Everything You Wanted To Know About Country Fold Music

Country folk music singers singing on stage
Country folk music singers singing on stage

Country folk music singers singing on stage

American folk music is a musical term that encompasses numerous genres, many of which are known as traditional music, traditional folk music, contemporary folk music or roots music. Roots music is a broad category of music including bluegrass, country music, gospel, old time music, jug bands, Appalachian folk, blues, Cajun and Native American music. The music is considered American either because it is native to the United States or because it developed there, out of foreign origins, to such a degree that it struck musicologists as something distinctly new. It is considered “roots music” because it served as the basis of music later developed in the United States, including rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and jazz.

Roots music

Many roots musicians do not consider themselves to be folk musicians; the main difference between the American folk music revival and American “roots music” is that roots music seems to cover a slightly broader range, including blues and country.

Roots music developed its most expressive and varied forms in the first three decades of the 20th century. The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl were extremely important in disseminating these musical styles to the rest of the country, as Delta blues masters, itinerant honky tonk singers, and Latino and Cajun musicians spread to cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. The growth of the recording industry in the same period was also important; higher potential profits from music placed pressure on artists, songwriters, and label executives to replicate previous hit songs. This meant that musical fads, such as Hawaiian slack-key guitar, never died out completely, since a broad range of rhythms, instruments, and vocal stylings were incorporated into disparate popular genres.

By the 1950s, all the forms of roots music had led to pop-oriented forms. Folk musicians like the Kingston Trio, pop-Tejano and Cuban-American fusions like boogaloo, chachacha and mambo, blues-derived rock and roll and rockabilly, pop-gospel, doo wop and R&B (later secularized further as soul music) and the Nashville sound in country music all modernized and expanded the musical palette of the country.

The roots approach to music emphasizes the diversity of American musical traditions, the genealogy of creative lineages and communities, and the innovative contributions of musicians working in these traditions today. In recent years roots music has been the focus of popular media programs such as Garrison Keillor’s public radio program A Prairie Home Companion and the feature film by the same name.

Regional forms

American traditional music is also called roots music. Roots music is a broad category of music including bluegrass, country music, gospel, old time music, jug bands, Appalachian folk, blues, Cajun and Native American music. The music is considered American either because it is native to the United States or because it developed there, out of foreign origins, to such a degree that it struck musicologists as something distinctly new. It is considered “roots music” because it served as the basis of music later developed in the United States, including rock and roll, contemporary folk music, rhythm and blues, and jazz.

  • Cajun music, an emblematic music of Louisiana, is rooted in the ballads of the French-speaking Acadians of Canada. Cajun music is often mentioned in tandem with the Creole-based, Cajun-influenced zydeco form, both of Acadiana origin. These French Louisiana sounds have influenced American popular music for many decades, especially country music, and have influenced pop culture through mass media, such as television commercials.
  • Appalachian music is the traditional music of the region of Appalachia in the Eastern United States. It is derived from various European and African influences, including English ballads, Irish and Scottish traditional music (especially fiddle music), hymns, and African-American blues. First recorded in the 1920s, Appalachian musicians were a key influence on the early development of Old-time music, country music, and bluegrass, and were an important part of the American folk music revival.

Instruments typically used to perform Appalachian music include the banjo, American fiddle, fretted dulcimer, and guitar. Early recorded Appalachian musicians include Fiddlin’ John Carson, Henry Whitter, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, the Carter Family, Clarence Ashley, Frank Proffitt, and Dock Boggs, all of whom were initially recorded in the 1920s and 1930s. Several Appalachian musicians obtained renown during the folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s, including Jean Ritchie, Roscoe Holcomb, Ola Belle Reed, Lily May Ledford, and Doc Watson.

Country and bluegrass artists such as Loretta Lynn, Roy Acuff, Dolly Parton, Earl Scruggs, Chet Atkins, and Don Reno were heavily influenced by traditional Appalachian music. Artists such as Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, and Bruce Springsteen have performed Appalachian songs or rewritten versions of Appalachian songs.

  • The Carter Family was a traditional American folk music group that recorded between 1927 and 1956. Their music had a profound impact on bluegrass, country, Southern Gospel, pop and rock musicians. They were the first vocal group to become country music stars; a beginning of the divergence of country music from traditional folk music. Their recordings of such songs as “Wabash Cannonball” (1932), “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” (1935), “Wildwood Flower” (1928), and “Keep On the Sunny Side” (1928) made them country standards.
  • Oklahoma and southern US plains Before recorded history American Indians in this area used songs and instrumentation; music and dance remain the core of ceremonial and social activities. “Stomp dance” remains at its core, a “call and response” form; instrumentation is provided by rattles or shackles worn on the legs of women. “Other southeastern nations have their own complexes of sacred and social songs, including those for animal dances and friendship dances, and songs that accompany stickball games.

Central to the music of the southern Plains Indians is the drum, which has been called the heartbeat of Plains Indian music. Most of that genre can be traced back to activities of hunting and warfare, upon which plains culture was based.” During the reservation period, they frequently used music to relieve boredom and despair. Neighbors gathered, exchanged and created songs and dances; this is a part of the roots of the modern inter-tribal powwow. Another common instrument is the courting flute.

