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Chapter 1: The Roots of EDM .................................. 7 Chapter 2: The Origins of EDM .............................. 23 Chapter 3: Going Mainstream ............................... 37 Chapter 4: EDM Festivals ....................................... 53 Chapter 5: EDM Culture and the Future .............. 67 Chapter Notes ......................................................... 80 Series Glossary of Key Terms ................................ 82 Chronology .............................................................. 84 Further Reading . .................................................... 89 Internet Resources ................................................. 91 Index . ....................................................................... 92 Author’s Biography and Credits ........................... 96 K E Y I C O N S T O L O O K F O R : Words to Understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase the reader’s understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills. Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Examples include news coverage, moments in history, speeches, iconic sports moments, and much more! Text-Dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Research Projects: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. Series Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field.

Electronic dance music is often played by DJs at large parties, called raves, that feature colorful lights and loud, pulsing music.


ambient music —a style of gentle, largely electronic instrumental music with no persistent beat, used to create or enhance a mood or atmosphere. break —a time during a song when percussion instruments like drums are the only instruments that are playing. drummachine —an electronic, programmable device that imitates the organic sound of various drum kit and percussive instruments. dubstep —a genre of EDM based around a non-straightened half- step beat, in which a bass-drum kick will often play on the first downbeat and mid-range percussion using snares, claps, or other rhythmic sounds play on the third downbeat. Dubstep is usually played at a fast tempo of about 140 beats per minute (bpm) but can range from 128 to 145. turntablist —someone who uses two (or more) turntables and a DJ mixer to manipulate sounds and create new music.


The Roots of EDM What is electronic dance music (EDM)? Some people identify electronic music with music created on a computer, laptop, or device using electronic music software that allows an artist to mix different songs, melodies, beats, noises, or rhythms together. Some people think of EDM in terms of its original form—mixing two different songs or sounds together using side- by-side record players or turntables with an electronic mixer that changes the sound of the music. Some people don’t like the term EDM at all, preferring “electronica,” “techno,” or more specific genre names like “trance.” Whatever it is called, a once-underground musical scene has emerged over the past two decades to become so popular that many people enjoy listening to EDM on a regular basis. Electronic dance music is played on television commercials, during sports events, in buildings and elevators, and on popular radio and streaming services. It has become so common, in fact, that many people just think of EDM as popular music. “There’s little question that EDM (electronic dance music) is the fastest-growing musical genre out there,” writes journalist Abel Alvarado. “With DJs like Calvin Harris, David Guetta, and Tiësto leading the pack, electronic music’s popularity has


From the mid-1970s until the early 1980s, disco clubs were popular places where young people would dance. Some of the most popular disco performers included Donna Summer, the Bee Gees, Gloria Gaynor, KC and the Sunshine Band, Diana Ross, and the Village People.


ballooned in the past decade. From festivals to radio airplay, social media and even collaborating with A-list musicians, EDM artists are getting a lot of attention—and money—from all over the place.” EDM has a history that overlaps with other types of music, including disco, hip hop, funk, soul, rock n’ roll, and even classical and jazz music. The most engaging thing about electronic music is that anyone can create it, and it can incorporate any unusual or distinctive sound, including the sounds of daily traffic, nature, rain falling, or doors slamming. Some people instinctively love the way EDM urges their bodies and minds to dance and explore movement and sound. The sounds heard in electronic dance music don’t have to be created on computers or electronic devices. They can be produced using any type of instrument, including organic instruments like guitars, bongos, saxophones, or xylophones. These instruments are often recorded and then “mixed in” to other songs, sounds, or melodies on an electronic device like a computer using music creation software. One of the most exciting things about EDM is that anyone with a computer, smartphone, or other electronic device can download software that allows them to create music or mix existing music together to create an entirely new sound. Disco Origins of EDM Electronic dance music is related to the disco music popular in the 1970s. In fact, the continuous, strong dance beat of modern- day EDM (particularly the variant known as “house music”) is taken directly from disco. As creative musicians began to develop different types of music in the late 1970s, the original sounds of disco were used as the background for new beats and rhythms, played at parties in urban areas such as New York City. In those days, the vinyl record was the most popular format for recorded music, and DJs would use two turntables, or record


players, to play records at parties. They would also use a mixing table, or mixer—an electronic device placed between the two turntables and connected to them. The DJ could control the sound of each turntable from the mixing table. For instance, the DJ could change the speed of one of the records, to create a faster beat. The DJ could also fade one song into another to create a smooth transition, so that dancers would not stop

