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The Evolving History of House Music: From the Past to the Present
House music originated in the unique underground clubs of Chicago, Illinois in the early 1980s. A direct descendent of disco, djs originally took disco songs and “rehooked” or retooled disco them into “house music”. House music became more mainstream in the mid to late 1980s in Europe and North America. One popular house hits included the 1987 hit “Pump Up the Volume” by MARRS. Moreover, in the 1990s, house became more mainstream with popular artists like Madonna, U2, Janet Jackson, Daft Punk, Bjork, C+C Music Factory adopting house beats.
How did “House” Get Its Name?
In the early part of the 1980s, Chicago club DJs Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy – along with Chicago radio DJs “The Hot Mix 5” from the radio station WBMX-F played music that incorporated older disco music with newer European beats. Other effects such as drum machines and rhythmic electronic instrumentation were also sometimes added to create a unique sound.
The term “house music”, itself, is believed to have originated from the popular Chicago club called The Warehouse where DJ Frankie Knuckles played. At this club, DJ Knuckles played remixed versions of the classics – along with underground music from artists in the city. As it was the only place that would play that type of music in the city, many artists relied on the club for exposure. Meanwhile, at a local records store called Importes Etc, the music that DJ Knuckles played at the Warehouse was given a “as heard at the Warehouse” label. Eventually, they shortened this phrase to simply “House music” and patrons would visit the store looking for the newest house music. Thus, house became the word to describe the style of music played at “The Warehouse”. All that said , the recording “”It's House” by Chip E. in 1985 may have further helped to label this electronic music form.
The Present State of House Music
On August 10th of 2005, the mayor of Chicago declared a “House Unity Day” in Chicago to celebrate the 21st anniversary of house music and the 21st anniversary of the founding of the Chicago house label Trax Records. This event essentially recognized Chicago as the original home of house music. Over the following decade, various house music related events were founded during this time period – including Miami’s Winter Music Conference and the Shambhala Music Festival. Further, house music spread its appeal throughout the world and gained popularity in areas such as the Middle East.
Popular Types of House Music:
That said, there are a wide variety of different styles of house music available to listeners. Some of the more popular styles of house include:
Deep House: originating in the 1980s, this style of house music originally incorporated Chicago house with a bit of soul music and 1980s jazz-funk music. Sometimes having an acoustic feel, these tracks generally have 120-130 beats per minute and are about seven to ten minutes in length.
Minimal House: also referred to as microhouse, this house music subgenre is influenced by minimalism and techno music from the 1990s. These tracks consist of about 130 beats per minute. That said, instead of drums, minimal house uses static, clicks, and related sounds. Sampling is often used to achieve these different sounds and effects.
Big Room House: developed In the early 2010s, this electro-house subgenre began to develop in the early 2010s. This style of music incorporates minimalist percussion drops, simple melodies, regular beats, sub-bass layers, etc and basically has the same track layout as a electro-house style of song
Tech House: is a type of subgenre of house music that mixes techno elements with house music. While tech-house utilises the general structure of house music, loud drum beats and jazz sounds are replaced with techno music elements that can include more synthetic sounds, louder snares, and related sounds. While some producers also add vocals, all tech house music tracks usually have a rich techno bassline throughout.
Electro House: Electro house is similar to tech house in that this house sub-genre contains similar elements that include a strong bassline. However, electro house also can include electro-influenced vocal and/or instrumental samples and electro-influenced Synth elements. With a tempo of about 128 to 130 beats per minute, more modern songs also may feature a “dirty” bass sound.
Overall, the history of house music is an interesting one and simply reinforces the fact that house music will only continue to evolve and grow in the near future.