African American folk music in the area has roots in slavery and emancipation. “Sacred music, both a capella and instrumentally accompanied, is at the heart of the tradition. Early spirituals framed Christian beliefs within native practices and were heavily influenced by the music and rhythms of Africa.” Spirituals are prominent, and often use a call and response pattern. “Gospel developed after the Civil War (1861-65). It relied on biblical text for much of its direction, and the use of metaphors and imagery was common. Gospel is a “joyful noise,” sometimes accompanied by instrumentation and almost always punctuated by hand clapping, toe tapping, and body movement.”

“Shape-note or sacred harp singing developed in the early nineteenth century as a way for itinerant singing instructors to teach church songs in rural communities. They taught using song books in which musical notations of tones were represented by geometric shapes that were designed to associate a shape with its pitch. Sacred harp singing became popular in many Oklahoma rural communities, regardless of ethnicity.”

Later the blues tradition developed, with roots in and parallels to sacred music. By the early 20th century, jazz developed, born from a “blend of ragtime, gospel, and blues” “Anglo-Scots-Irish music traditions gained a place in Oklahoma after the Land Run of 1889. Because of its size and portability, the fiddle was the core of early Oklahoma Anglo music, but other instruments such as the guitar, mandolin, banjo, and steel guitar were added later. Various Oklahoma music traditions trace their roots to the British Isles, including cowboy ballads, western swing, and contemporary country and western.” “Mexican immigrants began to reach Oklahoma in the 1870s, bringing beautiful canciones and corridos love songs, waltzes, and ballads along with them. Like American Indian communities, each rite of passage in Hispanic communities is accompanied by traditional music.

The acoustic guitar, string bass, and violin provide the basic instrumentation for Mexican music, with maracas, flute, horns, or sometimes accordion filling out the sound.” Other Europeans (such as Bohemians and Germans) settled in the late nineteenth century. Their social activities centered on community halls, “where local musicians played polkas and waltzes on the accordion, piano, and brass instruments.”

Later Asians contributed to the musical mix. “Ancient music and dance traditions from the temples and courts of China, India, and Indonesia are preserved in Asian communities throughout the state, and popular song genres are continually layered on to these classical music forms”

Other American folk music

“Yellow Rose Of Texas” (1858)
“Yellow Rose Of Texas” performed by the United States Coast Guard Band

“Oh! Susanna” (1848)
Stephen Foster’s “Oh! Susanna” performed by the United States Navy Concert Band

Problems playing these files? See media help.

Genres here range as widely as the definition of folk music itself; working definitions are based on the style and themes of the music regardless of its source. Many are a part of the American Folk Music Revival, including works by Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, The Weavers, Burl Ives and others. Others evolved in the 1960s including storytelling type performers such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, The New Christie Minstrels, The Limeliters, The Kingston Trio and Judy Collins and counterculture and folk rock performers such as Peter Paul and Mary and The Byrds.

Books

In 2004 NPR published the book titled The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide To American folk music, Linda Ronstadt wrote the foreword.

  • The Never-Ending Revival: Rounder Records and the Folk Alliance by Michael F. Scully (University of Illinois Press, 2008)

In 2007, James P. Leary published, Polkabilly: How the Goose Island Ramblers Redefined American Folk Music, which proposes a redefinition of traditional American folk music and identifies a new genre of music from the Upper Midwest knowns as “Polkabilly”, which blends ethnic music, old-time country music, and polka. The book was awarded the American Folklore Society’s Chicago Folklore Prize for the best book in the field of folklore scholarship.

Artists and musicians

Notable roots musicians have included Joni Mitchell, Jelly Roll Morton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Bob Dylan, Bessie Smith, Burl Ives, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Son House, Lead Belly, Hazel Dickens, Jimmie Rodgers (The Singing Brakeman), Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, Merle Travis, Townes Van Zandt, Johnny Cash, Maggie Simpson, Mahalia Jackson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Washington Phillips, Fiddlin’ John Carson (1868–1949), Johnny Richardson (1908–present; children’s folk music), Willie Nelson, and Jean Ritchie. More recent musicians who occasionally or consistently play roots music include Keb’ Mo’, Ralph Stanley, Jewel, John Denver, Chris Castle, Ricky Skaggs, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul & Mary and Bruce Springsteen.

Film and TV

Hootenanny, a 1963 musical variety show broadcast on the ABC network in the U.S., primarily featured folk musicians.

The soundtrack of the 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou? is exclusively roots music, performed by Alison Krauss, The Fairfield Four, Emmylou Harris, Norman Blake and others.

In 2001, PBS broadcast a 4-part documentary series, American Roots Music, that explored the historical roots of American roots music through footage and performances by the creators of the movement.

The 2003 film A Mighty Wind is a tribute to (and parody of) the folk-pop musicians of the early 1960s.

A six-hour public television series, The Music of America: History Through Musical Traditions, appeared in 2010.

