Trance music

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Stylistic origins
Cultural origins
Early 1990s, Germany, United Kingdom
Typical instruments
Mainstream popularity Worldwide Popularity expect United States
Derivative forms Nu-NRG
Acid trance – Classic trance – Euro-trance – Futurepop
Goa trance – Hard trance – Progressive trance – Psychedelic trance – Tech trance – Uplifting trance – Vocal trance

Trance is a style of electronic dance music developed in Germany and the United Kingdom in the early 1990s. Trance music is generally characterized by a tempo of between approximately 128 and 150 BPM, melodic synthesizer phrases, and a musical form that is progressive as it builds up and down throughout a track. Trance is a combination of many forms of electronic music, such as ambient, techno, and house[1]


[edit] History

[edit] Origin

In the early 1980s, the German composer Klaus Schulze composed several albums of experimental, atmospheric "space music". Two of his albums from the 1980s include the word "trance" in their titles: Trancefer (1981) and En=Trance (1987)[2]

Some of the earliest identifiable trance recordings came from The KLF, a UK-based acid house group. The most notable of these were the original 1988 / 1989 versions of "What Time Is Love?" and "3 a.m. Eternal", along with "Kylie Said Trance" (1989) and "Last Train to Trancentral" (1990). The KLF labeled these early recordings "Pure Trance". While the KLF's works are clear examples of proto-trance, two songs, both from 1990, are widely regarded as being the first "true" trance records. The first is Age of Love's self-titled debut single which they released in early 1990 and is seen a basis for the original trance single. The second track was Dance 2 Trance's "We Came in Peace", the b-side of their own self-titled debut single. Another influential song was Future Sound Of London's "Papua New Guinea" (1991).

The trance sound beyond this acid-era genesis is said to have been an off-shoot of Detroit techno in German clubs during the very early 1990s. Germany is often cited as a birthplace of trance culture and is celebrated once a year in the "Love Parade" festival. Some of the earliest pioneers of the genre include Jam El Mar, Oliver Lieb, and Sven Väth, who all produced numerous tracks under multiple aliases. Trance labels such as Eye Q, Harthouse, Rising High Records, FAX +49-69/450464 and MFS Records were based in Frankfurt, and Berlin.

[edit] Commercial trance

By the mid-1990s trance, specifically progressive trance, had emerged commercially as one of the dominant genres of dance music. Progressive trance has set in stone the basic formula of modern trance by becoming even more focused on the anthemic bass lines and lead melodies. Compositions continued to contain incremental changes (aka progressive structures), sometimes composed in thirds (as BT frequently does). Meanwhile, a different type of trance, generally called uplifting trance, was becoming popular. Uplifting trance had buildups and breakdowns that were longer and more exaggerated, with more easily identifiable tunes and anthems. Many such trance tracks follow a set form, featuring an introduction, steady build, a breakdown, and then an anthem, a form called "build-breakdown-anthem".

Artists like Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, Robert Miles, Above & Beyond(Oceanlab), Darren Tate, Ferry Corsten, Johan Gielen, ATB and Paul Oakenfold came to the forefront as premier producers and remix artists. These and others led trance to a new commercialized forefront and paved the way for artists like Trizet in France and Third Element in the United States Many of these producers also DJ'd in clubs playing their own productions as well as those by other trance DJs. By the end of the 1990s, trance remained commercially huge, but had fractured into an extremely diverse genre. Some of the artists that had helped create the trance sound in the early and mid-1990s had, by the end of the decade, abandoned trance completely in favor of more underground sounds—artists of particular note here include Pascal F.E.O.S. and Oliver Lieb. Many trance DJs are well into their own radio shows broadcast throughout Europe, the United States other countries all over the globe. Examples are "A State of Trance" created and hosted by Armin Van Buuren and "Trance Around the World" created and hosted by Above and Beyond. Artists such as Mike Foyle are also classically trained pianists (and alike) which assists them with sophisticated and musically pleasing melodies.

Some of the most popular weekly trance radio shows and podcasts include: Armin van Buuren - A State of Trance, John De La Mora - Trance Nation, Above & Beyond - Trance Around The World, Tiesto - Tiesto's Club Life, Paul van Dyk - VONYC Sessions, and Ferry Corsten - Corsten's Countdown.

