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Disco Music

What musical features make disco music dance music?


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September 13, 2011 11:14AM

The heavy kickdrum in simple quadruple time gives a constant rhythm of quarter notes, making it extremely easy for people to catch onto the beat. The usually high vocal and horn parts are very exciting both musically and lyrically and have all the surprises that make music interesting. The thunderous bassline is treated as priority in disco and unlike most music today, lead guitar isn't used because it would compromise the seniority of the bass. Rhythm guitar is used to complicate the musical sound but not keep attention from the simple, steady kickdrum. Rhythm guitar can be thought of as the inner workings of the sound because if it was heard alone it wouldn't make much sense, but hearing it churning with the rest of the parts helps to make sense of the music. Keyboard or fingered electric guitar is often used, but again, always keeps in line with the bass. It adds an interesting, synthesized sound that led to the synthesizer obsession of the 80s.

These are generalities and obviously all of disco cannot have a single answer. But disco mainly keeps priority to the heavy downbeat in 4/4, which nicknamed the meter "four-on-the-floor". Think of it as the dancefloor, if you like.

This is a good example: