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Dance Music Definitions


Made with a Roland TB-303; TB stands for Transistor Baseline, it's a kinda drum computer. Acid is a high squeaky sound. normal bpm (130) (2)


No defined beat, just chill-out sounds. (2)


Simple bassdrum; influenced by disco; Donna Summer piano; normal bpm (130) (2)


Mostly female vocals and male rap. Always a loud, well-defined bassdrum; normal to fast (140 bpm); e.g. Capella, 2 Unlimited, etc. (2)


Consists of fast breakbeats and a typical rave sound. (Synth); always very fast (160+) and loud; e.g. Marusha and Mark Oh (and Scooter). (2)

Gabber (gabba):

Made in Rotterdam; VERY fast (180+); not music really ;-) (2)


4:4 house wiv singin' and loadsa hihat. Mike Mead (mm@cimio.co.uk)

Goa Trance(1)

Goa trance is recognised by the following characteristics that distinguish it from other forms of trance.

1) a very steady 4/4 beat.

2) lots of very psychadelic sounding wobbly noises, and acidy sounds. 3) a lot going on, noise wise. No poncey Detroit minimalism here - just chuck in loads of boingy wibbly noises, all on top of eachother. Imagine early Eat Static, but with less imaginative rhythms, and you're getting close. Pyschedelia is the key.

4) It is traditional, but not obligatory, to have at least one sample from a cheesy 50s Sci-Fi film or Star Trek sample per track. "All channels and frequencies clear", "The electrons do it to the neutrons, the neutrons do it to themselves", kind of thing.

5) Tracks generally go on for ages.

Goa Trance(2)

It's got a really HARD bassline, but not TOO fast, but definately faster than your house and slower than D&B. Then distinct buzzy/wavy/trancey sounds recurring. Solid stuff, nice stomping music. (Jay - Navitrak International )

Handbag House:

70s disco influenced house; DJs: JPW, TWA.(1)

Handbag = cheesed up house with squeely vocals. (6)

Handbag Jungle: Early 90's hardcore(6)


Hardbag = handbag with no cheese and no vocals. Surely hardbag = house.(6)

Hip Hop:


How about: 'House. What is house? Technotronic, KLF, or something you live in? To me, house is Phuture, Pierre, Fingers, Adonis etc. The pioneers of the hypnotic groove: Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode and the Yellow Magic Orchestra. This album is dedicated to you...'(8) Or: 'House is a feeling...House is an uncontrollable desire to jack your body etc etc...'

Jungle: Drum and Bass (!?) (1) DEEP baseline and a well-pronounced breakbeat; also fast (160); many reggae influences. (2)


juliun (aka Doc), ZZA95JPR@Sheffield.ac.uk:

Nu-energy is predominantly characterised by a hard techno-based 4/4 bass beat with plenty of pumping basslines. Melodies tend to be pretty anthemic/epic synth stuff and breakdowns are par for the course. Cheesy, breathless vocal samples can be found in many nu-energy choons too. Basically, nu-energy is the less accessible offshoot of commercial european-type house, mutated in to something harder and faster. leading nu-energy exponents include baby doc (with his choon "Neurotica" being regarded as something of a nu-energy classic), Blu Peter (check out his "Elevator" project and the "magic","first movement" and "shinny" releases, all of which are on React records I think) and DJs Tall Paul and Tony de Vit (i'm not sure if they do their own choons though). Red Jerry (a prolific remixer and one half of JX - you know, "son of a gun" and "you belong to me") is one of the best of the bunch in my opinion. an obvious example of clubs would be London's "Trade" night. Nu-energy attracts a disproportionately large gay crowd and many nu-energy clubs supposedly have a gays only door policy (Note:i'm not getting in to the politics, just telling it like it is). Labelwise, check out React, Moonshine, Hooj.


Gabba with punk samples. No, as old punks know hardcore = 80's punk. Then ravers stole the expression. Thus punkcore = hardcore. and hardcore really = ravecore.(6)

Techno: Techno is the most versatile of all the genre. It ranges from the intensely hard percussive sounds made mostly of white noise (waveforms-Jeff Mills) to the disco sounds that were around in the seventies (South Side-Dave Clark). The diversity is such that Techno is no longer Techno but a whole host of even more specific "pigeon holes" Like minimal techno, which makes the best club music as there is such a large opportunity to show off ones DJ'ing skills. (7)

How about: 'I grew up thinking that techno music is actually something that you can't imagine. That is techno at its best. If you hear something that you'd never expect to hear - that's techno. If you hear something that kind of sounds like you've heard it before, then it's not techno.'(8)



Many different (synth) sounds, always a clap (or something like it) on the odd beat, so the music goes: beat - clap+beat - beat - clap+beat - beat etc. IMO the best trance comes from England; fast (140+) (2)

Trip Hop:

Semi Hip Hop stuff with bonus acid bleeps and less lyrics (3)

Music based around hiphop beats with little or no rapping and employing electronic sounds (bleeps, acid riffs?) rather than old soul funk or jazz samples (but not exclusively); covers the 120/130 bpm acid-hop of the dust brothers, tales from the woodshed, bomb the bass with justin warfield...... to the laid back beats of mo'wax and the bristol sound; the two extremes don't sound very similar at all and most people hate the term including james lavelle (mo'wax mainman) and tricky (used to work with massive attack). (4)


(1) Chris Sully (C.M.Sully@cm.cf.ac.uk)

(2) outlandm@netland.nl (Joost Baaij)

(3) Contributor unidentified (sorry!)

(4) matt23 (ISXMCD@evn1.civeng.nottingham.ac.uk)

(5) Tom Walker (tomw@aifh.ed.ac.uk)

(6) Ed (E.J.Buck@plymouth.ac.uk)

(7) Simon Willcox (mbcx4slw@stud.man.ac.uk)

(8) C.O. tom churchill (tom@chrchfam.demon.co.uk)

N.B. Definitions may be edited ...

Do you agree? Any further definitions welcome ... e-mail (please!): mailto:C.M.Sully@cs.cf.ac.uk