What is House Music?

What is House Music? House is an ever-growing genre of electronic dance music normally characterized by a consistent four-on-the-floor drumbeat and a relaxed tempo of 120 to 130 beats per minute. It's the type of stuff that will keep you on the dance floor. 

You should know:

House is by no means a new genre, but has become increasingly popular with younger artists as the years have gone by. However, the evolution of House music has been marked by technological advancements such as the production of large, relatively inexpensive laptop computers and soundboards that have given the hobby of creating deep house tracks a new depth and clarity.

 Technological advancements have enabled those interested in making music to experiment with different musical genres. While deep house continues to be the most popular style of music, the boundaries are constantly being pushed by other less expensive styles.

In fact:

House music and techno are now frequently confused. A recent poll concluded that over 25% of Americans identify techno as their favorite genre, while just as many admitted they did not know what the term "techno" meant. Consequently, this confusion has caused further division within the American population, leaving many individuals frustrated with the often inaccurate opinions and perceptions regarding House music.

House music is generally characterized by high levels of reverb and echo, along with a steady drum beat. While techno music is fast paced, typically containing a heavy bass line, deep house allows for more space between sounds, leading to a disjointed approach. This music often incorporates elements of country, reggae, and classic rock into its sound structure.

Here's the deal:

Many artists who dabble in this style are unaware of the history and legacy of the genre. For those who have come across it, there is little confusion regarding what techno is and what the term deep house really refers to.

 Techno house is generally identified as music that falls somewhere between "legitimate" House music and "bedroom pop". While the two genres share some similarities, such as their massive hit numbers, there are major differences as well. The first key distinction between these genres is the drastic reduction of instrumentation. In typical House music, there is a clear distinction between the drums, the bass, and the other instruments used. With techno, instruments are almost entirely omitted, relegating the music to a purely digital beat.

 Another major difference between the two genres is the lack of vocals.

In techno songs, there is often a distinct lack of sound coming from the vocalist. There is very little volume emitted from the speakers, as opposed to the sharp vocals of most House music. This lack of vocals is indicative of the digital nature of the music. In short, techno is mindless and repetitive, while House tends to be emotional and romantic. 

One final common distinction between the two is the general subject matter. Both techno and deep house tend to deal with a variety of topics, some of which deal with the subject of religion, aliens, and other supernatural beings. While there may be some correlation between the subjects, it is probably not the main focus of the music.

A common occurrence in both genres would be an instrumental that switches out completely often, and the lyrics remain fairly static.

Finally, the two styles share many similarities, but they also have significant differences. Electronic music tends to have a noticeable lack of vocals, whereas deep house tends to rely heavily on them.

Both genres also tend to favor complex beat patterns, a trend that may find its way into pop music down the line. As technology progresses and becomes more integrated into electronic music, this trend is likely to become more entrenched.

So, just what is house music?

It is certainly not the latest, greatest trend in electronic music, but it sure is an interesting twist on an already popular genre. The soulful bliss-boosting, 4-on-the-floor beat-backed tracks are a personal favorite of mine and have been at the fore front of some of my favorite dance parties.

Video: House Music Explained