At 1970s parties, DJs would use two turntables to isolate the drum breaks on a funk or R&B record. They would play the break on one record; then, as the break was coming to an end, would switch to the other turntable, where the needle was lined up to replay the same break. This enabled DJs to extend a break for as long as they wanted.


between songs. DJs would often keep their records on a table behind them in boxes or milk crates, so that they could quickly change out old songs for new ones. In the late 1970s, some turntablists developed innovative techniques. One of them was Kool Herc, a Jamaican native who had moved to New York City’s South Bronx. Kool Herc would play dance music at parties. He developed a way to turn the short drum break from popular funk or disco songs into a long piece of music. Herc would take two copies of the same record, and mark the point where the drum break began. He’d play the break on one record, and as it was ending he’d switch to the other turntable and play it again on the other record. While it was playing, he’d draw the needle on the first turntable back to the start of the break. In this way, he could extend the break beat as long as he wanted. By mixing back and forth between the two records, he used the turntables as musical instruments to create a new sound that changed America’s music scene forever. This technique would eventually allow DJs to compose their own songs, and formed the basis for early hip-hop music as well as electronic dance music. Scratching, also known as scrubbing records, is another early DJ technique. It involves moving a vinyl record back and forth underneath a turntable’s needle, creating a scratchy rhythm that compliments the beat. DJs might remember which record groove to pull the record back to for the repeated sound as it spins to create the scratch or beat, or they might mark the record with colored tape or a marker. There are different types of scratching, defined by the way a DJ’s hand moves across the vinyl. Transformer scratching was created by DJs like Jazzy Jeff. This style requires the DJ to flick the cross fader (a dial that fades the sound of the song on one turntable into the song on the other turntable) on the mixer back and forth while scratching one or both vinyl records. This creates a bigger sound and experiments with two rhythms at once. Crab scratching requires



House music is a type of electronic dance music that has a structure of four beats per measure (written as 4/4). This 4/4 time is the most common structure for rock and pop music as well, and listeners can easily tap along with the beat of music. The off-beats (the second and fourth beats in each measure) are often accented by a high hat cymbal crash. House music is usually played at a fast tempo. This sort of music started in Detroit and Chicago dance clubs in the early 1980s. It is considered a combination of disco beats with synthesizer (an electric, portable piano) sounds usually

created by mixing musical tracks over drummachine or bass machine beats and rhythms for dancing.

DJs to move their fingers back and forth from side to side on the vinyl record like a crab while flicking the cross fader on the mixer. This technique was pioneered by Grand Wizard Theodore in the early 1980s. The most popular DJ beats came from funk and disco songs of the 1970s. Some people claim that the origins of EDM date to 1971, when the San Francisco funk band Sly and the Family Stone used a drummachine to create the beat on their pop hit “Family Affair.” Other performers whose songs were often sampled by DJs included James Brown, George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic, Curtis Mayfield, and Chic.


Scratching competitions are held all over the world and require DJs to use only scratching gear like turntables, a DJ sound mixer, and vinyl records. DJs who use electronic software to create their EDMmusic are not allowed to compete in scratching competitions.

The Sounds of EDM Today The electronic dance music of today originated in the mid-1980s. It includes ambient music, which does not have a regular beat; hardcore, which has extremely fast beats; house music and techno, which have a steady beat; drum and bass and dubstep , which have reggae beats played at fast speeds; trance and progressive; and many other forms. Essentially, instead of creating music with instruments in a studio setting or on stage at a performance venue, DJs and EDM producers can take existing music tracks—like the melody from


DJs isolated breaks in the music of popular funk and disco artists, such as James Brown. A section of Brown’s 1969 song “Funky Drummer” was one of the most sampled elements in hip-hop and electronic music of the 1980s and 1990s.


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