Deep house

Deep house is a subgenre of house music[2] that originated in the 1980s, initially fusing elements of Chicago house with 1980s jazz-funk[3] and touches of soul music.[4] Deep house tracks generally have a tempo of between 120 and 130 BPM (beats per minute), contrasting with the slower hip hop (100 beats per minute) and faster electronic-techno rave music (150 to 180 beats per minute).[5][6]

This style of house music can often have an acoustic feeling.[7] The online music store Beatport is credited with driving the popularity of deep house,[8] but also mislabeling a number of artists in the process[9] and giving rise to the future house genre.


Deep house is known for complex melody, use of unrelated chromatic chords underlying most sequences, and a soul, ambient, or lounge vibe to the vocals (if any). In the early compositions (1988–89), influences of jazz music were most frequently brought out by using more complex chords than simple triads (7ths, 9ths, 13ths, suspensions, alterations) which are held for many bars and give compositions a slightly dissonant feel. The use of vocals became more common in deep house than in many other forms of house music. Sonic qualities include soulful vocals (if vocals are included), slow and concentrated dissonant melodies, and a smooth, stylish, and chic demeanor. The use of women's vocals is more common than male's in deep house tracks. Deep house music rarely reaches a climax, but lingers on as a comfortable, relaxing sound.


Mr. Fingers – "Can You Feel It?" (1986)

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Deep house was largely pioneered by Chicago producers such as Marshall Jefferson (On the House) and Larry Heard (Mr. Fingers)[3] and with tracks such as "Mystery of Love" (1985) and "Can You Feel It?" (1986);[10] the latter had a similar impact on deep house as Derrick May's "Strings Of Life" (1987) did on Detroit techno.[11] The jazzy sound became more common due to the favored use of electric pianos such as the Rhodes and Wurlitzer, and the Hammond organ. Author Richie Unterberger has stated that Heard's deep house sound moved house music away from its posthuman tendencies back towards the lush, soulful sound of early disco music (particularly that of old Philadelphia International and Salsoul records).[12]

Artists, DJs and record labels

Deep house artists, DJs and producers include:

Record labels of the genre include AFTR:HRS, Glasgow Underground, Naked Music, Om Records, Peacefrog Records, Soma, Source and Spinnin' Deep. Examples of deep house albums from artists known from other genres include The Martyr Mantras (1990) and Modernism: A New Decade (1998) from The Style Council.

See also


  1. Matos, Michaelangelo (19 January 2016). "Kygo Delivers Dance Beats, With a Side Order of Pan Flute". The New York Times. For years “deep house” denoted jazzy, R&B-rooted dance music...
  2. 1 2 Ishkur (2005). "Ishkur's guide to Electronic Music". Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  3. 1 2 "Jazz-House". Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  4. Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Soft Skull Press. At the same time, the traditional NYC enclave for gay dance culture—centred on Body and Soul—was self-stifled by its own reverence of the lost golden age of disco.
  5. "List of Average Tempo (BPM) By Genre". 2013. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
  6. Reynolds, Simon (2013). Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture. Soft Skull Press. Perhaps because unlike deep house, none of the sounds used in the style really resemble 'real' acoustic instruments.
  7. Taylor Barnes. "Beatport By The Numbers 10 Analyzed (Part 1)". DJ Master Course. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  8. "Stop calling it deep house". Mixmag. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  9. Iqbal, Mohson (31 January 2008). "Larry Heard: Soul survivor". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  10. "Various Artists - The Kings of House, Compiled and Mixed by Masters at Work". In the Mix. 12 August 2005. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  11. Unterberger, Richie (1999). Music USA: The Rough Guide. London: Rough Guides. p. 265. ISBN 185828421X. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  12. Lekena, Mohato How the pulse of house music keeps South Africa connected Huck Magazine. April 29, 2016
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