Ask Difference

Gabber vs. Hardstyle — What's the Difference?

By Maham Liaqat & Urooj Arif — Updated on May 2, 2024
Gabber is a fast, aggressive style of electronic dance music, typically featuring distorted kick drums, while hardstyle combines hard techno, hard trance, and hardcore.
Gabber vs. Hardstyle — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Gabber and Hardstyle


Key Differences

Gabber music, originating in the early 1990s in Rotterdam, is known for its extremely fast tempo, usually around 160-190 BPM. Whereas hardstyle, which emerged later, typically ranges from 150 to 160 BPM, providing a slightly slower, yet still intense, rhythmic experience.
The kick drum in gabber is notably harsh, distorted, and often forms the central element of the track. On the other hand, hardstyle employs a more rounded, less distorted kick which, while still powerful, allows for more melodic and harmonic elements to be integrated into the tracks.
Gabber tracks often lack substantial melodic content, focusing more on aggression and rhythm. In contrast, hardstyle features more pronounced melodies and harmonies, making it somewhat more accessible and emotionally diverse.
The audience for gabber is typically niche, attracted by its underground, counter-cultural vibe. Hardstyle, however, has gained a broader appeal, with large international festivals and a substantial global fan base.
Stylistically, gabber often embraces a more minimalist aesthetic, while hardstyle can be seen incorporating elaborate light shows and stage setups, reflecting its larger audience and more mainstream appeal.

Comparison Chart

Tempo (BPM)


Kick Drum

Distorted, central to the music
Rounded, less distorted

Melodic Content

Minimal, focuses on rhythm
More pronounced, includes harmony


Niche, underground
Broader, more mainstream

Stylistic Aesthetics

Elaborate shows and setups

Compare with Definitions


Often associated with a hardcore, rebellious youth culture.
Gabber music has always been a symbol of youth rebellion.


Appeals to a wide audience, transcending its hardcore origins.
Hardstyle is loved by a diverse group of music fans across the world.


Originated in Rotterdam as part of the hardcore techno scene.
Gabber's roots in Rotterdam are evident in its gritty, industrial vibe.


Emerged in the late 1990s and gained popularity worldwide.
Since its emergence, hardstyle has grown into a global phenomenon.


A style of electronic music with a fast tempo and aggressive undertones.
The gabber party featured intensely fast beats that energized the crowd.


A genre combining elements of hard techno, trance, and hardcore.
Hardstyle's unique blend of genres makes it popular at electronic music festivals.


Characterized by its distorted kick drums and minimal melody.
He loves gabber for its raw and powerful sound.


Known for its rhythmic drive and emotive melodies.
The hardstyle track captivated him with its compelling melodies.


Generally perceived as more underground than other electronic music styles.
Gabber remains a staple in the underground music scene.


Features elaborate stage setups and light shows at performances.
The hardstyle concert was unforgettable, with its incredible light show.


Gabber (; Dutch: [ˈxɑbər]), is a style of electronic music and a subgenre of hardcore techno. It is characterised by fast beats and samples, and was developed in Rotterdam in the 1990s by producers like Paul Elstak.


Hardstyle is an electronic dance genre that emerged in the late 90s in the Netherlands and Belgium. Hardstyle mixes influences from techno, new beat and hardcore.


To talk idly or incessantly, as about trivial matters.


(music) A genre of electronic dance music that combines elements of trance, techno, and hardcore.


Idle talk; chatter.


(sports) In contrast to sports style, a specifically intensive workout exercise, such as a swing squat.


(obsolete) A liar; a deceiver.


One who is addicted to idle talk.


A radio commentator or disc jockey.


A subgenre of hardcore techno characterised by an intense, distorted kick sound and controversial lyrics or samples.


(countable) A gabber music lover, usually dressed in a tracksuit, often with a complete shaved head or partially for women, seen primarily in the 1990s.


A liar; a deceiver.


One addicted to idle talk.

Common Curiosities

What defines the sound of a hardstyle kick drum?

The hardstyle kick drum is rounded and less distorted than in gabber, allowing for more melodic elements.

Why is gabber considered more underground?

Gabber maintains a niche appeal due to its aggressive style and underground origins.

How did gabber music originate?

Gabber originated in the early 1990s in Rotterdam as part of the hardcore techno movement.

Is hardstyle music suitable for mainstream listeners?

Yes, hardstyle has evolved to appeal to a broader, more mainstream audience compared to gabber.

What makes hardstyle different from other electronic music genres?

Hardstyle uniquely blends hard techno, trance, and hardcore with emotive melodies.

Can you describe the aesthetic of a hardstyle performance?

Hardstyle performances are known for their elaborate staging and dynamic light shows.

What is the audience demographic for gabber?

Gabber attracts a more niche, often younger and counter-cultural audience.

What is the typical BPM of gabber music?

Gabber music typically ranges from 160 to 190 BPM.

Are there large festivals that feature hardstyle?

Yes, hardstyle is featured in major international music festivals, attracting large audiences.

What is the main difference in melody between gabber and hardstyle?

Gabber focuses more on rhythm and aggression with minimal melody, while hardstyle incorporates pronounced melodic and harmonic elements.

Share Your Discovery

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger

Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

New Comparisons

Trending Terms