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Everything You Wanted To Know About Hip Hop

Hip hop is a broad conglomerate of artistic forms that originated as a specific street subculture within South Bronx communities during the 1970s in New York City. It is characterized by five distinct elements, all of which represent the different manifestations of the culture: rap music (oral), turntablism or “DJing” (aural), breaking (physical), graffiti art (visual) and knowledge(mental). Despite their contrasting methods of execution, they find unity in their common association to the poverty and violence underlying the historical context that birthed the culture. It was as a means of providing a reactionary outlet from such urban hardship that “Hip Hop” initially functioned, a form of self-expression that could reflect upon, proclaim an alternative to, try and challenge or merely evoke the mood of the circumstances of such an environment. Even while it continues in contemporary history to develop globally in a flourishing myriad of diverse styles, these foundational elements provide stability and coherence to the culture. The term is frequently used mistakenly to refer in a confining fashion to the mere practice of rap music.

The origin of the culture stems from the block parties of the Ghetto Brothers when they would plug the amps for their instruments and speakers into the lampposts on 163rd Street and Prospect Avenue and DJ Kool Herc at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, where Herc Herc would mix samples of existing records with his own shouts to the crowd and dancers. Kool Herc is credited as the “father” of Hip hop. DJ Afrika Bambaataa of the hip hop collective Zulu Nation outlined the pillars of hip hop culture, to which he coined the terms: MCing, DJing, B-boying and graffiti writing. Since its evolution throughout the South Bronx, hip hop culture has spread to both urban and suburban communities throughout the world. Hip hop music first emerged with Kool Herc and contemporary disc jockeys and imitators creating rhythmic beats by looping breaks (small portions of songs emphasizing a percussive pattern) on two turntables. This was later accompanied by “rap”, a rhythmic style of chanting or poetry often presented in 16-bar measures or time frames, and beatboxing, a vocal technique mainly used to provide percussive elements of music and various technical effects of hip hop DJs. An original form of dancing and particular styles of dress arose among fans of this new music. These elements experienced considerable adaptation and development over the course of the history of the culture.

Hip hop is simultaneously a new and old phenomenon; the importance of sampling to the art form means that much of the culture has revolved around the idea of updating classic recordings, attitudes, and experiences for modern audiences—called “flipping” within the culture. It follows in the footsteps of earlier American musical genres blues, jazz, and rock and roll in having become one of the most practiced genres of music in existence worldwide, and also takes additional inspiration regularly from soul music, funk, and rhythm and blues.

Etymology

Hip hop is the combination of two separate slang terms—”hip”, used in African American English as early as 1898, meaning current or in the now, and “hop”, for the hopping movement.[citation needed]

Keith “Cowboy” Wiggins, a member of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, has been credited with coining the term in 1978 while teasing a friend who had just joined the US Army, by scat singing the words “hip/hop/hip/hop” in a way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of marching soldiers.[citation needed] Cowboy later worked the “hip hop” cadence into his stage performance. The group frequently performed with disco artists who would refer to this new type of music by calling them “hip hoppers”. The name was originally meant as a sign of disrespect, but soon came to identify this new music and culture.

The song “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang, released in 1979, begins with the scat phrase, “I said a hip, hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop, a you don’t stop.” Lovebug Starski, a Bronx DJ who put out a single called “The Positive Life” in 1981, and DJ Hollywood then began using the term when referring to this new disco rap music. Hip hop pioneer and South Bronx community leader Afrika Bambaataa also credits Lovebug Starski as the first to use the term “Hip Hop”, as it relates to the culture. Bambaataa, former leader of the Black Spades gang, also did much to further popularize the term. The words “hip hop” first appeared in print on September 21, 1981, in the Village Voice in a profile of Bambaataa written by Steven Hager, who also published the first comprehensive history of the culture with St. Martins’ Press.

History

In the 1970s an underground urban movement known as “hip hop” began to develop in the South Bronx area of New York City focusing on emceeing (or MCing), breakbeats, and house parties. Starting at the home of DJ Kool Herc at the high-rise apartment at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, the movement later spread across the entire borough. Rap developed both inside and outside of hip hop culture, and began in America in earnest with the street parties thrown in the Bronx neighborhood of New York in the 1970s by Kool Herc and others—Jamaican born DJ Clive “Kool Herc” Campbell is credited as being highly influential in the pioneering stage of hip hop music, Herc created the blueprint for hip hop music and culture by building upon the Jamaican tradition of impromptu toasting, boastful poetry and speech over music. This became Emceeing – the rhythmic spoken delivery of rhymes and wordplay, delivered over a beat or without accompaniment—taking inspiration from the Rapping derived from the griots (folk poets) of West Africa, and Jamaican-style toasting. The basic elements of hip-hop—boasting raps, rival posses, uptown throwdowns, and political commentary—were all present in Trinidadan music as long ago as the 1800’s, though they did not reach the form of commercial recordings until the 1920’s and 30’s. Calypso music—like other forms of music—continued to evolve through the ’50’s and ’60’s. When rock steady and reggae bands looked to make their music a form of national and even international Black resistance, they took Calypso’s example. Calypso itself, like Jamaican music, moved back and forth between the predominance of boasting and toasting songs packed with ‘slackness’ and sexual innuendo and a more topical, political, ‘conscious’ style. Melle Mel, a rapper/lyricist with The Furious Five, is often credited with being the first rap lyricist to call himself an “MC”.

