A Beginner’s Guide To Electronic Music

November 28, 2017 by Jeff Heidelberg

The landscape of music has changed. The barriers have been broken down and anyone with a computer is able to create or remix music. Some may argue that this breakthrough is destroying modern music while others say this low barrier to entry allows for those who may not have access to musical instruments a chance to make their mark on pop culture.

Whether you like it or not, electronic music is in the mainstream and it’s terminology may be confusing. Have no fear, DJ JeffyJ is here to help breakdown it’s many subgenres and popular terminology.


EDM stands for Electronic Dance Music and could arguably be the most popular subgenre in current electronic music. EDM songs are typically, but limited to, 126-130 BPMs (Beats Per Minute) and follow a similar song structure.

Intro | Verse | Build | Drop/Chorus then repeated in the same format or with other elements added or removed.

Great examples include, Martin Garrix “Animals”, Chainsmokers “Closer” and Zedd Ft. Selena Gomez “I Want You To Know”

A common thread in EDM is a duality between tension and release. The build up aka the pre-chorus often contains a heavy snare drum on every beat almost mimicking stomping on the floor. The constant punch of the snare along with other musical elements creates tension in the music.

The tension of the build is then released in the drop where the bass drum returns to its kick on every beat and the snare is on beats 2 & 4 (think clapping your hands to the beat). If you listen to a song and feel the need to jump during one part of the song, usually that is the drop. This is also where most synth/instrument melodies will take place.



If I could give you a good metaphor on the difference between EDM and House, I would say EDM is caffeine, House is alcohol. EDM is known for its builds and climaxes with a lot of energy while house music is known for being slightly more relaxed and “in the groove”

House music is known for its melodic bass lines and is typically around 120- 125 BPMs. Yes there are ways to create buildup and tension but typically House music keeps the mood fairly relaxed.

Great examples include, Robin S “Show Me Love”, Kiesza “Hideaway” and Calvin Harris “How Deep Is Your Love”



Techno could be described as House’s older and more aggressive brother. It’s popularity in the 90’s rave scene helped move electronic music into the mainstream spotlight. It is most notably known for it’s synthesizer melodies and futuristic trance-like sounds and beats. Typically techno can vary between 120 to 150 BPMs.

Great examples include “Everytime We Touch” by Cascada, “What Is Love?” by Haddaway and Darude’s “Sandstorm”



Electronic music could be considered the new Pop music. With the success of festivals such as Ultra and Electric Daisy Carnival, a majority of Americans, young and old have been exposed to electronic music in some way, shape or form. As DJs, we need to stay educated on current music trends and predictions so we know what songs will have what effect on our audience so that way our dance floors are full and are customers are happy.


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Jeff Heidelberg Jeff Heidelberg (10 Posts)

Jeff Heidelberg currently lives in his hometown of Cincinnati, OH. From an early age, he enjoyed entertaining his family members with jokes, dance moves and whatever he thought was funny. This passion for entertainment carried on as he began working as a costumed character at Kings Island, an amusement park located north of Cincinnati. His love for DJing began after buying a Numark Mixtrack off of his friend in college. Mesmerized by the plethora of special effects and “scratching” aka Jeff moving his hand furiously on a live deck he began playing at local parties and charity events. Jeff is currently a Sales Rep, DJ and Master of Ceremonies for Party Pleasers Services in Cincinnati, OH.

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