List of trance music sub-genres. Several crossover with other major forms of electronic music:
Acid trance: The prevalent early ’90s style, sometimes called “first-wave” trance. Characterized by the use of a Roland TB-303 bass machine as the lead synthesizer.
Classic trance: Original form of trance music, said to have originated in the very early ’90s. Characterized by less percussion than techno, more melody, arpeggiated melody, and repetitive melodic chords/arpeggios.
Dream trance: A variety of epic trance popularized by Robert Miles in the mid-’90s which is highly melodic. Very often it features soothing piano riffs.
Euro-Trance: Euro Trance is a hybrid of Dream trance, Progressive trance, Hard trance and Eurodance music incorporating hardstyle bass drums and trance elements. It is closely related to uplifting trance. The trance synths at times can sound like techno hoovers with trancey effects and strings backing it up. The vocals are often pitched up for the most part, but sometimes they can be heard as in normal pitch range. This is often confused as vocal trance because of its use of vocals. The lyrical content is usually primitive, containing an introduction to the song with usually no or little drums, and often includes renderings of classic Happy hardcore anthems or melodies. Also some of the middle ’90s Happy Hardcore producers started to produce tracks in this style.
Futurepop: A fusion of mainly Electronic body music and Anthem Trance. This music has a cold, dark feel to it, while having grandiose synth melodies and general more trancey sound than EBM. Lyrics have a more prominent place in Futurepop than most other types of trance, and tend to be about love, hate, human emotions and global issues.
Goa trance: A complex, melodic form of trance named for Goa, India, and originating in the early ’90s. Often uses Raga. The style has been developed by musicians from many countries, and is now generally referred to as Psychedelic trance, which is discussed below.
Hardstyle: Closely related to nu style Gabber and Hard trance. Its sound is usually characterized by a mix of gabber and hardcore like kick/bass sounds, spontaneous rhythmic changes, trance like synth stabs and sweeps and miscellaneous samples. However, Hardstyle usually has a lot slower BPM (between 140 and 150).
Hard trance: Aggressive and slower trance sound, originating in Frankfurt, and including influences from hardcore. This style arguably began around 1993 and peaked in popularity in the late ’90s.
Ibiza Trance a.k.a. Balearic beat, Balearic trance: This style has been influenced by various relaxed music genres, especially linked to Ibiza’s (Spain) chill-out style of life paralleled with the huge rave scene that is present in the islands. Very melodic and mellow, sometimes with ethnic features, and it often samples seaside elements like seagulls and ocean waves. It relies more heavily on guitar than other trance genres. It also include danceable uptempo songs featuring syncopated or Latin rhythms.
Neo-trance: Neo-trance is new genre that arrived in the vernacular to describe the recent developments towards more minimalist trance.
Progressive Trance / Melodic Trance: Differentiated from the then “regular” trance by more breakdowns, less acid-like sound & bass chord changes that gave the repeating lead synth a feeling of “progression”.
Psychedelic trance: A kind of trance that was developed in the late ’90s and grew from Goa trance culture of India. While it retains strong cultural ties to India, the term has come to refer generally to the music and style of culture associated with it, which is now found in many countries. One defining feature of this genre is the use of a lot of spontaneous sounds and samples. However the range of styles is quite broad, and it has several subgenres of its own, listed below.
Psybreaks: A mixture of Psychedelic Trance and Breakbeat.
Psybient: Also known as “Ambient Psy”, “Psychedelic Ambient”, “Ambient Goa”, or “Ambient Psytrance” it is a mixture of Psychedelic trance with ambient and glitch.
Dark psytrance: Does not use vocals, though sampling is common, with speech and other kind of samples usually being taken from different kind of movies (especially horror movies), or occasionally from other tracks. Sometimes sampling elements form other genres of music is done as a mockery of the original tracks.
Full on: Full on or “Melodic psytrance” draws its main influences from more radio-friendly genres such as uplifting trance (Nitzhonot and vocal trance) and electro house, futuristic melodies, occasional electric guitar performances and usage of vocals.
Progressive psytrance: Progressive psytrance combines the elements of minimal sounding progressive electronic music and complex developments of psychedelic music. Its heritage can be traced back to the developments of minimal techno, tech, and minimal house.
Suomisaundi: A style of freeform psychedelic trance
Tech trance: A merge of Techno and Trance, Tech Trance appeared in the mid-’90s. Usually Tech Trance tunes consist of non-changeable bassline, loud drums and percussion and mostly ambient pads.
Uplifting Trance a.k.a. Anthem trance, Epic Trance: Popular style of commercialized trance that emerged in the wake of progressive and acid trance in the late ’90s.
Vocal trance: Broad term referring to trance with a full set of lyrics, which may or may not be any of the above genres (Uplifting, and epic trance often have vocals). Often an artist will borrow a singer’s talents as opposed to the singer himself or herself, or sample from/remix more traditional pop music. Note that there is some debate as to where the divide lies between vocal trance and Eurodance.
Trance-fusion: A subgenre of the jam band movement that blends such musical styles as rock, jazz, funk, and electronica. It consists primarily of instrumental music. The terms Jamtronica and Livetronica are also used to refer to this style of music.