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*Introduce Yourself Welcome All Units :: Feel like @ Home :-) XPZP2*& 24-03-2010 - 15:06
House music

Dance Music

House music

Styles of house music
Acid house
Ambient house
Chicago house
Dark house
Deep house
Electro house
Freestyle music
French house
Gabber music
Ghetto house
Hard house
Hip house
Latin house
Minimal house
Progressive electronic music
Pumpin' house
Tech house
Tribal house
Vocal house


House music is a collection of styles of electronic dance music, the earliest forms of which originated in the United States in the early- to mid-1980s. The name is said to derive from the Warehouse nightclub in Chicago, where the resident DJ, Frankie Knuckles, mixed classic disco and European synthpop recordings. Club regulars referred to his selection of music as "house" music. However, since Frankie was not creating new music at that time, it has been argued that Chip E. in his early recording "It's House" defined this new form of electronic music and gave it the name "House Music".

The common element of most house music is a 4/4 beat (a prominent kick drum on every beat) generated by a drum machine or other electronic means (such as a sampler), together with a continuous, repeating (usually also electronically generated) bassline. Typically added to this foundation are electronically generated sounds and samples of music such as jazz, blues and synth pop, as well as additional percussion. As new recordings adhering to this general style emerged, the house genre divided into a number of subcategories, some of which are described below.

"House Music" also refers to the recorded music played while a theatre audience takes their seats before a performance, or, in live music venues, the recorded music played before the live music begins. Well-known live acts can demand their choice of house music, or that there be none at all. Such demands are made in the technical rider to their contract (the same document that specifies what items must be present in the dressing room).


Not everyone understands House music; it's a spiritual thing; a body thing; a soul thing.
--as sampled by Eddie Amador listen to 22 s sample (488Kb)

Proto-history: from disco to house: late 1960s to early 1980s

House, techno, electro and hip hop musicians owe their existence to the pioneers of analog synthesizers and sample based keyboards such as the Minimoog and Mellotron which enabled a wizardry of sounds to exist, available at the touch of a button or key.

Although many people believe house music to have originated from Donna Summer's "I Feel Love", fully formed electronic music tracks actually came before house. Early American Sci-Fi films and the BBC Soundtrack to popular television series Doctor Who stirred a whole generation of techno music lovers like the space rock generation during the 1970s, influenced by the psychedelic Dance Music of the late 1960s and bands such as Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Amon Düül, Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and the so-called Krautrock early electronic scene (Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze). Shunned by many as a "gimmick" or "children's music", it was a genre similar and parallel to the Kosmische Rock scene in Germany. Space rock is characterized by the use of spatial and floating backgrounds, mantra loops, electronic sequences, and futuristic effects over Rock structures. Some of the most representative artists were Steve Hillage's Gong and Hawkwind.

The late 1970s saw disco utilise the (by then) much developed electronic sound and a limited genre emerged, appealing mainly to gay and black audiences, it crossed over into mainstream American culture following the hit 1977 film Saturday Night Fever. As disco clubs filled there was a move to larger venues. "Paradise Garage" opened in New York in January 1978, featuring the DJ talents of Larry Levan (1954–1992). Studio 54, another New York disco club, was extremely popular. The clubs played the tunes of singers such as Diana Ross, CHIC, Gloria Gaynor, Kool & the Gang, Donna Summer, and Larry Levan's own hit "I Got My Mind Made Up". The disco boom was short-lived. There was a backlash from Middle America, epitomised in Chicago radio DJ Steve Dahl's "Disco Demolition Night" in 1979. Disco returned to the smaller clubs like the Warehouse in Chicago, Illinois.

Opened in 1977 the Warehouse on Jefferson street in Chicago was a key venue in the development of House music. The main DJ was Frankie Knuckles. The club staples were still the old disco tunes but the limited number of records meant that the DJ had to be a creative force, introducing more deck work to revitalise old tunes. The new mixing skills also had local airplay with the Hot Mix 5 at WBMX. The chief source of this kind of records in Chicago was the record-store "Imports Etc." where the term House was introduced as a shortening of Warehouse (as in these records are played at the Warehouse). Despite the new skills the music was still essentially disco until the early 1980s when the first drum machines were introduced. Disco tracks could now be given an edge with the use of a mixer and drum machine. This was an added boost to the prestige of the individual DJs.

