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Female Number of posts : 120
Age : 43
Location : Bretagne, France
Registration date : 2007-05-22

PostSubject: Trance music   Fri May 25, 2007 2:27 pm

Trance is a style of electronic music that developed in the 1990s. Trance music is generally characterized by a tempo of between 130 and 160 bpm, featuring repeating melodic synthesizer phrases, and a musical form that builds up and down throughout a track, often crescendoing or featuring a breakdown. Sometimes vocals are also utilized. The style is arguably derived from a combination of largely electronic music such as ambient music, techno, and house. 'Trance' received its name from the repetitious morphing beats, and the throbbing melodies which would presumably put the listener into a trance-like state. As this music is almost always played in nightclubs at popular vacation spots and in inner cities, trance can be understood as a form of club music.

Trance begins as a genre

The earliest identifiable trance recordings came not from within the trance scene itself, but from the UK acid house movement, and were made by The KLF. The most notable of these were the original 1988 / 1989 versions of What Time Is Love? and 3 a.m. Eternal (the former indeed laying out the entire blueprint for the trance sound - as well as helping to inspire the sounds of hardcore and rave) and the 1988 track Kylie Said Trance. Their use of the term 'pure trance' to describe these recordings reinforces this case strongly. These early recordings were markedly different from the releases and re-releases to huge commercial success around the period of the The White Room album (1991) and are significantly more minimalist, nightclub-oriented and 'underground' in sound. While the KLF's works are clear examples of Proto-trance, two songs, both from 1990, are widely regarded as being the first "true" trance records. The first, Age of Love's self-titled debut single was released in early 1990 and is seen as creating the basis for the original trance sound to come out of Germany. The second track was Dance 2 Trance's "We Came in Peace," which was actually the b-side of their own self-titled debut single. While "Age of Love" is seen as the track which cemented the early trance sound, it was Dance 2 Trance (as a result of the duo's name) that probably gave the sound its name.

The trance sound beyond this acid-era genesis is said to have begun as an off-shoot of techno in German clubs during the very early 1990s. Frankfurt is often cited as a birthplace of trance. Some of the earliest pioneers of the genre included DJ Dag (Dag Lerner), Oliver Lieb, Sven Väth and Torsten Stenzel, who all produced numerous tracks under multiple aliases. Trance labels like Eye Q, Harthouse, Superstition, Rising High, FAX +49-69/450464 and MFS Records were Frankfurt based. Arguably a fusion of techno and house, early trance shared much with techno in terms of the tempo and rhythmic structures but also added more melodic overtones which were appropriated from the style of house popular in Europe's club scene at that time. However, the melodies in trance differed from euro/club house in that although they tended to be emotional and uplifting, they did not "bounce around" in the same way that house did. This early music tended to be characterized by hypnotic and melodic qualities and typically involved repeating rhythmic patterns added over an appropriate length of time as a track progressed.

Of worth to note, the album that is generally accepted as THE definition of the Frankfurt trance sound, and which subsequently influenced all of the early pioneers mentioned above, was the Pete Namlook "4Voice" album. Of note, one of the studio engineers who worked on this pioneering effort was one Maik Maurice, otherwise known as ½ of Resistance D, the famed Hard Trance duo. If you are a fan of the Frankfurt sound, this album is the beginning.

Commercial trance

By the mid-1990s, trance, specifically Progressive trance, which emerged from acid trance much as Progressive house had emerged from Acid house, had emerged commercially as one of the dominant genres of dance music. Progressive trance set in stone the basic formula of modern trance by becoming even more focused on the anthemic basslines and lead melodies, moving away from hypnotic, repetitive, arpeggiated analog synth patterns and spacey pads. Popular elements and anthemic pads became more widespread. Compositions leaned towards incremental changes (aka progressive structures), sometimes composed in thirds (as BT frequently does). Buildups and breakdowns became longer and more exaggerated, and the sound became more direct and less subtle, with a more identifiable tune. This sound came to be known as anthem trance.

Immensely popular, trance found itself filling a niche as 'edgier' than house, more soothing than drum and bass, and more melodic than techno, something that made it accessible to a wider audience. Artists like Tiesto, Ferry Corsten - System F, Paul van Dyk, Armin van Buuren, Johan Gielen, Above & Beyond, and Paul Oakenfold came to the forefront as premier producers and remixers, bringing with them the emotional, "epic" feel of the style. Many of these producers also DJ'd in clubs playing their own productions as well as those by other trance DJs. By the end of the 1990s, trance remained commercially huge, but had fractured into an extremely diverse genre. Some of the artists that had helped create the trance sound in the early and mid-1990s had, by the end of the decade, abandoned trance completely in favour of more underground sounds - artists of particular note here include Pascal F.E.O.S. and Oliver Lieb.

As trance entered the mainstream it alienated many of its original fans. As the industry became bigger, record labels, Ibiza, clubs (most notably Ministry of Sound) and DJs began to alter their sound to more of a pop based one, so as to make the sound more accessible to an even wider, and younger, audience. Female vocals in particular are now extremely common in mainstream trance, adding to their popular appeal. This mainstream trance is also known variously as commercial trance, vocal trance, euphoric trance or uplifting trance.

Post-commercial trance

An alternative evolution would be to fuse trance with other stagnating genres such as drum'n'bass, various artists have attempted this but it has still to break into acceptance even in the underground. Frustrated, extreme versions of trance have mutated through gabba into violent fringe genres such as terrorcore and drillcore.

Trance production

Trance employs a 4/4 time signature, and has a BPM of 130-160 beats per minute, somewhat faster than house music. Early tracks were sometimes slower. A kick drum is placed on every downbeat and a regular open hi-hat is often placed on the off-beat. Some simple extra percussive elements are usually added, and major transitions, builds or climaxes are often forshadowed by lengthy 'snare rolls' - a quick succession of equally spaced snare drum hits that builds in volume towards the end of a measure or phrase.

Synthesizers form the central elements of most trance tracks, with simple sawtooth-based sounds used both for short pizzicato elements and for long, sweeping string sounds. Rapid arpeggios and minor scales are common features. Trance tracks often use one central "hook" melody which runs through almost the entire song, repeating at intervals anywhere between 2 beats and several bars. While many trance tracks contain no vocals at all, other tracks rely heavily on vocals, and thus a sub-genre has developed. The sound and quality of the production relies to a large degree upon the technology available. Vintage analog equipment still holds a place in the hearts of many producers and enthusiasts, with names such as Moog, Roland and Oberheim staples in the trance sound palate. However, the mainstream availability of digital technology has allowed a whole new group of producers to emerge, and although top shelf digital (analog modeling) synthesizers are quite expensive, they are nothing compared to the relatively high cost of early analog synthesizers.

Trance records are often heavily loaded with reverb and delay effects on the synthesizer sounds, vocals and often parts of the percussion section. This provides the tracks with the sense of vast space that trance producers tend to look for in order to achieve the genre's epic quality. Flangers, phasers and other effects are also commonly used at extreme settings - in trance there is no need for sounds to resemble any real-world instrument, and so producers have free reign.

As is the case with many dance music tracks, trance tracks are usually built with sparser intros and outros in order to enable DJs to blend them together more readily. As trance is more melodic and harmonic than much dance music, the construction of trance tracks in such a way is particularly important in order to avoid dissonant (or "key clashing", ie out of tune with one another)mixes by DJs who do not mix harmonically.

Many bands these days often mix the trance genre with heavier rock to create an all new sound.

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