EDM: Different Types of Techno Music


Techno music, which originated in Detroit, Michigan during the mid 1980s, is best described as, a form of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) that incorporates the use of synthesizers, samplers, keyboards, sequencers, and drum machines in one instance. It is instrumental music, there are no lyrics, just a repetitive beat in 4/4 time. Since then, Techno has become a pillar of African American music, though it has begun losing its popularity within the community. As a result of its initial popularity, we have received several new subgenres as a result. These include, but are not limited to, Acid Techno, Electro/dark Techno, Detroit Techno, and Dubstep.

Acid Techno

Acid Techno refers to the harsh sound of the Roland 303 Groovebox instrument. It contains a unique squelching synth and is a faster and harder version than traditional Techno music.  This form started in Chicago around the mid 1980s and is full of crazy sounds. 

*This video is over an hour long, I would not listen to all of it, but go to 5:00 to get a better feel of the “Acid Techno”

Electro/Dark Techno

This form of Techno music remains at a high BPM, however, it incorporates darker samples or elements into the music. It is essentially the heavy metal of the EDM world and can house a hypnotic, trance like vibe over the music. This type of music contains big sub basslines, dark music loops, and traditional techno beats, which are looped in. It reminds me of the music you hear in those high-tech, futuristic movies, with the androids and advanced technology.

*I am not a huge fan of Techno music, but this probably my least favorite version/sub-genre

Detroit Techno (Original)

Detroit Techno music is the “O.G” of Techno music, if you will. It typically includes some of the first productions of Detroit Artists such as Juan Atkins, Eddie Fowlked, Derrick May, and more. It grew from the influences of Motown and P-Funk, Jazz, Soul, Chicago House music, NY Disco, etc. it began as music that played at Detroit’s underground parties. It changed the way the world listened to music, as technology was changing at this time as well. 

*This is probably one of my favorite types of Techno Music; I love the Funk aspect


Dubstep is a much more modern take on Techno, definitely more of my generation’s speed. With artists such as Skrillex, Knife Party, Datsik, Nero, along with many more defining this genre, it is quite different from Techno music. It does not follow the traditional 4/4 time, it instead focuses on spaced syncopated percussion, which allows those listening to keep their own time and follow along with that. It also contains prominent sub-bass frequencies and fuses 2-step, UK garage, Grime, Reggae, and Dub to form this one genre.

*Fun Fact: I used to listen to Dubstep artists like this when I was much younger, I loved this Skrillex song at one point


Techno Music, like any genre, has a very wide range and serves as an umbrella term for many versatile subgenres. I personally am not a fan of Techno music, but its existence is very important for the Black community and myself. I am glad to have studied it and learned about just a few of the large amount of subcategories of this genre. Which is your favorite subgenre? 

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