In England, the band Cabaret Voltaire is often considered to have pioneered house music or at least the "house sound" independently. Some recordings of the Clash has also been seen in a similar light.

Chicago years: early 1980s - late 1980s

Main article: Chicago house

In 1983 the Music Box club opened in Chicago. Owned by Robert Williams, the driving force was a DJ, Ron Hardy. The chief characteristics of the club's sound were sheer massive volume and an increased pace to the tunes. The pace was apparently the result of Hardy's heroin use. The club also played a wider range of music than just disco. Groups such as Kraftwerk and Blondie were well received, as was a brief flirtation with punk, dances like "Punking-Out" or "Jacking" being very popular.

Two tunes are arguably the first House music, each arriving in early 1983. The tune that was chronologically first was Jamie Principle and Frankie Knuckles' "Your Love", a huge hit in the clubs, but only available on tape copies. The second, "On And On" by Jesse Saunders was later put on vinyl (1985). (Shapiro, 2000). Immediately on the tails of these recordings was Chip E. "Jack Trax" which defined the genre with its complex rhythms, simple bassline, use of sampling technology and minimalist vocals.

By 1985 house music dominated the clubs of Chicago, in part due to the radio play the music received on 102.7 FM WBMX, and their resident DJ Team the HOT MIX 5. Also, the music and movement was aided by the musical electronic revolution - the arrival of newer, cheaper and more compact music sequencers, drum machines (the Roland 909 and 808 and 707, and Latin percussion machine the 727) and bass modules (such as the legendary Roland TB-303 in late 1985) gave House music creators even wider possibilities in creating their own sound, indeed the creation of Acid House is directly related to the efforts of DJ Pierre on the new drum machines.

Two record labels dominated the house music scene in Chicago, DJ International Records, owned by Rocky Jones and Trax Records owned by Larry Sherman (Trax self pressed records and the quality was not as good as the Disc Makers pressings of DJ International).

Many of the songs that defined the era came off of those record labels. Steve Hurley's "Music is the Key", Chip E's "Like This" and Fingers, Inc. "Mystery of Love" (1985) were amongst some of the defining songs that came off of DJ International. While Trax released "Jack the Bass" & "Funkin With the Drums Again" by Farley Jackmaster Funk in 1985 followed the next year by House Classic "Move your Body" by Marshall Jefferson and "No Way Back" by Adonis.

This was something of a double-edged sword. In its favour Trax was very fast to sign new artists and press their tunes, establishing a large catalogue of House tunes, but the label used recycled vinyl to speed the pressing process resulting in physically poor quality records. Also disappointing was that many artists signed contracts that were rather less favourable towards them than they hoped.

Trax became the dominant House label, releasing many classics including "No Way Back" by Adonis, Larry Heard's "Can You Feel It" and the first so-called House anthem in 1986, "Move Your Body" by Marshall Jefferson. This latter tune gave a massive boost to House music, extending recognition of the genre out of Chicago. Steve 'Silk' Hurley became the first house artist to reach number one in the UK in 1987 with "Jack Your Body". This and other tracks such as "Music is the Key" and "Love Can't Turn Around" helped moved house from its spiritual home to its commercial birthplace - the United Kingdom.

The Detroit Connection: early 1980s - late 1980s

A form of music was forming at the same time in Detroit, what became known as "Detroit Techno". A major influence to the fusion of eclectic sounds into the signature detroit techno sound was a radio program which ran in the mid 1970s until the 1980s by legendary disc jockey The Electrifying Mojo. Music heavily influenced by European Electronica (Kraftwerk, Art of Noise), early b-boy Hip-Hop (Man Parrish, Soul Sonic Force) and Italo Disco (Doctor's Cat, Ris, Klein M.B.O.) this music was pioneered by Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. The first group of songs to be rotated heavy in Chicago House music circles were the 1985's releases of "NO UFO's" by Juan Atkins's group Model 500 on Metroplex Records, Let's Go by Trans X-Ray (Derrick "MAYDAY" May") and "Groovin' without a Doubt" by Inner City (Kevin Saunderson) on KMS Records.

Juan Atkins on his Label Metroplex Records followed the release of "NO UFO's" with 1986's "FUTURE", 1988's the "Sound of Stero / Off to Battle" and 1989's "The Chase".

