Have you ever found yourself swaying to the beats of electronic music, marveling at how it gets you moving and grooving? In this blog, we will explore the world of Electronic Dance Music (EDM), a genre that has taken over the music industry by storm. We will dive into its history, from its precursors to dance music in the 21st century. We will also discuss popular EDM genres and the biggest events and festivals around the world that bring fans together to celebrate this musical revolution. Additionally, we will cover how EDM is made, its subgenres, historical roots, and the role of bass in creating those infectious beats. Join us on this journey to understand the audio elements of EDM as we explore Dubstep, Trance, Disco, Breakbeat, Electro and what they mean in the EDM dictionary.
EDM Meaning: Music's Electronic Evolution
Electronic Dance Music (EDM) has evolved as a genre of music since the 1980s by incorporating various sub-genres like techno, house, trance, and dubstep. Today it is a global phenomenon that attracts millions of fans worldwide at events such as Ultra Music Festival (UMF), Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), Tomorrowland, Creamfields, and Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE). With technology advancements enabling collaborations among artists globally, EDM continues to grow in popularity and influence modern music trends while facing criticism from some music purists.
The History of Electronic Dance Music
The genre of music that we know today as Electronic Dance Music or EDM has its roots in disco music from the 1970s. The birthplace of this genre can be traced back to cities like Chicago, Detroit and various parts of Europe. Today it has expanded into multiple sub-genres such as techno, house and dubstep. With electronic music being mainstream across the globe now, there are numerous festivals and events held throughout the year showcasing these different types of dance music.
Precursors to Electronic Music
The evolution of electronic dance music can be traced back to experimental composers in the 1940s and '50s. The first commercial electronic music instrument was developed in the late 1950s. By the 1960s and ‘70s, artists such as Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, and Donna Summer helped popularize electronic dance music. Disco paved the way for house music in the '80s and '90s, as well as its sub-genres such as techno, trance, and dubstep.
Dance Music in the 1980s
The 1980s witnessed the birth of electronic dance genres like techno, house, and acid house. Techno took shape in Detroit with its use of synthesizers and drum machines while Chicago gave us House music that drew inspiration from disco, funk, and soul music. Acid House was all about distorted beats and repetitive rhythms. The popularity of electronic dance music soared globally post-80s.
Dance Music in the 1990s
Electronic dance music gained popularity in the 1990s with techno and house music becoming some of the most popular genres. Underground venues such as raves played an important role in spreading EDM culture worldwide. The evolution of technology such as MIDI controllers and digital audio workstations transformed the way electronic dance music was produced.
Dance Music in the 21st Century
In the 21st century, electronic dance music (EDM) experienced a significant surge in popularity. With festivals like Tomorrowland and Ultra drawing massive crowds, it's clear that the genre has come a long way since its inception. New sub-genres like trap, future bass, and tropical house have emerged to challenge stalwarts such as techno and house music. Moreover, mainstream pop music has been influenced by EDM with many top 40 hits incorporating electronic elements into their production.
Popular EDM Genres
From House music's four-on-the-floor beat to Trance's uplifting melodies, Popular EDM genres are diverse and unique. Techno is known for its futuristic soundscapes while Dubstep continues to be recognized for its aggressive drops. Future Bass blends electronic dance music with hip-hop to create a distinct upbeat energy. Notably, each genre possesses different characteristics that make it stand out from others within the industry.
Biggest Electronic Dance Music Events and Festivals
Electronic dance music festivals attract huge crowds with unique experiences and locations worldwide. Some of the most popular electronic dance music events are Ultra Music Festival (UMF), Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), Tomorrowland, Creamfields, and Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE). These significant parts of the EDM culture provide something for everyone in various places around the world.
Ultra Music Festival (UMF)
The Ultra Music Festival (UMF) is a massive electronic dance music festival that happens every year in Miami, Florida, showcasing some of the most prominent names in EDM. It features multiple stages with various genres of electronic music and boasts a high-energy atmosphere that attracts thousands of fans from all around the world. UMF has expanded globally to include events in Brazil, Japan, and South Africa.
Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC)
With over 400,000 attendees from across the globe, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) is among the world's largest electronic dance music festivals. EDC offers multiple stages with live performances by acclaimed and emerging artists. It also offers carnival rides, art installations, and an extensive range of food and drink options for festivalgoers. EDC has expanded its footprint worldwide to countries such as the UK, Mexico and Japan.
One of Europe's biggest EDM festivals, Tomorrowland takes place annually in Belgium with over 400,000 visitors. Attendees can choose from basic camping to luxury glamping accommodations while enjoying performances by top DJs and immersive experiences with stunning stage designs. Since its inception in 2005, the festival has become increasingly popular among electronic music fans worldwide.