DJ Kool Herc is credited as being highly influential in the pioneering stage of hip hop music

Herc also developed upon break-beat deejaying, where the breaks of funk songs—the part most suited to dance, usually percussion-based—were isolated and repeated for the purpose of all-night dance parties. This form of music playback, using hard funk, rock, formed the basis of hip hop music. Campbell’s announcements and exhortations to dancers would lead to the syncopated, rhymed spoken accompaniment now known as rapping. He dubbed his dancers break-boys and break-girls, or simply b-boys and b-girls. According to Herc, “breaking” was also street slang for “getting excited” and “acting energetically”.

DJs such as Grand Wizard Theodore, Grandmaster Flash, and Jazzy Jay refined and developed the use of breakbeats, including cutting and scratching. The approach used by Herc was soon widely copied, and by the late 1970s DJs were releasing 12″ records where they would rap to the beat. Popular tunes included Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks” and The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”. Herc and other DJs would connect their equipment to power lines and perform at venues such as public basketball courts and at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx, New York, now officially a historic building. The equipment was composed of numerous speakers, turntables, and one or more microphones. By using this technique DJs could create a variety of music, but according to Rap Attack by David Toop “At its worst the technique could turn the night into one endless and inevitably boring song”. Nevertheless, the popularity of rap steadily increased.

Street gangs were prevalent in the poverty of the South Bronx, and much of the graffiti, rapping, and b-boying at these parties were all artistic variations on the competition and one-upmanship of street gangs. Sensing that gang members’ often violent urges could be turned into creative ones, Afrika Bambaataa founded the Zulu Nation, a loose confederation of street-dance crews, graffiti artists, and rap musicians. By the late 1970s, the culture had gained media attention, with Billboard magazine printing an article titled “B Beats Bombarding Bronx”, commenting on the local phenomenon and mentioning influential figures such as Kool Herc.

In late 1979, Debbie Harry of Blondie took Nile Rodgers of Chic to such an event, as the main backing track used was the break from Chic’s “Good Times”. The new style influenced Harry, and Blondie’s later hit single from 1981 “Rapture” became the first major single containing hip hop elements by a white group or artist to hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100—the song itself is usually considered new wave and fuses heavy pop music elements, but there is an extended rap by Harry near the end.

Hip hop as a culture was further defined in 1982, when Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force released the seminal electro-funk track “Planet Rock”. Instead of simply rapping over disco beats, Bambaataa created an electronic sound, taking advantage of the rapidly improving drum machine Roland TB-303 synthesizer technology, as well as sampling from Kraftwerk.

Encompassing graffiti art, mc’ing/rapping, DJing and b-boying, hip hop became the dominant cultural movement of the minority populated urban communities in the 1980s. The 1980s also saw many artists make social statements through hip hop. In 1982, Melle Mel and Duke Bootee recorded “The Message” (officially credited to Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five), a song that foreshadowed the socially conscious statements of Run-DMC’s “It’s like That” and Public Enemy’s “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos”. During the 1980s, hip hop also embraced the creation of rhythm by using the human body, via the vocal percussion technique of beatboxing. Pioneers such as Doug E. Fresh, Biz Markie and Buffy from the Fat Boys made beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using their mouth, lips, tongue, voice, and other body parts. “Human Beatbox” artists would also sing or imitate turntablism scratching or other instrument sounds.

The appearance of music videos changed entertainment: they often glorified urban neighborhoods. The music video for “Planet Rock” showcased the subculture of hip hop musicians, graffiti artists, and b-boys/b-girls. Many hip hop-related films were released between 1982 and 1985, among them Wild Style, Beat Street, Krush Groove, Breakin, and the documentary Style Wars. These films expanded the appeal of hip hop beyond the boundaries of New York. By 1985, youth worldwide were embracing the hip hop culture. The hip hop artwork and “slang” of US urban communities quickly found its way to Europe, as the culture’s global appeal took root.

American society

Afrika Bambaataa with DJ Yutaka of Universal Zulu Nation in 2004

DJ Kool Herc’s house parties gained popularity and later moved to outdoor venues in order to accommodate more people. Hosted in parks, these outdoor parties became a means of expression and an outlet for teenagers, where “instead of getting into trouble on the streets, teens now had a place to expend their pent-up energy.”

Tony Tone, a member of the Cold Crush Brothers, noted that “hip hop saved a lot of lives”. Hip hop culture became a way of dealing with the hardships of life as minorities within America, and an outlet to deal with violence and gang culture. MC Kid Lucky mentions that “people used to break-dance against each other instead of fighting”.[broken citation] Inspired by DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa created a street organization called Universal Zulu Nation, centered around hip hop, as a means to draw teenagers out of gang life and violence.

The lyrical content of many early rap groups focused on social issues, most notably in the seminal track “The Message”, which discussed the realities of life in the housing projects. “Young black Americans coming out of the civil rights movement have used hip hop culture in the 1980s and 1990s to show the limitations of the movement.” Hip hop gave young African Americans a voice to let their issues be heard; “Like rock-and-roll, hip hop is vigorously opposed by conservatives because it romanticises violence, law-breaking, and gangs”. It also gave people a chance for financial gain by “reducing the rest of the world to consumers of its social concerns.”