[edit] Diversification

As an alternative evolution some artists have attempted to fuse trance with other genres such as drum'n'bass. Others have experimented with more minimalist sounds. Frustrated, extreme versions of trance have mutated through gabba into fringe genres of "hard trance" or "hardstyle" overlapping with hardcore and terrorcore.

Trance music appears frequently on the Internet with the abundance of legal music download sites, including the likes of Juno Download, and Beatport. As a result, both commercial and progressive trance now have a much larger presence, with big-draw artists such as Sasha, Tiësto, ATB, Markus Schulz, Armin van Buuren, BT, Paul van Dyk, Ferry Corsten, Above & Beyond, Paul Oakenfold, Schiller, Solarstone, Christopher Lawrence and George Acosta.

[edit] Trance production

Trance usually employs a 4/4 time signature[3], a tempo of 130 to 160 BPM, and 32 beat phrases. The 32-beat phrases are composed of repeating 8-beat sections. It is common to superimpose syncopated, 10–15 progressions (chord progressions and/or arpeggio layers or "loops") over the 8-beat sections.

Trance is somewhat faster than house music but usually not as fast as rave music. Psychedelic Trance is sometimes faster and earlier tracks were sometimes slower. A kick drum is placed on every downbeat and a regular open hi-hat is often placed on the upbeat; a type of beat also colloquially known as "four-to-the-floor". Some simple extra percussive elements are usually added, and major transitions, builds or climaxes are often foreshadowed by lengthy "snare rolls"—a quick succession of equally spaced snare drum hits that builds in volume towards the end of a measure or phrase.

Each phrase typically "adds interest" in the form a new layer. Typically 4 to 8 phrases will repeat before the song is broken by an interlude. During the interlude the drum beat and most of the complex layers drop out of the mix and a melodic, dreamy phrase breaks the hypnotic succession. The original drum-beat phrasing returns after the interlude.

Unlike House and Garage music, Trance tends to add interest to tracks not through complexity of rhythm but through complexity of melody and harmony; as a result Trance tracks tend to have a simple (i.e. non-varying) beat which acts as a foundation for complex chordal and melodic structures which are further emphasized by the heavy use of electronic music production technology, such as synthesizers, samplers and effect units (most notably for Trance, Reverb and Delay effects). Flangers, phasers and other effects are also commonly used at extreme settings but these settings can be (and often are) 'tweaked' over time, creating further interest by adding cycles or emotional tension and release. As an example of this the volume, cutoff and/or resonance parameters of a synthesized arpeggio can be slowly increased over a period of time, resulting in a variation which is calculated to form a particular emotional response in the listener. As in most electronic music, there is no need or demand for resulting sounds to resemble any real-world instrument, so producers have free creative rein. However, modern Progressive and Uplifting Trance tracks do make use of pianos and other "orchestral" or conventional and non-electronic instruments.

Synthesizers form the central elements of most trance tracks, with sawtooth-based sounds used both for short pizzicato elements and for long, sweeping string sounds. Bass sounds are sometimes created using square waves. As with other genres of electronic music, many artists use synthesizers such as the Roland TR-808, TR-909, and TB-303, the latter being the source of the "acid" sound. There are also several synthesizer sounds that are almost completely unique to its genre. One of these sounds is the "supersaw", a waveform consisting of many sawtooth waves played in unison and slightly detuned from each other. A "supersaw" waveform produces a thick and powerful sound useful for string-like pads and fat lead sounds. This waveform was made famous by synthesizers like the Roland JP-8000, the Novation Supernova, and the Korg MS2000. A technique called "gating" is often employed in creating lead sounds (turning the volume up and down rapidly in rhythm with the piece to create a stuttered, chopped sound). Rapid arpeggios and minor scales are common features. Trance tracks often use one central "hook" melody which runs through almost the entire track, repeating at intervals anywhere between 2 beats and several bars.

Traditionally, trance uses classical music as its base. Many "classical" songs have in fact been "remixed" in a modern trance style. Many trance songs use jazz as their base.

While many trance tracks contain no vocals at all, other tracks rely heavily on vocals, and thus a subgenre known as Vocal Trance has developed. The sound and quality of the production relies to a large degree upon the technology available. Vintage analog equipment is popular with many producers, with names such as Moog, Roland and Oberheim being staples in the trance sound palette. Modern music creation software can emulate the sound of classic "synths".

