Electronic dance music, sometimes called just electronic dance, club music or just dance, is a broader category of percussive musical styles created primarily for night clubs, raves and live DJs. Artists creating such music may come from many backgrounds – from classical music to new age, influenced by everything from drumming to steppers to IDM. Electronic dance music may be free-style, hip hop, reggae, pop, or a blend of more than one of these styles. It may be electronic or non-electric.
One of the fastest growing sub-genres of electronic dance music is the ‘trap’. Originating in the United Kingdom, trap music generally follows a bass based beat with a heavy dose of hi-tech reverb and delays. The sound is usually high pitched and textured to provide a demanding electronic dance sound. Trap is often used on its own, without additional instruments, or as the precursor to a more danceable piece. EDM artists working in the trap genre are usually noted for their original, foot stomping style and ‘trap’ style vocals.
Another electronic dance music sub-genre is ‘future rock’. This style is characterized by songs that are full of complex sample playback sounds and are frequently laced with lyrics. Future rock is commonly used by independent artists who want a huge impact on the radio, yet don’t have the budget to record and market an entire album.
One of the most popular styles of electronic dance music is ‘ambient’. Ambient refers to any style of electronic dance, which employs sounds from nature or other non-artificial sources to produce rhythms. This can include chirping birds, a crackling fire, and the gentle fluttering of wind through trees or across sandy beaches. Some of the more common ambient producers are producers from the United Kingdom and France.
Other styles of EDM include ‘ghetto’ which is often heard on parties from ethnic minority backgrounds. Originating from the deep south of the U.S., ghetto EDM uses drums from Mexico and Caribbean Islands. This style is often heard in clubs where the music is salsa based. Other popular ghetto EDM is hip-hop and reggaeton.
‘Amen break’ is a break down of time and space in an electronic dance track. Usually three or four parts of the song are played in rapid succession, all centered on a central bass drum. The Amen break uses a reverb pedal to add depth and a special wave pattern to the beat. This type of break is popular in modern and pop music. Other common amen break patterns are found in traditional tribal dance and classical break dance.
A break from the normal is ‘rotational picking’. Similar to break dancing, this style of electronic dance music uses two frets to play single notes. One note is struck quickly on one fret while a slightly slower stroke on the other note is played. The result is a tapping sound, sometimes heard in guitar music. Picking can be done using fingers or a pick. Sampling some other instrument is sometimes used as an added effect.
Electronic dance music can range from hip hop to jungle and everything in between. EDM is a very open term, since it can mean any of these different styles or any combination thereof. Since this form of music is becoming more popular, new styles are appearing every day. We will continue to explore the world of electronic dance music for years to come.
Since there are so many styles, it is important that you learn them. You can find a music school in your area that specializes in the styles that you are interested in learning. Taking a class will give you the opportunity to practice and see if you enjoy the music. Sometimes you will not like one genre and find another more interesting to play. Your education will benefit from learning the many genres of EDM available today.
Another way to improve your knowledge of electronic dance is to attend clubs where DJs and artists perform. Pay attention to the DJ and the type of music that he or she plays. Listening to the music will give you a good idea of what kind of beats are popular. If a DJ seems uncomfortable playing certain songs, then you might want to steer clear of that DJ.
One last place to get ideas for the perfect electronic dance music beat is online. There are numerous websites dedicated to EDM. Here you can search through the newest offerings by different artists. Many new artists are starting to make their mark on the electronic dance music scene. Take advantage of this by checking out what new artists have come out on the beat today.