However, with the commercial success of gangsta rap in the early 1990s, the emphasis shifted to drugs, violence, and misogyny. Early proponents of gangsta rap included groups and artists such as Ice-T, who recorded what some consider to be the first gangster rap record, 6 in the Mornin’, and N.W.A. whose second album Efil4zaggin became the first gangsta rap album to enter the charts at number one. Gangsta rap also played an important part in hip hop becoming a mainstream commodity. The fact that albums such as N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton, Eazy-E’s Eazy-Duz-It, and Ice Cube’s Amerikkka’s Most Wanted were selling in such high numbers meant that black teens were no longer hip hop’s sole buying audience. As a result, gangsta rap became a platform for artists who chose to use their music to spread politic and social messages to parts of the country that were previously unaware of the conditions of ghettos. While hip hop music now appeals to a broader demographic, media critics argue that socially and politically conscious hip hop has been largely disregarded by mainstream America.

Global innovations

According to the U.S. Department of State, hip hop is “now the center of a mega music and fashion industry around the world,” that crosses social barriers and cuts across racial lines. National Geographic recognizes hip hop as “the world’s favorite youth culture” in which “just about every country on the planet seems to have developed its own local rap scene.” Through its international travels, hip hop is now considered a “global musical epidemic”.

According to The Village Voice, hip hop is “custom-made to combat the anomie that preys on adolescents wherever nobody knows their name.”

Hip hop sounds and styles differ from region to region, but there are also instances of fusion genres.

Not all countries have embraced hip hop, where “as can be expected in countries with strong local culture, the interloping wildstyle of hip hop is not always welcomed”. This is somewhat the case in Jamaica, the homeland of the culture’s father, DJ Kool Herc. However, despite the fact that hip hop music produced on the island lacks widespread local and international recognition, artistes such as Five Steez have defied the odds by impressing online hip hop tastemakers and even reggae critics.

Hartwig Vens argues that hip hop can also be viewed as a global learning experience. Author Jeff Chang argues that “the essence of hip hop is the cipher, born in the Bronx, where competition and community feed each other.”

He also adds: “Thousands of organizers from Cape Town to Paris use hip hop in their communities to address environmental justice, policing and prisons, media justice, and education.”.

While hip hop music has been criticized as a music which creates a divide between western music and music from the rest of the world, a musical “cross pollination” has taken place, which strengthens the power of hip hop to influence different communities. Hip hop’s messages allow the under-privileged and the mistreated to be heard. These cultural translations cross borders. While the music may be from a foreign country, the message is something that many people can relate to- something not “foreign” at all.

Even when hip hop is transplanted to other countries, it often retains its “vital progressive agenda that challenges the status quo.” In Gothenburg, Sweden, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) incorporate graffiti and dance to engage disaffected immigrant and working class youths.

Hip hop has played a small but distinct role as the musical face of revolution in the Arab Spring, one example being an anonymous Libyan musician, Ibn Thabit, whose anti-government songs fuel the rebellion.

Commercialization

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This article or section may contain previously unpublished synthesis of published material that conveys ideas not attributable to the original sources. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. (March 2009)

A documentary called The Commodification of Hip Hop, directed by Brooke Daniel, interviews students at Satellite Academy in New York City. One girl talks about the epidemic of crime that she sees in urban minority communities, relating it directly to the hip hop industry, saying: “When they can’t afford these kind of things, these things that celebrities have like jewelry and clothes and all that, they’ll go and sell drugs, some people will steal it….”

In an article for Village Voice, Greg Tate argues that the commercialization of hip hop is a negative and pervasive phenomenon, writing that “what we call hiphop is now inseparable from what we call the hip hop industry, in which the nouveau riche and the super-rich employers get richer”. Ironically, this commercialization coincides with a decline in rap sales and pressure from critics of the genre. Even other musicians, like Nas and KRS-ONE have claimed “hip hop is dead” in that it has changed so much over the years to cater to the consumer that it has lost the essence for which it was originally created. However, in his book In Search Of Africa, Manthia Diawara explains that hip hop is really a voice of people who are down and out in modern society. He argues that the “worldwide spread of hip hop as a market revolution” is actually global “expression of poor people’s desire for the good life,” and that this struggle aligns with “the nationalist struggle for citizenship and belonging, but also reveals the need to go beyond such struggles and celebrate the redemption of the black individual through tradition.”

This connection to “tradition” however, is something that may be lacking according to one Satellite Academy staff member who says that in all of the focus on materialism, the hip hop community is “not leaving anything for the next generation, we’re not building. As the hip hop genre turns 30, a deeper analysis of the music’s impact is taking place. It has been viewed as a cultural sensation which changed the music industry around the world, but some believe commercialization and mass production have given it a darker side. Tate has described its recent manifestations as a marriage of “New World African ingenuity and that trick of the devil known as global-hypercapitalism”, arguing it has joined the “mainstream that had once excluded its originators.” While hip hop’s values may have changed over time, the music continues to offer its followers and originators a shared identity which is instantly recognizable and much imitated around the world.

