Hardstyle is a Dutch electronic dance genre mixing influences from techno, new beat and hardcore.
Early hardstyle was typically written at 140 BPM and consisted of an overdriven and hard-sounding kick drum, often accompanied by an offbeat bass, known as a "reverse bass". As the genre grew, the production techniques and songwriting changed to be suited to a more commercial audience. Modern hardstyle can be recognized by its use of melodic synthesizer melodies and distorted sounds, coupled with hardstyle's signature combination of percussion and bass. The genre is particularly known for its harmonic use of kickdrums. Due to the sustained nature of a hardstyle kick, producers are able to play basslines by using only the kick itself. Pitching kicks is primarily done through a series of distortion, equalization and layering (among other methods). Modern hardstyle is also faster, produced around 150 BPM.
The genre gained commercial acceptance in the 2010s, with hardstyle artists performing on the biggest stages in EDM worldwide.Hardstyle influenced other styles of electronic dance music such as big room house, which began sharing similarities with hardstyle like structures, rhythms, and later, pitching kicks became popular in big room, too. Hardstyle also played a large influence in frenchcore and happy hardcore music, which both became popular in the late 2010s with the hardstyle audience after producers started applying hardstyle production techniques and melodic styles to the genres.