World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Trance music

Article Id: WHEBN0000030900
Reproduction Date:

Title: Trance music  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Psychedelic trance, Dream trance, Electronic music, Velfarre, Rave music
Collection: Electronic Dance Music Genres, German Music, Trance Music
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Trance music

Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that developed in the 1990s in Germany.[5] It is characterized by a tempo of between 125 to mid 160 beats per minute (BPM),[5] repeating melodic phrases,[5] and a musical form that builds up and down throughout a track.[5] Trance is a genre on its own, but also will include other styles of electronic music such as techno,[3] house,[1] pop,[3] chill-out,[3] classical music,[3][4] and film music.[4]

A trance refers to a state of hypnotism and heightened consciousness. This drifting sensation is portrayed in this genre by mixing many layers and rhythms to create build and release. For example, a characteristic of virtually all trance songs is the soft mid-song breakdown,[3][5] beginning with and occurring after the orchestration is broken down and the rhythm tracks (typically provided by a Roland TR-909 drum machine) fade out rapidly, leaving the melody, atmospherics, or both to stand alone for anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Although this genre can be devoid of vocals, with mixes done by semi-amateurs posted online at informal locations, mixers who have gained recognition of major labels put out mixes for the radio market with mostly but not limited to female vocals, typically soloists and notably photogenic. Vocal talents range from mezzo-soprano to soprano sometimes without verse/chorus structure. These are categorized as vocal trance. Vocals have been described as "grand, soaring, and operatic" and "ethereal female leads floating amongst the synths".[9][10]


  • History 1
    • Origins 1.1
  • Production 2
  • Subgenres 3
  • Music festivals 4
    • Asia 4.1
    • Europe 4.2
      • Netherlands 4.2.1
    • North America 4.3
      • Canada 4.3.1
      • United States 4.3.2
    • Australia 4.4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Trance Energy Festival in Utrecht, Netherlands


Germany is regarded as the birthplace of electronic trance music,[5] with the original melodic trance sound first appearing around 1993 in Frankfurt.[3]

The origin of the term is uncertain; one theory suggests that the term is derived from the Klaus Schulze album Trancefer (1981). The earliest reference to 'trance' in modern dance music is British act The KLF on their 1988 track What Time Is Love (Pure Trance 1), on which the record sleeve is also annotated 'Pure Trance'.[11] Dance 2 Trance is also an early example of trance music, having first released single in 1991.[12]

Other schools of thought argue the name may refer to an induced emotional feeling, high, euphoria, chills, or uplifting rush that listeners claim to experience, while other suggestions trace the name to the actual trance-like state the earliest forms of this music attempted to emulate in the 1990s before the genre's focus changed.[5]

Some trace Trance's antecedents back to Klaus Schulze, a German experimental electronic music artist who concentrated in mixing minimalist music repetitive rhythms and arpeggiated sounds (specifically his 1988 album "En=Trance". In truth it was really Sven Vath, his labels and others in the same group that saw the initial releases of trance. In France, Jean Michel Jarre, an early electronic musician,[13] released two albums in the late 1970s: Oxygène in 1976 and Equinoxe in 1978. Also a possible antecedent, Neil Young's 1982 electronic album, Trans, bears resemblance to the trance music genre.[14] Another possible antecedent is Yuzo Koshiro's electronic soundtracks for the Streets of Rage series of video games from 1991 to 1994.[15][16][17] It was promoted by the well-known UK club-night megatripolis (London, Heaven, Thursdays) whose scene catapulted it to international fame.

Examples of early Trance releases include but are not limited to German duo Jam & Spoon's 1992 12" Single remix of the 1990 song The Age Of Love.,[1] German duo Dance 2 Trance's 1990 track "We Came in Peace".[5]

One writer traces the roots of trance to Paul van Dyk's 1993 remix of Humate's "Love Stimulation".[1] However, van Dyk's trance origins can be traced further back to his work with Visions Of Shiva, which were his first ever tracks to be released.[18] In subsequent years, one genre, vocal trance, arose as the combination of progressive elements and pop music,[3] and the development of another subgenre, epic trance, had some of its origins in classical music.,[3] with film music also being influential.[4]

Trance was arguably at its commercial peak in the late 1990s and early 2000s.[19][20]


Roland JP-8000, a synthesizer famous for its incorporation of the supersaw waveform

