House music, developed in the early 1980’s in US cities including Chicago and New York City, followed disco and 1970’s rock music and continues to remain very popular today. House music was supposedly named after The Warehouse, one of the first nightclubs in Chicago to play this new musical form. However, some people believe the term came about because some of the first house music was mixed in people’s homes.
By the mid-1980’s, house music grew in popularity in the UK and slowly made its way through dance clubs all over Europe. This musical form, with its intense back beats and electronic undertones, has branched into several popular subgenres including Euro house, deep house, acid house, electro house, and tech house.
House Goes Mainstream
Thanks to musicians including Madonna, Janet Jackson, and hundreds of DJ’s wanting to play this type of music in clubs and at private parties, house music continues to enjoy mainstream appeal. Many nightclubs even designate certain nights ‘house music’ nights as this music is very easy and fun to dance to.
Combining other genres such as rock n’ roll, classical, and jazz beats, this musical form has undergone several changes over the years. The result is a genre with many interesting subgenres. But each subgenre has that familiar repetitive beat and reliance on electronic keyboards and drum machines that most people instantly recognize. Add vocals and the music becomes much more than just a series of beats and steady rhythms. Words mixed with these beats can create a more soulful, humanistic sound that can make people feel happy, sad, angry, or euphoric.
Collectors of house records have many new and old recordings to choose from. Because this musical form began in the early 1980’s, vintage house records can be found online, in independent music stores or by contacting other record collectors and dealers.
When looking for house records, collectors should narrow down which subgenres they want to collect to make their search a little easier. Since many well known bands and artists still incorporate house music into their musical styles today, collectors have many recordings to choose from. House music typically relies on 4/4 beats and synthesizers that mimic other musical instruments, particularly the drums. The forms also have a distinctive electronic sound produced by drum machines and sound mixing equipment.
Making Beautiful Dance Music
Repetitive drum beats mixed with sounds created by sound machines are distinguishing characteristics of house music that separate it from other genres including techno and disco. While disco relied on a variety of sounds and beats to get people moving on the dance floor, house is more subtle, depending on the subgenre. Techno typically relies on faster beats with limited vocals. Over the years, many famous DJ’s such as Frankie Knuckles, Juan Atkins, and David Guetta have mixed house music in clubs all over the world.
The future of house is unknown, but still of interest to music lovers as club DJ’s and musicians continue to add to the genre by incorporating different beats and taking from other musical forms to create a unique sound that people enjoy moving to.