Dub music is a genre that involves remixing and revising existing – typically reggae &ndash songs.
A dub song or track is called a version. The classic dub sound emphasizes drum and bass components of a melody (also known as the riddim), and uses the other instruments as accents. The dub artist, called the selector, plays the role that a producer plays in other musical forms, mixing the sounds, adjusting levels, and layering in additional samples and effects. Sometimes dub tracks are resampled and overdubbed multiple times during the production process.
In live performances, selectors often remix music while MCs rap or toast alongside them. (Versions with live vocals are called DJ Versions.)
Dub music began in the 1970s as an evolution of reggae music. In Jamaica, reggae singles were distributed on 45 RPM albums with B sides that often included the same song as the A side, but without vocals. These B side "versions" of the reggae song could be tweaked and rerecorded with reverbs, echoes, samples, and overlays. The resulting melodies were textured, rhythmic, instrumentals that became popularly known as versions. Many reggae singles still include B-side instrumental versions today.
Versions were initially released for both creative and economic reasons: they didn't require extra studio sessions but they did require creative invention and experimentation in order to create something new from existing tracks. The 1st vocals-only reggae album, The Undertaker, was released in 1970. Errol Thompson engineered The Undertaker with effects and music from Derrick Harriott and the Crystalites.
The album was a hit and led various Jamaican reggae studios to follow suit and produce increasingly innovative versions throughout the early 1970s. Dub became a distinct musical genre with Lee "Scratch" Perry's 1973 purely dub album, Blackboard Jungle Dub. In the mid 70s King Tubby led the scene as dub's most innnovative musician and producer with the releases of Surrounded By the Dreads at the National Arena and King Tubby Meets The Upsetter At The Grass Roots Of Dub.
Modern dub has grown beyond it's purely-reggae roots and is more than a simple music track that's missing any vocals. The term "dub" is often used to describe many musical remixes that focus on instrumental, rhythm-centric melodies. Dub has also evoloved into new genres including jungle, dubstep, and ambient dub. The dub sound has also touched many other modern musical forms, particularly ska and punk, though it has also influenced house music, hip hop, trip hop, techno, and electronica.
Perhaps the most popular contemporary offshoot of modern dub is dubstep, which is played in clubs throughout the United States and Europe.