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  • the Croatian eurodance group Colonia won the first annual Eurodance contest in 2001 with its song "Za tvoje snene oči"?

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Eurodance
Stylistic origins House - Hi-NRG - Italo-disco - Eurodisco - Techno - Electro - Dance-pop
Cultural origins Western Europe, Early 1990s
Typical instruments Vocals - Electronic keyboard - Synthesizer - Drum machine - Sequencer
Mainstream popularity Large: Europe, Latin America, Canada, Japan

Moderate: Australia, UK, New Zealand, Africa, East Asia (other than Japan)

Weak: United States (limited mainstream interest but can be found in major cities such as Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, New York, Washington, & San Francisco)
Derivative forms Bubblegum dance - Euro-trance - Italodance
Other topics
List of Eurodance artists

Eurodance is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the early 1990s. It combines many elements from House, Hi-NRG and especially Italo-Disco. Starting in the early 1990s and continuing these days, Eurodance production continues to evolve with a more modernized style that incorporates elements from Trance and Techno music.

Eurodance music is heavily influenced by the utilization of rich melodic vocals, either exclusively by itself or inclusively with rapped verses. This, combined with cutting-edge synthesizer, strong bass rhythm and melodic hooks establishes the core foundation of Eurodance music.

Contents

Definition

The term "Eurodance" gradually became associated with a specific style of European dance music over time. During its golden years in the mid 1990s it was just as likely to be referred to as "Euro-House" or "Euro-NRG"; in Europe it was often called "Dancefloor" or simply "Dance".[1]

While some use a much broader definition of what is considered "Eurodance",[2] over time, the term particularly came to refer to an NRG-based genre from the 1990s which included a solo vocalist or a rapper/vocalist duet and is also used to describe later European dance acts such as Cascada.[3]

Eurodance is nightclub-oriented music that is usually produced somewhere in Europe and sounds commercial enough to be played by radio stations and music television. Some of the more prominent Eurodance songs go international, especially if an act manages to score more than one hit.

Characteristics of the music

Most Eurodance is characterized by synthesizer riffs, female vocals with simple chorus, male rap parts, sampling and a strong beat.

Vocals

Eurodance is often very positive and upbeat; the lyrics often involve issues of love and peace, dancing and partying, or expressing and overcoming difficult emotions. The early-mid 1990s Eurodance vocals were frequently done by a solo vocalist or a mixed rapper-vocalist duet.

Many projects utilized variations of the rapper-vocalist theme, such as a German rapper with American singers (Real McCoy), or the use of reggae rap as in Ice MC and Fun Factory, or scat singing as in Scatman John. Solo singing artists such as Alexia, Tess, Whigfield and Double You also contributed to the genre.

Eurodance lyrics are almost always sung in English, regardless of the artist's nationalities. However, some artists release their songs in both English and their native languages.

Percussion

Almost all Eurodance emphasizes percussion and rhythm. Eurodance percussion is generally a "kick" bassdrum with some variations on a 4/4 time signature. While the percussion is always done by synthesizers, it is a sound more typical of dance music and not the "beat box" sound typical of rap music. The tempo is typically around 135 beats per minute, but may vary from 110 to 150 BPM.[4]

Melody

Most Eurodance is also very melody-driven. Besides the contribution of the female vocals, there is often a noticeable use of rapid synthesizer arpeggios. This is a very distinctive feature of Eurodance that separates it from Hi-NRG disco. The synthesizer often has a piano or barrel organ but sometimes mimics other instruments, such as calliope (e.g., "Touch the Sky" by Cartouche). There is often a short, repetitive riff, while other times there is a whole tour de force of synthesizers (e.g., Close To You by Fun Factory). Some songs have a second riff cycling in between verses.

Characteristics of the bands and business

Eurodance is widely commercialized. Some producers, like Max Martin or Larry Pignagnoli, have fronted dozens of bands. From thousands of records released, only a few bands have existed in the mainstream beyond two records. Many acts, such as Captain Jack and Jonny Jakobsen (Dr. Bombay), had a carefully planned humoristic image. A group called E-rotic received attention with sexually provocative lyrics and music videos.

While Eurodance singles regularly went to Gold, Platinum or multi-Platinum status, it had been more difficult to get a full length album to get to the same level of success. Typical problems cited include the album as a whole not up to the strength of the singles, the performers not being charismatic enough to hold the attention of millions of people past a song or two, or weak promotion of the remainder of the album after the singles have become hits.