Classic trance employs a 4/4 time signature,[5] a tempo of 125 to 150 BPM,[5] and 32 beat phrases and is somewhat faster than house music.[21] A kick drum is usually placed on every downbeat and a regular open hi-hat is often placed on the upbeat or every 1/8th division of the bar.[5] Extra percussive elements are usually added, and major transitions, builds or climaxes are often foreshadowed by lengthy "snare rolls"—a quick succession of snare drum hits that build in velocity, frequency, and volume towards the end of a measure or phrase.[5]

A Simple arpeggiated (Roland JP-8000) Supersaw waveform pattern with chorus and flanging (some professionals used Lexicon Hall programs without pre delay).
A trancegate pattern at 141 bpm as it is heard on a software trancegate. The gated pattern gradually changes, to hear the various rhythms possible with a trance gate. Note that some trancegate patterns are off-beat. (A Roland JP-8000 with the supersaw waveform is used. Minor EQ edits are made).

Rapid arpeggios and minor keys are common features of Trance, the latter being almost universal. Trance tracks often use one central "hook", or melody, which runs through almost the entire song, repeating at intervals anywhere between 2 beats and 32 bars, in addition to harmonies and motifs in different timbres from the central melody.[5] Instruments are added or removed every 4, 8, 16, or 32 bars.[5]

In the section before the breakdown, the lead motiff is often introduced in a sliced up and simplified form,[5] to give the audience a "taste" of what they will hear after the breakdown.[5] Then later, the final climax is usually "a culmination of the first part of the track mixed with the main melodic reprise".[5]

As is the case with many dance music tracks, trance tracks are usually built with sparser intros ("mix-ins") and outros ("mix-outs") in order to enable DJs to blend them together immediately.[3][5] As trance is more melodic and harmonic than other electronic dance music, the construction of trance tracks in the proper way is particularly important in order to avoid dissonant (or "key clashing," i.e., out of tune with one another) mixes.

More recent forms of trance music incorporate other styles and elements of electronic music such as electro and progressive house into its production. It emphasizes harsher basslines and drum beats which decrease the importance of offbeats and focus primarily on a four on the floor stylistic house drum pattern. The bpm of more recent styles tends to be on par with house music at 120 - 135 beats per minute. However, unlike house music, recent forms of trance stay true to their melodic breakdowns and longer transitions.[22]


Trance music is broken into a large number of sub-genres. Chronologically, the major sub-genres are classic trance, [8]

Since the 00's, trance music is often divided into Uplifting Trance and Progressive Trance. Thus, many well-known compilations such as A State Of Trance usually showcase Progressive Trance in disc 1 and Uplifting in disc 2. Many labels focusing Uplifting Trance also set up more Progressive-oriented imprints, for example, Enhanced Music, Alter Ego Recordings, Infrasonic Recordings and Anjunadeep. As opposed to Uplifting Trance, Progressive Trance features slower bpm around 128~132, more emphasis on bassline rather than kicks, and more chilled listening experience. Prominent labels are Armind, Lost Language and Anjunabeats.

Music festivals

The following is a list of dance music festivals that showcase Trance music.


  • India: Sunburn Festival was launched in December 2007 as South Asia's first electronic music festival, and featured heavyweights like Carl Cox and John '00' Fleming. Located seaside in Goa, on India's west coast, the festival has its roots in Goa trance. Sunburn treated more than 5,000 electro revelers to a three-day party by the beach in December 2008. At the 2009 festival, DJs such as Armin Van Buuren and Sander van Doorn participated with audience numbers running between 15,000 to 18,000 making it the biggest edition yet.As of the 2010 festival, it showed the likes of Paul Van Dyk and many other DJ's with estimated crowds of 30,000 people.
  • Thailand: Full Moon Party Held each month on the island of Koh Phangan. Thousands of people from across the world gather on Haad Rin Nok (Sunrise Beach) to dance under the moonlight.

