Electronic dance music, sometimes called electronic music, club music, or just dance, is an expansive field of electronic percussions designed mostly for night clubs, raves, and parties. It has evolved into a complete musical language with thousands (if not millions) of officially licensed sounds, instruments, and samples. Electronic dance music can be described as a subset of modern music, which has grown to encompass the night clubs and music scenes of most metropolitan areas in North America. The evolution of electronic dance music can be traced back to the late ’80s, when dance crews started to use sampler CD sequencing to create club hits on the spot. Later, synthesizers and other computer-oriented hardware became common equipment in clubs and studios. Now, electronic dance music has evolved even further, with the inclusion of drum machines, samplers, and other electronic instruments.
When electronic dance music was first introduced, it was often considered underground, with producers influencing the DJ’s from afar to copy their styles. As more dance music producers started to distribute their music through the Internet, it gained popularity. It became a natural choice for college students to take up dance classes as it was cheaper and accessible than most traditional institutions. By the late ’00s, electronic dance music had started to evolve into what we know today as EDM, which stands for “electronic dance music.” EDM’s popularity peaked during the height of the dot-com bubble and has remained strong ever since.
With the rise of the electronic dance music phenomenon, came dozens of EDM labels and websites dedicated solely to the genre. Many major label companies signed popular DJs, many of whom went on to form their own labels and release music themselves. Major club promoters began featuring EDM sets on their radio shows, attracting more audiences. Some dance artists even made careers out of promoting EDM artists and singles, such as Disclosure and Tiesto.
The explosion of electronic dance music has also affected other genres of music. House, techno, hip-hop, pop, alternative and even rock are all experiencing a rise in sales and popularity in recent years. Some have tried to buck the trend by releasing an independent electronic dance music label, but have not been successful. Lately, trance and hypnotic/techno music have also gained popularity.
But what has influenced electronic dance music? One possible origin is the world of classical music. Many composers were drawn to the world of dance because of its non-conventional structure. Pieces such as “Romeo And Juliet” or “Hamlet” involve a series of unusual octaves arranged in strange ways. Other composers, inspired by this style, composed pieces similar to “Romeo And Juliet” which are more melodic. Many classical pieces use multiple octaves for the same piece, but in electronic dance music the octaves often have more definition.
Another form of electronic dance music is new age. It generally mixes elements from the traditional dance movements (free style, ballet, modern, etc.) and other non-traditional dance elements such as gymnastics, belly dancing, and tapestry. This form is more individualized and personal than most styles of electronic dance music.
Some dance genres have evolved from electronic dance music. Smooth jazz is a good example. Some people love smooth jazz, while others hate it, with some even going to extreme measures in trying to make their favorite version of it fit into a non-jazz atmosphere. Other electronic dance genres are characterized by the use of drum beats and other percussion instruments to build the foundation of the dance.
A good way to get an idea of electronic dance music is to listen to some of the many videos that are available on the Internet. While these videos may seem strange or boring to those of us who aren’t familiar with electronic dance music or new age music, they can provide a wealth of information. You can get a good feel for what is popular and what isn’t by paying attention to the types of music being played. Often you will hear about songs that are not very popular and this can provide you with insight into what electronic dance music fans enjoy. You might even discover a hidden treasure of electronic dance music.