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Difference Between House and Trance

electronic-musicHouse vs Trance

When referring to music subgenres, house and trance share a significant number of similarities, partly because trance developed alongside house music. The two genres share many elements including the basic beat structure but with house having a more prominent baseline.

They are both types of electronic dance music. House music started in the early 1980s in Illinois, where it enjoyed popularity and growth especially among African-American, Latino-American and gay dance audiences and in discotheques in cities across the US and eventually spreading over to Europe. Elements of funk, soul and disco music heavily influenced the style of house music, for instance like the prominent bass drum on every beat basically mimics disco’s percussion but may feature electronic drums and effects, a prominent synthesizer baseline and samples of funk or pop, as well as delay enhanced vocals. In its early years of origin, house music had slower tempos but with time it changed to up-tempo, although it is considered mid tempo by contemporary dance standards. Trance on the other hand has almost the same beat structure as house but does not have the live-sound feel of house, preferring synthetic sound influences and approach. A four over four time signature, a 120 to 160bpm tempo and 32 beat phrases are normally employed in the production of trance making it faster than house. Trance has a number of sub genres including Acid, Classic, Progressive and Uplifting trance.

With its more prominent baseline, melody is house music’s main focus, tending to be more upbeat and provocative. It often makes use of live-sound samples and it generally feels warmer, with a lot of funk elements. Trance music centers most on chord progression and sounds that are layered. Trance tends to incorporate faster rhythms even when it’s played at the same tempo as house. Trance is therefore faster rhythmically and sonically. Another major contrast between the two is the structure of the build-up, breakdown and drop. Both house and trance build and release energy but trance tends to go to an epic level, unlike house. Long breaks with no beats are characteristic of trance, with the tension building on until the beat drops back in. Although it can be uplifting, trance has a dark mood which can be dramatic too. It has a colder feel or feels more wholly electronic than house. Infusing elements of trance and house with techno music will result in progressive house. In most contexts it lies between house and trance.

1. House music has a more prominent baseline and focuses on melody while trance focuses more on chord progression.
2. House music has a live-sound feel whereas trance uses synthetic sounds.
3. House music has slower tempos when compared to trance, which sounds sonically faster.
4. Both trance and house build and release energy but unlike house, trance goes up to an epic extent.

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  1. wtf? this seems to be explaining the house that was prominent during the 80’s, not the house music that many european producers do today. this house is more like frankie knuckles or roger sanchez which have a slower tempo and is more disco than other stuff. although, i do agree with some stuff said in the article.

  2. Thank you

    The only way I could identify Progressive House from Trance was that Progressive House is to chill for some time. While Trance is music thta will take you away without even moving you.

  3. WTF? House focuses on melody ?
    No … If anything, melody is the defining feature of trance.

  4. This article really has its info screwed up. House focuses on melody?! wtf!! It’s Trance that focuses on melody, not House, which focuses on beats, basslines, and rhythms. Melodies are the hallmark of Trance music, guitar melodies, piano melodies, flute melodies, and synthesizer melodies are the very elements that distinguish Trance from House, along with the agreed much faster rhythm and tempo. Also House did not develop alongside Trance! House came out in the 70s and matured and even heavily influenced Pop in the 80s. Then when the 90s hit, House was a full-fledged and well-known music style while Trance was just being born! Trance is basically a more synthesizer heavy and faster style of House music, altogether with a typically lighter beat. It could be argued that Trance came directly from House music, as a faster and more electronic based form. House is known for its thumpin’ beats and jammin’ basslines, sometimes with a ton of funk. Funk, soul, and disco are not the only heavy musical influences of House either. Techno is also a very major influence of House and is accurately the other EDM style that actually did develop alongside House, not Trance. Techno, like House was born in the 70s, developed in the 80s while also influencing Pop, and matured in the 90s. Trance came about much later than both of those two, and could be sufficiently described as an EDM style that is a combination of Techno and House. Also Progressive House is a combo of Trance and House with elements of Breakbeat, not Techno. This article has some serious flaws, needs major corrections, and is completely wrong on some points while on others its misleading. Let it be written by someone who is involved with the industry next time.

  5. For me there’s no difference at all… All those words used to describe this kind of music are vague.

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