Hard Trance is a subgenre that emerged in Europe (Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands) in the early 1990s. This Breakbeat hardcore production scene branched into new and distinct electronic music genres. Among them include “Happy hardcore,” “New beat,” and “Jungle music.” Compared to more unique Trance types, this subgenre peaked in the late 1990s and has since declined.

How This Electronic Music Style Began

This style sprang to prominence in the late 1990s. This genre emerged among the individuals who produced breakbeat hardcore music, while hardcore breakbeat production fragmented into many subgenres. It became one of the most popular and successful Trance forms across continental Europe and the world.

Hard Trance peaked around 1993–1997 in continental Europe when Djs frequently played it at massive parties attended by tens of thousands of people. Musicians who created the sound and nightclubs that popularized it were all responsible for creating many CD compilation series. Ultimately, it went mainstream and achieved commercial status, eventually becoming known in the business world as “maximal.”

By 2000, the sound known as “hard house” had become a favorite in the UK. The musical styles of hard house and Trance together formed the foundation of this British subgenre between 2001 and 2003. Most tracks produced during the period used significant rave and hoover sounds.

Some hard house DJs and record companies began promoting Trance-influenced sounds in the late 2000s and 2001. At the same time, several trance producers began to strive for a sound that was stronger and more minimal. They did this because they saw that Trance was becoming more commercial. In 2003, this subgenre eventually became the most exciting sound people heard on the dancefloor.

Between 2002 and 2006, Tidy Trax released the Resonate mix album series, an excellent example of how this style evolved. The artists: Guyver, Lee Haslam, Stimulant DJs, BK, and Andy Farley are considered to be the genre’s founders. Essential labels in the scene include UK hard house stalwarts Tidy Trax and Nukleuz.

Hard Trance Characteristics

By 2006, this style was no longer as popular as it once was, and some hard house producers had reverted to a type that included rave elements, while others had moved on to make music in other genres like Tech Trance and progressive house.

Hard Trance is frequently characterized by reliance on super-saw arpeggios, powerful, hard kicks, hi-hats, completely resonant basses, and an enhanced degree of reverberation added to the main rhythm.

Early songs may contain a clear instrumental sound, while later ones tend to employ side-chaining techniques of progressive music on digital synthesizers. The tempo of the melodies ranges from 140 to 180 beats per minute (BPM).

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