KMS Followed with releases in 1986 of Blake Baxter's "When we Used to Play / Work your Body", 1987's "Bounce Your Body to the Box" and "Force Field", 1988's "Wiggin" by MAYDAY, "The Sound / How to Play our Music" and “the Goove that Won't Stop” and a remix of "Grooving Without a Doubt". In 1988 as House music began to go more commercial, Kevin Saunderson’s group with Paris Gray released the 1988 hits "Big Fun" and "Good Life" which eventually were picked up by Virgin Records. Each EP / 12 inch single sported remixes by Mike "Hitman" Wilson and Steve "Silk" Hurley of Chicago and Derrick "Mayday" May and Juan Atkins of Detroit. In 1989 KMS had another hit release of "Rock to the Beat" which was a hit overseas and in Chicago

Derrick "Mayday" May had a style that was similar to Chicago native Larry Heard (Mr. Fingers), but soon became distinct and unique and was received well in Chicago, with releases on his Transmat Label, between 1986-1989 Transmat released hits like "Nude Photo", "It is What it is" and "Beyond the Dance" by Rythim is Rythim, "The Groove" by Suburban Knights, and "Illusion" by R-Tyme. The biggest hit and most influential in the House Music scene was Rythim is Rythim's "Strings of Life" which became a cult classic in dance music clubs internationally. Derrick May also recorded with Kool Kat "Nude Photo 88" with the cult classic "Sinister".

Though Detroit Techno is a music form in its own right and part of the "Electronic" / "Techno" worldwide music, it and its pioneers were also instrumental in the forwarding of House Music internationally and especially in the UK.

The British connection: late 1980s - early 1990s

In Britain the growth of house can be divided around the "Summer of Love" in 1988. House had a presence in Britain almost as early as it appeared in Chicago; however there was a strong divide between the House music as part of the gay scene and "straight" music. House grew in northern England, the Midlands and the South East. Founded in 1982 by Factory Records the Hacienda in Manchester became an extension of the "Northern Soul" genre and was one of the early, key English dance music clubs. Until 1986 the club was a financial disaster, the crowds only started to grow when the resident DJs (Pickering, Park and Da Silva) started to play house music. Many underground venues and DJ nights also took place across the U.K. like for instance the private parties hosted by an early Miss Moneypenny's contingent in Birmingham and many London venues. House was boosted in the UK by the tour in the same year of Knuckles, Jefferson, Fingers Inc. (Heard) and Adonis as the DJ International Tour. Amusingly, one of the early anthemic tunes, "Promised Land" by Joe Smooth, was covered and charted within a week by the Style Council. The first English House tune came out in 1986 - "Carino" by T-Coy. Europeans embraced house music, and began booking legendary American House DJs to play at the big clubs, such as Ministry of Sound, whose resident, DJ Harvey brought in Larry Levan.

The underground house scene in cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and London were also provided with many underground Pirate Radio stations and DJ's alike which helped bolster an already contagious, but otherwise ignored by the mainstream, music genre.

One of the earliest and most influential UK house and techno record labels was Network Records (otherwise known as cool cat records) who helped introduced Italian and U.S. dance music to Britain as well as promoting select UK dance music acts.

But house was also developing on Ibiza. In the 1970s Ibiza was a hippy stop-over and a site for the rich, but by the mid-1980s a distinct Balearic mix of house was discernible. Several clubs like Amnesia with DJ Alfredo were playing a mix of rock, pop, disco and house. These clubs fueled by their distinctive sound and Ecstasy began to have an influence on the British scene. By late 1987 DJs like Paul Oakenfold and Danny Rampling were bringing the Ibiza sound to UK clubs like Shoom in Southwark (London), Heaven, Future and Purple Raines Spectrum in Birmingham. But the "Summer of Love" needed an added ingredient that would again come from America.

In America the music was being developed to create a more sophisticated sound, moving beyond just drum loops and short samples. New York saw this maturity evidenced in the slick production of disco house crossover tracks from artists such as Mateo & Matos. In Chicago, Marshall Jefferson had formed the house 'super group' Ten City (from intensity), demonstrating the developments in "That's the Way Love Is". In Detroit there were the beginnings of what would be called techno, with the emergence of Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. Atkins had already scored in 1982 with Cybotron and in 1985 he released Model 500 "No UFOs" which became a big regional hit, followed by dozens of tracks on Transmat, Metroplex and Fragile. One of the most unusual was "Strings of Life" by Derrick May. The NME described it as "George Clinton and Kraftwerk stuck in an elevator". It was a darker, more intellectual strain of house that followed its own trajectory. "Techno-Scratch" was released by the Knights Of The Turntable in 1984 which had a similar techno sound to Cybotron and is possibly where the term techno originated, although this is generally credited to Atkins, who borrowed the term from the phrase "techno rebels" which appeared in writer Alvin Toffler's book Future Shock (see Sicko 1998).

