Drum and bass (also written as drum 'n' bass and commonly abbreviated to D&B, D+B or DnB) is a type of electronic music which emerged in the late 1980s. The genre is characterized by fast breakbeats (typically between 160–180 bpm, occasional variation is noted in older compositions), with heavy bass and sub-bass lines. Drum and bass began as an offshoot of the United Kingdom rave scene of the very early 1990s. Over the first decade of its existence, the incorporation of elements from various musical genres led to many permutations in its overall style.
Opinions vary on what constitutes "real" drum and bass as it incorporates a number of scenes and styles, from the highly electronic, industrial sounds of techstep through to the use of conventional, acoustic instrumentation that characterise the more jazz-influenced end of the spectrum. The sounds of drum and bass are extremely varied due to the range of influences behind the music. One of the more common and traditional elements is a prominent snare drum falling on the second and fourth beats.
Drum and bass could at one time be defined as a strictly electronic musical genre with the only 'live' element being the DJ's selection and mixing of records during a set. 'Live' drum and bass using electric, electronic and acoustic instruments played by musicians on stage would emerge in the ensuing years of the genre's development.