What is House Music? History of House Music

What is House Music? History of House Music

Posted 07.10.2012 in Articles by Dan

With its growing popularity in clubs, on the radio, and just about everywhere else, many people are curious about this music called “house”. Commonly misperceived as a other genres, house music encompasses all different types of electronic dance music: trance, dance, dubstep, and trap. With more DJ's integrating themselves into the American pop culture, their popularity with the mainstream crowd has grown inevitably larger. So what is house music exactly, what are the genres that are related, and how did it make its debut into the mainstream music scene?

The start of house music date back to the early 1980s in the Chicago club scene, and the term “house music” is widely believed to originated as the style of music played a club called The Warehouse. DJs were playing disco, hip hop, and electro funk tracks and would sometimes make their own remixes of tracks on reel-to-reel- tape. Credit for the first house song is given to DJ Jesse Saunders' track “On and On” produced in 1984. “On and On” had elements that became essentials of the early house sound like a bass synthesizer, minimal vocals, a Roland drum machine, and Korg synthesizer. It also sampled the bass-line from Player One's disco record "Space Invaders" (1979).

In the late 1980s, house music moved to major US cities like Detroit and New York, and even made it's way across the Atlantic to the UK and Germany. The expansion out of Chicago allowed for the popularity of house music to spread, but also allowed for different cities to develop individual styles of house music. Detroit house was hip hop influence heavy, with undistorted bass-lines and limited effects and synthesized sounds. In New York, house music had rugged bass-lines, quicker sampling, and held onto the electro and disco roots. The European sound of house music focused more on dance and the upcoming dance scene, speeding the beats up significantly and included tons of synthesized sounds and lots of effects.

The 1990s saw a few sub-genres rise such as: hard house, funky house, ambient house, and ghetto house. Hard house was defined by compressed kick drums, off-beat bass-lines, and a type of synthesized effect referred to as “hoover” sound.

The sub-genre known as funky house was more commercially oriented and highly influenced by disco. Funky house made great use of synthesizers, major vocals, and samples. What set funky house apart was the inclusion of acoustic sounds and instruments not found in other house music.

Ambient house combined elements of ambient music and house music originating in the UK. Ambient house kept the standard house beat patterns, heavily used synthesizers, and used samples to integrate the music into an atmospheric style. This sub-genre relied on a “rise and fall” pattern throughout songs as well.

Ghetto house was heavily influenced by hip hop, with limited use of 808 or 909 drum machines, full sounding kick drums, minimal use of analogue synthesizers, and sexually explicit samples and lyrics.

From the mid 2000s to to the present, the fan base of house music has grown larger than in the past 20 years. The modern and current house music has evolved to using a tempo between 110 and 150 beats per minute, using melodic phrases or minimal lyrics, and utilizing dramatic build ups and drops throughout the tracks. Sample heavy tracks and remixes of popular songs from pop music and hip hop genres have also define current house music. With effects hardware and mixing software at an all time low expense, more and more artists and DJs are producing more house music that ever before.

With more DJs and more sub-genres to fill any fans desire, house music is a dominant force in music that it's never been. House music's boost in popularity not seen since the 1980s and has no signs of slowing down and will continue to grow as one of the most popular genres of music.

Image (CC) Leandro Godoi - Fotografia

Login or create an account to post a comment

Related Articles

Articles Categories