The records were completely independent of the major record labels and the parties at which the tracks were played avoided commercial music.

The combination of house and techno came to Britain and gave House a phenomenal boost. A few clubs began to feature specialist House nights - the Hacienda had "Hot" on Wednesday from July 1988, 2,500 people could enjoy the British take on the Ibiza scene, the classic "Voodoo Ray" by A Guy Called Gerald (Gerald Simpson) was designed for the Hacienda and Madchester. Factory boss Tony Wilson also promoted acid house culture on his weekly TV show. The Midlands also embraced the late 80s House scene with many underground venues such as multi storey car parks and more legal dance stations such as the Digbeth Institute (now the 'Sanctuary' and home to Sundissential).

Developments in the United States in late 1980s to early 1990s

Back in America the scene had still not progressed beyond a small number of clubs in Chicago and New York, Paradise Garage was still the top club, although they now had Todd Terry, his tune "Weekend" demonstrated a new House sound with hip-hop influences evident in the quicker sampling and the more rugged bass-line. While hip-hop had made it onto radio play-lists, the only other choices were Rock, Country & Western or R & B.

Other influences from New York came from the hip-hop, raggae, and Latin community, and many of the New York City super producers/DJ's began surfacing for the first time (Erick Morillo, Roger Sanchez, Junior Sanchez, Danny Tenaglia, Jonathan Peters) with unique sounds that would evolve into other genres (tribal house, progressive house, funky house).

Influential gospel/R&B-influenced Aly-us released "Time Passes On" in 1993 (Strictly Rhythm), then later, "Follow Me" which received radio airplay as well as being extensively played in clubs. Another US hit which received radioplay was the single "Time for the Perculator" by Cajmere, which became the prototype of Ghettohouse sub-genre. Although these are generally grouped in with classic house now, the early 1990s sound was different from the early 1980s Chicago house WBMX sound - due at least in part to digital audio improvements, as well as influences from the Italian House scene led by Daniele Davoli of Black Box fame.

After the "Summer of Love": early 1990s to mid 1990s

In Britain, further experiments in the genre boosted its appeal (and gave the opportunity for new names to be made up).

House and rave clubs like Lakota, Miss Moneypenny's and the original C.R.E.A.M. began to emerge across Britain, hosting regular events for people who would otherwise have had no place to enjoy the mutating house and dance scene.

The idea of 'chilling out' was born in Britain with ambient house albums like the KLF's Chill Out. However, this album is not house strictly speaking, because it's prominent lack of percussion on most tracks. Another example would be the song "Analogue BubbleBath" by Aphex Twin. In fact, Chill Out electronic music is often defined as a totally different genres, such as Ambient, or even downtempo (later on) or New Age (older). The unifying feature of Chill Out electronica is long sustained tones and a more tonal than percussive-noisey quality compared to other styles. Nevertheless, lots of compilation albums sprung up, no doubt, each one redefining the terminology along the way.

At the same time, a new indie dance scene full of variety was being forged by bands like the Happy Mondays, The Shamen, New Order, Meat Beat Manifesto, Renegade Soundwave, EMF, The Grid and The Beloved. In New York, bands such as Deee-Lite furthered house music's international and multi-era cultural influence. Two distinctive tracks from this era were the Orb's "Little Fluffy Clouds" (with a distinctive vocal sample from Rickie Lee Jones) and the Happy Mondays' "Wrote for Luck" ("WFL") which was transformed into a dance hit by Paul Oakenfold.

The Criminal Justice Bill of 1994 was a government attempt to ban large events featuring music with "repetitive beats". There were a number of abortive "Kill the Bill" demonstrations. Although the bill did become law in November 1994, it had little effect. The music continued to grow and change, as typified by the emergence of acts like Leftfield with "Release the Pressure", which introduced dub and reggae into the house sound. In more commercial areas a mix of R&B with stronger bass-lines gained favour.

