American Popular Music
Posted by Winnie Melda on November 12th, 2018
The development of Rock Music as illustrated in Chapter One coincides with the historical happening of that time. It is easy to question whether there was any form of music before rock and roll. However, the answer to that question is that there was indeed music before rock and roll. Rock music developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The period marking the development of rock music was the period when slavery was rife. In fact, rock music can be said to have developed from the music from the slaves. The slaves had work songs which comprised of solo or group singing along with the rhythm of the work being done. The slaves also had field hollers who were slave soloists who sang while working in the fields. From the work and field songs, blue music emerged. Country blues were the first and simplest forms of blue rhythms that emerged. Country blues were sung by a solo singer with the accompaniment if a simple guitar. The music then developed to ragtime, jazz, rhythm and blues and later rock and roll. Overall, the rhythm and music from the slaves developed the foundation for the development of Rock music.
Music possessed the power of bringing races together. For instance, the emergence of rock and roll music in the 1950s marked a period when teenagers embraced the music irrespective of their race. There was a change in and perception of the African American community. The white community (especially the teenagers) appreciated that African Americans could make good music (rock and roll). The white teenagers began to go to black concerts and gradually, racism began to diminish.
Urban blues is a form of music that occurred after the end of the depression. It was a period of emigration of the blacks from the south to the north. The music was more aggressive and wild than the classical blues. The urban blues focused on tales of the city lives as the singers sang about their life in the city after they shift from the farms. The move to the North meant that there was a significant concentration of people. The people came with a diversity of musical tools including pianos, drums, and bass viols. The high concentration of people also meant an improved chance of having a large ensemble of musicians.
The main theme that stands out in Muddy Waters song “I’m your hoochie coochie man” is sex appeal. He writes that even before he was born, a gypsy woman had already told his mother that she is going to make pretty women jump and shout. The lyrics are also very sexual, and ironically, he makes himself the subject of the song as he refers himself as the hoochie coochie man. Muddy water presents himself as a sexual being with power over women. Listening to the performance, it is quite electric with its stomping rhythm, guitar riffs and electric harmonica in the background.
Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” is a song of a man who is heartbroken after breaking up with his girl. The breaks in the music give it an upbeat twist that pushes listeners to dance. Thus, although the song is sad, the break boosts the energy levels demonstrating that the man is not adversely affected by the breakup. In 1965, the song was covered by a rock band known as “The Animals.” The 1965 cover song had similar breaks just like Lee Hooker’s original song, but in general, it was more upbeat and would push a listener to a more energetic dance.
Bo Diddley is a mix of rhythm and blues as well as rock and roll. The music has an African style that is integrated with rock and roll. It is easy to pick the African rhythms from the rock and roll beats as the musician uses the patted juba beat. The music is also similar to hambone where there is a dancing and slapping of various parts of the body to create a rhythm. The song introduced what came to be known as the Bo Diddley beat as it integrated rock and roll rhythms, African rhythms, and the guitar beats.
The main differences between the blues type of music and the rhythm and blues music are the use of vocals and the use of instruments. Blues are essentially vocals music while Rhythm and Blues are instrumental. Blues songs emphasized on the vocalists rather than the use and play of instruments. In contrast, R&B music utilizes a diversity of musical instruments although the music also has a vocalist. The addition of the term “rhythm” was thus in appreciation of the integration of instruments that were largely used in jazz.
The emergence of spiritual and gospel music can be traced to the era of slavery. The slaves were from different religions and thus when they found themselves together, they established spiritual songs. The spiritual songs focused mainly on their lives in slavery. The introduction of slaves into Christianity saw the development of spiritual songs into songs that are inspired by the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. With the abolishment of slavery in 1865, Africans embraced music that was filled with shouting, clapping, foot-stomping, and jumping. The black renaissance in 1920 led to the establishment of more sophisticated music as Gospel songs came to be with the first composition by Thomas Dorsey.
“How far am I from Canaan” by Sam Cooke and “Oh Happy Day” by Edward Hawkins Singers are two gospel songs that are different in style. Cooke’s song has a slow rhythm while Hawkins’ has a rhythm that is a bit fast-paced. To some extent, Cooke’s song is more spiritual Hawkins is Gospel. The two songs make a reference to the Bible with Cooke’s song talking about the land of Canaan while Hawkins song talks about Jesus washing away their sins. Both songs speak of a better life ahead as Christians move towards Canaan and when they will be cleansed off their sins.
Sherry Roberts is the author of this paper. A senior editor at MeldaResearch.Com in legit research paper writing services if you need a similar paper you can place your order for research essay writing services.
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About the AuthorWinnie Melda
Joined: December 7th, 2017
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