Culture

DJing

DJ Hypnotize and Baby Cee, two disc jockeys

Turntablism is the technique of manipulating sounds and creating music using phonograph turntables and a DJ mixer. One of the few first hip hop DJs was Kool DJ Herc, who created hip hop through the isolation of “breaks” (the parts of albums that focused solely on the beat). In addition to developing Herc’s techniques, DJs Grandmaster Flowers, Grandmaster Flash, Grand Wizard Theodore, and Grandmaster Caz made further innovations with the introduction of scratching.

Traditionally, a DJ will use two turntables simultaneously. These are connected to a DJ mixer, an amplifier, speakers, and various other pieces of electronic music equipment. The DJ will then perform various tricks between the two albums currently in rotation using the above listed methods. The result is a unique sound created by the seemingly combined sound of two separate songs into one song. Although there is considerable overlap between the two roles, a DJ is not the same as a producer of a music track.

In the early years of hip hop, the DJs were the stars, but that has been taken by MCs since 1978, thanks largely to Melle Mel of Grandmaster Flash’s crew, the Furious Five. However, a number of DJs have gained stardom nonetheless in recent years. Famous DJs include Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, Mr. Magic, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Scratch from EPMD, DJ Premier from Gang Starr, DJ Scott La Rock from Boogie Down Productions, DJ Pete Rock of Pete Rock & CL Smooth, DJ Muggs from Cypress Hill, Jam Master Jay from Run-DMC, Eric B., DJ Screw from the Screwed Up Click and the inventor of the Chopped & Screwed style of mixing music, Funkmaster Flex, Tony Touch, DJ Clue, Mix Master Mike and DJ Q-Bert. The underground movement of turntablism has also emerged to focus on the skills of the DJ.

MCing

Rapper Busta Rhymes performs in Las Vegas for a BET party

Rapping (also known as emceeing, MCing, spitting (bars), or just rhyming) refers to “spoken or chanted rhyming lyrics with a strong rhythmic accompaniment”. It can be broken down into different components, such as “content”, “flow” (rhythm and rhyme), and “delivery”. Rapping is distinct from spoken word poetry in that is it performed in time to the beat of the music. The use of the word “rap” to describe quick and slangy speech or repartee long predates the musical form. MCing is a form of expression that is embedded within ancient African culture and oral tradition as throughout history verbal acrobatics or jousting involving rhymes were common within the Afro-American community.

Graffiti

An aerosol paint can, a common tool used in modern graffiti

In America around the late 1960s, graffiti was used as a form of expression by political activists, and also by gangs such as the Savage Skulls, La Familia, and Savage Nomads to mark territory. Towards the end of the 1960s, the signatures—tags—of Philadelphia graffiti writers Top Cat, Cool Earl and Cornbread started to appear. Around 1970–71, the center of graffiti innovation moved to New York City where writers following in the wake of TAKI 183 and Tracy 168 would add their street number to their nickname, “bomb” a train with their work, and let the subway take it—and their fame, if it was impressive, or simply pervasive, enough—”all city”. Bubble lettering held sway initially among writers from the Bronx, though the elaborate Brooklyn style Tracy 168 dubbed “wildstyle” would come to define the art. The early trendsetters were joined in the 1970s by artists like Dondi, Futura 2000, Daze, Blade, Lee, Fab Five Freddy, Zephyr, Rammellzee, Crash, Kel, NOC 167 and Lady Pink.

The relationship between graffiti and hip hop culture arises both from early graffiti artists engaging in other aspects of hip hop culture, Graffiti is understood as a visual expression of rap music, just as breaking is viewed as a physical expression. The 1983 film Wild Style is widely regarded as the first hip hop motion picture, which featured prominent figures within the New York graffiti scene during the said period. The book Subway Art and documentary Style Wars were also among the first ways the mainstream public were introduced to hip hop graffiti. Graffiti remains part of hip hop, while crossing into the mainstream art world with renowned exhibits in galleries throughout the world.

Breaking

Breaking, an early form of hip hop dance, often involves battles, showing off technical skills as well as displaying tongue-in-cheek bravado

In 1924, Earl Tucker (aka Snake Hips), a performer at the Cotton Club, created a dance style which would later inspire an element of hip hop culture known as b-boying. Breaking, also called B-boying or breakdancing, is a dynamic style of dance which developed as part of the hip hop culture. Breaking is one of the major elements of hip hop culture. Like many aspects of hip hop culture, breakdance borrows heavily from many cultures, including 1930s-era street dancing, Afro-Brazilian and Asian Martial arts, Russian folk dance, and the dance moves of James Brown, Michael Jackson, and California Funk styles. Breaking took form in the South Bronx alongside the other elements of hip hop.

According to the 2002 documentary film The Freshest Kids: A History of the B-Boy, DJ Kool Herc describes the “B” in B-boy as short for breaking which at the time was slang for “going off”, also one of the original names for the dance. However, early on the dance was known as the “boing” (the sound a spring makes). Dancers at DJ Kool Herc’s parties, who saved their best dance moves for the break section of the song, getting in front of the audience to dance in a distinctive, frenetic style. The “B” in B-boy also stands simply for break, as in break-boy (or girl). Breaking was documented in Style Wars, and was later given more focus in fictional films such as Wild Style and Beat Street. Early acts include the Rock Steady Crew and New York City Breakers.