The music was being moulded, not just by drugs, but also the mixed cultural and racial groups involved in the house music scene. Tunes like "The Bouncer" from Kicks Like a Mule used sped-up hip-hop breakbeats. With SL2's "On A Ragga Trip" they gave the foundations to what would become drum and bass and jungle. Initially called breakbeat hardcore, it found popularity in London clubs like Rage as a "inner city" music. Labels like Moving Shadow and Reinforced became underground favorites. One label, Moonshine, featured impressive compilation albums entitled, "140 BPM: The Speed Limit" which showcased what was termed "London Hardcore Techno". Showing an increased tempo around 160 bpm, tunes like "Terminator" from Goldie marked a distinct change from house with heavier, faster and more complex bass-lines: drum and bass (dnb. Goldie's early work culminated in the twenty-two minute epic "Inner City Life" a hit from his debut album Timeless.

UK Garage developed later, growing in the underground club scene from drum and bass ideas. Aimed more for dancing than listening, it produced distinctive tunes like "Double 99" from Ripgroove in 1997. Gaining popularity amongst clubbers in Ibiza, it was re-imported to the UK and in a softened form had chart success: soon it was being applied to mainstream acts like Liberty X and Victoria Beckham.

4 Hero went in the opposite direction - from brutal Breakbeats they adopted more soul and jazz influences, and even a full orchestral section in their quest for sophistication. Later, this led directly to the West London scene known as Brokenbeat or Breakbeat. This style is also not strictly "house", but as with all electronic music genres, there is overlap.

Mid to late-1990s

Back in the US some artists were finding it difficult to gain recognition. Another import into Europe of not only a style but also the creator himself was Joey Beltram. From Brooklyn his "Energy Flash" had proved rather too much for American House enthusiasts and he need a move to find success. The American industry threw its weight behind DJs like Junior Vasquez, Armand van Helden or even Masters at Work who appeared to churn out endless remixes of mainstream pop music. Some argued that many of the formulaic remixes of Madonna, Kylie Minogue, U2, Britney Spears, the Spice Girls, Spiller, Mariah Carey, Puff Daddy, Elvis Presley, Vengaboys and other bands and pop divas did not deserve to be considered house records.

During this time many individuals and particularly corporations realized that house music could be extremely lucrative and much of the 1990s saw the rise of sponsorship deals and other industry practices common in other genres.

To develop successful hit singles, some argued that the record industry developed "handbag house": throwaway pop songs with a retro disco beat. Underground house DJs were reluctant to play this style, so a new generation of DJs were created from record company staff, and new clubs like Miss Moneypenny's, Liverpool's Cream (as opposed to the original underground night, C.R.E.A.M.) and the Ministry of Sound were opened to provide a venue for more commercial sounds.

By 1996 Pete Tong had a major role in the playlist of BBC Radio 1, and every record he released seemed to be guaranteed airplay. Major record companies began to open "superclubs" promoting their own acts, forcing many independent clubs and labels out of business. These superclubs entered into sponsorship deals initially with fast food, soft drinks, and clothing companies and later with banks and insurance brokers. Flyers in clubs in Ibiza often sported many corporate logos.

House in the new millennium

Dance music arguably hit its peak at the turn of the millennium, especially in the UK. A number of reasons are seen for its decline in mainstream popularity during the 2000s:

