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Deep House

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Deep house is a subgenre of house music[1][2] that originated in the 1980s, initially fusing elements of Chicago house with 1980s jazz-funk and touches of soul music. Its origins are attributed to Larry Heard's track "Mystery of Love" in 1984.[3]


Deep house is known for tempos typically from 110 to 125 BPM,[4][1][5] muted basslines, spacious use of percussion elements (typically using a Roland TR-909 drum machine),[6] soft keyboard sounds (pads), use of advanced chord structures, ambient mixes, and soulful, predominantly female vocals. Lyrics usually focus on positive/uplifting or forlorn modern blues lyrics. The use of vocals persisted in deep house as new forms of house music often abandoned them, but as of 2019, this difference has largely disappeared.

Influences of jazz music can be found in the use of more complex chords than simple triads -7ths, 9ths, 13ths, suspensions, alterations- and less mainstream chord progressions, giving compositions a slightly dissonant yet pleasant feel. Standard drops and buildups found in mainstream EDM are atypical in deep house.

Slower, more liquid grooves, and a smooth, stylish, chic demeanor make deep house a more mature, sensuous, simmering metaphor for sex than other genres of electronic dance music.[citation needed] It rarely reaches a climax, but lingers on as a comfortable, hypnotic and relaxing pulse, perfect for the small, dimly lit nightclub.


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);[7] the latter had a similar impact on deep house to that of Derrick May's "Strings Of Life" (1987) on Detroit techno.[8] The jazzy sound became more common due to the favored use of gentler, more organic (yet still synthesizer based) production and instrument sounds. 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).[9] "Can You Feel It" became a deep house blueprint; Heard used a Roland Juno-60 synthesizer to create the deep bassline,[10] along with a Roland TR-909 drum machine for the beats.[6]

In the 2000s and 2010s, the genre remained very popular. By 2014, however, the perception of the genre was resulting in a sense that some House music was being labeled Deep inappropriately,[11] and the term has since been used to encapsulate various types of bassline-driven house music as the genre evolves from its historical origins.

Artists, DJs and record labels[edit]

For a list of deep house producers and disc jockeys, see: Deep house musicians

Record labels of the genre include Alleviated Records (Larry Heard), AFTR:HRS, Glasgow Underground, Naked Music, Om Records, Peacefrog Records, Soma, Source, Anjunadeep and Spinnin' Deep. Examples of deep house albums from artists known from other genres include The Martyr Mantras (1990) and Modernism: A New Decade (1989) from The Style Council.

Deep house is also represented by other record labels such as Innervisions, Defected, Crosstown Rebels, Suara, Mother Recordings, Diynamic, Strictly Rhythm, Exploited, and Enormous Tunes, to name a few.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 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. Search this book on
  2. 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...
  3. Resident Advisor (2018-05-08), How Larry Heard made house music deep | Resident Advisor, retrieved 2018-09-30
  4. "Deep House Music". Armada Music.
  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. 6.0 6.1 The Mr. Fingers ‘Can You Feel It’ Bass Line, Synthtopia
  7. Iqbal, Mohson (31 January 2008). "Larry Heard: Soul survivor". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  8. "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. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  9. Unterberger, Richie (1999). Music USA: The Rough Guide. London: Rough Guides. p. 265. ISBN 185828421X. Retrieved 23 July 2012. Search this book on
  11. "Stop calling it deep house". Mixmag. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  12. "Best Of 2016 Deep House - Labels". mixmag. 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2019.

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