What Are Disco & Funk Music

Disco and funk music both came to great prominence in the 1970s and inspired listeners to dance. Interesting differences exist in their origins, sounds and long-term impact on popular music.

Disco was a lush, producer-driven style played in dance clubs. Songs often included full orchestras and a steady "four-on-the-floor" drumbeat. According to the Origin of: Disco, bass was emphasized, and guitars rarely served as lead instruments.

Dance artists who came to prominence during the disco craze included Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Sylvester and KC and the Sunshine Band.

According to the History of Rock and Dance Music, funk evolved from the 1960s soul music. Less stylized than disco, it emphasized aggressive beats and raw energy, making it "sweatier" than disco and "dirtier" than soul.

George Clinton, who fronted the bands Parliament and Funkadelic, is a premier figure in funk music. The History of Rock and Dance Music cites War as an innovative band for fusing funk music with Latin rhythms. Maurice White, creator of Earth, Wind and Fire, is recognized as a funk legend.

Disco's influence can be heard in the steady beats of house music and electronica. Funk's raw swagger resonates in modern R & B, new jack swing and hip-hop music.

Approved by Jesse Anderson