  • Many people felt that club promoters had gone too far in what they were asking people to pay on a weekly basis to enter clubs. A prime example was on New Year's Eve at the turn of the Millennium. Some promoters had been asking upwards of Ł100 ($180) to attend clubs and various event venues across the country. A large number of club goers instead decided to stay away all together or go to local parties. Many in general grew tired with paying up to Ł20 ($35) on a weekly basis for poor quality club nights which had little variation from week to week and venue to venue.
  • Older people that had been with the scene from the beginning started to move away. Many in their 30's started having families and settling down. Many younger people viewed Dance music as becoming increasingly outmoded with the same set of DJ's playing in Clubs and on the Radio year after year. This led to the term "Dad House" being applied.
  • The democratization and mainstreaming of electronic music composing through ever-cheaper computer software made electronic music as a whole less novel and more commonplace. This also affected its marketability, since most music marketing requires a high degree of novelty to drive sales and cultural interest.
  • Many older clubbers who did have families remained active in the scene, and small-scale events organisers, invariably not tied to a venue, began to appear to cater to a group that was increasingly ostracised by younger clubbers, and unable to go clubbing more than once or twice a month. This scene subsequently has expanded and about half of those involved are under 30.
  • A lot of the same music was being played on commercial dance shows, and in bars, supermarkets, and television advertisements. This along with a lack of invention in the mainstream left many people feeling increasingly bored with the music. This has inevitably led to the music being forced back underground to its roots.
  • Ecstasy, the drug of choice for many on the Dance scene during the late 80's and through out the 90's, started to lose its popularity to Cocaine and Ketamine. Both these drugs changed the nature and the atmosphere of the scene. In part this was due to the decreasing proportion of MDMA in Ecstasy, which was increasingly being cut with Amphetamines, Ketamine as well as a generally greater amount of inert 'bulk' substances.
  • The global rise of hip hop during the late 90's as well as the re-emergence in the UK of a strong Rock and Indie scene drew many away from Dance Music.
  • The Glade, the UK's largest electronic dance festival, began in 2004 as an offshoot of the Glastonbury Festival, featuring the UK's only dedicated Psytrance stage.

House music today

As of 2003, a new generation of DJs and promoters, including James Zabiela and Mylo, were emerging, determined to kickstart a more underground scene and there were signs of a renaissance in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and other racially-mixed cities, as well as in Canada, Scandinavia, Scotland and Germany. For example, in 2004 the Montreal club Stereo, co-owned by House music legend David Morales and party aficionado Scott Lancaster, celebrated its sixth year in operation and in 2005 The Guvernment in Toronto with Mark Oliver is celebrating its 9th anniversary. Stereo, opened in 1998, was modeled after the seminal New York City club Paradise Garage, focusing the experience on the quality of sound and lighting. The key to house music was re-invention. A willingness to steal or develop new styles and a low cost of entry encouraged innovation. The development of computers and the Internet play a critical role in this innovation. One need only to examine how house music has evolved over time to evaluate the effect computers and the Internet have had on house music and music in general.

In 2005 house music finds itself at a crossroads. The soulful black and Latin-influenced sound that enjoyed popularity in the late '90s and early '00s has lost momentum and has been alienated from almost all generic and hit music radio stations. Audiences all over the world are fragmenting into different camps based around the old-guard house sound and a darker, more synth-driven sound influenced by '80s retro sentiment. Opinions are split on the new music that's trending in. Some consider it directionalism, and others see it as an entirely new genre of music, having more to do with techno, electronica and EBM music than house.

Just recently, Richard Daley, Mayor of Chicago proclaimed August 10, 2005 to be House Unity Day in Chicago last July 27, 2005 in celebration of House Music's 21st anniversary. DJ's like Frankie Knuckles, Marshall Jefferson, Paul Johnson and Mickey Oliver were cited among the many other DJ's who came together to celebrate the proclamation at the Summer Dance Series event organized by Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs.

Saturday Night Live has a recurring sketch called Deep House Dish featuring Kenan Thompson and Rachel Dratch as reviewers of house music. In a typical episode, several "performers," usually including the week's guest, will each sing a parodically bad song, and then be interviewed by the hosts. Dratch's comments are never interesting, a fact often pointed out by Thompson.