Trance tracks are usually built with sparser intros and outros in order to enable DJs to blend them together more readily. This is known as "Mixing" or "Beat Matching". This also works as a build up and wind down and in modern trance the intros and outros do not resemble the main part of the song very closely. Records that adhere to this "build up, strip down" arrangement during intros and outros are referred as being "DJ friendly". As trance is more melodic and harmonic than much dance music, the construction of trance tracks in such a way is particularly important in order to avoid dissonant (or "key clashing," i.e., out of tune with one another) mixes by DJs who do not mix harmonically. DJ's who can successfully "Key Mix" will find more popularity with listeners as there are no obvious breaks in the music, assisting with a journey that is not interrupted.

[edit] Trance genres

Trance music is broken into a large number of subgenres. Chronologically, the major genres are classic trance, acid trance, progressive trance, and uplifting trance. The latter is also known as "Anthem trance", "Epic trance", "Stadium trance", or "Euphoric trance." Closely related to Uplifting Trance is Euro-trance, which has become a general term for a wide variety of European dance music. Several subgenres are crossovers with other major genres of electronic music. For instance, tech trance is a mixture of trance and techno, Vocal Trance adds vocals and a pop-like structure to the songs, and Ambient trance is a mixture of ambient and trance. Balearic beat, which is associated with Ibiza, Spain, is often called "Ibiza trance". Similarly, Dream trance is sometimes called "Dream House", pioneered by Robert Miles in the mid-1990s.

Goa trance originated in Goa, India around the same time trance was evolving in Europe. Goa trance was influential in the formation of Psychedelic Trance, which features freeform samples and psychedelic elements. Trance is also very popular in Israel, with producers such as Infected Mushroom, Astral Projection and Yahel Sherman achieving worldwide fame. The Israeli subgenre Nitzhonot is a mixture of psychedelic and uplifting trance.

[edit] Trance festivals

Sensation White 2006

Trance music festivals attract large crowds and usually feature sophisticated lighting, laser and pyrotechnic displays. Most of the largest trance festivals are held in Europe.

[edit] The Netherlands

Many large trance festivals are held in the Netherlands, mainly organized by three companies: ID&T, UDC and Q-Dance:

  • Dance Valley, Netherlands: an outdoor festival organized by UDC. Currently the largest dance event in the world.
  • Qlimax, Gelredome, Arnhem (20,000 visitors): a Hardstyle, Hard Trance event which has been gaining in popularity recently. It is renowned for its laser show, and organized by Q-Dance.
  • Trance Energy, Jaarbeurs, Utrecht (30,000 visitors): a festival which features only trance music. Many well-received DJs have played sets at this event, helping to create its fame. It is organized by ID&T.
  • ImPulsTanz Festival, At the Brabanthallen,'s-Hertogenbosch ( 20,000 visitors ). It is very popular in Germany and France.
  • Tiësto In Concert Arnhem: is a gig only performance by Tiësto, and organized by ID&T. It is held in the Gelredome Arnhem.
  • Armin Only, Ahoy, Rotterdam: Armin van Buuren is so far to the only DJ to mix at this event. It is organized by UDC. (The event which was held in the Jaarbeurs Utrecht in Utrecht.)
  • Full On Ferry, Ahoy Rotterdam: Ferry Corsten plays back to back with DJs who also cover various other styles such as house, techno and progressive. Such DJs are handpicked by Ferry himself, as an ode to his long career of producer of many different styles in the process.

[edit] United Kingdom

Clubbers at Gatecrasher
  • Global Gathering festival, promoted by the Angel Music Group. The weekend long Global Gathering, held every summer, features the Godskitchen arena as its centerpiece, attracting an average of 45,000 people. The organization promotes other stadium trance events under the Godskitchen brand, the largest being Godskitchen: A Gift From The Gods which brought 12,000 revelers to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham UK back in April 2003.
  • Cream's annual Creamfields festival has also showcased a 10,000 capacity trance arena for the last eight years at various venues across the United Kingdom, originating in Liverpool.
  • Gatecrasher also promotes sporadic events and have also used venues such as Birmingham N.E.C. Gatecrasher is currently on hiatus until further notice due to fire damage.
  • South West Four, held every summer, began as a backyard party. It has since found its home on Clapham Common in London. It moved to Cardiff in 2006.
  • PlanetLove, Northern Ireland also has had a thriving trance scene since the early 1990s, at the Kelly's Complex in Portrush, shooting local trance pioneers such as DJs X-ray & Si into the Northern Ireland Dance Music Hall of Fame. PlanetLove holds a yearly festival in both the North and South of Ireland, and numerous other events on a smaller scale. Major DJs have performed at PlanetLove events such as Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk and Tiësto.

