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Disco is a genre of dance music. Its popularity peaked during the middle to late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Disco was a reaction by New York City's gays as well as black, and Hispanic or Latino and heterosexuals against both the domination of rock music and the demonisation of dance music by the counterculture during this period. Women embraced disco as well, and the music eventually expanded to several other popular groups of the time.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17] In what is considered a forerunner to disco style clubs, in February 1970, the New York City DJ David Mancuso opened The Loft, a members-only private dance club set in his own home.[18][19] Allmusic claims some have argued that Isaac Hayes and Barry White were playing what would be called disco music as early as 1971. According to the music guide there is disagreement as to what the first disco song was. Claims have been made for Manu Dibango's "Soul Makossa" (1972), Jerry Butler's "One Night Affair" (1972), the Hues Corporation's "Rock the Boat" (1974) and George McCrae's "Rock Your Baby" from 1974.[6][20] The first article about disco was written in September 1973 by Vince Aletti for Rolling Stone Magazine.[21][22] In 1974 New York City's WPIX-FM premiered the first disco radio show.[23]

Musical influences include funk, Latin and soul music. The disco sound has soaring, often reverberated vocals over a steady "four-on-the-floor" beat, an eighth note (quaver) or sixteenth note (semi-quaver) hi-hat pattern with an open hi-hat on the off-beat, and a prominent, syncopated electric bass line sometimes consisting of octaves. The Fender Jazz Bass is often associated with disco bass lines, because the instrument itself has a very prominent 'voice' in the musical mix. In most disco tracks, strings, horns, electric pianos, and electric guitars create a lush background sound. Orchestral instruments such as the flute are often used for solo melodies, and unlike in rock, lead guitar is rarely used.

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