House vs. Techno What Is the Real Difference?

House vs. Techno: What Is the Real Difference?

House and Techno music are parts of the electronic dance music (EDM) revolution in the early 1980s.

The world was transitioning from the disco era during that time in music history. Hair bands and rock were quite popular, but they weren’t a favorite option for everyone.

While DJs in the Midwest were experimenting with different sounds, German musicians were looking for ways to incorporate new technologies into their music.

That’s how two separate, but similar trends developed in the EDM world. Techno is typically assigned to electronic music that initially started in Germany during this period, with some assistance from the Detroit dance scene in Michigan.

House is something that has Americana stylistic versions that came out of Chicago.

House vs. Techno: What Is the Real Difference?

House music is defined as electronic dance music (EDM) with a repetitive four-on-the-floor beat. The tempt is typically between 120 to 130 beats per minute (BPM). Techno is another form of EDM with a similar beat, but the central rhythm typically maintains 4/4 common time while reaching 150 BPM.

What is unique about House and Techno is that they developed independently, but they also managed to sound quite similar in many ways.

Some music enthusiasts might even argue that Chicago House is a stylistic origin of the Techno EDM sub-genre.

When you explore the different technical elements of House vs. Techno music, you’ll find some crucial differences that separate the two ideas.

Elements Found in House MusicElements Found in Techno Music
• House music has more jazz elements incorporated with it because of that genre’s roots in Chicago, especially during the EDM evolutionary period of the 1980s.
• Boogie, electro, and disco components are found within these compositions, especially when listening to the earliest influencers who created this sub-genre.makeIt has had a more significant impact on pop music than Techno.
• Artists from Madonna to Kylie Minogue have incorporated elements of it. One of the top songs in this sub-genre is “Show My Love” by Robin S.
• Techno music features a fast, hard beat. Only the slowest songs in this sub-genre match the most rapid beats found in House.
• More electronic instruments are typically found in this style, ranging from sequencers to digital audio workstations.
• New Beat and Italian disco serve as the stylistic origins of this EDM sub-genre, with some EBM and pop influences in there.
• This style has synth-pop and funk serving as background beats, especially when the repetitive notes bring it closer to trance origins.

Some House and Techno Differences Are Subtle

“Show Me Love” by Robin S. should not be confused with the song “Show Me Love” by Robyn, which was a hit in the late 1990s.

When you hear the 1993 song, you can listen to the House influences with the synths, distorted bass, and repetitive rhythms. The music video even shows the atmosphere found in Chicago during EDM shows that focused on this sub-genre, including some of the dance moves.

The 1997 “Show Me Love” has a slower rhythm with more R&B influences. Although it has a distinctive Chicago sound, it’s missing too many elements to qualify the composition as EDM.

When you look at Techno songs, especially from the 1980s, you’ll hear a Roland TR-808 or TR-909 serving as the percussion accompaniment. Those sounds are still highly prized, with software emulations often recreating those sounds today.

That’s why “Dancing on My Own” from Robyn in 1990 is an excellent choice for an early Techno example. With the help of a drum machine, arpeggiator, and synths, along with a couple of tempo changes, you’ll get a sense of where the sub-genre started evolving away from its potential House origins.

House also uses arpeggiator influences. The difference you’ll hear is in the chords progressions when compared to Techno.

How to Create Deep House Chord Progressions for Music Composition

Deep house chords are relatively easy to create when you understand the sound profile that comes from this EDM genre.

The trademark chord you’ll hear in House is the jazz-influenced major and minor sevenths. This extended chord gives each track a powerful feel where the harmonies tend to drive the music more than the percussion sounds.

Once you get the chords sorted out for the composition, the off-beat Hi-Hats finish the listening perspective of the synths, guitars, or other instrument leads that drive the narrative.

A seven chord contains the root note, along with its root third, fifth, and seventh on the scale.

Each note can also have its own major and minor scale to work with when creating House music. The table below uses the key of C as a reference example.

C MinorCDE-flatFGA-flatB-flat

In House music, the presence of the third is what determines the note forming the corresponding seventh in the chord. The table above shows that if you played a root C using the C Minor key, your seventh would be a B-flat note.

When you play the chord in C Major, the root seventh becomes a B.

That’s because the third note in that scale is either natural or flat, depending on whether your preference is for major or minor chords.

