You Guys, Dance Music Isn't All the Same

June 19, 2014 By:
You Guys, Dance Music Isn't All the Same
Image By: Ethan Miller

Dance music: that loud stuff they play at clubs and raves. It all just sounds like "unce unce unce," right? Wrong.

Electronic music has been around since the late 19th century, and all its various genres and subgenres have a long history of evolution. Here's a rundown of some of the most prominent genres to get you acquainted:


Drum and Bass
160-180 bpm

DnB is characterized by fast breakbeats with deep bass lines. The genre emerged in England in the mid '90s with influence from reggae music. Expect fast, head-bopping music. DnB heads live and die for this stuff. Don't mess with them. 

Subgenres: Liquid DnB, Jungle, Darkstep


140 bpm

Dubstep started in late '90s by a group of South London teens. The pioneering producers include Skream, Benga, Digital Mystikz, Kode9, and Zed Bias. The dubstep sound features syncopated drum patterns and heavy, sub bass frequencies.

Subgenres: Drumstep, Brostep, Chillstep


118-135 bpm

House music originated in Chicago in the early '80s. With countless subgenres within it, house is probably the biggest genre of dance music. It's mostly melodic and upbeat, without the harsh and heavy baselines of DnB and dubstep. Fun and easy to dance to, everyone loves a bit of house music.

Subgenres: Deep House, Progressive House, Chicago House, French House, Electro House, Ghetto House, Acid House, Witch House, etc.


120-150 bpm

Techno is more minimalistic and repetitive, with a steady 4/4 beat. People are very selective of what is considered techno. For the most authentic techno, head to the legendary all-night club in Berlin called Berghain.

Subgenres: Tech House, Minimal Techno, Detroit Techno


125-160 bpm

Trance is the most melodic, euphoric genre of dance music. It usually features atmospheric melodies building on one another, with pretty female vocals laced on top. Trance fans are part of #trancefam. They are all about PLUR (peace, love, unity, respect).

Subgenres: Acid Trance, Euro-Trance, Futurepop, Balearic


U.K. Garage
130-135 bpm

Garage originated in England in the early '90s and features a distinctive shuffling percussion. It combines 4/4 rhythms and breakbeats, which create the shuffling sound. The genre saw a decline during the mid-2000s, but key players have brought back the genre in the form of future garage (i.e. Disclosure).

Subgenres: U.K. Funky, Future Garage, 2 Step, Grime


140 bpm 

Trap flooded dance music in 2012 with its 808 kick drums and skittering triple hi-hats. As dubstep's popularity was declining in the US, trap rose quickly. Then came Baauer's "Harlem Shake," which became a viral hit around the world. Trap is all about "turning up."

Subgenres: Hardstyle Trap, Festival Trap


Future Beats 

Also referred to as post-dubstep, this genre is more experimental and forward-thinking. You can pretty much put future in front of any genre. Future trap, future garage, future dubstep. Future beats has grown in popularity in the past few years. Some key players include Jamie xx, Kaytranada, Ryan Hemsworth, and Giraffage.

Subgenres: Future Trap, Future Dubstep, Future Garage, Future DnB


115 bpm

Disco dance music pays tribute to 1970-80s disco and boogie. Dubstep pioneer Skream even converted to the genre when he left dubstep behind. Daft Punk brought disco-influenced sounds to the mainstream in tracks like "Get Lucky."

Subgenres: Nu-Disco, Indie Dance, Disco House


145-160 bpm

Juke originates from Chicago, and it is a faster variant of Ghetto House. The Teklife artists have been essential in the rise of juke. The death of Teklife's DJ Rashad earlier this year brought even more spotlight to the genre.