What is Trance?
Dictionary.com’s definition of Trance:
1. A hypnotic, cataleptic, or ecstatic state.
2. Detachment from one's physical surroundings, as in contemplation or daydreaming.
3. A semiconscious state, as between sleeping and waking; a daze.
Quite accurately put, trance is a state of mind – this state of mind can be reached in many different ways. Anything ranging from meditation to a peaceful walk in the forest can help you reach this mindset. A state of Trance can be created or enhanced by mind altering substances or even just lack of sleep. Trance is an altered state of consciousness.
What is Trance Music?
A common misconception: Trance = Techno.
My short definition of Techno is “Simple, mindless dance floor music” – for a more detailed, and perhaps less opinionated definition, please ask Mr. G. Although the most simple and uncreative form of electronic music, it is unfortunately the most popular and the most played, similar to Pop music… Many people unfamiliar with electronic music refer to all of it as “Techno”. I believe that this is the reason why it has all been stereotyped as simple and repetitive.
Trance music on the other hand, may seem mindless and repetitive at a first glance, like techno, but when listened to with an open mind, and one’s full attention, many subtleties and complex elements can be identified.
A piece of Trance music is an intricately woven mixture of sounds and musical instruments, intended to bring its listener(s) into a Trance. Certain elements of this music may indeed be very repetitive, but this is fully intentional. These elements are added to enhance the listener’s state of mind.
Trance music is intended to be listened to, not while doing the dishes or your homework, and not with a low volume setting - a low volume setting renders many of the subtle elements inaudible, thus vastly affecting the state of mind of the listener. The same effect occurs with distractions such as the above mentioned dishes or homework.
The ideal condition for the listening of trance music is at a loud volume setting with no distractions. If the music makes you want to move, get up and move! If not, just sit back and relax. Don’t be afraid to let the music take you on a journey, be open minded to where it takes you. Trance music is music for body and mind.
I have often been asked "Who has the time in this day and age to just sit down and devote this kind of attention to nothing but listening to music?" Although it is true that most people have very busy lives, to me it seems that society has deemed it normal to devote hours of ones undivided attention to certain things, but not to others. Do you have the time to watch a football or basketball game on TV for several hours? Do you have the time to devote a Friday evening to going to the movies or reading a couple of chapters in your book before you go to sleep? My point is that society has made people believe that entertainment is more important than art, and that some forms of art are more valuable than others. Do you try to get your homework done while watching Kill Bill? Do you do your laundry while reading the new Tom Clancy? Why should ones undivided attention be dedicated to these forms of art, but not to music?
Take a little time out of your busy schedule; realize the depth and emotion that music can have when there are no distractions... Just sit back, relax, and close your eyes...
I hope you enjoy.
/ Paavo S. a.k.a. Malachyte
For more information on all genres of electronic music, including trance, check out Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music.