Category Archives: History of EDM

Dubstep, Drumstep, and DnB


A few years ago, if you asked people about dubstep or DnB, most people would give you a raised eyebrow and think you were making up words. Now, you can hear it being referred to whenever someone makes a half-time beat.

Many people still don’t realize the difference between dubstep and “bro-step.” This small confusion causes much controversy within the EDM community and leads to all-out YouTube wars through the comments sections.

Dubstep is a type of garage music that originated in Southern London, England, during the late 1990’s. Dubstep, or 2-step garage, comprises of a drum kick on beats one and three instead of the typical four-on-the-floor beat of electronic music. It also included triplets and syncopated beats that created a different feel from the house and techno being produced in those days. Keyboards, synthesizers, guitars, and female vocals are among some of the instruments used by dubstep artists, including Distance.

Drum and bass (also known as D&B, D+B, or most commonly DnB) incorporates fast breakbeats with deep and heavy bass and sub-bass lines. Emerging from the dance clubs in the early 1990’s, this type of music is very fast, usually 160-180 bpm, and is generally harder than most other types of techno from the 1990s.

The deep and powerful basslines of this genre shake any dancefloor that you are on (if you have speakers that are capable of doing that). A very popular DnB artist, or in this case, group, is Pendulum. Some of their more recent songs have more drumstep influence than their older songs.

Drumstep is the hybrid of these two genres, incorporating the half-time dubstep kicks with the intense bass and breakbeat rythms of DnB. This subgenre of EDM is fairly new, but becoming extremely popular in clubs and dancefloors across the world.

An exceptional song of choice for drumstep is More Blast by Daenine. At the beginning of the song, you can hear the half-time beat typically used in dubstep. But, at about 3:16, the insane rhythm of breakbeat is used to build up intensity even more than the first drop.

Many people confuse drumstep with dubstep because they mistake the half-time kick as purely dubstep instead of a hybrid between dubstep and DnB. While most people don’t care about the difference, some hardcore fans will point out the differences in style, production technique, and BPM in the song.

Also, since I am not as educated in these subgenres as I am in trance, I am leaving the editing of this post up to you, the reader. If I have left out any information or put up wrong/controversial information, let me know in the comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.


The Structure, Elements, and Origins of Trance Music

Trance music is a type of dance/electronic music that started in the early 1990’s in Germany. It is usually between 110 and 150 beats per minute (BPM’s) and is characterized by a four-on-the-floor beat with synths and hi-hats between the beats. It is also known for its huge breakdown sections where the main melody is left standing alone as the rhythm section drops out, lasting between a few seconds and a few minutes. It is also characterized by arpeggios, usually done in a minor key.

There is almost always a “hook” or main melody that is played throughout the song, consisting of small riffs or long, 32 measure hooks that are repeated and elaborated. Trance songs also have instruments that drop in and out every 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 measures. The intros and outros of trance songs consist of mainly percussion and minimal moving notes in order to allow easy mixing by DJs in their sets. A great example of how to create progressive trance is by watching videos of others making trance music. 

Trance is very controversial on its origins. Most believe that Klaus Schulze was the originator of trance. You can hear a very basic version of trance in many of his songs. Other artists such as Jean Michel Jarre and his album Oxygene helped to start the trance revolution and paved the way towards a new style of music. His flowing melodies and use of rhythm and ambient sounds are still very prominent in today’s style of trance music.

Musicians such as Armin van Buuren and Tiesto helped to transform trance into the modern sound that we hear today. Artists started putting kicks and different driving rhythms to create danceable beats. Ibiza was and still is one of the most popular trance destinations because of its vacation-like lifestyle. Many clubs and venues play nightly on this island off Spain’s coast.

Trance has changed into many different genres including classical trance, progressive trance, acid trance, uplifting trance, hard trance, euro-trance, tech-trance, vocal trance, dream trance, and Balearic trance.  These are only a few of the hundreds of sub-genres of trance. My personal favorites are progressive and uplifting trance, which encompass huge breakdowns and lots of ethereal strings and piano.

In my opinion, uplifting and progressive are the two most pure forms of trance to this day.