19 Subgenres And Types of House Music

House music just keeps on spawning offspring.

With its roots in the 1980s Chicago club scene, it’s has evolved into a vast genre with numerous subgenres.

Most types of house music, or subgenres if you prefer, can be recognised by at least one or two unique musical characteristics.

Here’s my hand curated list of the main current house music subgenres, with a brief description of each…

…along with an example tune for your further enjoyment.

subgenres of house music in black text on vivid yellow and green diagonally split background

Subgenres and Types of House Music

Some types of house music are very distinct, while others are pretty similar.

While a few sub-subgenres, like maybe piano house for example, don’t really need mentioning because they haven’t really carved out a unique niche…in my opinion!

So let’s crack on and take a look at the current main subgenres of house music.

In alphabetical order so as to avoid favouritism.

Acid House

House music, but a little bit faster, plus the synth squelches made possible by the groundbreaking (at the time) Roland TB-303

…and acid house…was born.

Acid house is less clinical and a fair bit more abstract than classic house music.

Acid house got going in 1987 with the release of Phuture’s ‘Acid Tracks’ and the legendary Ron Hardy playing the track at Music Box in Chicago.

The sound took off in the U.S. as it did over in the U.K. with what’s now known as the ‘Second Summer of Love’, back in 1988.

Here’s a nifty little example of some quality acid house:

Afro House

Traditional African rhythms, instruments, and vocals, on top of the electronic beats, synthesizers and the deep basslines of house music.

Afro house has a unique blend of sounds, rhythmic patterns and lyrical content.

Artists such as Black Coffee, Afro Warriors and Osunlade, have been instrumental in bringing Afro house to a wide audeince.

Bass House

House music with strong influences from bass music.

Heavy and aggressive basslines and energetic drops.

Chicago House

The original form of house music.

Characterized by its use of the Roland TR-707 and TR-909 drum machines, simple basslines, and gospel-infused vocals.

The tune below is a great example of Chicago house.

It is the original form of house music, and as such, it is not as fully formed as what people would tend to think of as house music today.

Deep House

Originating in the 1980s and characterised by a slightly reduced tempo, soulful vocals, funkier chords, deep basslines, and atmospheric soundscapes.

Deep house draws influences from Jazz, Funk, and Soul, creating a more introspective vibe compared to other house music subgenres.

Over time, deep house has evolved and blended with other genres, maintaining its core emphasis on depth, emotion, and atmosphere.

Here’s a little taster by deep house masters ‘Inland Knights’:

Electro House

Elements of classic house, electro, and sometimes even dubstep.

Heavy, driving basslines and anthem-like melodies.

Not sure what I mean? Here’s a particularly awesome electro house tune:

French House

Infusing the funky beats of classic disco with smooth drum patterns and a deep, rich use of filter effects, producers such as Alan Braxe, Bob Sinclar, and Cassius crafted the distinctive French house sound within the broader house music genre.

But it was Daft Punk who catapulted the subgenre to widespread fame, playing a pivotal role in getting dance music as a whole to wider global audience.

Funky House

Often described as a fun and upbeat subgenre of house music it’s easy to think that funky house is going to be a little bit lightweight.

And it’s fair to say that it can be lightweight and a bit sickly sweet at times.

Produced and DJ’d well, funky house incorporates just the right amount of disco and funk, along with catchy hooks and groovy basslines.

Here’s some funky house at its very best:

Future House

Emerging in the 2010s with producers like Tchami and further popularized by artists such as Oliver Heldens, future house set out to represent “house music that hadn’t yet come to be.”

Distinguished by its energetic, ‘metallic’ drops inspired by UK garage, this subgenre has pushed the boundaries of house into new places.

Garage House

U.S. Garage House, originating in the 1980s from New York’s Paradise Garage club, evolved from disco.

Soulful vocals, deep melodic basslines and organic instrumentals, like pianos and strings, are this subgenre’s defining elements.

While it shares some roots with UK Garage, such as soul and R&B influences, the two genres have distinct rhythmic structures and histories.

Hard House

Hard house can be a bit full-on, but back in the day, I used to love going to hard house clubs.

With BPM’s in the range of anywhere from 135 to 165, its heightened tempo and driving basslines were definitely not for everyone.

Built on the foundations of house, and with heavy elements of trance and techno, the subgenre was first brought to prominence on the UK underground scene by the late Tony De Vit.

Tony De Vit achieved what any DJ would love to achieve, in that his sound at the time was so unique…

…as soon as he started playing, you knew it was him.

If done properly, hard house creates a powerful and euphoric atmosphere. If done badly, it makes your ears bleed.

Never heard of Tony De Vit? Enjoy this perfectly crafted beautiful banger:

Latin House

Do you love the infectious rhythms of Latin American music and the pulsating beats of house music?

Yes? You do?

Well then, the sonic fiesta that is Latin house must absolutely blow your mind!

Salsa, samba, reggaeton, on top of electronic house beats, make this a very multicultural house subgenre.

Lo-Fi House

Raw and unpolished, often with a layer or two of vintage synths.

