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Today, the term "progressive" when used to describe dance music typically refers to the structure of a track which changes incrementally, though there are other uses for the term: progressive trance usually refers to a type of trance music that features a less prominent lead melody and focuses more on atmosphere.

This trance is generally more laid back than Euro, it tends to be a lot deeper and has a less commercial edge. It is also usually slower (130 - 140 bpm) and has a wider variety of sounds - many progressive tunes use a lot of tribal techno and breakbeat sounds. The rifts in progressive music are much more subtle than that of Euro and never as uplifting. Progressive music relies more on subtle builds and drops guided by the DJ throughout the night, whereas Euro builds and drops in each individual tune. Recently much progressive trance has moved towards deep tribal sounds and breaks. This is often referred to as "progressive house". .

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