DISCO THEQUE

June 3, 2007 – 10:45 pm

DISCO THEQUE
 
The Origin Of Discotheque
Disco is a type of dance matched with pop or popular music with a character of its own – in other words a genre dance. It is an admixture of funk and soul music that became popular in dance clubs or discotheques in the mid 1970’s.

Some of the prominent Disco performers were Donna Summer, The Jackson Five, Barry White, The Bee Gees and Abba. Films like Saturday Night Fever and Thank God Its Friday made disco theque more popular than ever before. During the 1980’s although the popularity of Disco music began to wane off it left its genre music on the dance music that followed – House and Techno. 
The name Disco was not introduced until an article of September 1973 in a magazine – Rolling Stone Magazine, was given the title “[[Discotheque]] Rock 72: Paaaaarty!”  But Disco was born much earlier in the late 1960’s when Jerry Butler’s haunting melody was the first case of a combination of music with dance. This particular song brought about the marriage between Philly and New York soul – both being evolutions of Motown Sound. The Philly sound is lavish percussion. 1972 Soul Makasso is said to be one of the first disco songs. 
It was the Bee Gees who came to represent real Disco theque. The group till then was famous for their ballads and pop songs challenging the supremacy of The Beatles. Their success numbers were released again on the Saturday Night Fever movie soundtrack.
Disco spread to Europe through the jivings of Abba from the mid seventies. Boney-M was another group of four West Indian singers cum dancers who guided by West German record producer Frank Farian, soon became a great hit in Canada and Japan. 
The latter half of the seventies saw clubs reverberating with Disco music. The culture centered on discotheques, nightclubs, and private parties where DJ’s played disco hits through power sound systems. Long single records kept people dancing throughout the night. Even some of the most prestigious clubs matched their lighting arrangements to swish to the beat of Disco theque. Dancing schools sprung up in some cities and candidates were taught how to ‘touch dance’, ‘hustle’ and ‘cha cha’. Disco fashions then hit the market with Halston dresses for women, shiny Qiana shirts for men – pointed collars and open at the chest worn with double knit jacket suits. Disco culture soon became a shelter for those on the fringes of society – they found a way to express themselves. 
Critics dubbed Disco as hedonistic following the introduction of drug subculture to the Disco theque scene. Moral degeneration set in with public sex. It was a sort of revolt against a hypocritical society. Famous disco bars were cocaine filled celeb hangouts such as Manhattan’s Studio 54, Loft, Paradise Garage and Aux Puces.
Disco reached its height of popularity during the mid seventies. Many of the numbers recorded were not strictly disco but an admixture of pop and rock. Even the Rolling Stones tried their talents with a little bit of disco. But nobody could equal The Bee Gees. John Travolta’s career was zoomed with the move “Saturday Night fever”. This was the first instance ever that the soundtrack was released even before the film. The first song was “How Deep is your Love.” Soon several parodies rushed into the market. 
Disco sound is mainly based on strings and horns accompanied by reverberating vocals mixing with electric pianos and chicken-scratch guitars. Dramatic minor and major seventh chords dominate disco music. The other instruments in used are bass guitar, piano, string synth with electrocoustic keyboards. There are drum kits and electronic drums together with harp, violin, viola, trumpet, saxophone, trombone, clarinet, flugelhorn, French horn, tuba, English horn, oboe, flute and piccolo. The songs usually have a steady four-on-the floor beat. It has affinity with Dominican meringue, rumba, samba and cha-cha-cha rhythms. A synthesizer is sometimes used to replace the bass guitar.
Mainstream disco branched off into regional styles during the mid seventies by many formal musicians. Keeping the same broad traits of disco the new types came to get an individual stamp of the singer and the orchestra. Notable among them were The Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. Disco thus came to be arranged and composed by experienced arrangers and orchestrators. It required large number of instruments and a team, which included the conductor, copyists, record producers and mixing engineer. Disco songs used as many as 64 tracks of vocals and instrumentals. Mixing engineers thus had a very important role. They created a distinctive sounding known as disco-mix. DJ’s were important for popularizing disco and consequently its sales.
After several years of popularity rock music began to gain on disco. Disco music and fans were branded as silly and effeminate. Sexual promiscuity and drug abuse came to be strongly frowned upon.  Others were put off by the exclusivity of the disco atmosphere where only the typically dressed were allowed in. There were cries against music centering on drums and synthesizers instead of live performers. Rock fans accused disco for representing all that was synthetic, fake and elitist while they stood for all that was earthy and real. Disco seemed to favor black women divas, gay males and anything alternative. Matters got complicated with rock music absorbing a lot of disco music. It was musical fusion. The emergence of punk and New wave spelt doom for disco. This backlash against disco took place mainly in US and not in UK or Europe where it continued to hold sway for a longer period. Music historians say that disco died on 12th July 1979 when an anti-disco demonstration was held in Chicago. ‘Disco Demolition Night’ was staged when disco records were destroyed and riots broke out. It took on the hues of war between blacks and whites. During the early 80’s disco sound began to be phased out giving way to funk and pop genres. Complicated Melodic structure and orchestration of dance music came to be dropped. 
In 1990’s discos started to make a comeback – the original variety. It continued to 2000 with songs as Kylie Minogue’s Spinning Around. The last words on Disco have not been written as yet.  

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  1. One Response to “DISCO THEQUE”

  2. it very beautiful.
    i like to go discotheque

    By chirag manchanda on Aug 5, 2010

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