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House is a popular style of electronic dance music that originated in the United States in the 1980s . Typical is the most by a drum computer generated rhythm in 4 / 4 - stroke in speed of about 110 to 130 beats per minute : the bass drum on every quarter note ( "Four on the Floor"), snare beats and handclaps on each second quarter note and open Hi-hats on the intermediate eighth note .

House is considered one of the first successful styles of electronic dance music and is still very popular; new variants are constantly emerging. The style of music particularly influenced the emergence of the very successful techno and its scene . Both styles are very similar and sometimes difficult to distinguish from one another, although techno generally describes faster and more “machine-sounding” music than house.

The name "House" comes from the first club in which this type of music was played, the Warehouse in Chicago .


Paradise Garage, the birthplace of the Garage House

The musical origins of house lie in the disco music of the late 1970s, the influence of which is particularly noticeable in harmony and melody. Frankie Knuckles hung up at the Chicago warehouse . Even then it was common for the Disco-Maxis to contain club mixes - this usually meant that there were extensive instrumental passages focused on the rhythm. Knuckles found that it was precisely these rhythm parts that drove the guests into ecstasy, and began by just mixing them together and leaving the rest of the record off. In addition to Knuckles, Marshall Jefferson , Jesse Saunders and Chip E. are the pioneers of the Chicago House . Later, Detroit producers Juan Atkins , Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson picked up on this new love of monotony and developed Detroit techno from it .

At the same time, an important house scene also emerged in New York clubs such as Paradise Garage and The Loft, shaped by DJs such as Larry Levan , François Kevorkian and Eric Kupper . The Paradise Garage was the namesake for the disco-oriented house version of the Garage House .

At the beginning of the 1990s, the term “house” spread in many places as a generic term for various types of electronic, rhythmic music styles, to which even the newly developed techno music was initially subordinated as techno house . This leads to some confusion, however, as there is now a style called Tech House , a technoized form of modern, minimal house music. For most Detroit and Chicago DJs and producers, there is no real distinction between techno and house.

In 2005, the Mayor of Chicago, Richard M. Daley, proclaimed “Chicago House Unity Day” for the first time. August 10th was chosen as the date.

At the beginning of the 2010s, various modifications of the progressive, tech and electronic house began to develop a style with its own characteristics. The style is called big room and is characterized by a catchy, aggressive drop, which is underlaid with a bassline that hits the same. The songs Animals by Martin Garrix and Tsunami by DVBBS and Borgeous brought the first commercial successes of the new house style at the same time in 2013 with several number one placements. Combinations with other styles of music followed, such as hard style or individual house categories.

Character and production

House is characterized by its powerful, bass-heavy sound, which did not exist in this form with Disco. The typical sound is created primarily through the use of a correspondingly powerful bass drum , which is played in the so-called "4-foot", i.e. continuous four beats per measure (also referred to as four to the floor ). The no longer produced Roland TR-808 and TR-909 drum sequencers are particularly popular . In contrast to techno, with its mostly straight, machine-like basic meter, house is often characterized by dotted sixteenths ( shuffle ).

Typical structure of the basic rhythmic structure of a bar in House:

Sixteenth notes 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14th 15th 16
Kick drum x x x x
closed hi hat x x x x x x x x
open hi hat x x x x
Hand claps x x

A commonly used addition that can quickly give the basic structure a typical house characteristic is a snare drum (or rimshot, preferably based on the sound of the TR-808 or TR-909), which is typically placed as follows:

Sixteenth notes 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14th 15th 16
Snare x x

An essential component for the development of house as an independent musical style is also the extreme formalization of the musical structure through the almost exclusive use of sequences whose lengths are powers of base 2. Every eight bars the sound changes through the addition or removal of such sequences. Breakages are avoided in this way. This is easy to understand by simply counting 32 bass drums (four beats per measure times eight measures) from the beginning of a sequence in a classic house song . Then theoretically new instruments begin, drop out or vocals are added, for example. In a classic house song, vocals would never begin in the middle of such a sequence, but always at the beginning. A typical “house disc” is longer than a three-minute radio hit, five minutes and more are the rule. This and the above-mentioned formalization of the musical structure make it easy for a DJ to adjust the speed of several house records to one another ( beatmatching ) and to blend their beginnings and ends into one another in such a way that for the inexperienced listener the impression of a single piece lasting several hours arises.

Music journalists sometimes ascribed an almost spiritual quality to the Chicago , Deep and Minimal House categories , which is also reflected in terms such as Set me free , Wisdom in track titles or vocals samples. House as a term is understood here as an abstract social space created from sounds, into which everyone is invited ( My house is your house and your house is mine ). Musically takes House influences from various previous musical styles from Latin via Soul and funk to disco on the former is electronic music but just as open to as structurally also from the high culture -derived minimal music . This hybrid-like character, which house has in common with hip-hop , and which was only technically possible due to the availability of cheap samplers , has become a model for other current branches of pop music.

Out of the club scene, particularly important were the warehouse in Chicago and the Paradise Garage and Red Zone in New York, the house dance scene associated with house music developed.

Styles with well-known representatives

See also


  • Sean Bidder: Pump Up the Volume: A History of House Music. MacMillan, 2002, ISBN 0-7522-1986-3 .
  • Sean Bidder: The Rough Guide to House Music. Rough Guides, 1999, ISBN 1-85828-432-5 .
  • Bill Brewster, Frank Broughton: Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey. Grove Press, 2000, ISBN 0-8021-3688-5 and in UK: 1999/2006, Headline.
  • Kai Fikentscher: "You Better Work!" Underground Dance Music in New York City. Wesleyan University Press, Middletown (Connecticut) 2000, ISBN 0-8195-6404-4 .
  • Michael Hewitt: Music Theory for Computer Musicians. First edition. US Cengage Learning, 2008, ISBN 978-1-59863-503-4 .
  • Chris Kempster (Ed.): History of House. Castle Communications, 1996, ISBN 1-86074-134-7 . A reprint of magazine articles from the 1980s and 90s
  • Silcott Mireille: Rave America: New School Dancescapes. ECW Press, 1999, ISBN 1-55022-383-6 .
  • Simon Reynolds: Energy Flash: a Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Pan Macmillan (UK), 1998, ISBN 0-330-35056-0 . Published in the USA as: Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture. Routledge, 1999, ISBN 0-415-92373-5 .
  • Rizza Corrado, Trani Marco: I love the nightlife. Wax Production (Rome), 2010
  • Peter Shapiro : Modulations: A History of Electronic Music: Throbbing Words on Sound. 2000. ISBN 1-891024-06-X .
  • Rick Snoman: The Dance Music Manual: Tools, Toys, and Techniques - Second Edition. Chapter 11: House. Elsevier Press, Oxford (UK) 2009. pp. 231-249.
  • Hillegonda C. Rietveld: This is our House: House Music, Cultural Spaces and Technologies. Ashgate, 1998, ISBN 1-85742-242-2 .

Web links

Wiktionary: house  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. 5 Magazine: Spin Slide and Jack: A History of House Dancing. January 8, 2005, accessed December 12, 2019 .