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date: 22 October 2019

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  • Geeta Dayal

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A genre of Electronic Dance Music that originated in Chicago in the mid-1980s following the birth of techno in nearby Detroit. Chicago nightclubs such as the Warehouse (where the name “house” is said to have originated), the Music Box, and the Power Plant hosted predominantly gay, black, and Latino clientele. Pioneering house DJs, such as Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy, and key labels, notably Trax and DJ International, introduced house music to a mass audience.

House and techno both feature a 4/4 meter (“four on the floor”), with a kick drum sounding on every beat. Ample use of hi-hats, as well as snare hits or handclaps on the second and fourth beat lend a syncopated “disco” feel to a steady kick drum pulse. House music borrows heavily from disco and soul—producers emphasized melody and vocals, and added embellishments such as drum fills and strings. The tempo of house music tracks hovers around 120 beats per minute (as opposed to techno tracks, which range from 120 to upwards of 140 beats per minute). The Roland TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines were often used to provide the drum tracks for house music. The Roland TB-303, a “bass synthesizer,” was often utilized by house producers for its unique timbres—the twitchy, rubbery synth lines produced by the TB-303 spawned the sub-genre of acid house....

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