What is “Proper Trance”?

In the beginning there was Trance and it was good!

trance-energy_00359819Somewhere along the way the definition of what Trance is somehow got changed. Most of what is referred to these days as Trance isn’t what I’d call ‘Proper Trance’.

Over the years there have been so many new genres, sub-genres and sub-sub-genres that it’s now getting a bit confusing. The other thing is that DJs tend to stick very rigidly to one sub-genre or another.

What happened to the days of DJs playing a variety of  different ‘moods’ of Trance in a set? Starting out quite light and fluffy, then getting more serious as the mix develops.

As Trance became popular, it’s definition changed to match the more commercial style that was being made. Tunes started to include vocals, they got more repetitive; they became ‘cheesy’. It got the point where you HAD to prefix the word Trance with a word, just to differentiate between what had been called Trance and what was now being called Trance.

It got to the point that when people asked what music you were into and you said ‘Trance’ people thought you were talking about some cheesy, soul-less commercial rubbish with vocals that was played on the radio.

So what is proper Trance then?

The clue is in the name: it’s music that puts you in a trance. Simple.

For music to put you in a trance, it needs to have a certain level of complexity. It needs to be interesting, to change, to develop, to experiment with sound.

The basic 4-to-the-floor drumbeat is a bit like hypnosis. It almost disappears from conscious thought and allows the rest of the music to hypnotise you. But to do this, the music must contain more than just a baseline, a melody and a bit of percussion.

For me Trance should not contain singing! A vocal sample, yes. The human voice used as an instrument, yes. But not singing in the sense of having a verse and chorus structure. That’s for pop music, not for trance.

It does’t matter what sub-genre it is. It could be Tech-Trance, Psy-Trance, Progressive-Trance. It doesn’t even need to be Trance to be proper trance… There are many Hard-House, Techno, Acid Techno and even House tunes that I would consider ‘Proper Trance’.

With this blog I am hoping to stop all the silly classification of Trance and get back to the days when all Trance was ‘proper’.

One thought on “What is “Proper Trance”?

  • November 5, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    It’s nice to read something about ‘real’ trance music from the early days, who actually knows what they are talking about!! We at BlueLightGrooves completely 100% agree with you, that alot of so called “trance music” that has been produced in the last 10 years or so, is totally meaningless and crap, with a complete lack of what it is supposed to represent. Think outer space, floating above clouds, an element of mystery, where the ethereal meets energy, but most of all think literally ‘trance’! Quality music should always contain originality, imagination, direction and purpose, and the ‘real’ dance genres that emerged in the early 90’s by those of us who were active in those days, are no different.

    We agree that all that matters is returning to the basic roots of what real classic trance is and represents,pure and simple, without the need for endless reclassification and rebranding with the use of new genre names. The definition of what Trance is remains fixed, by those of us who shaped and created it in the early 90’s – enjoy and savour it for what it was, be original with new creations into the future if you wish younger people of the world, but understand that it is NOT trance! 🙂 Respect to all who, like us, are starting to sprout grey hairs as we carry our classic musical genre with us. In the early 90’s, there were many who thought we were crazy to be active DJ’s beatmatching such “crazy” high quality synth based sounds in clubs, lush pads, hard beats, and synth supersaw sounds that often missed vocals and messages of “love” completely, but we were not. We were original and creative.The sonic journey into space and time that powered nightclubs and dancefloors in the 90’s lives on! May we all be ‘counting eights’ long into the future.




Leave a Reply