That means you’d play a C-E-G-B chord in C major. In C Minor, you’d play C-E-flat-G-B-flat to create the driving chord.

Most House chords tend to choose the minor scale because of the signature influences of this EDM genre. With Techno, you’ll typically hear more major chords played. Both styles can switch between the two without reclassifying the genre.

Both genres use loops to create rhythms. With House, you’ll typically get a four-bar set where the chord progression is only two chords. You might hear a Fmaj7 paired with an Em7 using two quarter notes, followed by a half note, with Euro-style sound mods to create the signature echo.

If your track doesn’t have the feeling you want for the listener, the easiest way to enhance your effort is to add a few seven chords into each progression. Even if it is only for a couple of four-bar loops in each phrase, the depth that comes from that added element alters the song’s complexity enormously.

How to Create Techno Chords That Deliver Listening Excitement

When you create Techno chords, you’re using fewer progressions and more note curvature within a composition.

That means you’ll need a digital audio workstation (DAW), a mastering board, samples, loops, or synth sounds you can record and modify.

Once you have the software, hardware, and instruments available, you’ll want to follow these steps to record Techno chords.

  1. Upload your sound sample into the DAW or workstation. You’ll need an audio sample that can serve as your oscillator if you’re not using an arpeggiator.
  2. Decide what curve presets to use for your notes. You can add different bends, effects, and rhythm randomness to each note.
  3. Create the form you want with the oscillator. With today’s technology, you can build notes as high or low as you want with the speed and motion you prefer.
  4. Within the form functionality of your equipment, you can think about cutting off the highest and lowest frequencies from each note for extra consistency.
  5. Finalize the effects that you want to be included, which might consist of sustain, decay, attack, or release.
  6. Add any new sounds that you want with the notes, along with secondary effects like chorus or echo. This step is also where the different band filters get implemented.

If you want to create new sounds within the Techno EDM genre, installing an arpeggiator on your DAW is the fastest way.

The software will let you play notes and chords. You have the option of creating one-bar, four-bar, or eight-bar sequences in most programs today.

Although you could theoretically play the entire composition, Techno EDM features looping and repetition. If you’ve ever seen Ed Sheeran play “Shape of You” live, you’ll see him set the note loop with his arpeggiator before coming in with the guitar.

Sheeran then uses foot pedals to control the sounds as needed while playing. That helps him create a concert experience without the need for extra musicians.

The only reason why Sheeran’s song doesn’t qualify as Techno is because of its speed. It is only 92 BPM.

Best Arpeggiators to Use for House and Techno Music Production

Although you can use software DAW options to create arpeggiator sounds through a keyboard, I still prefer to use an instrument.

The Roland JUNO-DS is what I have at home in my studio. It’s a lightweight rig with all 88 keys, giving me enough versatility to play anything in Techno or House. Although a smaller version is available (61 keys), I’ve found the full-sized instrument offers a bit more consistency.

The weighted keys stand out the most for me on this instrument. That makes it gig-ready, especially with its overall sound profile. We use it to produce string-like atmospheres within the bass register for some songs. It also delivers the classic piano sound when you have something more traditional to play.

You have eight phrase pads to use for triggering samples. I also appreciate the USB memory that stores some songs, allowing me to play independently or with my bandmates. It even has a sample import for playing WAV files.

It can play in any location. We’ve even taken the Roland JUNO-DS to religious services to replace the organ.

The hands-on editing feature is excellent, and you can even manipulate sounds in real-time with the sliders and knobs.

Everything is on board with no extra cost. It’s definitely worth the investment for anyone who wants to do some experimentation with House or Techno music.

A Final Thought on House and Techno Differences

House and Techno music are both in the EDM spectrum. Techno serves as an independent option, while House typically remixes or creates minor progressions. Today, both are found in the DJ scene from Chicago to Ibiza, but Techno tends to be faster. Dance-worthy EDM is typically closer to House.

Some kids get a car for their 16th birthday to celebrate their driver’s license. My folks invested in a pro-quality synth for my music production work.

I’ve never struck it big with a hit song, but you can hear my work on several YouTube videos. When people do drone work to capture nature’s beauty, anything that sounds like House or Techno in the background is exactly my style.

With today’s DAW options, almost any synth will create the results you want. I prefer the Roland JUNO-DS because it lets me gig when I have some spare time.

If you’ve never explored EDM, especially House and Techno, I’d encourage some listening. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly tempts people to move their feet!


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