One of the most popular electronic dance music festivals globally is Creamfields. First established in the UK, it has now spread to various parts of the world such as Argentina, Chile and Brazil. With its display of impeccable stages and breathtaking light shows that amplify fan experience to a new high- Creamfields has become a raving celebration of Electronic Dance Music.
Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE)
The Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), one of the biggest club festivals and electronic music conferences in the world, attracts over 400,000 attendees from around the globe. With more than 2,500 artists performing at over 140 venues across the city, ADE offers an unforgettable experience for fans of electronic dance music (EDM). Additionally, ADE features a conference program for industry professionals that includes panel discussions covering important topics like music production, marketing strategies, and technology.
How Is EDM Made?
EDM is created through the use of digital audio workstations, synthesizers, drum machines, and samples. Mixing and mastering techniques are applied to bring all elements together. Collaboration is also common among producers who work with vocalists or other producers on their tracks.
The Minimum Viable Studio
For EDM producers looking to create their tracks, having a Minimum Viable Studio is essential. Using digital audio workstations like Ableton Live or FL Studio along with synthesizers and manipulating sound waves through the use of MIDI controllers can help producers create unique sounds and beats. Collaboration with other producers or vocalists is also common in the electronic dance music scene. The creation process involves experimentation and tweaking until the desired result is achieved.
EDM vs. Rave: What's the Difference?
EDM is a genre of electronic music with sub-genres like techno and house, while a rave is a party where EDM is played. Raves are known for their fashion style and drug use, and are typically large-scale events with a specific atmosphere, while EDM can be enjoyed in different settings.
The Subgenres of EDM
Electronic dance music (EDM) has a wide range of subgenres that fans should know about. House music is one of the most popular subgenres characterized by its four-on-the-floor beat and soulful vocals. Techno originated in Detroit featuring heavy use of synthetic sounds with a darker industrial sound. Trance is known for its uplifting melodies and hypnotic beats associated with large-scale festivals. Dubstep is characterized by its heavy basslines and intricate rhythms while Drum and Bass features fast breakbeats and prominent basslines popular in the UK.
Exploring EDM's Historical Roots
Electronic Dance Music (EDM) has its roots in electronic music. Pioneers such as Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, and Juan Atkins spearheaded the evolution of this genre. As dance clubs and festivals started emerging in the 90s and early 2000s, EDM gained popularity. House music, techno beats, and trance sounds have influenced this genre’s development over the years. Today EDM is a globally popular genre of music with various sub-genres such as dubstep, drum and bass, disco beat among others.
The Role of Bass in EDM
The backbone of EDM music is its bass. It sets the foundation for the energetic tracks that we all love to dance on. Depending on what type of sound is used, it can make us feel euphoric or nostalgic. The use of sub-bass frequencies creates a physical reaction that makes us groove to the beat. Good mixing techniques ensure that the bass blends well with other sounds and creates an impactful track that has us moving all night long.
Understanding the Audio Elements of EDM
EDM is a genre of music characterized by its heavy use of electronic instruments and production techniques. To fully appreciate the complexity and artistry of EDM, it's important to understand the various audio elements that make up the genre. From synthesizers and drum machines to samples and complex rhythms, each element contributes to creating unique sounds in EDM tracks. Effects like reverb, delay, and distortion also add texture and depth to the music. By exploring these different audio elements, listeners can gain a deeper appreciation for this exciting genre.
Dubstep, Trance, Disco, Breakbeat, and Electro: What Are They?
Dubstep features heavy bass and syncopated rhythms; Trance emphasizes a repetitive beat and melodic progression; Disco is a 1970s dance music with a four-on-the-floor beat; Breakbeat uses sampled drum breaks, and Electro includes several electronic sub-genres such as electro-funk, electro-pop, and electro-industrial.
What Does the EDM Dictionary Say?
The EDM dictionary contains common terms used in the electronic dance music genre, such as drop, beat, remix, and rave. The drop signifies a pivotal moment in a song where the bass becomes more intense. Beat represents the tempo or rhythm of the music. Remix refers to a modified version of an original track.
EDM has come a long way since its inception in the 1980s. It has become a global phenomenon that has captured the hearts of millions of fans and artists alike. From the early pioneers to the modern-day stars, EDM has evolved into multiple subgenres and continues to push the boundaries of music technology. If you're interested in learning more about EDM's history, popular genres, biggest events, and how it's made, share this blog with your fellow music lovers on social media and join the electronic dance music revolution.