History

Original Eurodance is a fusion of several styles of dance music, primarily house and rap with the Hi-NRG variant of disco music.

Hi-NRG and Italo-Disco

Hi-NRG started in the United States as an underground, faster form of disco after disco had lost mainstream popularity. In the late 1980s it became associated with British record producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman, and by the early 1990s bands such as Masterboy & 2 Unlimited were producing a Continental version of Hi-NRG.

Eurodance shows a strong Hi-NRG influence, such as the high BPM and the strong use of female vocals. Eurodance can also be seen as a more technologically advanced form of Euro disco, just as Hi-NRG is the more technologically advanced form of Disco.

Italo Disco and its later evolution, Eurobeat, are sometimes thought to be sub-genres of Eurodance, but rather they are offshoots of the European version of Hi-NRG, called "Space Disco". Italo was influential on the production of Eurodance in general, while Italian-produced Eurodance artists, such as Alexia, Cappella, CO.RO, and Double You, tended to preserve features such as operatic female vocals. Later artists such as Eiffel 65 adopted a sort of "marching" beat in their productions. The term "Eurobeat" appears to be more common in Japan, where this style of music is featured in the video game Dance Dance Revolution, as well as in some Anime soundtracks, for example the street racing scenes in Initial D.

House music

House music, also an underground genre in the United States, had come to the UK and continental Europe with the rise of acid house and "rave" techno in the late 1980s. By the early 1990s, with the rise of the Belgian New Beat, house then became associated with Belgium and the Netherlands.

Some of the first songs with elements of what would later be called Eurodance are house music. For example, Strike It Up by Black Box (1990) and Rhythm is a Dancer by Snap! (1992) both have the duet characteristic of Eurodance, and Everybody's Free (To Feel Good) by Rozalla (1991) has the characteristic synthesizer riff.

Of course, not all European house music was absorbed into the Eurodance genre. By the early 2000s, it remained a style distinct from Eurodance with harder synth and a slower tempo, for example Satisfaction by Benny Benassi (2003).

Rap/Hip-Hop

Rap verse has been one of the main distinguishing elements of Eurodance. While Eurodance makes use of rap vocals, it does not contain the lyrical themes of "gangster rap", nor does it follow many of the instrumental conventions of rap music, such as turntable scratching or heavy basslines. It does however focus on danceability similar to funk music which was a critical basis to the hip hop genre since many songs from that genre were sampled by hip hop artists.

Eurodance has, however, served to popularize rap music in Europe. While rap had been made in Europe at least as far back as Falco's Einzelhaft album (1982), the American variety only gained a more widespread acceptance when Technotronic landed their hit "Pump Up the Jam", followed by Snap's "The Power". The combination of house music with rap vocals in general came to be referred to as Hip house or "house rap".

In Europe

Some examples of "original" Eurodance acts are Alcazar, Infernal, Alexia, 2 Unlimited, Bad Boys Blue, Cappella, Captain Hollywood Project, Centory, Corona, Culture Beat, DJ Bobo, Dr. Alban, E-Type, Fun Factory, Ice MC, Imperio, Indra, La Bouche, 2 Brothers On The 4th Floor, Le Click, Maxx, Playahitty, Real McCoy and First Base.

These bands included emphasis of the combo female chorus together with male rap performances, leading directly to the duo revival. Each group featured their own signature sound, persona, visual imagery, and vocal approach.

Solo artists who performed Eurodance include Amber, Corona, Haddaway. Rozalla supported Michael Jackson during his European "Dangerous" tour. In 1994, Amber made history becoming the first singer in Eurodance history to be signed to a label as a solo artist, not a singer who is bound to a producer.

Canada

Canada was a major Eurodance market, the largest outside Europe, which produced its own variant called Candance. From about 1993 to 1997, acts such as Capital Sound, Jefferson Project, Emjay, Solina, BKS among others; originating mainly in major cities of Eastern Canada such as Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa were hitting the airwaves. Eurodance received significant airplay on radio stations in the Greater Toronto Area such as Hot 103.5 which later became Z103.5. Today, Eurodance continues receiving airtime on certain radio stations and many nightclubs in the Toronto area have dedicated nights to the genre.

