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Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Belleville, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, in the USA during the later half of the 1980s; the first known use of the word 'techno,' in reference to a specific genre of music, was in 1988; many styles of techno now exist, but 'Detroit techno' is seen as the standard style from which sub-genres have emerged.

Techno came from the merging of the electronic music produced by groups like Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder and Yellow Magic Orchestra. The genre utilizes and merges African American music styles, including funk, electro, Chicago house and electric jazz.

The themes within techno is futuristic and fictional, depicting life in a late capitalist American society; Alvin Toffler's book 'The Third Wave' being the main point of reference.

Techno is basically repetitive instrumental music, usually produced for use in a continuous DJ set. The central rhythmic component is most often in a rock (4/4) time, where the time is marked with a bass drum on each quarter note pulse. The tempo ranges from approximately 120-150 beats per minute (bpm), depending on the style of techno. The creative use of drum machines, synthesizers and digital audio workstations is held in high regard. Many producers use retro electronic musical devices to create what they consider to be an authentic techno sound. For example, drum machines from the 1980s are highly prized, as are old computers; one of the most desired being the Commodore-64 for its 'SID' chip: one of the most advanced sound synthesizer chips ever made for micro-computers. Modern software emulators that synthesize the sound of such devices, although not ideal, is also acceptable.

Music journalists and fans of techno are generally selective in their use of the term; so a clear distinction can be made between related but often qualitatively different styles, such as tech house and trance. "Techno" is also commonly confused with more generalized descriptions of 'electronic music' and 'electronic dance music'.

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