What Is Dance Music and What Is Techno?

House music and techno are two distinct genres of electronic dance music, often confused for each other by many listeners. Though there may appear to be similarities, there are key distinctions between them that must be taken into consideration when listening.

Techno music tends to feature dark, synthetic textures with precise yet powerful beat elements; on the other hand, house stemmed from disco sampling and often features more humanized melodies with “swung” rather than strictly on beat elements.


House music’s roots lie in Chicago’s Warehouse club in the early ’80s. DJ Frankie Knuckles popularized this new genre through mixing disco classics with new beats to form its distinct sound; house music became an international cultural movement influencing fashion, clubs, social movements and much more besides. Its 4/4 rhythm and synthesized beats became the basis for other electronic styles like techno and electro house.

The Warehouse club brought together black, Latino, and LGBTQ individuals into one vibrant community. It spawned its own fashion and culture that set itself apart from other dance styles in America; from oversized dungarees to bright yellow smiley faces; this fashion represented freedom and self-expression within this scene.

Knuckles, commonly referred to as the Godfather of House, played an essential part in spreading house music throughout Europe. He mixed vocals and percussion with Roland (TB-303 bass synthesizer) and Korg Poly-61 synthesizers – using samples of Isaac Hayes songs such as Love Can’t Turn Around to create rhythms; eventually creating what would become his signature track: an international hit that other Chicago producers like Marshall Jefferson, Farley Jackmaster Funk and Jesse Saunders followed suit by creating more hits throughout Europe.

At the end of the ’80s, house had become an international trend and clubs from London to Tokyo embraced it enthusiastically. House quickly evolved into a global musical phenomenon influencing both dance music and fashion globally.

House and techno are distinct genres; while they share certain characteristics, each genre offers something distinct to its listeners. Techno is often described as dark and synthetic while house has more of a human feel with groove-based beats that get people moving.

Though each genre differs significantly, both have roots in disco and experimental electronic music. Techno is heavily influenced by heavy industry in Detroit; house began its journey during Black gay 1970s New York nightlife dance scenes and the clubs of Chicago and Detroit – their varied roots helping shape their individual aesthetics.


There are various styles of house music. Popular examples are melodic, progressive and tech house. Each combines elements from various genres into its unique sound; melodic house is particularly well-suited to dance events and festivals due to its upbeat tempo and uplifted melodies while progressive and tech house offer more abstract minimalist approaches.

Dance music has an extensive history that is continually developing. It has had an influence on other genres as well as helping to shape the industry today, with many well-known artists contributing to it and writing songs with broad appeal that remain at its heart.

House music traces its roots back to disco, yet has developed its own distinct sound as it gained global appeal. Pioneer DJs Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy began performing house music in Chicago’s underground club scene during the 1970s and 80s; its composition drew inspiration from older disco tracks, electro funk music, Italo disco music as well as black pop and hip hop sounds.

After its initial surge of popularity, house music spread globally as it moved through cities with large club scenes. Each region brought their own character and sub genres such as Balearic house in Ibiza and acid house in Detroit developed, along with new forms such as techno and trance dance music.

These musical genres each possess their own distinct styles and traits, yet all share a similar characteristic: beats per minute between 120-135 for dance music genres. Furthermore, four four-beat measures played on the kick drum – known as 4/4 beat – gives dance music its characteristic rhythmic energy.

Dance music features electronic distortion and other sounds that add drama, including bass lines, high-hat cymbal fills and vocals. Some house music even incorporates lyrics that promote spirituality or celebration through dancing; its tempo and beat can even be changed for different styles, such as by speeding up beats while adding melodic strings (trance).


House music typically features a beat that follows a 4/4 rhythm with a kick drum, either sampled from an actual drum or synthesized for more electronic effects. Tempos typically range between 118 and 130 beats per minute with bass lines that often have roots in funk, jazz and Latin influences as well as groove elements to help get people dancing.

House music’s rhythmic beat creates an intoxicatingly seductive pulse that inspires community and energy among dancers, similar to how indigenous cultures have long used rhythmic drumming as part of sacred ceremonies. House music’s beat takes inspiration from tribal drumming as an hypnotic yet stimulating stimulant.

House music is an underground subgenre of dance music that closely relates to disco music. Due to its widespread appeal, house has given birth to multiple subgenres: acid house, progressive house, deep house and slap house are some of the many variations within it that share similar basic characteristics but all boast their own individual soundscapes and styles.

Initial, the genre emerged in Chicago’s underground party scene during the early 1980s and was initially created for DJs playing dance clubs. Since then, it has gained immense popularity globally while serving as inspiration for various other musical genres.

House music distinguishes itself from other forms of dance music through its four-to-the-floor beat. This rhythm features kick drums on every beat, snare drums every second beat and claps every third beat; many house tracks also incorporate grooving bass lines and synthesized vocals for an additional punch of energy.

House music is an all-inclusive genre combining elements of traditional disco, jazz and funk with electronic synthesizers and drum machines. House became the direct descendant of disco when its oversaturation led to backlash from police officers who vandalized nightclubs; yet its culture remained proudly black despite such actions taken against it by public officials.


House music’s global reach quickly expanded after it first made an appearance at Chicago clubs during the early ’80s, spreading worldwide through pop superstars such as Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Kylie Minogue who all incorporated elements of house into their music. House’s unique combination of symphonic sweep, soul diva vocals, cold futurism of synthesizer-driven Eurodisco synthesizer-driven Eurodisco as well as cold futurism also had an effect on genres like techno and trance music.

Dance music provided an avenue for queer people, particularly people of color, to reconnect during an epidemic that threatened death. This relationship was strengthened as DJs from around the world remixed and reinterpreted the songs such as the UK’s Frankie Knuckles and Marshall Jefferson to keep people alive and dancing through these hard times.

House is an accessible musical form for aspiring producers and DJs to produce using basic equipment, with four-on-the-floor beats being popular and an emphasis on bass. House originated from disco music which made it more readily accessible to a wider audience than other types of dance music at that time.

Since the early ’80s, house music has evolved into numerous subgenres with their own unique characteristics. Deep house is a more soulful form of Chicago House that features gospel diva samples and piano riffs; techno is a harder style of electronic dance music from Detroit in the late 1980s characterized by bass lines played at high volumes that create an intense yet hypnotic dancefloor soundscape.

House music gave birth to rave culture and EDM (electronic dance music), two subgenres of electronic dance music (EDM). House music remains popular today in its digital format, inspiring other forms of electronic music like trance and techno as well as being beloved amongst listeners worldwide – evidenced by chart successes like I’m Good (Blue) by David Guetta & Bebe Rexha that reached No. 2 on Billboard Hot 100 last year.