IntroductionMusic has a different meaning for everybody and we all feel differently about music.
For someone it can be just a time entertainment by listening to it when driving cars or walking around, for others it is medicine, others relate on it businesswise and for me, music is everything of it. It is an entertainment, it is medicine, it is business, it has a special meaning in my life and is what I want to dedicate my life to. I first started exploring music when I started playing the flute and later on the guitar. I clearly saw how much music helped me in difficult situations of my life and how much I enjoyed it.
I started exploring different genres and ended up singing in youth choirs and playing in different musicals throughout my adolescence. The idea of working within the music world came to me when I started college. I was not a big fan of the economy, management or any other related business subject. My father always had his problems with my idea of working within the music world, but saw that music really fascinated me and that there was no way he could stop me from following my dreams. My personal music appreciation is a combination of traveling around the world and gets to know many new people and their different cultural backgrounds. Talking to people and comparing the music styles and tastes gave me a whole new way of looking at music.
Besides the beautiful sounds and diversity of its genres, I started looking at music as a business and that was also when I decided to study music business in London. As London is one of the most multi-cultural cities on earth I got to know a lot of new people and new music genres and the one genre on which I relate myself mostly in the house music genre. House music has something in it that made it very special to me. For me, it was especially the beat, the mood and the numerous styles in house music. For me, house music is a perfect daily balance between enjoyable and different music. As for other genres, I sometimes get bored listening to it, because a lot of recordings are quite similar and related one to the other, house music has this perfect balance of being different in styles but still being an enjoyable type of music. It really depends on my mood, as sometimes I might be down and prefer listening to chilled music, such as Bon Iver, but most of my time I spend listening to house music, as I can choose between something a bit heavier, such as garage house music or something smoother and easier to listen to, such as tropical house music. One very important thing is that for me house music offers a lot of festivals and artists I really like and engage with, plus it is a genre that shows how easy it can be to be successful in the music industry.
HistoryIn 1977 Chicago’s Southside was one of the first clubs to experience this new kind of music, called House Music. House music is part of the dance music genre and spread very quickly since it first was played in clubs, across Chicago and New York. One of the pioneers in house music was Frankie Knuckles, who simply mixed old disco classics, with new euro beat pop music. It was never supposed to get that big, as this new clubs called warehouses were experimental and were not meant to be as successful as they were throughout the years. The Warehouse club got also famous for being the start of the career of Acid House, one of the biggest influencers for the house music genre. In New York, in the meantime, the club called Paradise Garage wrote its own history, as by putting on house music they broke barriers of race and sexuality, as everyone was more than welcome and all those people were just interested in the diversity of this newly emerging genre.
House music derives from disco music, but its beats are deeper, rawer and were designed to make people dance. Throughout the years the genre evolved into many sub-genres with influences coming from America and Europe. Every sub-genre has a different appeal to people. Same as disco music, house music started as an underground genre, which throughout the years gained mass appeal and is still today one of the biggest music movements in history. House music was first associated with the African-American community and with gay people, which made it quite hard for it to emerge and be tolerated.
The two main cities which wrote history were Chicago and New York and basically mixed gospel, soul, jazz, funk and Latin salsa to one united sound. RootsThe gain of house music was to free the minorities from their daily struggles and unite all races and minorities through dance. A very important movement at that time, that helped house music in its acceptance, was the civil rights movement (1954-68) where Martin Luther King demanded equality and acceptance for minorities and African-American communities. But not everywhere house music meant liberation and equality.
In the United Kingdom, young people were dissatisfied with the meaningless materialism at that time. House music was a movement to protest against it without violence. But even though it was the materialism that pushed them to be part of the house music movement, the aim of it was still to unify all races, backgrounds and sexual orientations. House music is very similar to the Punk and Hippie movement, because also they had the aim to be free, not being part of anybody and live apart from the normal society. Cultural and political conditionsAcid House and Rave were the biggest youth revolution where large groups of young people came together for a unified style of music and same beliefs. All that house music wanted to do was to send uplifting messages and positivity through music to the society.
It mainly spoke to the outcasts of society which were African-Americans and gay people at that time. House music meant to come together and finally feel like a community, without discrimination, and with acceptance. As Marshall Jefferson said, “House music is a church for people who have fallen from grace”, with which he meant minorities and different races. Nobody ever thought that a music movement could achieve such an important historical goal, which in the 1980s lead to creating integrated and progressive spaces for minorities so that they could be able to dance and celebrate together. InfluencesHouse music has mainly been influenced by two genres: soul and disco music.
Throughout the years, house music has been influenced by techniques of producing music, such as audio mixing, editing techniques, audio engineering and garage music techniques. House music has some typical characteristics such as long, repetitive and percussive arrangements, which makes it different to other music genres. House music is very different from pop music, as often there are no lyrics and if there are lyrics they are often meaningless as it is all about the sounds and not what people say. Early house music used to be mixes of already existing disco and punk music, from where it then evolved throughout the years. ValuesHouse music has its own values on which its music is based.