United States

In the United States, several Eurodance artists (including La Bouche, 2 Unlimited, Real McCoy, and Ace of Base) made the Rhythmic Top 40, Top 40 Mainstream and the Billboard Hot 100 during the early-to-mid 90s. However, it tended to be the more house and rap-oriented artists that received airplay. For instance, the hip-house project Snap! received quite a bit of airplay early on.

The more Hi-NRG-oriented artists were typically played during special "mix" shows if at all, and it was often necessary to go to a club to hear Eurodance music. While Eurodance did become popular with club DJ's in the United States, radio stations were cautious about playing anything that sounded too much like disco during most of the 1980s and 1990s. By the end of the 1990s, however, some of the later acts such as Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65 and Barbie Girl by Aqua did receive extensive airplay.

Despite lack of widespread radio play, many Hi-NRG and Eurodance songs are popular at professional sporting events in the United States, especially basketball.

Compilation albums, such as the DMA Dance: Eurodance series of compilation albums (1995–1997) from Interhit Records and Dance Music Authority magazine,[5] were popular and helped to define the genre as well as to make it accessible in the U.S. and Canada.[6]

2000s

Techno always had an important influence on Eurodance music, which at times was basically its more commercial counterpart. From the late 1990s onwards, Trance began to take more influence from Eurodance as well (see Euro-Trance), while techno music was in decline since the late 1990s. By 2006, Trance started slowly losing popularity as quality releases that lived up to the early 2000s sound declined. Interest in Eurodance reignited. However, this time the comeback was largely helped by interests through music and video websites, which includes significant support from media sharing and online networking sites. Although this would be considered the second generation of Eurodance, the 2000s saw renewed interest in Eurodance.

Such groups as Alcazar, Milk Inc., Merzedes Club, Infernal, Special D, Groove Coverage, Santamaria, Cascada, Sylver, Danijay, Colonia, and solo artists such as Kate Ryan, Gabry Ponte, DJ Aligator, Ashley Jade, Mark Ashley, Lucas Prata, Kylie Minogue and her younger sister Dannii Minogue, and Jessy, among others, represent some of the best of the second generation of Eurodance artists. Most of them have released hit singles and/or albums stateside.

Notable Eurodance artists

Some of the most recognized bands of the genre include artists such as the Dutch-Belgian group 2 Unlimited, Italian group Eiffel 65, Swedish Alcazar and Danish Infernal. Some of the more recent Eurodance artists to enjoy fame include Basshunter and Cascada.

Classification

After the early 1990s, Eurodance music had split into several categories:

  • "Classic" Eurodance (1990s) - As noted, often a female vocalist and a male rapper were used for songs within this genre. The music features thicker and more detailed production and is slightly slower than most Eurodance that appeared afterward. This sound features arrangements, production touches, synths, and basslines unique to the early and mid 1990s, and is strongly favored by those who were fans of Eurodance during that time.
  • Bubblegum Dance - Essentially the Danish Eurodance version of bubblegum pop. While the instrumental style is similar to "classic" Eurodance, the lyrics tend towards a tongue-in-cheek humor very different from typical "disco" lyrics. Topics tend to be such things as toys, cartoons or video games, double-entendres, and fairytale motifs ( ex. Barbie Girl by Aqua ). Bubblegum may use either a chorus or a male rapper/female singer duet, though it tends not to make use of American rappers as classic Eurodance does.
  • Euro-Trance - Has a more open-ended structure compared to the tightly knit vocals and melodies of "classic" Eurodance. Vocals sometimes vague or repetitive without verse/chorus structure, often with echo and other effects. Often Euro-Trance has a strong synth line with ethereal chords and strong percussion.

Other related and influential styles

  • Synthpop - This style emerged during the mid 1980s. Exclusively performed by male singers which is rare within other similar styles & sub genres. A type of dance music with futuristic synths and resembling rock music. Synth-Pop did lose its popularity in the mainstream by the early-1990s but has never been dormant. It continues to be a popular style seeing a resurgence in the early 2000s.
  • Europop - Popular music related to Dance-pop with elements of classic Eurodance or Trance but is not a lot like one or the other. Chorus and verse structure prevalent. Nearly always incessantly catchy and infectious melodies, synths and beats.

See also

Notes

Radio stations and streaming audio

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

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Noun

Singular
Eurodance

Plural
uncountable

Eurodance (uncountable)

  1. A type of European synthesizer-driven dance music which became popular worldwide in the early- to mid-1990s and continuing up until today.







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