The sound of lo-fi house often includes sound imperfections that add towards creating that nostalgic and atmospheric feel.

A little low on excitement for my liking.

Progressive House

House music meets trance; is that progressive house? Pretty much I think, but maybe not exactly.

Progressive house producers and DJs followed in the footsteps of their progressive rock counterparts before them, by looking to take their listeners on a guided musical journey.

Build-ups are often long and precise, and break-downs are carefully crafted and managed.

Sometimes it works a treat, other times it’s boring and tedious.

I definitely do have a love/hate relationship going on with progressive house.

But this track! This track is progressive house at its best.

Soulful House

Emotive, rich vocals of soul with the drive, tempo and electronic rhythms of house music.

What’s not to like?

Expressive and uplifting is where soulful house is at.

Heartfelt lyrics, soulful vocal performances, catchy melodies, danceable beats.

It’s got it all going on.

Tech House

Tech house merges the rhythmic patterns and grooves of classic house with the rawer, edgier, more industrial textures and dynamics of techno.

Tech house definitely takes production styling elements from progressive house, but applies its techno influenced feel.

Tech can be a relatively laid-back sound, or it can be pretty full-on.

As an example of a tech house tune, I’ve decided to go down the ‘full-on’ route.

Tribal House

A rhythmically intense subgenre of house music that draws on indigenous and world music influences.

Complex, layered percussion, ethnic drums and instruments, along with a little vocal chants to evoke a primal energy…

….and bingo, you’ve got yourself a tropical house tune.

Robbie Rivera and Danny Tenaglia have both played a very significant role in tribal house becoming a fully-fledged subgenre of house music.

Tropical House

One of the many great things about music is that, just like all art forms, beauty is in the eye (or ear) of the beholder.

And here’s a fine example: loads of people absolutely love the tropical house, with its signature light and breezy soundscapes.

Me, on the other hand, I find listening to a full tropical house track similar to eating half a dozen doughnuts on the bounce…

…it just makes me feel nauseous.

Vocal House

A seriously soulful subgenre of house music.

Vocal house combines the rhythmic, electronic beats of house with powerful and often emotive vocals.

“Another Chance” by Roger Sanchez is a great example of some top-quality vocal house.

And if catchy melodies and heartfelt lyrics are definitely your thing; give the tune below a spin.

You probably know it already as it’s one of the finest house tunes ever made. But, if it’s new to you, you’re in for a treat.

Types of House – Listed

If you can’t be arsed to read any of the above, just take a look at this list.

Quicker and easier for anyone in a rush.

Acid HouseCharacterized by its repetitive, hypnotic rhythms and the distinctive squelch of the Roland TB-303 bass synthesizer, acid house marked a significant shift in electronic dance music in the late 1980s.
Afro HouseA subgenre that combines traditional African music elements, such as percussion and vocal styles, with the structure and elements of house music.
Bass HouseCombines elements of house music with influences from bass music, featuring heavy and aggressive basslines and energetic drops.
Chicago HouseThe original form of house music, characterized by its use of the Roland TR-707 and TR-909 drum machines, simple basslines, and gospel-infused vocals.
Deep HouseA slower, more melodic and soulful form of house music that blends deep basslines with harmonious chords, often incorporating elements of jazz and funk.
Electro HouseA hard-hitting subgenre that blends elements of house, electro, and sometimes dubstep, known for its heavy bass and anthem-like melodies.
French HouseIncorporates elements of funk, disco, and filter effects, characterized by its use of samples from classic disco tracks, creating a groovy and uplifting sound.
Funky HouseA fun and upbeat subgenre that incorporates disco and funk samples, known for its catchy hooks and groovy basslines.
Future HouseA modern evolution of house music that blends deep house, garage, and other genres, characterized by its futuristic sounds, basslines, and more pronounced drop sections.
Garage HouseOriginating from the New York and New Jersey club scenes, it combines elements of house music with prominent vocal performances.
Latin HouseInfuses house music with Latin American instruments, rhythms, and vocals, creating a vibrant and rhythmic dance music style.
Lo-fi HouseKnown for its raw, unpolished sound, incorporating vintage synthesizers, noise, and imperfections to create a nostalgic and atmospheric mood.
Progressive HouseKnown for its build-ups and breakdowns, progressive house layers melodies and harmonies over lengthy compositions, often leading to a climactic release.
Soulful HouseMerges house music with elements of soul, incorporating organic sounds, emotive vocals, and smooth melodies.
Tech HouseA blend of techno and house music, tech house combines the soulful elements of house with the more synthetic and percussive aspects of techno.
Tribal HouseCharacterized by its use of drum patterns and percussion elements inspired by indigenous music from around the world, often featuring chants or vocal samples.
Tropical HouseA subgenre that incorporates instruments and sounds that evoke a tropical feel, such as steel drums, marimbas, or flutes, often with a more laid-back beat.
Vocal HouseFocuses on strong, soulful vocals and harmonious melodies, often featuring full vocal performances that are central to the track.

Wrap Up!

Done and dusted, my hand-curated list of house music subgenres.

You may love some of these house subgenres, and you may dislike some.

Different strokes for different folks.

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