Notable Acts and Music Releases influencing the development of House Music

  • Donna Summer - "I Feel Love" (1977)
    Written by Giorgio Moroder, featuring both the machine rhythms and erotic vocal sound bites in which one recognises a germination of house music - the union of disco and electronic. Its bassline has been sampled on numerous electronic dance records.
  • Kraftwerk - "Trans-Europe Express" (1977)
    Played in New York discos in the late 70s, inspiring house, electro and techno DJs alike in the 80s, this track has made way for future house music and its techno off-spring.
  • New Order - "Blue Monday" (1983)
    Frequently considered the missing link between disco of the 1970s and house of the 1980s. Importantly, it bridges the gap between electronic dance music and UK indie music fans in the post-punk 1980s. It has been sampled, remixed and covered by electronic dance producers all over the world.
  • Lime - "Lime 3" (1984)
    Continuous-mix album by Lime (Denis and Denyse LePage) - no less important than the work of New Order. Lime's HiNRG music was a gradual evolution that took the sounds of Giorgio Moroder and Kraftwerk and moulded them into epic club records with catchy beatbox programming and numererous "breakdown sections" that were often reprised throughout the mix. It's impossible to nail down a moment in time when Lime started sounding like a kissing cousin of House Mix. Most would agree that by the time 1984's "Angel Eyes" single had hit the clubs, they had one foot in the house. "Angel Eyes" contains a programmed drum fill that is very similar to that used in "Blue Monday" by New Order, though not on the kick, as New Order's had been. Lime would always have too many ornate and symphonic electronic elements to be considered House, but their influence on the genre cannot be overstated.
  • Jesse Saunders - "On and On" (1984/1985)
    Considered the first house record pressed and sold to the public. A major presage of later electronic dance music. With original, mantra-like stripped-down synths (including a 303 and minimal vocal), this record was early house music revealing itself as more than the sum of its parts. On and On showed the more trance-like shamanistic side that would develop into acid house.
  • Chip E. - "It's House" (1985)
    Written by Chip E. and featuring keyboard work by Joe Smooth, this release is often considered as the definition of Chicago House Music. The first self-referential "house music" record. The simplistic referential lyrics go "It's House, It's House" in varying pitch, to a driving bassline and percussion.
  • Marshall Jefferson - "Move Your Body (House Music Anthem)" (1987)
    The second self referential "house music" record. The referential portion of the lyrics goes: "Gotta have House Music all night long... With that House Music can't be wrong..."
  • Phuture - "Acid Trax" (1986)
    The first acid house song ever made. Made by DJ Pierre, Spanky J and Herbert in Chicago and gave birth to the whole acid house movement.
  • Pete Wylie - "Sinful" (1986)
    Anthemic indie number that presaged the indie-dance crossover that was to follow a number of years later. Available in both stomping "tribal mix" by Zeus B. Held and "the wickedest mix in town" by Bert Bevans. JBO cited this among their strongest influences (and rightly so). The tagline "It's sinful...It's tragic..." would be chanted in indie raves in the early 90s thanks to re-release (Pete Wylie and The Farm) and remixes by the likes of Farley and Heller.
  • S'Express - "Theme from S'Express" (1988)
    An acid house classic. Obviously disco-influenced, combined with funky acid 303 baseline. Samples Rose Royce's classic "Is it Love You're After". Reached Number one on the UK charts.
  • Technotronic - "Pump up the Jam" (1990)
    Probably the first house record to break the top 10 on the US pop charts.
  • Madonna - "Vogue" (1990)
    Close behind "Pump up the Jam" and produced by perennial New York DJ Shep Pettibone, this record marked the absolute commercial breakout of House in the United States. Went to number one on charts worldwide. Became the highest selling single on WEA up to that time, beating Chic's 1978 hit "Le Freak".
  • Leftfield - "Release the Pressure" (1995)
    The first group to truly mix house music with external influences such as dub and reggae. Also credited with the creation of progressive house music.
  • Mariah Carey - "Dreamlover" (Def Club Mix) (1993)
    This classic David Morales remix is widely credited as the first record to bridge the gap between pop music and house music. The trend of remixing pop records in this way continues today.
  • Steve 'Silk' Hurley - "Jack Your Body" (1987)
    The first real House track to reach No.1 in the UK Top 40 pop chart in January 1987 - and was also the first to register more than half it's sales on the 12" vinyl format.