Beatbox

Beatboxing, popularized by Doug E. Fresh, is the technique of vocal percussion. It is primarily concerned with the art of creating beats or rhythms using the human mouth. The term beatboxing is derived from the mimicry of the first generation of drum machines, then known as beatboxes. As it is a way of creating hip hop music, it can be categorized under the production element of hip hop, though it does sometimes include a type of rapping intersected with the human-created beat. It is generally considered to be part of the same “Pillar” of hip hop as DJing—in other words, providing a musical backdrop or foundation for MC’s to rhyme over.

Beatboxing was quite popular in the 1980s with prominent artists like the Darren “Buffy, the Human Beat Box” Robinson of the Fat Boys and Biz Markie displaying their skills within the media. It declined in popularity along with b-boying in the late 1980s, but has undergone a resurgence since the late 1990s, marked by the release of “Make the Music 2000.” by Rahzel of The Roots.

Social impact

Effects

A b-boy performing in San Francisco

Hip hop has made a considerable social impact since its inception in the 1970s. Orlando Patterson, a sociology professor at Harvard University helps describe the phenomenon of how hip hop spread rapidly around the world. Professor Patterson argues that mass communication is controlled by the wealthy, government, and businesses in Third World nations and countries around the world. He also credits mass communication with creating a global cultural hip hop scene. As a result, the youth absorb and are influenced by the American hip hop scene and start their own form of hip hop. Patterson believes that revitalization of hip hop music will occur around the world as traditional values are mixed with American hip hop musical forms, and ultimately a global exchange process will develop that brings youth around the world to listen to a common musical form known as hip hop. It has also been argued that rap music formed as a “cultural response to historic oppression and racism, a system for communication among black communities throughout the United States”. This is due to the fact that the culture reflected the social, economic and political realities of the disenfranchised youth. In the Arab Spring hip hop played a significant role in providing a channel for the youth to express their ideas.

Language

The development of hip hop linguistics is complex. Source material include the spirituals of slaves arriving in the new world, Jamaican dub music, the laments of jazz and blues singers, patterned cockney slang and radio deejays hyping their audience in rhyme.

Hip hop has a distinctive associated slang. It is also known by alternate names, such as “Black English”, or “Ebonics”. Academics suggest its development stems from a rejection of the racial hierarchy of language, which held “White English” as the superior form of educated speech. Due to hip hop’s commercial success in the late nineties and early 21st century, many of these words have been assimilated into the cultural discourse of several different dialects across America and the world and even to non-hip hop fans. The word dis for example is particularly prolific. There are also a number of words which predate hip hop, but are often associated with the culture, with homie being a notable example.

Sometimes, terms like what the dilly, yo are popularized by a single song (in this case, “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” by Busta Rhymes) and are only used briefly. One particular example is the rule-based slang of Snoop Dogg and E-40, who add -izzle or -izz to the end or middle of words.

Hip hop lyricism has gained a measure of legitimacy in academic and literary circles. Studies of Hip hop linguistics are now offered at institutions such as the University of Toronto, where poet and author George Eliot Clarke has (in the past) taught the potential power of hip hop music to promote social change. Greg Thomas of the University of Miami offers courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level studying the feminist and assertive nature of Lil’ Kim’s lyrics.

Some academics, including Ernest Morrell and Jeffery Duncan Andrade compare hip hop to the satirical works of great “canon” poets of the modern era, who use imagery and mood to directly criticize society. As quoted in their seminal work, “Promoting Academic Literacy with Urban Youth Through Engaging Hip Hop Culture”:

Hip hop texts are rich in imagery and metaphor and can be used to teach irony, tone, diction, and point of view. Hip hop texts can be analyzed for theme, motif, plot, and character development. Both Grand Master Flash and T.S. Eliot gazed out into their rapidly deteriorating societies and saw a “wasteland.” Both poets were essentially apocalyptic in nature as they witnessed death, disease, and decay.

Censorship

A graffiti artist uses his artwork to make a satirical social statement on censorship: “Don’t blame yourself… blame hip hop”

Hip hop has been met with significant problems in regards to censorship due to the explicit nature of certain genres, and some songs have been criticized for allegedly anti-establishment sentiment. For example, Public Enemy’s “Gotta Give the Peeps What They Need” was censored on MTV, removing the words “free Mumia”.

After the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Oakland, California group The Coup was under fire for the cover art on their Party Music, which featured the group’s two members holding a detonator as the Twin Towers exploded behind them despite the fact that it was created months before the actual event. The group, having politically radical and Marxist lyrical content, said the cover meant to symbolize the destruction of capitalism. Their record label pulled the album until a new cover could be designed.

