What's the difference between house and techno music?

I don't understand the labels and differences between dubstep, house music, techno, and EDM. If someone could explain it for me, that would be great. I've recently started to get pretty into some music and can't really differentiate between different genres of this type of music. Thanks!!

5 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Ah, the Electronic music confusion. The sound of the genres are very distinct and true, but unfortunately, 90% of the people do not know the proper terms thus creating confusion within the whole community. Well, I guess I can help you to prevent future confusion.

    1. EDM - not a genre, but a term to describe Electronic music that is intended for clubs and dancing in contrast to relaxing and gazing upon the ceiling.

    2. Dubstep - tough one. Dubstep is a very controversial genre due to people always debating what Dubstep is. Most say Skrillex defines Dubstep, but when ironically, the genre existed before his first EP. Anyways, the basis of Dubstep is a tempo around 130 to 140 beats per minute, a drum track in half-time, deep bass-lines, dark soundscapes, little to no vocals, and a lo-fi* sound quality. To articulate on them. The drums are said to be in half time because the drums are slower than its song's tempo. The snare would only be on the 3rd beat and the kick just on the 1st. That's the basic Dubstep drum beat, but of course there are hi-hat fills that may be accompanied by shakers and various percussion.

    As for the bass lines, it depends on the artist and sub-type of Dubstep. Generally, the bass is either wobbled by a LFO** or it is just a heavy 808*** kick-like bass. Depends. Also, in Dubstep's main sub-genres Brostep and Chillstep/Liquid Dubstep (Skrillex is the former), the bass is more distorted, but it is more chaotic and shrill in Brostep.

    As for the dark soundscapes, Dubstep usually has an ominous, nocturnal, or rather eerie atmospheres, but they are usually in the background and not very significant.

    Now the vocals. Dubstep almost never has vocals regardless of which sub-genre. If it does have a vocal, it is either a short sample*4 from a movie or another song.

    .:Dubstep exmaples:.

    EL-B - Ghost Rider

    Kode9 & The Spaceape - 9 Samurai


    Dubstep is a contraption of the words "2-step" and "Dub." This is so because it is like 2-step for its style of drums and Dub for its effects and Jamaican musical influences.

    2. House - in its purest form, House is a lot like its mother disco. It has the groove, the tempo, the four-on-the-floor*5 kick drum, and the snares and or claps on the 2nd and 3rd beat. Though like Disco, House has its own characteristics. House for the most part has hi-hats placed off-beat, deep synthetic bass-lines, and other various characteristic due to its vast amount of sub-styles. Another bit to add, House (at least the earlier forms) are usually more "soulful" than some other Electronic genres.

    .:House examples:.

    Mr Fingers - Can You Feel

    The Underground Solution - Luv Dancin'

    NOTE: House may have vocals (as shown in the examples). They can range to Disco divas or Pop like singing.

    3. Techno - just like Dubstep, the word is commonly misused. People think that the term "Techno" is the equivalent to the term "Electronic music," but its only a specific style... that is dying unfortunately.

    Anyways, Techno is like House in the sense it shares the same tempo, drum pattern, and it is also bass-heavy, but what makes it stand out more is that Techno is more mechanical and futuristic sounding (Dub Techno and Ambient Techno are the exceptions to that). So I guess a way to think about it, Techno is House's son who just loves Sci-fi flicks and gets A's in metal shop class.

    .:Techno examples:.

    Derrick May - The Dance

    Model 500 - No UFO's

    3a. Dub Techno - I know you did not ask for this, but oh well. Dub Techno (or Deep Techno) is basically the darker and "dubbier" version of its father. It is characterized by deep synthetic chords that are full of reverb and delay (that is the Dub part) and its very dark sound, but it is not always dark. Techno and Dub tech sound almost nothing alike. It is almost debatable to even call it Techno. Techno is meant for the club, but Dub Techno is more intended to relax you. I guess what makes them related is that they have groovy bass-lines... sometimes.

    .:Dub Techno examples:.

    Basic Channel - Quadrant Dub

    Deepchord - Sunset

    3b. Ambient Techno - I am not very experienced with this genre, so if I am wrong on my definition, you have all the right to slap me. Anyways, from what I understand, Ambient Techno shares its father's characteristics by its beat and mechanical feel, but it also has a soul to it. To explain a tiny bit further, the genre would have atmospheres and beats that are also calm.

    .:Ambient Techno examples:.

    Aphex Twin - Xtal

    Plastikman - Consumed

    Anyways, that's the whole story. Wow, that took some time to write. Well, I hope you found what you were looking for and I hope you have fun exploring the world of Electronic music.

    Au revoir!

    - Why Even Ask? INC.


    *Lo-fi - low sound quality. Characterized by distortion, low bit-rate, etc.

    **Low Frequency Oscillator - a signal in synthesizers that is used achieve wobbling and swooping effects. The technical is a bit over my head, but this is the gist - on a synthesizer, you have the oscillator (the sound generator), the filter, LFO, output, etc. The LFO does some strange witchcraft where it makes sounds below our human hearing (below 20 Hz). We can not here the deep sounds, but we can hear its effect.

    ***808 - a drum machine manufactured by the Roland corporation. It is characterized by its thin-sounding hi-hats, the deep and clean kick drum, the punchy snares, and its most noticeable... the synthetic cowbell.

    *4 sampling - a production technique where the audio-engineer would take a short piece of audio from a movie, song, or any form of media that convey sound, and use it for their own use.

    *5 four on the floor - where a note is placed on every beat in the 4/4 time signature.

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    The real simple answers are that Techno is a very mechanical driven sound and style noted for the machinery replication through samples (Early Techno) coming from Detroit essentially although it was emerging all over the world during the mid 80s (When it started to grow and mature) it uses long looped patterns and is very beat precise unlike House which uses swings in the beat for a more Organic, traditional feel.

    House is the opposite , it is driven by traditional sounds and instruments and the beats will allow you to recreate older tracks from Soul and Funk to Gospel and Jazz. It has it's roots in these genres and not singularly Disco. It was conceived at Discotheques but the influences went further back than Disco. In fact, Disco was equally based on the previous decades but with it's own direction and purposes just as House did.

    Today, Techno has merged into Tech House and even Dub tech - Deep Tech and the like and distinction is often hard to define (A good thing) House has also merged with other styles. Minimal House and of course, Minimal Tech. Deep House, Dub House, UK House. There are 100s but they are flavours. Ice cream is still ice cream but with extra toppings and dressed up differently and the same goes for Techno. People called everything Techno once and very few used the term House like they had before. It was also called Rave. Acid House started this ball rolling and has never looked back.

    Techno = Mechanical synthetic sounds.

    House = Organic traditional arrangements and equipment.

    The rules still apply today as ever.

  • 4 years ago

    Characteristics Of Techno Music

  • 7 years ago

    All subgenres of EDM have different structures, different rules & overall different sounds.

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  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    You live in house, you listen to music

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