Other notable House Music Artists and Releases

49ers - "Die Walkure"; "Touch Me"
A Guy Called Gerald - "Voodoo Ray"
Adeva - "Respect"; "Warning"; "I Thank You"
Alex Party - "Read My Lips"; "Don't Give Me Your Life"
Bassheads - Is There Anybody Out There"
Beatmasters - "Rok da house"
Bizarre Inc - "I'm Gonna Get You" (ft Angie Brown); "Playing With Knives"
Black Box - "Ride on Time"; "I Don't Know Anybody Else"; "Everybody"; "Strike it Up"
Bomb The Bass - "Beat Dis"; "Megablast"
CeCe Rogers - "Someday"
Chip E. - "Time 2 Jack"; "Like This"
Coldcut - "People Hold On" (ft Lisa Stansfield)
Crystal Waters - "Gypsy Woman"; "Makin' Happy"; "100% Pure Love"
Daft Punk - "Da Funk"; "Around the World"
D-Mob - "We Call It Acieed"; "C'mon and Get My Love" (feat. Cathy Dennis)
Double Dee - "Found love"
Ecstacy - "This is my House"
Farley Jackmaster Funk - "Love Can't Turn Around"
Felix - "Don't You Want Me; "It Will Make me Crazy"
Fingers Inc. - "Can You Feel It"
Frankie Knuckles - "Your Love"
Gat Decor - "Passion"
Hardrive- "Deep Inside"
Hed Boys - "Girls + Boys"
Hithouse - "Jack To The Sound Of The Underground"
Inner City - "Big Fun"; "Good Life"; "Ain't Nobody Better"
Jaydee - "Plastic Dreams"
J.M. Silk - "Jack Your Body"
Joe Smooth - "Promised Land"
Jomanda - "Got A Love For You"; "Make My Body Rock"
Kraze - "The Party"
Krush - "House Arrest"
Latino Party - "Esta Loca"; "Tequila"
Mantronix - "Got to Have Your Love"
Orbital - "Chime"
Rhythm is Rhythm - "Strings of Life"
Lil' Louis - "French Kiss"
LNR - "Work it to the Bone"
M People - "One Night in Heaven"
M/A/R/R/S - "Pump Up The Volume"
Mel & Kim - "Respectable"
Modjo - "Lady (Hear Me Tonight)"
Mylo - "Drop the Pressure"
Natalie Cole - "Pink Cadillac" (remix)
Nightcrawlers - "Push the Feeling On"
Nitro Deluxe - "Let's Get Brutal"
Paul Simpson - "Musical Freedom"
Raze - "Break 4 Love"
Robin S - "Show me Love; Love for Love"
Royal House - "Can You Feel It"; "Party People"
S-Express - "Theme from S-Express"; "Superfly Guy"; "Hey Music Lover"
Soul II Soul - "Keep on Movin'"; "Back to Life"; "A Dream's a Dream"
Stardust - "Dance Musics Better With You"
Sydney Youngblood - "If Only I Could"
Tall Paul - "Rock da House"
Technotronic - "Pump up the jam"; "Get Up (Before the Night is Over)"
Ten City - "Devotion"; "That's the Way Love is"
Yazz - "Stand up for Your Love Rights"; "The Only Way is Up"


House music is uptempo music for dancing and has a comparatively narrow tempo range, generally falling between 118 beats per minute (bpm) and 135 bpm, with 127 bpm being about average since 1996.

Far and away the most important element of the house drumbeat is the (usually very strong, synthesized, and heavily equalized) kick drum pounding on every quarter note of the 4/4 bar, often having a "dropping" effect on the dancefloor. Commonly this is augmented by various kick fills and extended dropouts (aka breakdowns). Add to this basic kick pattern hihats on the eighth-note offbeats (though any number of sixteenth-note patterns are also very common) and a snare drum and/or clap on beats 2 and 4 of every bar, and you have the basic framework of the house drumbeat.

This pattern is derived from so-called "four-on-the-floor" dance drumbeats of the 1960s and especially the 1970's disco drummers. Due to the way house music was developed by DJs mixing records together, producers commonly layer sampled drum sounds to achieve a larger-than-life sound, filling out the audio spectrum and tailoring the mix for large club sound systems.

Techno and trance, the two primary dance music genres that developed alongside house music in the mid 1980s and early 1990s respectively, can share this basic beat infrastructure, but usually eschew house's live-music-influenced feel and black or Latin music influences in favor of more synthetic sound sources and approach.

Further reading

  • Sean Bidder Pump Up the Volume: A History of House Music, MacMillan, 2002, ISBN 0752219863
  • Sean Bidder The Rough Guide to House Music, Rough Guides, 1999, ISBN 1858284325
  • Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey, Grove Press, 2000, ISBN 0802136885
  • Simon Reynolds Energy Flash: a Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture, (UK title, Pan Macmillan, 1998, ISBN 0330350560), also released in US as Generation Ecstasy : Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture (US title, Routledge, 1999, ISBN 0415923735)
  • Hillegonda C. Rietveld This is our House: House Music, Cultural Spaces and Technologies, Ashgate, 1998, ISBN 1857422422


  • Peter Shapiro (2000) Modulations: A History of Electronic Music: Throbbing Words on Sound, ISBN 189102406X.

External links