House music is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the American city of Chicago in the early 1980s. It was initially popularized circa 1984 in discothèques catering to gayand mixed, primarily African-American and Latino audiences in Chicago, but beginning in 1985, fanned out to other major cities such as Detroit, Toronto, New York City,Boston, Montreal, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Manchester, Miami, London, and Paris. It then began to influence popular music in Europe, with songs such as "House Nation" by House Master Boyz and the Rude Boy Of House (1987) and "Doctorin' The House" byColdcut (1988) in the pop charts. Since the early to mid-1990s, house music has been infused in mainstream pop and dance music worldwide.
Early house music was generally dance-based music characterized by repetitive 4/4 beats and rhythms centered around drum machines, off-beat hi-hat cymbals and synthesized basslines. While house displayed several characteristics similar to disco music, it was more electronic and minimalistic, and the structured music's focus around a repetitive rhythm was more important than the song itself. House music today, while keeping several of these core elements, notably the prominent kick drum on every beat, varies a lot in style and influence, ranging from the soulful and atmospheric deep house, to the more minimalistic microhouse. House music has also fused with several other genres creating fusion subgenres, such as Euro house and tech house.
House music, after enjoying significant underground and club-based success in Chicago from the early 1980s onwards, emerged into the UK mainstream pop market in the mid-to-late 80s. Popularity quickly followed in the rest of Europe, and it became a global phenomenon from the early-to-mid 90s onwards. It proved to be a commercially successful genre and a more mainstream pop-basedvariation grew increasingly popular. Artists and groups such as Madonna, Janet Jackson, Björk, and C+C Music Factoryincorporated the genre into their work. After enjoying significant success in the early to mid-90s, house music grew even larger during the second wave of Progressive House (1999–2001). The genre still remains popular and fused into other subgenres which are popular, as the DJ mag poll has been dominated by House DJs since the beginning of the polls. In Europe, the genre remains highly popular into the 2000s, with groups and artists such as Daft Punk and Justice performing in the genre, and obtaining commercial success and critical acclaim. In the 2000s, a house subgenre known as electro house achieved popularity. Today, house music remains popular in both clubs and in the mainstream pop scene.
House is uptempo music for dancing, although by modern dance-music standards it is mid-tempo, generally ranging between 118 and 135 bpm. Tempos tended to be slower in the early years of house.
The common element of house is a prominent kick drum on every beat (also known as a four-on-the-floor beat), usually generated by a drum machine or sampler. The kick drum sound is augmented by various kick fills and extended dropouts. The drum track is filled out with hi-hat cymbal-patterns that nearly always include a hi-hat on quaver off-beats between each kick, and a snare drum or clap sound on beats two and four of every bar. This pattern derives from the so-called "four-on-the-floor" dance drumbeats of the 1960s which impacted on 1980s house music via the 1970s disco drummers.
Producers use many different sound-sources for bass sounds in house, from continuous, repeating electronically generated lines sequenced on a synthesizer, such as a Korg M1, Roland SH-101, or TB-303, to studio recordings or samples of live electric bassists, or simply filtered-down samples from whole stereo recordings of classic funk tracks or any other songs. House bass-lines tend to favor notes that fall within a single-octave range, whereas disco bass-lines often alternated between octave-separated notes and would span greater ranges. Some early house productions used parts of bass lines from earlier disco tracks. For example, producer Mark "Hot Rod" Trollan copied bass-line sections from the 1983 Italo discosong "Feels Good (Carrots & Beets)" (by Electra featuring Tara Butler) to form the basis of his 1986 production of "Your Love" by Jamie Principle. Frankie Knuckles used the same notes in his more famous 1987 version of "Your Love", which also featured Principle on vocals.
Electronically generated sounds and samples of recordings from genres such as jazz, blues, disco, funk, soul and synth pop are often added to the foundation of the drum beat and synth bass line. House songs may also include disco, soul, orgospel vocals and additional percussion such as tambourine. Many house mixes also include repeating, short, syncopated, staccato chord-loops that are usually composed of 5-7 chords in a 4-beat measure.
Influences and precursors
Some disco songs incorporated sounds produced with synthesizers and drum machines, and some compositions were entirely electronic; examples include Giorgio Moroder's late 1970s productions such as Donna Summer's hit single "I Feel Love" from 1977, Cerrone's Supernature (1977), Yellow Magic Orchestra's synth-disco-pop productions from theirself-titled album (1978), Solid State Survivor (1979), and several early 1980s disco-pop productions by the Hi-NRG group Lime.
Disco was an influence on house music, which was also influenced by mixing and editing techniques earlier explored by disco DJs, producers, and audio engineers like Walter Gibbons, Tom Moulton, Jim Burgess, Larry Levan, Ron Hardy, M & M and others who produced longer, more repetitive and percussive arrangements of existing disco recordings. Early house producers like Frankie Knuckles created similar compositions from scratch, using samplers, synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines.
Charanjit Singh's Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat (1982) anticipated the sounds of acid house music, but is not known to have had any influence on the genre prior to its rediscovery in the 21st century.
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