House music has firm roots in disco music and emerged from the Chicago club culture of the late 70s. Following the decline of the once immensely popular disco music style, DJs had to play and mix records via the underground club scene. Two notable artists were Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy who were operating in Chicago and were innovating a new sound. Unlike other dance music DJ’s who were playing conventional playlists, these artists were leading a wave of DJs creating unconventional mixes of early disco and other styles, whilst using synths, drum machines and tape players to create new tracks. 

By the mid-80s house was starting to emerge as a genre and Jesse Saunders’ On and On (1984) can be seen as one of the first definitive house records. From the mid-80s more DJs began exploring this sound and various Chicago DJs were producing their own tracks. House became more popular and reached a wider audience, leading to derivative genres such as deep house, electro house and acid house. House music is characterised by a uniform four-on-the-floor beat as well as off-beat hi-hats and a snare backbeat. The music is typically around 120 bpm and a big part of the sound is the use of iconic drum machines such as the Roland TR-808 and synth melodies. 

Notable artists:

Frankie Knuckles

Ron Hardy

Jesse Saunders

Larry Heard

Marshall Jefferson

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