Join Date: Apr 2006
Re: Techno.... =)
Here is a helpful guide in breaking down trance/dance music, put together by me from various sources (Wiki DJ's ect) and my personal input......
This list is of course arguable depending on artists and sub-genre's but it gives you a good idea to start with......
A Beginner's Guide to Trance by Mercury&Solace:
What is Trance?
Trance is a kind of electronic music (typically, there are no “real” instruments in electronic music; the sounds are generated by electronic instruments like keyboards and synthesizers). Trance relies on melodies to make up its tracks. Trance typically has a strong bass-beat and addition percussion as well. It has lots of synth sounds that are often layered to produce one identifiable melody or sound to the track. It is a type of dance music. Instead of artists, bands or groups, the term producers, DJ's or production teams are used.
Many people say all trance sounds the same; but in fact, the variety of sounds that can be produced by electronic instruments outnumbers those from traditional instruments. To add an extra touch, some producers add sampled or real sounds of traditional instruments. For example, HiGate – Saxuality adds the sound of a saxophone. In Armin van Buuren’s Yet Another Day, an electric guitar is used extensively. Layers of strings or other symphonic instruments are also often used – as in Rank 1 – Symsonic.
Types of Trance
Depending on who you ask, there are many sub-genres of trance. But here are some main ones:
Uplifting or melodic trance is the most popular form of trance worldwide. Some of it has been picked up by radio stations and given radio play (though not often in North America, it is much more popular in Europe and Japan). This genre features lots of soaring synths and melodies. It is based entirely on melodies, in fact, but still features the uquibious bass beat. In this type of trance, there is usually a main lead synth backed by other synths so there are in fact several things happening in one track. They blend together to produce a quite nice sound.
Armin van Buuren
Paul Van Dyk
Svenson & Gielen
Blank & Jones
Progressive trance is steadily becoming more popular. Unlike melodic trance it does not rely exclusively on one main melody throughout the track. It is more mellow, slower, softer, quieter than other genres. It has floating sounds of do not power forward but progress, slowly, as the track goes on, creating, as prog fans like to say, “a journey”.
What’s the Name Again?
Trance, and most electronic music tracks, are named like this:
Artist – Track Title (mix name)
DJ Cor Fijineman Featuring Jan Johnston– Venus (DJ Tiesto Remix)
There are often several different remixes of one track by different artists. Other artists, or producers, remix a different producer’s track, adding their own special sound to the original track. If the track is the original track, not a remixed version, it is called an original mix. For example,
DJ Cor Fijineman – Venus (Original Mix)
If there is no mix name, then the track can be assumed to be the original mix.
Trance is usually released only on vinyl. Some of the bigger tunes will be released on CD single, and occasionally a trance producer will release an album (but these are generally few and far between).
Trance compilations are popular. A DJ will mix a compilation, usually consisting of 12-16 tracks, and it will be released on CD. This is often the only way some trance fans can hear new stuff legally. Compilations are often 2 or 3 CDs.
Why are they so looooong?
Unlike most music, particular commercial stuff, trance tracks are typically 6-8 minutes in length and can be over 10. Why is there this extra length to the songs?
Well, trance is “made to mixed”. DJs take tracks and mix them together (for more info, see below). Usually there are a one or two minutes at the beginning and end of a trance track for the DJ to do this. So it usually takes this long for the melody to come in and for the tune to actually begin.
Also, trance is much more like jazz and symphonic music in this regard then punk, pop, rock, ect. The same sounds are often repeated which can make the song sound boring to the beginning trance listener. To most people who regularly listen to the genre, however, this is what makes a good track.
Made to be Mixed
Trance is rarely played in its entirety, by a DJ. Instead, a DJ will select several tunes to play in his performance, or “set”. He will then mix the tracks together. With trance, this usually means the DJ will mix about 1-2 minutes at the beginning of the track, and maybe ½ - 1 minute at the end of a track. The DJ beat-matches the tracks so the beats line up and it sounds like one track is being played, while in reality one track is being phased out while another is beginning. Skilled DJs will mix so well you won’t hear the track transition until the next track’s melody is already starting.
