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Difference Between Techno and Trance

music-dance-trance-pdTechno vs Trance

While many consider techno to encompass all forms of dance music, there is a significant and ultimate difference between techno and trance, which makes the initial assumption off the mark. Some of the differences are subtle, while others are quite definitive.

Techno music is highly concentrated on perfecting various rhythms and beats, and it can have no melody whatsoever. Trance will have a definite distinguishable melody.

Techno music can have a very repetitive sound, which enables it to be nicely layered with other techno tracks. Those who take techno seriously, will often try to find beats that can lay over another track in order to create more enhanced techno rhythms.

Trance is highly layered, and doesn’t tend to sound as hypnotic with repetitive sounds, because there is such an emphasis on melody and creating a full sound to carry through the entire track.

Techno is high energy from start to finish. Trance will often have a heightening of the crescendo, and build up anticipation very much like a musical story with a distinctive climax and coda.

The origins of each type of music are very different. The 1980’s brought techno to the forefront. African American musicians from Detroit are credited with bringing techno onto the scene. Trance came about during the 1990’s, and is considered the Caucasian born European blend of dance music.

Techno music is developed purely for the dance scene. It is written with the intention of motivating the body into action from start to finish, even with the hopes of people dancing until exhaustion causes them to collapse in a heap! The intention of trance is really about the impact it has on the mind. It is designed to be inspiring, to be listened to with or without the benefit of dancing, and writers are hopeful that listeners will feel inspired to tackle problems, perform well, and feel good just from listening to it.


1. Techno focuses on rhythm and beat.

2. Trance focuses on melody.

3. Techno is more repetitive, and can be blended with other tracks.

4. Trance is less repetitive, and is a stand-alone piece.

5. Techno is pure energy.

6. Trance has a building up of energy, much like a story with a climax.

7. Techno was developed in Detroit in the 1980’s.

8. Trance was developed in Europe in the 1990’s.

9. Techno is inspired dance music.

10. Trance is inspired music dedicated to the listening mind.

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  1. This justifies my love for Trance music. It’s very melodic and surely is hypnotizing. 😛

  2. Techno can still have a melody, right?

  3. Hello there

    Is this article still open for arguments?
    As for the developement ot Techno. I agree that it was also developed in Detroit. But than there was a steady exchange of ideas between the ‘Detroit’ scene and Germany, where Kraftwerk was very active during the 80s.
    Also rumors have it that Juan Atkins had to do something different than what he has had in mind because Kraftwerk was already doing the stuff he thought about.

    Techno can not just be blend over another track because of its repetitiveness. This sounds wrong.
    There are loads of full force Techno tracks. These require a really good DJ with a good equippement to blend Techno tracks into each others and to create a smooth flow.
    There was for the last four years or so this ‘minimal’ thing going on in the Techno scene. As for the very minimalistic style it was just too easy to blend in each and every track you wanted.
    But for normal Techno tracks, you really have to know what you are doing.

    Also, while I agree that real Trance is meant for listening rather than dancing, also real Techno is more for the listening experience, to transcend. And in my opinion Techno does an even better job for this than does Trance.
    Trance can be too energetic at times.
    There is the next error.
    You said Techno is pure energy. But did you ever listen to full on Psytrance?
    Compare “Artifact303 – back to space” to “Marc Romboy and Ken Ishii – Taiyo”.
    And those are just two albums we are talking about here.

    And this one gives me slightly the creeps:
    “Trance has a building up of energy, much like a story with a climax.”
    This sounds as we are talking not exactly about the same when mentioning Trance?


  4. I am not really sure that person who wrote this has been on many techno and trance gigs.

    Techno is pure energy? techno is everything but its not energy that s for sure, and I have been on many techno gigs.

    Trance is pure energy, higher freqency, pure love. I am fan of goa trance with spiritual oriental melodies and crazy acidic 303 sounds.

    Nowday techno is just noise of western europe capitalism. Sound of factories, big cities, sound of destruction thar corrupts your soul.

    my 2 cents

  5. Who the heck thinks “techno encompass all forms of dance music”? EDM is the umbrella, not techno. House purists would smack you for even considering techno to be the emcompassing umbrella. Serious fail.

    • I’m no expert, but as an all original Trance producer (Trancotronik – Cirkus) & listen to all old & nu Trance, Techno, House, Electro, &
      Dubstep (all sub-genres & styles), I have shown many people my songs & a lot of people over the past few years have referred to all Electronic music as Techno. I’m not sure why people use techno as an umbrella term, but I have witnessed it many times when having conversations with people about it & it drives me nuts when people start calling Trance & House music techno & then I correct them & they say it’s all the same thing lol .

      ***This is my personal experience with people of all ages***

      • Interesting, because i was listening to A State of Trance recently and the new resident DJ made the same mistake, calling the whole genre Techno, and Armin van Buuren corrected even him. I think it has less to do with style ignorance and more to do with some sort of branding that occurred, like calling all facial tissues Kleenex or any vacuum cleaner a Hoover.

  6. Being old enough to remember when everything EDM was called “techno” for lack of a better term, and being a huge fan of both Techno and Trance, this article was rather helpful. My 3-yr-old granddaughter and i prefer psytrance and deep house together, and she can tell the difference between Big Beat, Trance, and Techno without an explanation like this one. So the old guy digs the info!

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