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]

This style of house music can often have an acoustic feeling;[4] the online music store Beatport is credited with driving the popularity of deep house,[5] but also with mislabeling a number of artists in the process[6] and with giving rise to the future house genre.


Deep house is known for tempos typically from 110 to 125 BPM,[7][1][8] deep muted basslines (typically using a Roland Juno synthesizer),[9] spacious use of percussion elements (typically using a Roland TR-909 drum machine),[10] soft keyboard sounds (pads), use of advanced chord structures, ambient mixes, and soulful vocals. Lyrics usually focus on positive/uplifting or forlorn modern blues lyrics. In the early compositions (1986–89), 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 pleasantly dissonant melodies, and a smooth, stylish, and chic demeanor; the use of women's vocals is more common than males in deep house tracks. Deep house music rarely reaches a climax, but lingers on as a comfortable, hypnotic and 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);[11] the latter had a similar impact on deep house to that of Derrick May's "Strings Of Life" (1987) on Detroit techno.[12] 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).[13] "Can You Feel It" became a deep house blueprint; Heard used the Roland Juno-60 synthesizer to create the deep bassline,[9] along with a Roland TR-909 drum machine for the beats.[10]

In the 2000s and in the 2010s, the genre remained very popular; however by 2014 the perception of the genre was resulting in a sense that some House music was being labeled Deep inappropriately[14], and the term since has been utilized to encapsulate various types of bassline-driven house music as the genre evolves from its historical origins.

Deep house is represented by record labels such as Innervisions, Defected, Crosstown Rebels, Suara, Mother Recordings, Diynamic, Strictly Rhythm, Exploited, and Enormous Tunes, to name a few.[15]

Artists, DJs and record labels[edit]

For a list of deep house musicians, 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c 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. ^ 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. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Taylor Barnes. "Beatport By The Numbers 10 Analyzed (Part 1)". DJ Master Course. Archived from the original on 14 May 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Stop calling it deep house". Mixmag. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Deep House Music". Armada Music.
  8. ^ "List of Average Tempo (BPM) By Genre". 30 April 2013. Archived from the original on 6 December 2016. deep house: 120-125 bpm
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ a b The Mr. Fingers ‘Can You Feel It’ Bass Line, Synthtopia
  11. ^ Iqbal, Mohson (31 January 2008). "Larry Heard: Soul survivor". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  12. ^ "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. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ Unterberger, Richie (1999). Music USA: The Rough Guide. London: Rough Guides. p. 265. ISBN 185828421X. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  14. ^ "Stop calling it deep house". Mixmag. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  15. ^ "Best Of 2016 Deep House - Labels". mixmag. 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2019.