Deep house

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Deep house is a subgenre of house music.[1][4] It originated in the 1980s, initially fusing elements of Chicago house with 1980s jazz-funk and touches of soul music. Deep house tracks generally have a tempo of between 120 and 125 beats per minute (BPM).[1][5]

This style of house music can often have an acoustic feeling.[6] The online music store Beatport is credited with driving the popularity of deep house,[7] but also mislabeling a number of artists in the process[8] 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.


Deep house was largely pioneered by Chicago producers such as Marshall Jefferson (On the House) and Larry Heard (Mr. Fingers) and with tracks such as "Mystery of Love" (1985) and "Can You Feel It?" (1986);[9] the latter had a similar impact on deep house as Derrick May's "Strings Of Life" (1987) did on Detroit techno.[10] 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).[2]

Artists, DJs and record labels[edit]

For a list of deep house producers, see: Deep house producers

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[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g M'Baye, Babacar; Oliver Hall, Alexander Charles, eds. (2013). Crossing Traditions: American Popular Music in Local and Global Contexts. Scarecrow Press. p. 153. ISBN 9780810888289. Deep house is a subgenre of house music that is revered by its fans for its faithfulness to Chicago house and New York garage. Deep house cooks up a tasty sonic stew from disco, gospel, soul, jazz, funk, Latin, and R & B. Like its predecessors, its simmers at 120 to 125 BPM. What distinguishes deep house from its progenitors is its tendency to overuse shrieking divas, ominous organs, and chord progressions to whip up dance floor drama. 
  2. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie (1999). Music USA: The Rough Guide. London: Rough Guides. p. 265. ISBN 185828421X. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  3. ^ 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... 
  4. ^ Mitchell, Tony (1989). "Performance and the Postmodern in Pop Music". Theatre Journal. 41 (3): 275. JSTOR 3208181. "House" music, and its offshoots acid house, deep house, and techno... 
  5. ^ "List of Average Tempo (BPM) By Genre". 30 April 2013. Archived from the original on 6 December 2016. deep house: 120-125 bpm 
  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. Archived from the original on 6 January 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2012.