Trance is a genre of electronic dance music. It is a combination of many styles of dance music, but what sets trance apart is the high rate of BPM (beats per minute) that typically range from the mid 120s up to the 160s. Trance music features a significant amount of synthesized sounds, similar to house and electro music styles, but trance synths tend to be melodic and progressive while the beat remains static. The presence of vocals in trance is what’s known as the vocal trance genre.
If you’ve listened to electronic music that is repetitively rhythmic and seems to put you in a trance, you have probably heard trance music. (A trance is a hypnotic state where a person experiences enhanced consciousness.) A typical trance music song has mixed layers with some form of build-up and release. There is typically a strong climax in the middle of the song and then a breakdown of other beats and percussions so the melody is able to stand alone until the rhythm builds up again. The songs are also generally quite long in length, which makes them common for use by DJs. The DJ can start the song, mix in another song in the middle and then return to the trance song to finish off. Many people may confused trance music with trip-hop or techno music, but trance really is a genre of music that stands on its own. In the beginning, it was actually referred to as “atmospheric house” by some.
How Trance Music Got Its Start
Trance music originated during the early 1990s in Germany. Some people insist that it was derived by Klaus Schulze, a music artist from Germany who liked to mix minimalist-sounding music with repetitive rhythms as was evident with his 1988 album “En=Trance”. Others say that Sven Väth was the true pioneer of trance music, as his labels released trance music. Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima also made significant releases in the electronic music industry, especially with the soundtracks they developed for the Streets of Rage video games and the Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune series.
The two tracks generally considered to have launched trance music into the mainstream are “Age of Love” by Age of Love and Dance 2 Trance’s “We Came In Peace.”
Since its inception, other subgenres have emerged including classic trance, acid trance, progressive trance, hard trance, and uplifting trance.