The biggest aim is to liberate minorities (gays, black communities, and others) from their daily struggles in society. The style of the music is designed in such a way that people can all dance together and feel the music. Throughout the years’ house music has proved that the aim is to spread positive vibes to people and to be different from everything else, by integrating every culture, every background, every style, race, and communities. As mentioned before, house music was a call for equality through music, and that is why vocals are meaningless, as the rhythm is the most important part of the music. Influence of TechnologyAs house music developed from underground dance music and with the halt of dance music it was quite hard for DJs to find new music they could mix with. This kind of struggle let them to further explore remixing and re-editing of music. Throughout their exploring of editing and mixing, new deeper and rawer sounds were created.
At that time synthesizers and drum machines were cheaper to buy and gave DJs more accessibility to new technology. Frankie Knuckles was one of the pioneers in house music, as he was one of the first ones to fuse disco music with soul music and then he added a four-on-the-floor beat and a drum machine. This was the moment when house music mainly was associated with his music and style of producing it. The accessibility of new music technology continued to drive the creation of new house music styles. It also gave bedroom DJs the chance to create their own music by using drum machines, synths, and vocals, which was the beginning of emerging sub-genres all over the world and which made house music so popular in such a short amount of time. Important sub-genresThroughout the years’ house music emerged a lot of new sub-genres which were evolved all over the world. Although of the numerous number of sub-genres, there are a few which characterized house music in a specific way.
In the 1980s Acid House was a very experimental type of house music, but was also one of the first styles created in house music. It was characterized by repetitive beats, hypnotic and trance features. The Chicago House Music was the original house music with simple bass lines, four-to-floor-beats, hi-hats, synths and was mainly influenced by jazz, disco, and hip-hop tracks. Disco House Music was very important as it renewed the interest in the 70s and 80s music including disco, Italo, and post-punk genres. One of the first house music genres with its origins in New York was the Garage House, which developed alongside with Chicago’s house scene and influenced each other.
It is a very piano oriented, soul and disco music with its emphasis on vocals, which was very untypical for house music, as the vocals normally were not important at all. One of the latest sub-genres, but at the same time very important sub-genre is the Tropical House Music. It is characterized by its summer feeling instruments such as saxophone, steel drums, electro synths, and marimbas.
It got so famous and important as a lot of young DJs got famous by producing this type of sub-genre and because it is a very easy listening house music sub-genre. Tropical House MusicIt is the latest and youngest sub-genre of house music and got so famous because it was featured a lot at big festivals, such as Tomorrowland, which is one of the most famous and biggest festivals on earth. Pioneers of this sub-genre are Thomas Jack, Kygo, and Klingande.
Tropical house music started as a joke, the same as the whole house music movement started. The Australian DJ Thomas Jack had this silly idea to mix an existing tune with his saxophone. He never thought that is would get so famous and even less he thought that he was the starter of a whole new sub-genre of house music. Tropical house music is characterized by synthesized instruments and kick drum patterns with uplifting and relaxing sounds. It has also a slower tempo than the deep house music and the main instruments used in it are the saxophone, steel drums, marimbas, guitars, flutes, and violins, which produce the so known ‘summer vibes’.
It got so mainstream because of its young producers who promoted the new style through social media platforms and because of its easy way of production, which can be done from someone’s bedroom. CommercializationThe commercialization of any music is one of the most important aspects of its success. With house music, it is different, as it already started from the beginning, even if that had never been the intention of the first producers. By playing house music in its first nightclubs in Chicago, New York, and London, it was promoted and commercialized because people started talking about it and started inviting other people.
What makes it so unique in its commercialization, is that every country had an own evolution of house music, which gained acceptance and got famous because people started liking it, as it was a style developed by them. Still, it is very hard to find a showcase which specifies the business model of house music. It mainly is the lifestyle of house music that led to a commercialization. The idea of being free and together in one community emphasized it to the people and even nowadays people want to live free apart from everybody else. Although, the biggest commercialization happened in the last few years, by featuring house music on big events, such as festivals. What cannot be forgotten is that fashion played and still plays a big part in the commercialization of music, so did house music, especially through the latest sub-genre, the tropical house music.
That was when the term hipster was used for the first time. Hipster made it so famous, because they replicate the new generation of house music listeners, with their way of living, which is similar to the beginnings of house music, together, free and no barriers of race or sexuality. Which shows that even though house music went through evolution and formed different sub-genres it is still based on its beginning principle of being unified and free.
ConclusionHouse music was and still is one of the biggest musical movement of the past decades. The revolution gained, not just in a music manner, but also in connection with society and human rights are very unique, as it gained social rights for minorities, African-Americans, and gays. The movement is very similar in many different aspects to the punk and hippie movement, which was to create a unified music style, community and an escape from daily struggles. Even if house music is quite old, it managed to remain a very important genre and is still in the process of evolution.
One of the most important achievements though was the revolution it did to the music industry, by mixing, re-mixing and editing a different kind of styles into a big unified genre. It is safe to say that house music is still going to be a very important genre in the future and an important base for new types of styles and genres.