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With disco music having huge global and mainstream success, it's hard to find someone who doesn't know what it is. Mostly popular in dance clubs and music stores alike, disco has been an overall influence on the popular music of today, and can still be heard in new productions.
Disco music draws sounds from many different genres, such as funk and salsa (music), and influenced some of the later genres, like house music (which later influenced several other genres, such as acid house, techno, trance and other forms of these genres) and pop. Disco uses many types of instruments for its composition, namely the electric bass, guitar and keyboard. Orchestral instruments and different types of horns (trumpet, saxophone, etc...) can also be commonly found in disco.
One of disco's main characteristics is the large number of instruments that are played, to create a full, rich sound. Disco bands can consist of many musicians, including a section for strings and horns, along with the many other "typical" instruments, like the guitar and keyboard. The songs are composed by an orchestrator, and the individual producers will give it the unique qualities of disco.
Another key defining sound is the use of what's known as "chicken-scratch" guitars, filtered and used through the wah-pedal. It will usually be a strum of a chord, followed by a sudden stop and repeat, changing chords as necessary.
It doesn't take an article to know how successful disco was, as a genre, but for the sake of the interested parties, it will be written.
Disco originated in the United States, being developed in the late 1960s. Its highest point in popularity was just before the end of the 1970s, where you couldn't go anywhere without seeing one of those shiny silver balls hanging from the ceiling, commonly known as a 'disco ball'.
The United Kingdom also shared in the success and popularity during the early 1960s, peaking in the mid-1970s. During this time frame, there were many disco songs that made the charts, several of them reaching the top and selling a million or more copies.
At the end of the 1970s however, a rebellion against disco had emerged in the United States, drastically damaging disco's reputation and overall acceptance. In the following years, the genre started steadily declining in popularity and less disco songs made it into the charts.
However (I'm sure you knew this was coming), starting from the late 1980s to the 1990s, disco had started to make its comeback. By the late 2000s, disco had its revival. More and more traditional disco style songs were becoming hits, and festivals dedicated to original disco music would draw thousands of fans. Where it will go from here is left up to speculation.
Average Beats Per Minute: 120-140
Where It Originated: United States
Stylistically Similar To: Funk, Salsa, Psychedelic
Year Developed: Late 1960s
Below is an incomplete list of the many sub-genres that make up disco (in alphabetical order). You are on the "General Disco" page right now, clicking it will return you here.
General Disco - Back to the overview of disco.
Cosmic Disco - Trip out on this slower, more relaxed, space-out form of music.
Eurodisco - Developed in Europe with a disco oriented feel, made for dancing.
Italo Disco - Disco inspired music similar to Eurobeat, popular even today.
Space Disco - Cosmic disco was born from this, so better the check out the roots too!
Nu-Disco - Bringing back the classic sound of disco music! Come get some!
You are at disco music.
Why do you love this genre?