House music is a genre of electronic music created by club DJs and music producers in Chicago in the early 1980s. Early house music was generally characterized by repetitive 4/4 beats, rhythms mainly provided by drum machines, off-beat hi-hat cymbals, and synthesized basslines. While house displayed several characteristics similar to disco music, which preceded and influenced it, as both were DJ and record producer-created dance music, house was more electronic and minimalistic. The mechanical, repetitive rhythm of house was more important than the song itself; indeed, many house songs were instrumental, with no vocals, or if there was singing, the typically female singer would not be well-known, or there would be no words.
developed in Chicago’s
House music developed in Chicago’s underground dance club culture in the early 1980s, as DJs from the gay subculture began altering the pop-like disco dance tracks to give them a more mechanical beat and deeper basslines. As well, these DJs began to mix synth pop, dub reggae, rap and even jazz into their tracks. It was pioneered by Chicago DJ/record producer Frankie Knuckles, the Chicago acid-house electronic music group Phuture, the Tennessee DJ/producer Mr. Fingers, and US-born, UK-based singer Kym Mazelle. and was associated with African-American and gay subcultures. House music quickly spread to other American cities such as Detroit, New York City, Baltimore, and Newark – all of which developed their own regional scenes. In the mid-to-late 1980s, house music became popular in Europe as well as major cities in South America, and Australia.
Early house music had commercial success in Europe, with songs such as “Pump Up The Volume” by MARRS (1987), “Theme from S’Express” by S’Express (1988) and “Doctorin’ the House” by Coldcut (1988) climbing the pop charts. Since the early to mid-1990s, house music has been infused into mainstream pop and dance music worldwide. In the late 1980s, many local Chicago house music artists suddenly found themselves presented with major label deals. House music proved to be a commercially successful genre and a more mainstream pop-based variation grew increasingly popular. House music in the 2010s, while keeping several of these core elements, notably the prominent kick drum on every beat, varies widely 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, tech house, electro house and jump house. One subgenre, acid house, was based around the squelchy, deep electronic tones created by Roland’s TB-303 bassline machine.
Artists and groups
Artists and groups such as Madonna, Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, CeCe Peniston, Bananarama, Robin S., Steps, Kylie Minogue, Björk, and C+C Music Factory all incorporated the genre into their work in the 1990s and beyond. After enjoying significant success in the early to mid-1990s, house music grew even larger during the second wave of progressive house (1999–2001). The genre has remained popular and fused into other popular subgenres, for example, ghetto house, deep house and tech house. As of 2016, house music remains popular in both clubs and in the mainstream pop scene while retaining a foothold on underground scenes across the globe. In the late 1990s to the 2010s, progressive house artists/performers such as Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx, and House of 909 brought new attention to house.