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House Music

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"In the beginning, there was Jack. And Jack had a groove."
— "My House", Chuck Roberts

House Music is a DJ and producer-driven rhythmic electronic dance music style that developed in Chicago in The '80s. It was an underground style that received little exposure outside Chicago until the late Eighties/Nineties) when DJs started looping the breaks (a part of the song where the beat is the emphasis) of Disco songs over and over, because they found that the crowd reacted to those specific parts the best.

While disco was an important influence, whereas disco was produced in big, expensive professional studios, with a team of session musicians and arrangers, house music was done by DJs and music producers in their home studios using relatively inexpensive gear. After a while early house musicians started doing their own songs where the break was the foundation and used electronic instruments and sequencers to create new melodies based on the rhythm. When electronic drum machines and bassline sequencers came out it allowed for even more freedom in beat making.

The drum machine beats had a steady four beat to the bar (almost always 4/4) bass drum beat that made the music highly danceable. The thumping, insistent bass drum created a powerful sonic impact when played through huge subwoofer speakers that house clubs used. The constant, mechanical drum beat was criticized by people outside the house scene, but they were not understanding the intention. Unlike pop music, which is designed with an emphasis on melody and intended to be listened to in your room, house music is designed to be played loud in a club, so loud that you feel the beat, and danced to. Like disco, house music was associated with club drugs that enhanced the experience of dancing in a nightclub. MDMA, known as Ecstasy, was a popular drug at house clubs.

Early Chicago house has a definite gospel influence in the vocals, and producers chose soaring, powerful vocal samples that could range from choirs and divas to a preacher-esque person yelling about the tenets of house music. This paved the way for the freeform vocal samples (people yelling, rapping, singing, generally doing whatever as long as it's with the beat) to dominate later house tracks. In addition to sampling vocals, producers would sample short instrumental riffs and repeat them throughout the song, or create a new riff that would be played on a synthesizer. The producers designed songs to build gradually by adding new layers of sampling and intensifying the instrumental parts to bring the song to an exciting climax.

Other influences were Italo Disco (disco that got progressively more electronic and stayed strong in Europe after its fade in the U.S.A.) and New Wave. As technology improved experimentation within the medium grew. Experimenting with the Roland TB-303 (a synthesizer/sequencer) resulted in acid house, which basically started the rave movement as we know it.

From there, many sub-genres of house music developed. It went from being an obscure, underground style in a few US cities to a global pop style with hit records, massive clubs, and festivals.


Examples of house artists


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Acid House


Daft Punk

Daft Punk is considered to be the face of French House and the most popular and most famous in the genre.

The song example used is "Robot Rock."

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