A Night Out
Big-name DJs, such as Ferry Corsten, Johan Gielen, DJ Tiesto, and Armin van Buuren, will be sent new trance vinyl ahead of the release of the track to the public by the record company. This is one of the reasons people go out to see them – they hear the “promos” ahead of time and can buy them as soon as they come out.
Trance is a style that employs a 4/4 time signature, complemented by a 4/4 bass drum on its downbeats. Utilizing synthesizers and drum machines, Trance has a BPM of 130-160 beats per minute, somewhat faster than house music. Arpeggios and minor scales are common features. Trance often involves one "central" melody which goes through entire song, just on start and end of the song is this melody sometimes set off, to make mixing of trance songs easier. Much, but by no means all, trance music contains minimalist vocals.
The unwavering drum mechanism may be constantly tweaked with for effect, with the Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release (ADSR) all given liberal treatment. Trance is produced with keyboards, computerized synthesizers, drum machines, and music sequencer software connected via MIDI.
Some sub-genre classifications of trance include:
Anthem trance/Uplifting trance: Style of trance that emerged in the wake of progressive trance in the late 90's. Characterized by extended chord progression in all elements (lead synth, bass chords, treble chords), extended breakdowns, and relegation of arpeggiation to the background while bringing wash effects to the fore.
Artists: Vincent de Moor, Ronski Speed, Tiësto, System F, 4 Strings, Super8, Ayla, Paul van Dyk, Armin van Buuren, Neo & Farina, Blank & Jones, Marco V, Matt Darey, Trance Authority.
Classic trance/Classic Freestyle: Original form of trance music, said to have originated in the very early 90's. Characterized by less percussion than techno, more melody, arpeggiated melody, and repetitive melodic chords/arpeggios. 99% of mainstream classic freestyle has some sort of love/romantic sound/lyrics to them
Artists: Dance 2 Trance, Oliver Lieb, Cosmic Baby, Jam and Spoon, Sven Väth Cynthia, Judy Torres.
Progressive trance: Style of trance that originated in the early-mid 90's. Differentiated from the then "regular" trance by breakdowns, less acid-like sound & bass chord changes that gave the repeating lead synth a feeling of "progression".
Artists: BT, Humate, Sasha, John Digweed, Sander Kleinenberg, Slacker, Breeder,
Vocal trance/Epic Trance/Dreamhouse:
Broad term referring to trance with a full set of lyrics, which may or may not be any of the above genres. Oftentimes an artist will borrow a singer's talents as opposed to the singer himself or herself (vocalists are typically female), or sample from/remix more traditional pop music. Note that there is some debate as to where the divide lies between vocal trance and Eurodance.
Artists: 4 Strings, Lange, Ian Van Dahl, Above & Beyond, Fragma, Lost Witness, Armin Van Buuren, Oceanlab, Chicane, ATB, Lasgo, and Robert Miles.
This Trance style has influenced by electroclash and take some elements to Uplifting Trance. Originated around 2004.
Artists: Ferry Corsten, Elevation, Marcel Woods, Gabriel & Dresden.
Ibiza Trance/Chill Trance/Ambient Trance/Chillout Trance:
This style has been influenced by variuos relaxed music genres, especially linked to Ibiza's ( Spain ) chill-out style of life parallel with the huge rave scene that is present in the islands. Very melodic and mellow, sometimes with ethnic features, it often samples seaside elements like seagulls and ocean waves and uses spanish acoustic guitars. Also known as balearic house.
Artists: Chicane, Solar Stone, York, Nalin & Kane, ATB, Jam & Spoon, Energy 52, Salt Tank.
The night I laid my eyes on you, Felt everything around me move, Got nervous when you looked my way, But you knew all the words to say, And your love slowly moved right in, All this time, oh my love, where you been, Mi, Amore Don't you know, My love I want you so,
Sugar, You make my soul complete, Rapture tastes so sweet.