House music refers to a sub-category of electronic music with a tempo in the close vicinity of 128 beats per minute. Slower tracks will more likely be assimilated to deep house, whereas uptempo tunes will belong to the hard house subgenre. House is easily recognizable by its 4x4 construction, meaning that the sound is likely to change at the beginning of every musical sentence (comprising 16 beats). At that point, a charley may be added, a new tom might kick-in, a hi-hat be removed, or a diva might start whining about love and such nonsense.
Popular wisdom has it that the word "house" was coined after Chicago's Warehouse Club, in which DJ Frankie Knuckles defined the musical genre in 1977 (ironically enough, DJ Larry Levan, who declined a position as Warehouse's main spinner, was simultaneously giving birth to the garage, a breakbeat-laced house named after his NYC club's Paradise Garage). A new musical opportunity arose as the "disco sucks" campaign reached its climax: worn out by reckless commercial exploitation, disco (house's first cousin) was an agonizing genre. Knuckles started importing European tunes (mostly electronic Britpop and cheesy Italian productions), and blended them on his infamous turntables.
The spiced-up, rhythm-focused disco played in the Warehouse gradually attracted flocks of clubbers and was a signal for many Chicago-based labels to start producing house music, with the creative help of God-status DJs like Ron Hardy, Larry Heard, Adonis, Marshall Jefferson, Cajmere, etc. Various spin-offs (no pun intended) since emerged, like the Acid House (a tranced-up version widely popular during 1988's British Summer of Love, made feasible by the Roland TB-303) and Detroit-based techno music, with godfathers such as the Detroit Three acknowledging Chicago as the birthplace of their inspiration.
"House is more than a word, more than a sound, more than four beats per measure.
House is you, the one - reading, writing, listening to it, dancing, DJing, producing
and loving it." - DJ Pierre