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Electronic dance music genre

Quora Answer : What is good about techno music?

May 30, 2020

There is so much variation in what is labelled "techno" that it's hard to have a unified theory of the genre.

But if there's an essence to techno it is "the art of finding beauty in mechanical repetition".

There are some people who consider that mechanical repetition is anathema. It's what they hate about so much modern music.

I'm not sure techno is for them. Because mechanical repetition is what techno is all about.

That's not true for other electronic dance music genres. Hip-hop and trap might feel repetitive, but they don't have to be. People are making increasingly "prog" trap and dubstep beats that stop, start, switch up style and rhythm in the middle.

You could imagine House music being made with an entirely live band. Much as funk and disco were. As long as you kept some kind of 808 kick in there. Live percussion and bass and keyboards are completely compatible with the organic side of House music.

These genres are repetitive because rhythm and dance require a certain amount of repetition. But the organic or disjoint are completely compatible with the essence of the music.

But not with techno, I think.

Techno can certainly be warm and emotional. And borrow more sophisticated chord sequences from other genres. But at heart, if you aren't feeling the repetition, it's missing the point.

Is there beauty in repetition? There can be. Techno is part of a family of musical ideas that include mantras and drones. Musics that are about the resonating, amplifying power of a simple idea extended in time either through repetition or just elongation. Even as your body is tiring, you sense the indefatigable relentless of this continuum. Your own mind / body can explore it, and provide movement, as it provides the consistency. But you can't ignore it, you are engulfed by it.

That's the feel that good techno should give you, whether at high volume in a club, or just sitting at home.

Obviously not all techno is good, but when it is good, that's what's good about it.

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