Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that developed in the 1990s. It is generally characterized by a tempo of between 125 and 150 bpm, repeating melodic synthesizer phrases, and a musical form that builds up and breaks down throughout a track. It is a combination of many forms of sound such as techno, house, industrial, new age, pop, chill-out, ambient, electronic art music, classical music, and film music. It is usually more melodic than techno, and the harder styles usually have harder beats than house. The origin of the term is uncertain, with some suggesting that the term is derived from the Klaus Schulze album Trancefer (1981) or the early trance act Dance 2 Trance. Others, though, argue the name may refer to an induced emotional feeling, high, euphoria, chills, or uplifting rush listeners claim to experience. Yet others trace the name to the actual trance-like states that the earliest forms of the music attempted to generate in the 1990s before the genre's focus changed.
Trance also employs dynamics to a greater extent than most other forms of electronic music. A characteristic of many trance songs is the mid-song break in which the rhythm tracks are faded out, leaving the melody and/or atmospherics to stand alone for a few moments. The break adds some dynamics to the song, makes it more interesting to the ear, and provides dancers with a few moments in which they can improvise if they wish. Fashion tends to go back and forth between vocal and instrumental pieces every few years; usually when vocals are present, they are sung by a female singer with a soaring, operatic type voice.
Germany is the birthplace of trance music, with the original melodic sound first appearing around 1992 in Frankfurt
Some trace trance's antecedents back to Klaus Schulze, a German experimental electronic music artist who concentrated on blending minimalist music with repetitive rhythms and arpeggiated sounds. In France, Jean Michel Jarre, an early electronic musician, released two albums in the late 1970s: Oxygène in 1976 and Equinoxe in 1978. Also a possible antecedent, Neil Young's 1982 electronic album, Trans, bears a resemblance to the trance music genre.
Historically, the most popular DJs in the world often played Trance music; in 12 of the last 13 years, such DJs always ranked #1 in the world in the DJ Mag ranking: Paul Oakenfold (1998–1999), Sasha (2000), John Digweed (2001), Tiësto (2002–2004), Paul van Dyk (2005–2006), Armin van Buuren (2007–2010).
By 1995 trance emerged as a popular genre of dance music.
Meanwhile, a different type of trance, generally called uplifting trance, became popular. Uplifting trance had buildups and breakdowns that were longer and more exaggerated, being more direct and less subtle than progressive, with more easily identifiable tunes and anthems. Many such trance tracks follow a set form, featuring an introduction, steady build, a breakdown, and then an anthem, a form aptly called the "build-breakdown-anthem" form. Uplifting vocals, usually female, were also becoming more and more prevalent, adding to trance's popular appeal.
Artists like Tiësto, Paul van Dyk, Armin van Buuren, Brian Transeau, Robert Miles, Above & Beyond, Darren Tate, Ferry Corsten, Johan Gielen, ATB, and Paul Oakenfold became popular as producers and remixers. 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 maintained a healthy following in most of the world's key dance markets.
As an alternative evolution, some artists have attempted to fuse trance with other genres such as drum'n'bass(DnB). Others have experimented with more minimalist sounds.
Trance elements were often introduced into other genres such as acid techno and nustyle gabber, resulting in the post-trance genres hard trance and hardstyle, respectively. Nu-NRG has been the core element of hardstyle since 2007, thus making hardstyle much more melodical in nature, resulting in many artists of the genre ditching its hard trance elements in favor of a more bouncy techno -like sound.
Trance has retained popularity on the internet with the abundance of legal music download sites, including Juno Download, and Beatport, enabling enthusiasts to avoid tracking down hard to find vinyl by downloading mp3s and uncompressed wavs. As a result, both commercial and progressive trance now have a much more global, if not chart-bound, presence, with big-draw artists such as Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, Above & Beyond, Paul van Dyk, Tiësto, ATB, Markus Schulz, Rank 1, Gareth Emery, Dash Berlin, Paul Oakenfold, and the US's Christopher Lawrence and George Acosta able to maintain their esteemed positions while upcoming producers and DJs can also break through into the public domain.[cit