Have you ever been dancing in a club when you found yourself completely immersed in melody and feeling as though the music was flowing through you, moving your body the way the music desires it to go? This is an experience that has happened to me on numerous occasions when having a carefree night at the local techno club. I’ve often wondered what type of techno it was that created this memorable experience and have discovered that it is the electronic music style of trance.
Trance is a complex electronic dance music genre that has more sub genres than any other. It follows few rules, meaning that it is an incredibly free flowing style of music. Trance songs are often melodic, repetitive (in a good, hypnotic way) and are partially derived from house music. Songs are generally either energetic and have the ability to amp up the crowd or are incredibly chill, lulling the listener into a trance-like state.
Trance music is often a combination of various forms of electronic music, such as industrial, house, and techno. It is made up of combinations of beats that generally fall between 130 to 160 beats per minute. Of course, this number fluctuates whether the song is more of an anthem or a chill out melody.
This genre of electronic dance music is said to have developed in Germany in the 90s, though it is disputable with other thoughts. Some say trance was first in the making when synthesizers came into the picture in the 70’s to 80’s.
Others believe that its roots are religiously connected with the state of reminiscent of shamanism and elements of Buddhism. Whatever the beginnings of trance are, one can’t really argue with the fact that the 90’s was the decade when trance spread its influence and grew widely in popularity.
Music that could be described as ancient trance was first created with objects that people could find, such as rattles, drums, and other such percussion instruments. Since trance was first created to imitate the heartbeat, it is believed to have been used in ancient shamanic rituals to reach the trance state.
Trance has surely come a long way from the physicality of its creation. A variety of synthesizers, sequencers and electronic effects are used to create trance music as we know it today. Roland TR 808, TR 909, and TB 303 instruments are the backbone of creating trance. Though these are about a 20 year old technology, it is still common for newer bass synths and drum machines to emulate these original sounds.
I can describe how trance is creating and sounds, but it doesn’t quite compare to taking a listen for yourself. So now that you’ve gotten a small bit of information about the massive world of trance, I’d recommend picking up a more commercial album to begin your journey (perhaps some ATB or Paul Oakenfold).
Brad Parmerter has almost 20 years experience in the music and entertainment industry as a writer, programmer, and merchandiser. He has professionally interviewed and photographed such artists as: Rush, Metallica, Celine Dion, Live, Phil Collins, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Live, Van Halen, Queensryche, Anna Nalick, Styx, Def Leppard, and many more.
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