The driving left-hand blues style known as boogie-woogie appeared around 1900 It began to surface in saloons, honky-tonks, bawdy houses, and barrelhouses in the South and Midwest around 1912.
Barrelhouse became synonymous with boogie-woogie. Music was generally supplied by a single pianist on an instrument in a questionable state of repair. The strongest possible expression of rhythm was therefore necessary, and the boogie bass supplied it perfectly. Primitive, gutsy, driving, it could be heard above the noise of the crowd and would work, at least in some keys, if the piano was missing a few keys.