Evolution of Music
Primarily change in music has been related to the culture. During the Middle Ages music everyday music was located in two places, the church and the tavern. This was not a good atmosphere for good music to bloom. However during the Baroque period, 1600-1750, wealthy people began to hire musicians to compose music for them. These patrons would pay the musicians to compose and play music for the patrons enjoyment, and for entertainment at his or her parties. Music did not change very much in Europe for a long time. In America music was began to evolve in its own way. This new country had a culture of its own and this was reflected in its music and dancing. One of the main styles of music originated in Detroit, and it is called big band. It is called big band, because a large band was used to create snappy, catchy tunes. This style of music soon became popular in Europe as well as America in the 1920s. Big band music was very positive for America as a means of enjoyment and entertainment.
Adolf Rickenbacker invented the electric guitar in the later 1920s and in doing so he changed music forever. This was the first time that people began to use electricity to amplify their instruments. Furthermore with the invention of the electric guitar came the birth of Jazz music. Before the electric guitar came onto the scene it was nearly impossible to incorporate a guitar into band music because it was not loud enough, but the electric guitar solved the volume issue. African Americans strongly connect rhythm with their music. This can be seen in the tribal music of Africa which consists of drumming and singing. African Americans took hold of the electric guitar and used it to throw poppy grooves over the brass instruments and Jazz was born. Jazz was a type of music that spoke out as a bit of a rebellion against the culture. It was nothing like the music that was played in church, and it was perfect for dancing to. African Americans took hold of Jazz and made it a part of their culture. However racism still ran deep in the American culture and many whites dislike jazz music simply because it was generally performed by black musicians. However white musicians began to play the songs originally written and performed by African Americans, once this began to occur more whites began to appreciate Jazz. Somehow certain whites thought it was OK to listen to Jazz as long as it was performed by other whites. Overall Jazz music was very positive for the American culture because it helped give pride to the African Americans.
As long as the culture continues to change their will be a reflection of this in the music that is composed. America in particular has a culture that is always changing and growing, and this will, and has, lead to a continuing change in music. Rock n Roll came onto the scene in the late 40s and from its start it was about rebellion. The word “rock,” as used in Rock n Roll, means to shake things up, and the word “roll” is slang for sexual intercourse. Rolling Stone argued that Elvis Presley’s hit “That’s alright mama” 1954, was the first Rock n Roll song, but this is very debatable. In the 1950s the youth were moving out from the post war era, and moving into a culture of fun loving freedom. Elvis Presley hit the scene wielding his electric guitar and rocking to catchy tunes. Although by today’s standards Presley’s music is considered tame, in the 1950s he was on the cutting edge of adolescent rebellion. Presley was criticized for gyrating his pelvis during performances, this and his “dirty” lyrics led to a few of his songs being banned from certain radio stations. Elvis could not be stopped and his popularity continued to grow wildly. The culture continued to change with the introduction of birth control during the 60s and this led to hippie era which was deeply rooted in music, particularly folk and rock n roll. Hippies were all about having “free love” which meant that you should be able to have sex with whomever, wherever, and whenever you wanted, as long as you were not hurting anyone else. The Hippie movement has had very negative effects on society, and it was fueled by rock n roll music.
New Technology was introduced in the 1960s-70s that paved the way for many new styles. This technology was the use of digital effects that were placed into songs. This technology was brought into the center of pop culture with disco music. Disco Music has a strong melody with deep beats that are perfect for dancing. This type of dancing isn’t technical in nature people of all different skill levels could participate. However the adolescent culture of the time was split between the pop sound of the disco, and the cool rebellion of rock n roll. Most of these changes in music have been due to the culture, and more directly the culture of the youth. Although people of all ages enjoy the music it is primarily the adolescents that were and are shaping the music in the 20th century and beyond.
The effect of the music on the cultures is hard to place in a strictly positive or negative light. Of the examples of music trends given earlier, some were positive and some were negative. However it cannot be said that they are wholly good or wholly bad. These changes in music reflected the culture that they were brought into, and often these changes brought about good and bad reform. There are some fads in music that many would argue are completely negative, such as rap. The vast majority of rap music that is played on the radio is full of explicit content, and because of this is receives a bad wrap. Rap music is often inspired by gangster life, but people do not consider that when these people are writing music instead of starting fights on the street. Although rap music is often inappropriate it has given people the African American youth something constructive to do with their time, that will not lead them to being perceived as losers by the other gangsters. Therefore rap has both positive and negative aspects as do must trends in music.
America has started several trends and fads in regards to music, and they will continue to do so. Since America is a melting pot of cultures there is a huge wealth of new music that will become apparent as more time passes. If there was to be a standstill in the music industry, there would need to be a standstill in the culture. However the culture of the American youth has been constantly changing at an increasing pace. With all of this change there is no sign that the music industry is going to slow down. New songs are always going to be composed, and new styles of music will always be coming to the surface of the musical world. The study of the popular music in a culture gives a person deep insight on the values of the culture, because a populations culture is directly linked to their music.