Trance Music

Trance music has been very inspiring in the early nineties (1990's) in Europe, and is now one of the most encouraging and influential music genres in the music industry. Initially trance was very much non-commercial, but trance is grabbing more and more publicity now, on TV channels like MTV and Viva and in the press as well. Rock and Pop artists are eager to collaborate with or even outsource their recordings to trance music producers and composers. An excellent example is “Madonna” with her high end, mature, semi-trance album Ray Of Light (1998), almost half tracks of her music have explicitly trance sounding.


The great way to define the trance music is that of dance music moving around anthems and rifts, which are either extremely energetic or very cool. Most of the trance music is built around the 4/4 beat.

Building Blocks

The most important base of trance is rooted from spiritual and religious roots of the East and ancient Eastern tradition. It is surprising in fact beat less form of trance which has been there for ages! Following components catapulted the elementary trance track on top of a solid, powerful beat and energetic, techno-powered influential sound:

  • Rolls, rifts, breakdowns and buildups.
  • Short samples often going into 16th and 32nd notes.
  • Highly intertwined major and minor chords.
  • Anthems.

These are the imperative elements of trance, which are very important as they entirely changed the music sound. Applying even one of them changes the sound track.

History & Evolution

It can arguably be traced back to cultural roots emerging from a spiritual state of mind with influence of shamanism and components of buddhism. The actual music of contemporary trance, although, was born in early 1990 in Germany.

In fact a fusion of techno and house shared much with techno, pertaining to the tempo and rhythmic frame. It also added more melodic overtones which were perfect from the style of house famous in Europe's club scenario at that time. The trance became incredibly famous in Europe and disseminated very fast.

Goa Trance

Goa trance is a type of electronic music and is a form of trance music, seeded in the Goa in Indian region. The music has its origins in the Goa region as early as 1970’s and late 1960's.  Although the original Goa trance style appeared much later. A core group stayed in Goa, concentrating on improvisations in music along with other activities like yoga, new age pursuits, recreational drug use etc.

Euro Trance

A neutral and central form of trance is perhaps the simplest to understand. Euro trance is often very high pitched, it is generally around 140 - 145 bpm and has a lot of huge rifts. The bass is basically heavy and it will generally have a female voice. Because of the big rifts, vocals and breakdowns contained in this style of trance, it is also known as the commercial trance.

Psychedelic Trance

Psychedelic trance music was developed in the late 1990's. It has a great bass sound that beats consistently without change and is covered by many other rhythms. This type of trance is more famous in the UK.

The combination of Goa and psychedelic trance music is the famous kind of trance performance to several trance audiences. Psychedelic trance can be termed as an offshoot of Goa trance. Popular stars that created psychedelic trance are Space Tribe, Astral Projection, Atmos, Infected Mushroom, Total Eclipse, and Simon Posford. Psychedelic trance is often conducted at outdoor events. People during these festivals often intake psychedelic drugs, viz. ecstasy, LSD, and psychedelic mushrooms. The festivals often last for few days with music being played 24 hours a day.

Ambient Trance

The forerunner to Progressive Trance, Ambient Trance is a hypnotic, dreamy and intelligent form of trance, often German that facilitates atmospheric pads, epic melodic progressions and often symphonic arrangements. It should not be confused with mainstream, commercial trance from performers like ATB or Darude.

Progressive Trance

This trance is basically more laid back than Euro. It is deeper and carries less commercial edge. It is also generally slower (130-140 bpm) and has a greater range of sounds - many developing sounds facilitating plenty of tribal techno and break beat sounds. The rifts in progressive tunes are much more elusive than that of Euro and never so uplifting. Progressive music is influenced with subtle structures and drops guided by the DJ all over the night, whereas Euro creates and drops in each specific tune. Off late much progressive trance music has been influenced by tribal breaks and sounds. This is often termed as "progressive house".

Hard Trance

Hard Trance, as the title suggests, amalgamates traditional trance sounds and frame with harder components more reminiscent of Techno and Acid. The tempo is generally enhanced to between 145 and 155 and the bass and kick drum is generally a centre of attraction for a clubbing audience.

Music Related Articles