[edit] Other

[edit] Non-European festivals

  • ETD Pop: presented by Skills DJ, is one of the biggest electronic events in the San Francisco Bay Area Electro Techno Disco Pop is held annually on Memorial Day weekend. Their 11th annual event in 2008 was held in the 20,000-person Cow Palace and featured DJs Tiësto, Ferry Corsten, Markus Schulz, Kaskade, and many more.[5]
  • Electric Daisy Carnival, by Insomniac Events in Los Angeles, combines LA Sports Arena with the Olympic-sized Los Angeles Coliseum on the last weekend of June annually. In 2008 the festival drew in crowds of near 75,000.
  • Monster massive, a Los Angeles Los Angeles Sports Arena event held once a year on Halloween. In 2008 it drew in over 60,000 attendees. Los Angles is also famous for its all outdoor dance festivals.
  • Ultra Music Festival,[6] Miami, Florida: (80,000 visitors): A two day-long event with 11 stages playing various genres of electronic music, with the main stage focusing on trance.
  • Ultraworld and Universe Kryal Castle, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia: a 12-hour-long event, comprising mainly Hardstyle, Hard Dance and Hard Trance (also featuring happy hardcore) event held in a replicated medieval castle.
  • World Electronic Music Festival: held annually in Canada, this three-day-long outdoor event, comprising mainly of Trance, Hard Dance and drum and bass (also featuring happy hardcore) has been held for the past 13 years. The 2008 festival will be the final one in its current form. It is also known as WEMF.
  • Winter Music Conference: held annually toward the end of Northern Hemisphere winter in Miami, WMC is a week-long conference and festival.
  • Love Fest: Held Annually in San Francisco. Formerly known as the Love Parade. Typically an audience of over 80,000 watch the elaborate parade of DJs down Market Street to end at San Francisco City Hall for an impromptu dance party. Many other events lead up to the main event throughout the week with guest DJs playing at many of the clubs.[7]
  • Lovefest After Party held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco is presented by Skills and Spundae. 2008s event featured Armin van Buuren, ATB, Above & Beyond, Deep Voices, Kyau & Albert, and Green Velvet.[8]
  • USC: Held annually in Seattle, Washington (Typically 7,000–10,000 attendees). USC is the American Northwest's biggest trance/electronic music event. The 2007 event featured three stages, with Paul van Dyk as the headliner. 2008s event featured DJs Tiësto, BT, DJ Dan, and Donald Glaude. The event is typically a summer event that lasts from 9 p.m. – 10 a.m. with the last six hours dedicated to an after party. The event also showcases the most popular local DJs.
  • Global Dance Festival: Held annually at Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside Denver, Colorado. Typically, over 10,000 attendees watch the approximately seven-hour event, which features many well-known DJ's. Headliners in past years have included Paul van Dyk, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren. Ferry Corsten headlines the 2008 show.
  • Earthcore is Australia's largest and longest running (since 1993) outdoor dance music festival and electronic music events organization. The outdoor events are generally held in forest environments around Victoria, although they are also held in Queensland. Styles include Dance Party/DJ Tour, Trance and Progressive. Usually a three-day event, in 1999/2000 NYE it was 7 days. The 10-year anniversary saw more than 15,000 in attendance.
  • JordanMiddle East Distant Heat Festival takes place in the desert of Wadi Rum.
  • Rainbow Serpent Festival a large three-day mostly Psy Trance event in a bushland It will have its 13th anniversary in 2009. Approximately 7,000 people attend each year.

Many other countries lack such festivals due to legal restrictions. Public prosecution departments in many countries — notably France — have been reluctant to give permits for techno and trance events, due to perceived drug issues.[citation needed] In the past, ID&T has been expanding operations and begun to organize festivals in Belgium and Germany which have become very popular in these countries. As of 2008, ID&T is planning the Sensation World Tour in Chile, China, Poland, Czech Republic, and Dubai. Sensation white is more about the show and the performances surrounding the event where as ID&T's Trance Energy is about the DJs.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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