Is Electronic Music a Genre?

is electronic music a genre

As opposed to traditional song structures, most electronic music is made by layering individual sounds together. Although some producers may come from musical backgrounds (i.e. playing piano or guitar), others use software instead and create tracks without ever touching physical instruments at all.

House, techno and drum and bass music pioneers like Juan Atkins and Richie Hawtin remain influential today, as do DJs from their genre’s golden era such as DJ Sven Vath or Carl Cox. Trance music incorporates elements from both house and techno with more melodic flourishes – giving rise to subgenres like Trance that blend these styles seamlessly together.


As its name implies, electronic music relies on electronic equipment to generate musical sounds. This encompasses instruments and equipment like electronic oscillators, keyboards, synthesizers and computer technology or software to produce sounds for musical composition. Electronic music genre is distinguished by the use of various styles ranging from rock and roll to techno and often includes distorted vocals with pulsating beats and synthesized effects for its signature sound.

In the 1950s, composers began using electronic sound-producing devices as part of their compositional techniques. After exploring its potential in producing music and finding that they could create intricate patterns using such equipment, composers experimented with controlling rhythm and tonality of their compositions with it in ways impossible with traditional instruments. Following these early experiments came synthesizer technology which allowed musicians to produce different sounds and combine them into unique compositions.

Electronic music became immensely popular during the 1970s and 1980s, giving rise to several subgenres such as krautrock, disco, new wave, synthpop, Ultravox Depeche Mode Yazoo as primary instruments of these sub-genres. At this time, science fiction films also began using electronic music extensively in their soundtracks such as Wendy Carlos’ score for Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange as well as Maurice Martenot’s Theremin, invented in 1928.

EDM (electronic dance music) quickly gained prominence during the 1990s both within clubs and underground spaces such as fields or fitness centers throughout Europe. Characterized by fast tempos, distorted sawtooth kick drums, and intense synthesized basslines. Furthermore, this genre includes many subgenres including hardcore, gabber, and industrial hardcore.


Electronic music may appear modern and futuristic, but its roots go back centuries. The first electronic musical instruments were developed at the turn of the 20th century; artists like the Italian Futurists used these to explore sounds not previously considered musical. Later, magnetic tape allowed musicians to record and edit together sounds which led to musique concrete (music composed solely out of natural and industrial noise recordings) as well as electroacoustic tape music in Japan and Egypt.

Synthesizers were an important innovation that opened electronic music up to musicians of all stripes in the late 1970s and 80s, giving rise to bands like Ultravox, Yazoo, Depeche Mode and New Order that utilized them. While disco and pop songs that used synthesizers enjoyed massive popularity during that era, techno was emerging from Detroit – featuring faster tempos (160-200 BPM) with sawtooth kick drums to produce its signature sound; other subgenres like hardcore and gabber employ more aggressive beats that create harsh, industrial-sounding tracks.

Electronic music first gained mainstream appeal in Europe and North America during the 1990s thanks to artists like Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers and Kraftwerk. Since then its popularity has continued to soar; today EDM is an international phenomenon. While some artists draw their inspiration from classical or jazz roots when creating songs using click-and-drag production methods alone – perhaps future generations may even produce entire albums without touching an instrument at all!


Electronic music has blossomed into an expansive spectrum of genres over time. Most genres can be defined by specific instruments and production techniques used, or by its tempo and energy levels – for instance, drum and bass is a fast-paced genre featuring breakbeat rhythms and deep basslines; other examples are dubstep and techno.

Ambient music, known for its dreamlike textures and soothing melodies, can help provide the ideal environment for meditation or relaxation. Artists that have contributed to this genre include Bonobo and Four Tet.

Electro is another popular genre, featuring an 808 drum machine to play hip-hop and funk patterns, speeded up to house and techno tempos by an oscillator with crazy pitch modulation as well as synth pads and basslines. Many artists delve into various subgenres within this genre.

Trance music can be identified by its dreamlike sonic landscapes and repetitive melodies, with harmonic chords often making an appearance; progressive trance may include harmonic chords while ambient trance tends to be more atmospheric and minimal; other genres include psytrance (influenced by psychedelic drugs) and acid techno ( using Roland TB-303 basslines as examples of such).


Electronic music is a wide-reaching genre with numerous subgenres, offering something for every taste and musical experience. Some of its more popular subgenres include chill out, down tempo, ambient music, experimental electronic music and trance.

Electronic music has long been distinguished by the incorporation of electromechanical instruments and electronic devices into its composition, production and reproduction processes. As such, this is an evolution from classical music tradition, with composers seeking new technical resources outside the Classical-Romantic paradigm to compose electronic pieces.

Electronic musical instruments have provided new styles and sounds that would not otherwise exist without them. At first, electronic devices served only as accompaniment for traditional instruments; however, digital synthesizers became widely used during the 1980s which allowed producers to utilize them independently as composition and production tools.

Devices designed to create complex sound structures and rhythms not possible through analog methods enabled the creation of new musical genres such as industrial music, electronic body music (EBM) and techno.

In the 1990s, electronic dance music (EDM) saw its initial surge of popularity as DJs began using its various styles in dance clubs and radio programs. EDM then was established, evolving further today through artists developing unique sound signatures for this genre.

Electronic music can be difficult to define; however, you can identify its style by looking at its beats per minute (bpm), general vibe, melodies and sounds used, etc. For instance, psytrance is often marked by its distinctive psychedelic soundscape while acid techno is famous for featuring Roland TB-303 basslines as part of its signature sound.


In the 1960s, composers experimented with electronic sound-producing devices and developed an approach known as musique concrete to composition. This involved editing together recorded fragments of natural and industrial sounds for use as permanent forms that could be reproduced using loudspeakers either alone or combined with traditional musical instruments; its first pieces were assembled by composers in Paris including Pierre Schaeffer.

As affordable music technology became more accessible in the 1980s, more musicians began incorporating electronic sounds into their recordings. Keyboard synthesizers quickly became an integral component of pop and rock bands; keyboardists would often join guitarists, bassists, drummers, singers and singers onstage. This lead to synth-pop as well as new genres like electronic body music (EBM) and techno; New age music also often included substantial electronic components at this time; artists such as Vangelis and Kitaro saw widespread popularity during this era.

Computer technology and music software have enabled an ever-increasing number of people to produce electronic music on their own. Many computer-based production tools are becoming less costly and easier for anyone with access to a digital audio workstation (DAW) to produce electronic songs at home.

Electronic Dance Music (EDM), originally developed during the 1990s and now one of the most prevalent forms of modern music, is an EDM subgenre which has grown immensely popular since then. Characterized by fast rhythms, repetitive melodies, synthesized sounds mixed with live instrumentation as well as dance club performance venues like raves; EDM has even found acceptance by mainstream pop musicians.