Artists from India Aftermorning Productions,lost stories


Clubbers at Gatecrasher on April 16, 2006
  • Switzerland: Street Parade, Zürich, since 1992. The world's biggest electronic music festival (more than one million visitors attend this event year by year).
  • Portugal: Boom Festival (the last edition was in Idanha-a-Nova) since 1997. This event is an outdoor festival running every two years with a duration of several days, focusing in psychedelic Goa trance. The festival also features workshops, presentations, and cinema.
  • Germany: Waldfrieden Wonderland, Stemwede, since 1997. The forest peace wonderland is an international open air music festival, which takes place every year in August. The main style of music is psychedelic trance.[23]
  • Sweden: Monday Bar Cruise has been arranged four times a year since 2002 and takes place on a 2000 people cruise ship between Stockholm and the Baltic countries. Styles include Trance, Psy-Trance, Hardstyle and Hardcore.[24]
  • Belgium: Tomorrowland, Boom, since 2005. The largest Belgian open-air electronic music festival. 2010 had more than 120.000 visitors. Tomorrowland in 2011 had a capacity of up to 180.000 visitors. DJs such as Armin Van Buuren, Arty, Cosmic Gate and many more.
  • Czech Republic: Transmission, Prague, since 2006. The biggest indoor Trance Music event in middle and eastern Europe.
  • Germany: We Are One, Berlin, since 2010. This is an Electronic Dance Music event, with the presence of Trance music stars like Paul van Dyk, Armin van Buuren and many others. "We are One" is a Paul van Dyk's brand. After the success of the last edition (Summer of 2013), they are looking forward to the next episode in 2014, developing this unique Berlin Dance Festival.
  • Finland: Summer Sound, Helsinki, since 2011. Biggest indoor/outdoor Trance music event in Scandinavia. Started as a one day festival in 2011 and was held in Suvilahti, Helsinki. First year performers included stars like Chicane, Above & Beyond, Roger Sanchez and Judge Jules. In 2012 was held first time in Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre as a 3 day festival partly inside and partly outside. Every summer worlds best trance (and other genres) DJ:s come together in Summersound. Past year performers have included such legends as Tiesto in 2012 and 2013, Armin van Buuren in 2012, and Faithless 2013. Summer Sound Festival is being hold this year 18-20.7 in Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre and this years performers includes for example epic Trance legends as Paul van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold.[25]
  • Greece: Dreamland, Ancient Olympia, since 2014. An innovative and pioneering festival which aims to achieve boundless cooperation among different types of electronic music, between art and culture as well as to promote the participants’ ecological awareness.[26]
  • United Kingdom: Gatecrasher also promotes sporadic events and have in the past also used venues such as Birmingham N.E.C.


Sensation White 2006

Electronic Dance Music festivals in the Netherlands are mainly organized by four companies ALDA Events, ID&T, UDC and Q-dance:

  • Ahoy Rotterdam. The 2008 and 2010 editions were held in Jaarbeurs Utrecht. The 2013 edition was held in the Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam
  • Dance Valley, Spaarnwoude: an outdoor festival organized by UDC.
  • Sensation, Amsterdam Arena. Organized by ID&T.
  • Energy, (Formerly Trance Energy) Jaarbeurs, Utrecht: Previously Trance only under the name "Trance Energy", the festival was renamed "Energy" in 2011 and begun to incorporate other genres. Organized by ID&T.
  • Amsterdam dance event, One of the worlds trance and electronic music festivals held every year in Amsterdam in October.
  • A State of Trance, Armin van Buuren's weekly radio show A State of Trance celebrates every 50th episode with an event. Episode 400 was held in Rotterdam. Episodes 500, 550 and 600 were held in the Brabanthallen, 's-Hertogenbosch. Episode 650 was held in the Jaarbeurs, Utrecht.
  • Electronic Family. A Trance only festival. This year for the third time in the Amsterdamse Bos, Amsterdam. Organized by ALDA Events.
  • Mysteryland. A series of electronic dance music festivals held by the Netherlands-based promoter ID&T. Being the first of its kind in the country dates back to 1993.

