I've listened to Goa/Psy Trance for half my life now, and many times I have found these terms to be interchangeable, like searching in youtube suggests. And while there's even separate wikipedia pages for them, I can find Goa/psytrance in the Goa page, or Goa being used to refer to Psychedelic Trance in the page of the latter.

Even if I tried to search for music of both genres to compare by listening, I could never be sure that they were properly labelled.

So, is there a difference between the two genres? If yes, how can one tell if it's one or the other? If no, why the different nomenclature and history reports?

1 Answer 1


Nowadays there isn't much difference. There are specific sub-geners of psytrance that can be identified by the scales they employ and the structure of the songs.

Goa uses Southern Indian scales, sampled traditional Indian instruments and slower tempos, perhaps even downpitched rhythms.

Suomisaundi is a Finnish sub-genre that uses Western scales. Its structuring is highly influenced by the demoscene (think chiptunes) and uses distortion, filtering, flanging and phasing to manipulate a saw & square arpeggios over driving rhythms. It's development coincides with the development of the Finnish Freeform sound.

The Mediterranean sound is a bit unique, using Turkish and Israeli scales and melodies. It can waver in between Goa and harder Suomisaundi to its liking. It can also be done in a popular way, see: Infected Mushroom.

The Australian sound is heavily influenced by British trance. It is perhaps the least experimental of the bunch but incorporates sounds of Australia (didgeridoos and kookaburras.)

There is also psytech/psytekk which is the minimalist stuff. Hard pounding bass and drums with experimental sampling that is highly reminiscent of the freetekno sounds of Europe.

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