The list on this page contains an overview of personal favorites from the music genres Progressive House and Trance. Here you will find a large number of masterpieces that have more than withstood the test of time. Some tracks are even more than 25 years old, but still sound just as fresh and magical as when they were originally released.
A Description of Trance Music
Trance is an electronic dance music (EDM) genre, which emerged in Germany in the early 1990s. It is characterized by repetitive and melodic sounds, designed to create a trance-like state in the listener. The genre highlights technical and emotional elements through hypnotic melodies, driving rhythms and dreamlike atmospheres. Between the second half of the 1990s and the early 2000s, the genre entered the mainstream music market in Europe: especially in the geographical region of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Hereby it achieved highly commercial success, placing it on the same level as the Eurodance sub-genre that preceded it.
The technical elements of trance music, feature a repetitive structure with sophisticated sound design techniques. The genre’s tempo is around 130 to 150 beats per minute (BPM), often featuring a four-on-the-floor (4/4) beat. The use of ambient/atmospheric sounds, create a sense of space and depth that transport the listener to a trance-like state of heightened awareness and emotion.
Synthesizers and drum machines, are key ingredients of the genre. Some of the most popular and recognizable synth sounds, are based on the “Super Saw” algorithm of the Roland JP-8000 and Roland JP-8080 hardware synths. This algorithm features multiple detuned Saw waveforms, creating a rich and full-bodied base sound.
The emotional elements of trance music, use evocative harmonies/melodies, vocal samples and other expressive aspects, to evoke a wide range of feelings. The genre has a highly emotive and spiritual quality, with uplifting and euphoric elements that take the listener on an inner journey. Furthermore, it is often associated with the concept of the “trance state”. This allows the listener to achieve a mental and emotional state of heightened awareness and focus, inducing intense concentration and relaxation. This results in a profound sense of emotional release and transcendence.
Similarities of Progressive House & Trance
Nine typical similarities between both genres, are listed below.
EDM sub-genres that emerged in the early 1990s.
Extended usage of synthesizers and drum machines.
Typically having a four-on-the-floor (4/4) beat.
Use basslines to create energy in the music.
Buildups and breakdowns to create tension and release in the music.
Often feature euphoric and uplifting melodies.
Vocals often focus on themes of love, freedom and self-discovery.
Usage of sound effects to create atmosphere: chorus, delay, reverb, filter sweeps, etc.
Track playtimes often ranging from six to ten minutes.
Differences of Progressive House & Trance
Ten typical differences between both genres, are listed below. Please keep in mind that the listed elements are generalized. They occur often throughout both genres, but the lines between them are sometimes very thin.
Tends to be slower, ranging from 120 to 130 BPM.
More focused on the groove and rhythm.
More laid-back and atmospheric vibe.
More gradual progression and subtle changes in sound.
Subtle and restrained approach to drops.
Relies more on rhythmic patterns and chord progressions.
Tends to have simpler, repetitive melodies.
Vocals are often used more as a background element.
More organic and natural sound.
Can have a darker and more melancholic sound.
Often faster, ranging from 130 to 150 BPM.
Tends to have a more melodic and emotional approach.
Often has a more driving and energetic beat.
Strong emphasis on buildups and breakdowns, with dramatic changes in between.
Often features big, anthemic drops.
Often incorporates a lot of arpeggios and synth leads.
Often features more complex and layered melodies.
Often incorporates vocals in a prominent way.
More futuristic and otherworldly sound.
Often has a more uplifting and positive tone.
Most of the tracks on the list below, can be listened to for free on YouTube. Click on the orange-colored names, after which a new web browser tab will open with a listening example. Please note that Droomsfeer only places links to the official distribution channels of artists and music labels. Some tracks are not clickable, although you are pretty much guaranteed to be able to find them on the major social media platforms. The top favorites are marked with five orange-colored stars.