With roots in the late 80s UK rave scene, before its true birth in Germany in the early 1990s, trance music quickly developed into one of the most popular of all electronic music genres. Seen as a more melodic alternative to both house and techno, it features highly repetitive arpeggiated patterns, a 4/4 beat pattern, and a relatively fast tempo that can easily induce a sense of hypnosis. Starting out in abandoned warehouses in East Berlin and field raves off the M25 in UK, it now packs out massive festivals such as Waldfrieden Wonderland in Germany, Tomorrowland in Belgium and the Full Moon Party in Thailand.
The Fall of the Wall: The Birth Of Trance Music
Armin van Buuren, a trance music legend.
Additionally, to stress the beauty of their sounds, YouTube playlists will often feature pictures of sunsets, oceans, good-looking women and even the outer limits of space. This type of music is all about the “drops” – those moments when the main melody has reached a peak and the drum and bass-line come momentously thudding back in. Yet after the drop trance songs are often followed by long spacey, instrumental sections without any drums, allowing the listener to really chill out afterward. This makes the genre quite different to techno, where there are no real ups and downs, only a continuous rhythm that keeps the listener unable to distinguish one track from another.
The Full Moon Party in Thailand
What are the core characteristics of trance music?
1. The first is the use of rapid arpeggiated melodies, which create a repetitive pattern that is either ascending or descending in nature. They are usually in a minor key and the melody often changes between chord, distinguishing it from techno which can often be the same note throughout an entire song. These arpeggios are usually given extra flange, delay and chorus to help achieve its massive effect. They are almost always in a 4/4 time signature, with the bass drum situated on the downbeat and a hi-hat on every upbeat. These drum patterns, rooted in house music, are then complemented by drum rolls, which often increase in velocity as the track goes on. It can be a fast genre to listen to, usually coming in at around 125 to 150bpm.
Although to allow easy mixing, songs may start and end sparsely, it is a genre that relies on a really full and generous sound, making use of strong reverb and harmonies borrowed from classical music. Instruments to help create this effect often include synths, strings, organs and piano. This is crucial to its popularity. Being an anthem-heavy genre, its audiences can be in the thousands, usually at large outside venues or festivals instead of merely hanging out in basement clubs.
Tiesto, the “king” of trance
Sub-genres of Trance music
Psychedelic trance is a harder strain, often at a much higher tempo, with beats changing every eight bars, new musical ideas constantly introduced and a runtime usually between 6 to 10 minutes long. It has had its own offshoots in countries as diverse as Israel, Finland and Japan.
Waldfrieden festival, a renowned (German) trance music festival held each year.
- A strong repetitive bass-line
- Easy to process melodic harmonies
- Washed out synths
- A clear song structure.
Things can be organized in eight-bar blocks. For example, a song might have eight bars of bass and drums, eight bars of melody, an eight-bar breakdown and an eight-bar climax.
To help you achieve this sound, its worth figuring out what kind of trance sound you are going for. If you are going for the classic trance that came out of the early 90s, its worth buying synths and drum machines from that period – but if you are looking to recreate a contemporary sound, you can do everything from just your laptop. Keep on reading to learn the type of hardware, software, and samples you need to make that perfect trance sound.
Vaporwave Artists You Should Listen To | Spotify
- Armin Van Buuren
- Paul Van Dyk
- Sander Von Doorn
- Above And Beyond
- Markus Schulz
- Paul Oakenfold
- Judge Jules
Best Playlists/24/7 Streams
- ♫ Best Uplifting Trance Mix – All Time Favourites #1 ♫
- 18 Golden Trance Classic’s Tracks Mix
- Back to The 90’s – Remember Oldschool Trance Mix
- VOCAL TRANCE CLASSICS: Pure Bliss Vocals
- Dave Pearce Trance Anthems 2008 CD 1
- Best Of Pure • Emotional • Melodic • Euphoric • Uplifting Trance Mix
- Best Rave/Party Songs Mix #1: PSYTRANCE, MINIMAL, GOA TRANCE, HEAVY BASS
- Classic Trance Anthems Mix | From 1999 to 2001
- Techno Trance Hardtrance Classics Vol.1 1991 – 1996
- 24/7 A State Of Trance Radio (Selected by Armin van Buuren)