Music Genres: Techno

4 Conversations


To the uninitiated, dance music genres can be very difficult to understand, indeed even intimidating at times. Dance music has progressed so fast in the last 100 years (mostly due to computer technology) and has thus brought thousands upon thousands of exotic musical names (such as Tech House) to the music scene. Although the dance music scene has declined in popularity in the last few years (mostly due to rock music making a big comeback), the number of genres and subgenres just keep on growing. With these articles, I will attempt to present some definitions of dance music genres that will be (at least partially) understandable.


The techno genre houses many of the subgenres of mainstream dance music, including rave and trance. Techno is also a subgenre itself in this category.


Techno music is mainly produced by using computers and computerised sounds. It places a lot of emphasis on melodic composition1 to make a collage of musical ideas with computer generated sounds. It is usually made without vocals2, and the music generally sounds edgy and ’cool’. The subgenre is not really very distinct from its fellow subgenres (especially trance), which makes it quite difficult to describe. If you’ve heard it, though, you’ll know what it is. Techno artists include Chicane (Don’t Give Up) and, in very, very loose terms, Dane Bowers (Out Of Your Mind). Please don’t listen to the latter, as it is mainly an exercise in how not to produce good Techno music.


This is a very futuristic style of techno, mostly due to its wide, panoramic3 sound effects to create a very diverse musical atmosphere. It uses simple drumbeats and complex melodies (whose tones are made to sound like synthesised strings). This makes the music of this genre attain an almost orchestral style. The music almost always has vocals, which are used to emphasise and put words to the emotional sequences4 created by the melodic lines. Trance artists include the famous DJ Sammy (Heaven) and N-Trance (Set You Free).

Drum & Bass

Drum & Bass uses very fast paced drum samples (usually above 160 bpm5) spliced with bass lines at half this speed. They also contain some very weird tunes, vocals and/or effects, to create atmospheric but slightly strange tracks. Due to the nature of Drum & Bass, its artists don’t usually break through into the mainstream6 (which is a shame), but notable artists that have done so (in the face of adversity) include Kosheen (Hungry) and recently, Mr. Reds (Everybody Come On [Can U Feel It], with the Stanton Warriors).


This music is really built on the culture surrounding it, but is usually classed as a musical genre as well. It’s also one of the more difficult genres to create good tracks within; it’s very rare that you get perfect rave tracks, and sometimes they don’t sound very good at all (early Prodigy typifies this). However, the best Rave music can be found on the album Music for the Jilted Generation by The Prodigy. Most Rave music has fast and furious (but very catchy) drumbeats, dark and distorted7 tunes and edgy lyrics.

Tech House

A mixture between cool Techno and funky House. Simple really. It involves the beat and basslines of House with the spacey sound effects and synths8 of Techno. The classic, yet strangely irritating Flat Beat by Mr Oizo typifies this (the one on the Levi’s advert with the yellow puppet), and current artists Layo & Bushwacka (Love Story) continue developing music in this hybrid genre.

Coming Soon – House music genres

1Single notes in succession2Singing or rapping3Using stereo effects4i.e. the sequence of major (happy) and minor (sad) chords5Beats Per Minute6i.e. the charts7With added ’fuzz’8Computer instruments

Bookmark on your Personal Space



Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Written and Edited by


h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more