In many tribal house tracks, it is rare to find a core melody or prolonged synth sound, such as those found in house music and similar electronic music styles. Instead, tribal house tracks rely on sophisticated drum patterns for their rhythm. A track can consist of several different drum sounds.
There is no clear-cut definition of tribal house music, instead tracks are usually classified or perceived as tribal because of their live sound. Tribal house is reminiscent of the ethnic music of various tribes of Africa and South America, and it is not unusual for this music to feature chanting and ululation as a cappellas. Tribal music can be produced with either live (i.e. with real drums and instruments) or digital instrumentation: however, live-produced music of this sort in the purest sense is seen as ethnic, while digital tribal music is called 'tribal house'.
Tribal house is a fusion of various styles of electronic dance music, and can range from uplifting and cheerful to dark and aggressive in mood. It can sometimes distort the boundaries between dark house, which is an offshoot of progressive house, and tech-house, a more techno-driven, "sharper" house percussion beat, as if mixing intelligent dance music and minimal techno.