North America


  • Bal en Blanc is a rave party that is hosted annually, in April during Easter holiday weekend, in Montreal. This event usually has two separate rooms, one catering to house music and the other to trance music. It usually lasts for more than 14 hours.
  • Digital Dreams Festival in Toronto featured a full trance stage in June 2014

United States

Electronic Music festivals in the US feature various electronic music genres such as Trance, House, Techno, Electro, Dubstep, Breaks, and Drum & Bass:

  • Decibel Festival, an annual music and digital arts festival started in 2004 in Seattle. It is dedicated to live electronic music performance, visual art and new media. The core of the festival comprises concerts, performances, commissioned work, film screenings and exhibitions. The programing is presented in a variety of locations throughout Seattle, centered on the Capitol Hill neighborhood and Downtown. Since its inception, Decibel has hosted over 750 acts ranging from underground dance and experimental electronic music to transmedial art.
  • Ultra Music Festival, an annual outdoor electronic music festival that occurs in March in the city of Miami, Florida.
  • Electric Daisy Carnival, an annual massive organized by Insomniac Events that was held in Southern California from 1997 to 2010, and was moved to Las Vegas in 2011. In 2009, the festival was expanded to a three day event.
  • San Bernardino, California in either August or September.
  • Beyond Wonderland, an electronic dance festival in northern California organized by Insomniac Events
  • Electric Zoo Festival, an annual electronic music festival held over Labor Day weekend in New York City on Randall's Island Park.
  • Electric Forest Festival 4 day Annual festival in Michigan bringing very large crowd
  • TomorrowWorld 3 day Annual festival in Georgia bringing very large crowd
  • Spring Awakening 3 day annual festival in Chicago, Illinois with mostly mainstream electronic music genres
  • POP The Dream - put on by Skills
  • POP NYE - NYE Electronic Music show by Skills
  • Sun City Music Festival - El Paso Texas show by SMG


  • Doof - A type of outdoor dance party, which is generally held in a remote country area or just outside big cities in surrounding bush or rainforests and similar to raves or teknivals. Doof generally has live electronic artists and DJs playing a range of electronic music, commonly goa trance, eurodance, happy hardcore and psychedelic trance.
  • Defqon.1 Festival - A music festival that mostly plays hardstyle and related genres such as hardcore techno, hard house and hard trance, the event has been hosted in Sydney in mid-September since 2009 at the Sydney International Regatta Centre.
  • Rainbow Serpent Festival - A large electronic music, art and lifestyle festival, located in Victoria. The festival is mainly known for psychedelic trance and minimal techno music, but also features other genres of electronic music and non electronic music in the smaller stages.
  • Stereosonic - Largest Electronic music festival in Oceania, two days celebration since 2013, located in Australia. The festival features a full Trance Stage every year during the day in summer, and also includes big names of Trance music in the Main Stage such as, Armin Van Buuren, Above And Beyond, etc.


  1. ^ a b c d Bom, Coen (2009). Armin Only: A Year in the Life of the World's No. 1 DJ. Oxford, UK: Dutch Media Uitgevers BV. ISBN 978-90-488-0323-1: p. 15
  2. ^ a b "Trance".  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Fassbender, Torsten (2008). The Trance Experience. Knoxville, Tennessee: Sound Org Inc. ISBN 978-0-2405-2107-7: p. 15, 16, 17, 19
  4. ^ a b c d e Webber, Stephen (2008). DJ Skills: The Essential Guide to Mixing and Scratching. Oxford, UK: Elsevier Press. ISBN 978-0-240-52069-8: p. 35
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Snoman, Rick (2009). The Dance Music Manual: Tools, Toys, and Techniques – Second Edition. Oxford, UK: Elsevier Press. ISBN 0-9748438-4-9: p. 251, 252, 253, 266
  6. ^ a b c d e f Hewitt, Michael (2009). Composition for Computer Musicians. Knoxville, Tennessee: Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-1-59863-861-5: p. 9
  7. ^ "Goa Trance".  
  8. ^ a b, portal
  9. ^ Hawkins, Erik (2004). The Complete Guide to Remixing. Boston, MA: Berklee Press. ISBN 0-87639-044-0: p. 51
  10. ^ Trance Music — What is Trance Music?
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Lundin, Glen (Feb 1999). "Trans". Indy Rock News ( 
  14. ^ McNeilly, Joe (April 19, 2010). "Game music of the day: Streets of Rage 2".  
  15. ^ Ryan. "Streets of Rage 2 Original Soundtrack (US): Review". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  16. ^ "Streets of Rage 3 review — Sega Megadrive".  
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Hewitt, Michael (2008). Music Theory for Computer Musicians. Boston, MA: Course Technology. ISBN 978-1-59863-503-4
  21. ^ Paterson, Angus. "Above & Beyond talk shop on Australian tour & ’trance 2.0’". inthemix. nthemix Pty Ltd. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^

External links

  • Trance (music genre) at DMOZ
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.