Know your EDM: Progressive House

Hard but tuneful, banging but thoughtful—Progressive House is a new breed of music that focuses on melodies and chords.

During the early 1990s, the sound of rave dominated the club scene until progressive house was born. It was once considered anti-rave because its melodic approach was contrary to the breakbeat hardcore that flourished at raves. True progressive house was often found “masquerading” as techno, and it was often confused with trance in its early years.

As the name suggests, “progressive” means that which tends to grow at regular intervals of time. The music tends to be progressive in nature, meaning it might start kind of tame and build up as the song moves forward. You can distinguish progressive house from other genres by looking closely at the elements that are often used. This genre tends to lack an anthem-type chorus, drum rolling, and heavy bass and has a BPM around 128. Its phrases are typically a power-of-two number of bars and often begin with a new or different melody or rhythm. Progressive house tunes often feature a built-up section, which can last up to four minutes and is usually followed by a breakdown and then a climax. The elements that can be found in this genre include the use of extended or linked-movement tracks, complexity, reflection, and the four-on-the-floor rhythmic pattern.

Unlike other EDM subgenres, progressive house is melodic with a long repetitive buildup and often features vocals. It is similar to trance in a way, but more “house-like.” Avicii, Martin Garrix, Swedish House Mafia, and Deadmau5 are some of the popular artists under this subgenre.

Part of creating any genre of music is learning how to create drum patterns, bass lines, chord progressions and melodies. Building Blocks is an online music production and composition training course that will teach you how to write music in a DAW.