Introduction to Dance Music

Dance music is a diverse field. There are a lot of genres and even more sub-genres of dance music that many people engage in and utilize in forming movements and eventually creating the art form that is dance. What’s unique about dance music is that it possesses an ever diverse and growing system where in the genres is not just set in stone. It continues to grow with every passing day and every year it expands even more. There are several types of dance music.

Here are just a few of them but this does not complete the list as the different types of dance music just keep on growing and expanding:

Dance Music

Different Types of Dance Music

Ambient – This type of music focuses on tone and the atmosphere instead of the rhythm or the structure of the music. In a sense, it’s a visual or atmospheric kind of music.

Ambient House – This is a sub-genre of the ambient music and house music. It is mostly characterized by four-on-the-floor patterns and an atmospheric aura of music.

Baltimore Club – This is another genre originating from the breakbeat. It is also called the Bmore Club or just the Bmore and is characterized by its mixture of chopped staccato house music together with the contrasting hip hop genre. It has garnered its name because it was created in Baltimore, Maryland by the 2 Live Crew.

Big Beat – This type of music is characterized by its use of heavy breakbeats, hence its name, plus a synthesizer-generated loops and patterns which can be correlated to techno music and acid house.

Breakbeat – A type of electronic music that focuses on percussive rhythms with the use of syncopation and polyrhythms. It has three more sub-genres: acid breaks, progressive breaks and big beat.

Dark Ambient – Another sub-genre of the ambient music which focuses more on the ominous side and dark overtones instead of the original’s atmospheric tone, it’s also a sub-genre of industrial music.

Hi-NRG – Read also as “high energy”, this type of dance music focuses on the up tempo disco or electronic dance music which came from the US and the UK back in the 1970s. As its name suggests, it focuses on vigor, energy and elements like the four-on-the-floor rhythm and resounding vocals.

Lowercase – A form of ambient minimalism which focuses on the faint sounds which are usually left unheard but amplified to extreme levels. This style was popularized by Steve Roden.

Psybient – The shortened term for psychedelic ambient, it’s a type of electronic music which mixes ambient, psychedelic trance, dub, ethnic music, new age music and down tempo into one. It is characterized by a slow rhythm.

Space Disco – Also considered as a sub-genre of disco music, space disco is simply disco combined with futuristic or sci-fi themes, visuals, sounds and more that became popular back in the 1970s. The idea originated from humans exploring the wonders of space which included themes like robots, lasers and computers.

Eurobeat – This is a variant of the Italo disco that can also be a form of the British dance pop that was made in the 1980s. In Japan, Eurobeat is related to the Para Para dance culture but it is an entirely different thing.

Europop – This type of dance music is a sub-genre of pop that originated from Europe. The thing that sets it apart from American pop music is that Europop is more inclined on dance and trance instead of music, vocals and rhythms.

Hard NRG – This is similar to the Hi-NRG electronic music genre and the UK Hard House genre. What makes Hard NRG different is its musical content. While UK Hard House focuses on uplifting music, Hard NRG focuses on the dark and ominous atmosphere that delivers an aggressive and distressing feeling that’s sounds gritty and menacing.

Italo Disco – This style originated from Italy and was made between the 1970s and the 1980s. It is one of the early forms of electronic dance music but it quickly faded during the late 1980s when the Italo House genre overshadowed it.

Down Tempo – Also termed as the downbeat, or chill out, this type of music genre bears similarities with ambient music but with a groove. At times, the beat can be simple or even be restrained. Other times, it can become complicated and it can even stand out instead of being just in the background. But usually, it is less intense compared to other genres in the electronic music field. As its name suggests, down tempo is slower compared to the usual electronic dance music. It often delivers a soothing and romantic feeling for most down tempo music.

Acid Jazz – Also called the club jazz, this type of genre is the mixture of several other genres like jazz, soul, funk, hip-hop and disco. This music style originated from a London club during the 1980s.

New Age Music – This type of dance music bears a huge similarity with down tempo music with the focus on relaxation, bringing a soothing atmosphere, optimism and inspiration. New Age music is often used as background music during yoga sessions, massages, meditation and even reading as it brings a relaxing feeling to the mind and even reduces stress.

J-pop – Japanese pop came into the light of the mainstream music industry during the 1990s. The Japanese were inspired with pop and rock music from bands like the Beatles and the Beach Boys. This later developed into Japan’s own brand of pop music. The term J-pop was coined to differentiate the Japanese pop genre from other foreign music. Even now, J-pop remains to be one of the most popular types of dance music styles, not just in Japan, but also all over the world.

Dubstep – This is a type of electronic dance music that begun in England but has now become a popular sensation over the years. It is characterized by music which is composed of bass and percussion patterns mixed with syncopated drums and sub bass frequencies that are blended together. Today, dubstep has become quite recognized lately because of the American producer, Skrillex.

Next on the Lookout: J-pop

J-Pop

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Dance Music 101: Downtempo

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Dance Music

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