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House music, a cornerstone of electronic dance music, emerged from the vibrant streets of Chicago in the early 1980s. This genre, often considered the heartbeat of the electronic music world, rapidly took root in various cities across America, including Detroit, New York City, Baltimore, and Newark, each of which contributed unique flavors to the evolving sound. The infectious rhythm of house music also found a warm embrace in Europe, South America, and Australia during the mid-to-late 1980s, firmly cementing its place on the global stage.

At its inception, house music was a revelation characterized by repetitive 4/4 beats, the pulsating thump of drum machines, hypnotic off-beat hi-hat cymbals, and synthesized basslines. While sharing some traits with its predecessor, disco, house music had a distinctive electronic and minimalist edge. Its essence lay not in complex compositions but in the relentless groove that moved dancers' bodies. Over time, house music has evolved, adapting to changing tastes and musical innovations. Today, it encompasses a wide spectrum of styles, from soulful and atmospheric deep house to the more stripped-down microhouse. This genre has also fused with other musical realms, birthing fusion subgenres like euro house, tech house, electro house, and jump house.

Sub-Genres[]

Deep House[]

Deep House is characterized by its smooth, soulful, and mellow sound, often featuring warm, deep basslines and intricate melodies.  Larry Heard (Mr. Fingers) and Kerri Chandler are pioneers in this genre.

Electro House[]

Electro House is an energetic and bass-heavy subgenre known for its prominent use of synthesizers and a driving, four-on-the-floor beat. Benny Benassi, deadmau5, and Wolfgang Gartner have made significant contributions.

Funky / Groove / Jackin' House[]

This subgenre is all about groove and rhythm, with funky basslines, soulful vocals, and a danceable feel.  Masters At Work (Kenny Dope and Louie Vega), Dimitri From Paris, and Joey Negro have been influential figures.

Future House[]

Future House combines elements of deep house with a futuristic twist, known for its uplifting melodies and strong basslines.  Tchami, Oliver Heldens, and Don Diablo have played pivotal roles in shaping it.

Progressive House[]

Characterized by its melodic and atmospheric qualities, Progressive House often builds gradually with evolving melodies.  Sasha, John Digweed, and Eric Prydz have been key figures in this genre.

Tech House[]

Tech House blends elements of techno and house, featuring infectious rhythms and quirky sound design.  Carl Cox, Green Velvet, and Claude VonStroke are notable figures in the world of Tech House.

Phonk House[]

Phonk House is a subgenre of House that sounds like what it is, (Phonk Characteristics + House). Phonk House shares a lot of characteristics with Phonk genres, the frequent sampling of Memphis Rap samples, 808 cowbells, reese basses, hi-hat emphasis, etc.

The pioneers of house music include legendary artists like Frankie Knuckles, often hailed as the "Godfather of House," whose innovative work combined early disco with fresh, cutting-edge sounds. Ron Hardy, another influential figure, created unconventional DIY mixtapes and pushed boundaries with raw energy in the music club Muzic Box. Marshall Jefferson, known for the iconic track "Move Your Body (The House-Music Anthem)," was drawn into the house music vortex after being captivated by Ron Hardy's sonic wizardry at Muzic Box.

As house music matured, it found its way into the mainstream, influencing iconic pop artists such as Madonna, Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Aretha Franklin, and many more in the 1990s and beyond. The genre experienced a resurgence during the second wave of progressive house (1999–2001) and has continually adapted and merged with other subgenres like G-house, deep house, tech house, and bass house.

In recent years, a new wave of innovators has emerged within the house music scene, pushing its boundaries and keeping the genre fresh. Artists like Jamie Jones, The Martinez Brothers, Peggy Gou, Floating Points, and Black Coffee have played pivotal roles in reshaping house music, infusing it with innovative ideas, and ensuring its enduring appeal to both newcomers and seasoned enthusiasts.

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