Vocal Trance is ...

Vocal trance is a subgenre of trance music. It contains Vocals, highly melodic sessions, intro/outros which are similar to those of hard trance or Progressive Trance and tracks of usually about 6 to 8 minutes long. The sub-genre goes back to the early 1990s, when trance was still developing, and vocals have gone onto become a staple of trance. Although many early trance records used vocal samples mixed in with the beats (including Dance 2 Trance's "We Came in Peace," the first song to be referred to as "trance"), the earliest examples of the style appeared in 1992/93. Another defining track was Jam & Spoon's "Right in the Night", which was released in 1993.

A typical track consists of three elements. At the beginning of the track there is an intro of progressive beats, which lasts about 1-3 minutes. The melodic part (2-5min) starts incrementally, combining vocals, usually female, and melodic sound (for the most part high pitched and fast) with the bass pattern to give a great melody cycle. Finally when the outro is approaching, the melody fades out and we get the same rhythm as the intro, usually with some minor changes. Although later tracks have become much less formulaic.

Vocal trance was a popular listening in Europe, notably Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium and Great Britain. The earlier productions was closely related to uplifting trance, Uplifting house, Progressive trance and Progressive house. The later productions (2004 and so on) are far more commercial and have a Pop structure. Notable exceptions are the productions of Oceanlab/ Above & Beyond from Britain and Alex M.O.R.P.H.

Vocal Trance is part of Eurodance, as the term used by the Europeans. For the American fans, the term Eurodance is more associated with eurohouse and other 90s commercial dance music styles.

Viacom UK (MTV UK, MTV Dance) tried in 2002 the term Euro-Trance, for various non UK trance music imports. A great deal of them, were (Commercial) Vocal Trance hits from Belgium (Ian Van Dahl, Lasgo, Sylver, Milk Inc) and Germany. Many UK fans separates those Vocal Trance hits and call them Euro-trance.

Vocal Trance in Europe

Between the period of 1997 - 2003, this music style was mostly Progressive/Uplifting Trance with vocals (female mostly). It dominated by German - based productions, spread all over Europe because of Viva, Onyx and MTV2 Pop satellite music channels. TMF Belgium/Holland (and JIM Belgium during the 00s) followed the "hype", by promoting their own Vocal Trance productions, that became more commercial successful on UK and Spain. UK also has a share on the Vocal Trance scene, but in a more underground level. Vocal Trance artists, include: ATB, Above & Beyond, Ian Van Dahl, Lasgo, Sylver, Fragma, Milk Inc, Dj Sammy, Do, Dee Dee, Kate Ryan, Svetlana, Kelly Llorenna, Flip & Fill and Jessy De Smet

Vocal Trance in U.S.A.

During the early 00s, most Vocal Trance artists have established themselves enough to have a foothold in the American market. Vocal Trance remains moderately popular in the United States and regularly sends such compilations such as Ministry of Sound into Gold and Platinum selling albums on CD's, respectively. It is also noteworthy that several Vocal Trance artist such as Ian Van Dahl have charted albums and singles on such American charts as the Top Electronic Albums, Hot Dance Airplay and Hot Dance Singles Sales charts.

Vocal Trance after the summer of 2004

Around 2004, Vocal Trance became less available on the European music TV channels and the following years became rare on mainstream, with few exceptions. The main reason for this, is the fact that Viacom UK (MTV / VH1) took control of both TMF Nederland / Belgium and Viva Germany music channels and changed their playlists, so to push other music styles, like United States Urban contemporary and Contemporary R&B, especially those with an overt Rap music presence as well as British Electro and local Rap/Hip Hop scenes. Ironically, this change occurred at a time where Rap/Urban music in the American mainstream was and is still in decline as Country music, various Rock music styles, Adult contemporary, and even the North American Disco revival and other styles rose in popularity. The Vocal Trance and Progressive Trance productions after 2004 have a hard time to broadcast on TV, and only non Viacom music channels air them. The best source for vocal trance today is the music channel "Jim" from Belgium, "ZTV" from Viasat and (surprisly) the show "I'm was mashed in..." from the British MTV Dance that airs the older videos. The British Flaunt channel also airs older vocal trance hits, so the German music station "iMusic1 TV" and the French channel M6Music Pop. There is a digital terrestrial channel in Netherlands, called "TMF Party", that airs new vocal trance hits, but only a bit and only after midnight. In Poland, there is a "music" channel called "4fun TV" (airs SMS messages all the time) that seems to broadcast current Vocal Trance hits originated mostly from Belgium. Czechs can catch up Vocal Trance hits from "Ocko" music channel, every Friday around 21.00 C.E.T. (The show is called "Party Rider". This channel seems to use unofficial or Internet sources to broadcast that kind of material). The Spanish fans of Vocal Trance, can watch older vocal trance hits, as a part of the show "Disco 2000" on MTV Spain. Sol Espana music station, also airs Vocal Trance hits on the show "Techno Archives" that broadcasts daily around 23.00 C.E.T. Clubland TV, a new British F.T.A. channel that broadcast on Astra 2 at 28.2 East, is the latest addition on the list and currently the best source for the british Vocal Trance hits of the last decade. Many fans of Vocal Trance, capture and digitize the Vocal and Progressive Trance videos from the music stations from all over Europe, and upload them on various P2P networks. Since mid 2006, the Internet turn to be the best source for Vocal Trance music videos, the same way it happens a decade now with the Italo Disco music videos (Italo Disco by some fans considers the "grandfather" of Vocal Trance and the father of Euro House). Artists friendly to vocal trance (like DJ Tiesto, Ian Van Dahl and Paul Van Dyk) forced to alter their music style during 2006/7, so to remain viewable to the European music channels. For the time being, mainly Belgium, Scandinavian and French artists produce Vocal Trance music (the French less nowadays...). In the U.K., elements of Vocal Trance can be traced in the Scouse house music style. Beyond the current "distribution" problems, Vocal Trance has a faithful following in Europe and many web radios are dedicated exclusively to the genre.