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A lot of people use the term "techno music" to describe electronic music in general. It's a separate genre. Perhaps one of the most popular electronic genres (if not the most popular), but please keep these differences in mind. Techno is just one type of electronic music. Info on general techno is below.
Techno is usually instrumental, to be used in a DJ set. Some
exceptions apply, of course (commercial settings, for example, often use
vocals). Techno places a strong emphasis on rhythm, and may not
necessarily incorporate other musical qualities as heavily. Harmony, for
example, is sometimes ignored to focus more on the use of synthetic
timbres, and the manipulation of them.
Structurally, techno is almost always in common time. That is, 4 beats per bar. Similar to a metronome, the bass drum will kick every quarter note, to keep time, in a sense. On every second and fourth note, there will typically be a snare hit, and in between the snare and drum hits (every second 8th note), will be another percussive instrument (usually an open hi-hat, or ride cymbal).
That's the basic drum structure of techno. It's the foundation for which the artists can then employ creative use of synthetic timbres and music production in general. Of course, the sound can vary from genre to genre, as techno has many of them.
Techno first emerged in the late 1980s. The United States (more specifically, Detroit, Michigan) is the accepted birthplace of techno. In 1988, the term was first used to describe this genre of music.
The original concept of techno was to fuse different types of electronic music together. This included genres like synthpop and disco (from which house music was born). Then taking those genres and mixing them with African-American music styles, like funk and electric jazz.
Techno music's biggest audience isn't in America, like you may think. It's in Europe, having the most success and overall popularity. In the late 1990s, however, America and Japan shared in this success, growing a wide audience of their own.
Average Beats Per Minute: 120-150
Where It Originated: United States
Stylistically Similar To: House, Synthpop, Electro
Year Developed: Late 1980s
Below is an incomplete list of the many sub-genres that make up techno (in alphabetical order). You are on the "General Techno" page right now, clicking it will return you here.
General Techno - Back to the overview of techno.
Detroit Techno -Widly regarded as the birth of techno, where it originated.
Free Tekno - Played at free parties in Europe, this techno is fast, free and loud.
Ghettotech - Hailing from the same place as Detroit Techno, having hip-hop influences.
Minimal Techno - Using only the bare minimum to make the music. Back to the basics!
Schranz - Taking elements from hard techno, you can expect it to be, well, hard!
You are at techno music.
Why do you love this genre?