A Dummies Guide To EDM Genres

Posted at May 8th, 2017 | by Sidhantha Jain | in Entertainment, Featured

Non listeners highly confuse EDM with just big-room house or consider everyone to be same as David Guetta. I guess, I’m not the only one who gets pissed when someone calls Skrillex as trance or Above&Beyond a trap artist!

Therefore, I decided to come up with a ‘Dummies Guide To EDM Genres’ to save you from lethal stares and death threats from your EDManiac friends! There are more than a 100 genres (ignoring multiple combinations) but we’re limiting ourselves to the major classifications only.

Are you ready? Let the lesson drop! 😛

P.S. This data is not to be substituted for any other purposes than entertainment.


Mostly recognized as the “four-to-the-floor” sound, it is the face of EDM on radio and in nightclubs. Everything from the influential “Sexy Bitch,” produced by David Guetta to Hardwell’s “Don’t Stop The Madness,” it’s all House Music. If we go back to this sub-genre’s roots, it basically originated from Chicago, basically a post-disco revival thing.

House beats have evolved over the years and has bifurcated itself into major sub-sub genres:

  • Big Room
  • Electro House
  • Deep House
  • Progressive House
  • Tech House
  • Tropical House

Other subparts include

  • Acid House
  • Disco House
  • Dutch House
  • Future House
  • Garage House
  • Glitch house
  • Tribal House


If there’s one thing people know about EDM is, Trance. Ranging from 110-150 beats per minute, it was born in Germany, and popularly has earned a reputation for being the “high” music. A typical trance beat is known for having rapid buildups, emotional break downs, romantic melodies and regular female vocals. If you’ve heard an early Tiesto track, it’s most probably trance only. The genre is further broken down into:

  • Electro Trance

  • Goa Trance

  • Psychedelic Trance

  • Hard Trancehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B74FBXAqwOE&list=PLGlLXtfNGQ55xSetn0XkXAeZfte8e_JRw&index=11
  • Progressive Trance
  • Uplifting Trance
  • Vocal Trance


    Often Techno is acknowledged as EDM, and it’s kinda acceptable as it is one of the genres that have been around since day one. Depending on the style, the tempo tends to varies from approximately 120 to 150 beats per minute.  Incepted in Detroit, icons like  Derrick May and Juan Atkins have spent their lives promoting it throughout Europe and then going global. Even though it is one of the oldest existing genres in the dance music circuit, its producers are staying true to the original craft and avoiding the commercial rat race, finding it difficult to have a wider reach.


    When you try Dubstep, there’s a huge possibility, you’d either get addicted to it or scar yourself for life. Back in the day, dub was a little different; it started as a darker, more experimental take on the 2-step sound that was running through London in the late 1990s. At 140BPM it feels like hip-hop at a slow pace. The initial sounds were less fierce and not associated with the transformers having an orgasm. Though Skrillex is the face of Dubstep today, DJs like John Peel have helped it reach the worldwide masses. Contrary to popular belief, Dubstep is more than just freaky, bass heavy sounds and annoying random samples. There’re multiple sub-genres arising out of Dubstep but Brostep is one of the most notable forms and associated with extremely hard and aggressive sounding bass wobbles.

    Drum & Bass

    Sometimes thought the same as Dubstep, Drum & Bass or DnB is one of the most misconceived sounds. While its roots are the same as its cousin in London in the early 1990s, it is completely different from any other beat. Clocking at a high160-180 BPM, the main focus (obviously) is on the drums and a hard bassline giving it a distinct identity. Over the past few years it has seen itself fuse with other sub genres giving birth to Drumstep, Darkstep, Neurofunk, Ragga Drum & Bass, Liquid Funk, Jump-Up and more.


    Chances are, you’ve heard Trap (and enjoyed too) unknowingly. “Harlem Shake,” “Turn down for what,” “Get low” all belong to this category of music. Maestros like Major Lazer, DJ Snake, Flosstradamus and others have brought the underground art into the mainstream, distinguishing it from Hip-Hop by using intense build-ups, heavy drops and usually dark themes. It’s interesting to note, Trap is gaining popularity due to its low-profile, high energy lesser commercialized artists like UZ, RL Grime, Aero Chord just to name a few.




    Revolving around a 150 BPM, these sounds are massive on the distorted chords combined with harmonious melodies. Old hardcore styles are a bit different from the EDM take of Hardstyle, but its gaining followers slowly. Just like House music, the basic four-to-the-floor kicks carry mammoth bass, high pitch and“oomph,” with infectious melodies thrown over top.




    To be short and precise; Moombahton can be said to be a combination of Dutch house and reggae. Played at 110BPM, an Afrojack remix of a track called “Moombah” reworked by Dave Nada breathed life into a virgin genre. By mixing it with other genres, moombahcore is created, a genre fusing the tempo and percussion of moombahton with the distorted sounds of modern Dubstep.


  • Garage: A child of house music, it heavily relies on time-shifting in the beats, as well as much more emphasis on vocal samples.

  • Grime: It Is a combination of different sounds; Drum & Bass, Garage, Hip-Hop, and dancehall delivered at a 140 BPM.


  • Breakbeat:
    Today, breakbeats is an amalgamation of multiple electronic music genres such as hip hop, drum and bass, hardcore, UK garage, and even pop and rock.

Sidhantha Jain

I love EDM, it loves me back. It pays for my food bills.


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