Happy Hardcore, also known as 4-Beat is a style of techno music that is very fast, very bouncy and a riot to dance to (IMHO). It's extremely high-energy and when one dances to it, you feel almost like a puppet on strings moving uncontrollably to the music with your hands in the air and a smile on your face! It's origins date back to the early '90s in the UK to what is now know as old school hardcore (circa 1992). This hardcore began to split into different forms, such as Jungle which has enjoyed a growing following everywhere including North America. Typical characteristics of happy hardcore music are: a driving 4/4 kick (hence the name 4-beat), usually (but not always) lots of piano and female vocals (making the music 'happy'). Happy hardcore also features lots of break beats, although they are being dropped in favour of more techno sounds and stompy Dutch inspired kicks. Happy hardcore runs at 160-180 bpm and 99% of the music originates from the United Kingdom where its popularity is gaining even over jungle.
The above description is courtesy of Anabolic Frolic's Happy Hardcore Headquarters, courtesy of Eurodance Hits.
Basically, happy hardcore is the "mainstream" or the "public" version of gabber. But don't be mistaken, they are two different types of music. A lot of samples from old hit records, movies, piano and rap voices are the basic roots for happy hardcore. The first famous track was made by Charly Lownoise and Mental Theo called "wonderful days", a classic. Happy hardcore can range from 160BPM to 180BPM. It's pretty fast but the melody is quite enjoyable (you can't resist stamping your feet). These days, happy hardcore is becoming more and more "happy". It has a very friendly "attitude" and titles such as "Smurf's house" will tell it all.
Review of the style written for Eurodance Hits WWW by DJ Base www.eurodancehits.com
(Please Note: This section was created by others on the net, because there is no clear definition of various styles of dance music. With today's fusion of so many varied music styles, many titles that could be classified as trance-techno, techno-house, disco, deep-dub and acid house (the original and purest form of progressive house), have been lumped together in the nondescript progressive house. So what is the conclusion? Seems that any music classification is a bogus attempt to "pigeon hole" what would otherwise be loosely called "good dance music". Classifying, they purpose, could negatively influence a DJ or collector to pass by a song or style and potentially undermine the emerging melange of old and new, multi-style fusion trends. However, most DJs and collectors do have very particular tastes, and considering the overwhelming volume of new everyday releases. Listing of artist and title simply does not provide enough information. Herein is an attempt to dispel the clouds of confusion about the styles. It is not ultimate, and your comments or own description of the styles (mentioned here or not) on the list are VERY welcome within the Discussion Forums of the site.)