Trance is a genre of Electronic Music with many distinct subgenres. Trance is often composed with synthesizers, drum machines, and computer software programs, though certain variants and songs may incorporate instruments as well. Tempo usually goes between 125-140 BPM, but some can go slower or faster depending on the song. While often purely instrumental, vocals in trance is just as common.

What sets trance apart from other genres of electronic music like Techno and House Music is that it often aims to evoke an emotional feeling from listeners, mixing layers with a distinctly foreshadowed build-up and release. A characteristic of virtually all trance music is a mid-song climax followed by a soft breakdown disposing of beats and percussion entirely, and leaving the melody and/or atmospherics to stand alone for an extended period before gradually building up again.

The subgenres are as follows:

  • Psychedelic Trance
    • Has a faster, more energetic tempo (around 140-150 bpm), a very distinctive resonated bass beat that pounds constantly throughout the song and overlays the bass with varying rhythms drawn from funk, techno, House Music, and Eurodance using drums and other instruments, and more "electronic" sound.
    • Notable artists include Astral Projection, 1200 Micrograms, Infected Mushroom and Syndrome.
    • Also notable is the Psychedelic Ambiance genre, which bears many similarities to psytrance.

  • Goa Trance
    • Tends to have a more "organic", spiritual and relaxing sound than psytrance, but is otherwise quite similar. Draws influences from traditional Indian Goa music, EBM and Industrial. The tempo typically lies in the 130–150 BPM range, although some tracks may have a tempo as low as 110 or as high as 160 BPM. Generally 8–12 minutes long, Goa Trance tracks tend to focus on steadily building energy throughout, using changes in percussion patterns and more intricate and layered synth parts as the music progresses in order to build a hypnotic and intense feel. Sampling is frequent, with quotes often taken from science fiction movies relating to mysterious or unconventional topics.
    • Notable artists include Man With No Name, Juno Reactor (earlier works), and Hallucinogen.

  • Uplifting Trance
    • Also known as "Euphoric Trance", Uplifting Trance (sometimes called Melodic) is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. It's much lighter in tone than the aforementioned psytrance and Goa. As a general rule of thumb, tempo lies in the 136-142 range. Tracks' chord progressions usually rest on a major chord, and the balance between major and minor chords in a progression will determine how "happy" or "sad" the progression sounds.
    • Notable artists include Soundreamer, Qsys, Above & Beyond, Daniel Kandi, Aly & Fila, and Ferry Corsten.

  • Progressive Trance
    • Known for its fast tempo, massive build-ups and breakdowns, and shares many similarities with House Music. Popular in Poland and other parts of Europe. Commonly, many artists combine Uplifting Trance and Progressive Trance together on their tracks.
    • Notable artists include Nitrous Oxide, Above & Beyond, Sasha, Armin Van Buuren, Markus Schulz, Jorn Van Deynhoven, and Cosmic Gate.

  • Nitzhonot Trance
    • Originating in Israel, Nitzhonot is a faster, harder form of Uplifting, and often incorporates elements of psy and Goa trance. Tempo ranges in the 145-155 range. The genre ended up suffering due to many cheap, rushed songs that more or less crippled it through saturation.
    • Notable artists include Eyal Barkan, Mihabra, and Cyan.

  • Dark Psytrance
    • Obscure genre originating in Germany.
    • Notable artists include Xenomorph (the original dark psy artist), Dark Soho, and Para Halu.

  • J-Trance

There are also various artists who are harder to pin down, such as S.U.N. Project, which could only be described as "rock trance," and Gareth Emery, whose style is akin to a mix of trance, house and progressive, which the artist himself calls "simples".

Trance has also been influential on various other genres. For instance, from 1999 to the early 2000's, the Industrial scene began to incorporate various influences from trance resulting in a subgenre called "Futurepop." Some Melodic Death Metal and Metalcore bands have also incorporated elements of the trance genre into their music. Even Dubstep has shown influences of trance, namely the Lighter and Softer chillstep subgenre, though some brostep tracks can feature certain elements to contrast with the dirty drops.

Something to keep in mind is there is a lot or overlap with these genres. Especially between prog-trance, psytrance, and Goa trance. To make matters worse, some artists blend the genres even to a point where prog-Goa, prog-psytrance and dark-prog-psytrance have become their own little subgenres.

Not to be confused with the movie.

Tropes associated with the genre:

  • Ambient: Lot of influence drawn from it.
  • Classical Music: It's either an in-joke or a serious comment amongst fans that Uplifting Trance is the Spiritual Successor to classical. Some artists are known to incorporate classical instruments (mainly violins and other string instruments) into songs.
  • Electronic Music
  • Epic Rocking: Many trance songs go on for 6 minutes or longer. Plenty of exceptions, though.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoffinvoked: While the genre is popular pretty much everywhere, it's especially huge in the Netherlands and Australia.
    • The scene is also popular in Israel with many big name acts like Astral Projection, Future Prophecy and Infected Mushroom coming from there.
  • Instrumentals: Heck, so many artists in the genre are instrumental that Vocal Trance became its own genre.
  • Minimalism: Psytrance has a lot of influences drawn from minimalism, mostly focusing on pounding basslines and ambient noises in the background.
  • Neo Classical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Many trance artists lend themselves to this. Especially Goa trance artists since it's trance mixed with Indian Goa music.
  • Trope Codifier: Jam and Spoon are considered to be the ones who set the standard for what trance is all about.
  • Trope Maker: Depending on who you ask, it's either The Age of Love's "Age of Love", the remix by Jam and Spoon, or Dance 2 Trance's "We Came in Peace".
  • Ur-Example: Either Klaus Schulze's album Trancfer or Jean Michel Jarre's album Oxygène.
  • Watch It Stoned: Averted. While the genre is very popular with stoners, it's widely agreed upon that drugs are not needed to enjoy it, even by stoners themselves.

A list of well-known trance artists and bands:

  • Above and Beyond
  • Aly & Fila
  • Andrew Rayel
  • Armin Van Buuren
  • Arty
  • ATB
  • Basshunter
  • BT
  • Faithless
  • Ferry Corsten
  • Infected Mushroom
  • Jean-Michel Jarre: His albums "Oxygène" (1976) and "Equinoxe" (1978) are considered to be predecessors.
  • Markus Schulz
  • MaRlo
  • Paul Oakenfold
  • Paul Van Dyk: His 1993 remix of Humate's "Love Stimulation" is considered to be the groundwork for modern trance.
  • Omnia
  • Orjan Nilson
  • Rank 1
  • Sash!: Best remembered for "Encore Une Fois" and "Ecuador".
  • Snap!: Best remembered for "The Power" and "Rhythm Is A Dancer".
  • Underworld
  • Tiesto (earlier material, crosses over into House Music)
  • Tokyo Ghetto Pussy
  • Tritonal (mixing progressive trance with Electro House)
  • W&W