What Is Techno?

Its an age old question by now, but still it remains, what is Techno? In the modern era there are hundreds of different sub genres of electronic dance music from hard house to eurodance, glitch hop to trip hop, from ghetto tech to new beat, if you can think of the name then by now it probably alredy exists, but they all have a few things in common, they use at least a synthesiser and a computer one way or another to achieve the sound they are looking for. But whats the point of knowing this? Well the point is that all these sub genres can be traced back to pretty much one thing and that is Detroit Techno.
Detroit Techno is generally seen as the foundation on which many other genres have been built, including the music we listen to today. Influences from the likes of Giorgio Moroder, Kraftwerk and Yellow Light Orchestra and from genres such as funk, soul and jazz collided with the new technology coming from Japan in the late 80’s the cost of which were a fraction of those associated with the cost of entry to a professional studio. Once the streets could afford a Roland TR-808, a TB-303 and even the higher end gear like the MiniMoog or the Korg MS20 plus the scores of cheap samplers, drum machines and recording equipment, the sound of techno was born and the rest is history.
So what is Techno? Techno can be described as usually instrumental, usually a 4/4 time signature with time being marked with a kick drum on the quarternote pulse. A backbeat is usuall present on the 2nd and 4th beat of the bar with some kind of hi-hat every eighth note. The composition is usually created using a mixture of drum machines, synthesisers and more common these days is the digital audio workstation holding it all together and sometime being the only component in the process, with the synthesisers and drum machines being ‘in the box’ software instruments. The tempo of Techno will usually range from between 120bpm to 160 bpm.
Roland TR-909
TR-909 Rhythm Composer
Logic Pro X Digital Audio Workstation
Digital Studio utilising Logic Pro Digital Audio Workstation

 

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