What is Deep House Music?

todayNovember 27, 2019 394 5

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Deep house music is one of the more than 200 types of electronic music genres that has its unique sound. The question is what is deep house music?

Deep house music is a subgenre of house music that started with the song “Mystery of Love” in 1984 by the DJ and music producer Larry Heard who gave Chicago house a laid-back style with jazz sus chords, concentrated melodies, and soulful vocals.

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Deep house is originally from Chicago that allows to be an alternative to the dark club records produced by house music founder Frankie Knuckles, Larry Heard and Marshall Jefferson.

Deep house music initially began as an underground genre. Late in the nineties, it received commercial attention thanks to Deep Dish, Ewan Pearson, Kings of Tomorrow and House of 909. Around that period a split took place between the traditional deep house sound and a stream that was inspired by minimal.

Deep house is known for its low tempo from 110 to 125 BPM and its soulful characteristics. Now you know what deep house is and why deep house is deep.

Below you can listen to “Can You Feel It”, a real deep house track by Larry Heard (Mr. Fingers). This song became a blueprint for many deep house music producers. In this song, the Roland Juno-60 synthesizer is used to create the deep bassline and the Roland TR-909 drum machine is used for the beats.

Is Deep House EDM?

There is a big debate about deep house and electronic dance music. Is deep house EDM?

Deep house is not EDM (electronic dance music). The fact is that dance music is a different kind of electronically generated music genre. The term EDM was first mentioned in 1985 by the American music industry, media, and radios with an attempt to re-brand several music genres. In the late 2000s, history repeated itself when they re-branded the rave culture because that was then associated with drugs, even drugs got re-branded. Billboards and major commercial dance labels continue this tradition.

Deep HouseNot Deep House
Samples of acoustic instruments like guitars, pianos and anything that is Blues / Jazz relatedEverything coming from Trance music (eg: Armada Music)
Sampled drums (or portions of a loop)When it sounds like and feels like the Prophet ’08 is a polyphonic analog synthesizer
GroovyWhen it sounds like it’s made in modern moving wavetable
Gospel vocals or soulful vocalsWhen it sounds like it’s made in Europa in Reason 10
0% climax (climax is the most intense and emotional part of the song)When Vengeance Sample packs are used to make deep house
SimpleTriads Major Chords
BreaksTriads Minor Chords
Low bass & Picky bass linesEverything from EDM
Repeating elements or repeating elements but layered differently

If we have to believe the Armada’s explanation, EDM is all danceable electronic music. Armada writes on their website: “Electronic Dance Music is all music produced electronically for the sole purpose of having people dance to it”. See what we did there? Electronic (ally produced) Dance (able) Music.”

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Armada music contradicts in their explanation. Original deep house music is to give chill and relaxed vibes because of the low beats per minute that never reached above 120 BPM and not to go crazy on some happy uplifting music after drinking 20 gallons Monster energy drinks. Nowadays, publish a piece of music and because it is electronic music lets call it deep house.

In the book Crossing Traditions the origin of deep house is once again confirmed.

A quotation of the book: “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.”

Based on Armada Music’s logic, gangster rap, classical, or country is EDM because you can dance on it and nowadays all music is generated partly or completely electronically … I don’t think so!

“That’s all. It’s not that hard, is it?”

Mislabeling of Deep House

EDM is a clumsy and incorrect umbrella name to commercialize the underground deep house and other genre, which results in deliberate mislabeling of deep house and other genres.

On August 27, 2019, Radio Marbella reached out the music portal Beatport for record labels deliberately mislabeling music as deep house music. They were confronted with several examples, one of them is “Framed Stories – So Good (feat. OMZ)“. Beatport reached out the record label in question and they have changed it from deep house to dance music..

In the gallery below it once becomes clear how seriously commercial companies deal with music genres.

What is the Difference Between Dance, Progressive House and Deep House Music?

What is the most recognizable difference between dance, progressive house and deep house?

Dance music emphasizes strong rhythms, in which 2/4 and 4/4 measure is used with usually high entertainment value. Progressive house has comparisons of trance music but has more dreamy and mostly dark melodies with sometimes a tech-house beat as aftertaste. The intention of deep house (4/4) is the opposite of dance music, it’s structure is clearly audible.

SECRET” by Dj Antonio, Slider & Magnit is what you can expect from a dance song, Irreversible progressive house, and “Deep Indeed” is a true deep house song.

electronic music genres tree


Deep house music is a genre that has its unique sound with an interesting history as well as other genres. Radio Marbella wants to make you aware of the industrial commercial musical complex, the media, and mainstream publications and third parties such as Wikipedia that simply put all electronic music genres in the EDM box. Larry Heard and Frankie Knuckles are happy what’s going on here. If EM without the D had been introduced, no many feathers would have been brushed the wrong way.

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Written by: Radio Marbella

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