By the mid-1990s trance, progressive trance, which emerged from acid trance much as progressive house had emerged from acid house, emerged commercially as one of the dominant genres of dance music. Progressive trance has set in stone the basic formula of modern trance by becoming more focused on the anthemic basslines and lead melodies, moving away from hypnotic, repetitive, arpeggiated analog synth patterns and spacey pads. Popular elements and anthemic pads became more widespread. Compositions continued to contain incremental changes (aka progressive structures), sometimes composed in thirds.
Meanwhile, a different type of trance, generally called uplifting trance, became popular. Uplifting trance had buildups and breakdowns that were longer and more exaggerated, being more direct and less subtle than progressive, with more easily identifiable tunes and anthems. Many such trance tracks follow a set form, featuring an introduction, steady build, a breakdown, and then an anthem, a form aptly called the "build-breakdown-anthem" form. Uplifting vocals, usually female, were also becoming more and more prevalent, adding to trance's popular appeal.
Immensely popular, trance found itself filling a niche that was 'edgier' than house, more soothing than drum and bass, and more melodic than techno, which made it accessible to a wide audience. Artists like Paul van Dyk, Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Robert Miles, Above & Beyond, Darren Tate, Ferry Corsten, Johan Gielen, ATB, Paul Oakenfold, Aly & Fila, Pulser and Third Element came to the forefront as premier producers and remixers, bringing with them the emotional, "epic" feel of the style. Many of these producers also DJ'd in clubs playing their own productions as well as those by other trance DJs. By the end of the 1990s, trance remained commercially huge, but fractured into an extremely diverse genre. Some of the artists that helped create the trance sound in the early and mid-1990s had, by the end of the decade, abandoned trance completely in favor of more underground sounds. Artists of particular note here include Pascal F.E.O.S. and Oliver Lieb.