. Garage house additionally had prominent piano riffs, a soulful style, and similarities to gospel music.
  • Electro - starting in the early 1980s, electro is a form of EDM which makes strong usage of drum machines, and samples hip hop and funk rhythms.
  • Freestyle - starting in the early 1980s, freestyle was a form of EDM with Latin and hip hop influences and up-tempo melodies.
  • Post-disco - starting in the early 1980s, post-disco is based on disco music, yet is more experimental and electronic, replacing disco's original orchestras with synthesizers and drum machines.
  • Electronic body music (EBM) - starting in the early 1980s, EBM mixes elements of industrial music with EDM.
  • House - starting in the early 1980s, house music is generally up-tempo music strongly influenced by disco. It makes usage of strong kick-beats and a big bass line, keeping the 4/4 rhythm which disco had. On the other hand, it is more beat-based and less melodic than disco.
  • Techno - starting in the mid-1980s, techno is a form of EDM which is generally up-tempo, repetitive music which keeps a 4/4 rhythm. It is rhythmic music which places a strong emphasis on beats, and is usually instrumental in nature.
  • Alternative dance - starting in the mid-1980s, alternative dance blends elements of EDM with alternative rock music and New Wave.
  • Eurodance - starting in the late 1980s to the early 1990s, Eurodance is a mainly European form of electronic dance music which generally includes the prominent usage of synthesizer, especially with regards to riffs, a strong bass, as well as a generally melodic sound.
  • Trance - starting in the early 1990s, trance is a form of EDM which is generally up-tempo and includes repeated melodic phrases created by synthesizers.
  • Intelligent dance music (IDM) - starting in the early 1990s, IDM music is a more experimental form of EDM.
  • Hardcore techno - starting in the early 1990s, hardcore techno is fast music which makes common usage of distorted, often atonal, beats.
  • Happy hardcore - starting in the early 1990s, happy hardcore is generally fast music with euphoric or happy-sounding melodies.
  • Trip hop - starting in the early-1990s, trip hop is a slower form of electronic dance music which uses hip hop beats, and generally has an atmospheric, soulful sound.
  • Drum and bass - starting in the early 1990s, drum and bass is a form of EDM which has a strong bass and makes usage of breakbeats, and occasionally uses the amen break.
  • Bubblegum dance - starting in the mid-1990s, bubblegum dance is a fusion between Eurodance and bubblegum pop music, keeping the dance-oriented electronic sound of the former and mixing it with the cheerful and simplistic characteristics of the latter.
  • Hardstyle - starting in the late 1990s, hardstyle is a form of EDM which generally includes hard-hitting, strong beats.
  • Electroclash - starting in the late 1990s, electroclash is a form of EDM which borrows elements from 1980s synthpop and New Wave, as well as rock music, and places an emphasis on performance art, fashion and style.
  • Dubstep - starting in the late 1990s to early 2000s, dubstep is a form of EDM which includes a strong bass line, a wobble bass, and common bass drops, usually abandoning the traditional 4/4 rhythm of a lot of electronic dance.

References[change | edit source]

  1. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p5556/biography
  2. http://www.allmusic.com/song/t2828798
  3. 3.0 3.1 http://www.allmusic.com/explore/essay/disco-t2151
  4. http://www.allmusic.com/song/ray-of-light-t1942520
  5. http://www.allmusic.com/explore/essay/house-relation-to-soul-t2156