The use of profanity as well as graphic depictions of violence and sex creates challenges in the broadcast of such material both on television stations such as MTV, in music video form, and on radio. As a result, many hip hop recordings are broadcast in censored form, with offending language “bleeped” or blanked out of the soundtrack, or replaced with “clean” lyrics. The result – which sometimes renders the remaining lyrics unintelligible or contradictory to the original recording – has become almost as widely identified with the genre as any other aspect of the music, and has been parodied in films such as Austin Powers in Goldmember, in which Mike Myers’ character Dr. Evil – performing in a parody of a hip hop music video (“Hard Knock Life” by Jay-Z)– performs an entire verse that is blanked out. In 1995, Roger Ebert wrote:

Rap has a bad reputation in white circles, where many people believe it consists of obscene and violent anti-white and anti-female guttural. Some of it does. Most does not. Most white listeners don’t care; they hear black voices in a litany of discontent, and tune out. Yet rap plays the same role today as Bob Dylan did in 1960, giving voice to the hopes and angers of a generation, and a lot of rap is powerful writing.

In 1990, Luther Campbell and his group 2 Live Crew filed a lawsuit against Broward County Sheriff Nick Navarro, because Navarro wanted to prosecute stores that sold the group’s album As Nasty As They Wanna Be because of its obscene and vulgar lyrics. In June 1990, U.S. district court judge labeled the album obscene and illegal to sell. However, in 1992, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overturned the obscenity ruling.

Until its discontinuation on July 8, 2006, BET ran a late-night segment titled BET: Uncut to air nearly-uncensored videos. The show was exemplified by music videos such as “Tip Drill” by Nelly which was criticized for what many viewed as an exploitative depiction of women, particularly images of a man swiping a credit card between a stripper’s buttocks.

Product placement

Potato chip packages featuring hip hop-design images (showing Lil Romeo and based on the film Honey).

Critics such as Businessweek’s David Kiley argue that the discussion of products within hip hop culture may actually be the result of undisclosed product placement deals. Such critics allege that shilling or product placement takes place in commercial rap music, and that lyrical references to products are actually paid endorsements. In 2005, a proposed plan by McDonalds to pay rappers to advertise McDonalds products in their music, was leaked to the press. After Russell Simmons made a deal with Courvoisier to promote the brand among hip hop fans, Busta Rhymes recorded the song “Pass the Courvoisier”. Simmons insists that no money changed hands in the deal.

The symbiotic relationship has also stretched to include car manufacturers, clothing designers and sneaker companies, and many other companies have used the hip hop community to make their name or to give them credibility. One such beneficiary was Jacob the Jeweler, a diamond merchant from New York, Jacob Arabo’s clientele included Sean Combs, Lil’ Kim and Nas. He created jewellery pieces from precious metals that were heavily loaded with diamond and gemstones. As his name was mentioned in the song lyrics of his hip hop customers, his profile quickly rose. Arabo expanded his brand to include gem-encrusted watches that retail for hundreds of thousands of dollars, gaining so much attention that Cartier filed a trademark-infringement lawsuit against him for putting diamonds on the faces of their watches and reselling them without permission. Arabo’s profile increased steadily until his June 2006 arrest by the FBI on money laundering charges.

While some brands welcome the support of the hip hop community, one brand that did not was Cristal champagne maker Louis Roederer. A 2006 article from The Economist magazine featured remarks from managing director Frederic Rouzaud about whether the brand’s identification with rap stars could affect their company negatively. His answer was dismissive in tone: “That’s a good question, but what can we do? We can’t forbid people from buying it. I’m sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.” In retaliation, many hip hop icons such as Jay-Z and Sean Combs, who previously included references to “Cris”, ceased all mentions and purchases of the champagne. 50 Cent’s merge with Vitamin Water, Dr. Dre’s promotion of his Beats by Dr. Dre headphone line and Dr. Pepper, and Drake’s commercial with Sprite all act to effectively illustrate successful mergers.

Although not popular at the time, MC Hammer was an early predecessor of product placement. With merchandise such as dolls, commercials and numerous television show appearances, Hammer began the trend of rap artists being accepted as mainstream pitchmen.

Everything You Wanted To Know About Country Music

Country music is a genre of American popular music that originated in the rural regions of the Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from the southeastern genre of American folk music and Western music. Blues modes have been used extensively throughout its recorded history. Country music often consists of ballads and dance tunes with generally simple forms and harmonies accompanied by mostly string instruments such as banjos, electric and acoustic guitars, fiddles, and harmonicas.

The term country music gained popularity in the 1940s in preference to the earlier term hillbilly music; it came to encompass Western music, which evolved parallel to hillbilly music from similar roots, in the mid-20th century. The term country music is used today to describe many styles and subgenres. In 2009 country music was the most listened to rush hour radio genre during the evening commute, and second most popular in the morning commute in the United States.

Early origins

Ryman Auditorium, the “Mother Church of Country Music”

Immigrants to the Southern Appalachian Mountains of North America brought the music and instruments of the Old World along with them for nearly 300 years. They brought some of their most important valuables with them, and to most of them this was an instrument: “Early Irish settlers enjoyed the fiddle because it could be played to sound sad and mournful or bright and bouncy” The Irish fiddle, the German derived dulcimer, the Italian mandolin, the Spanish guitar, and the West African banjo were the most common musical instruments.

According to Historian Bill Malone in Country Music U.S.A, country music was “introduced to the world as a southern phenomenon.” In the South, folk music was a combination of cultural strains, combining musical traditions of a variety of ethnic groups in the region. For example, some instrumental pieces from Irish immigrants were the basis of folk songs and ballads that form what is now known as old time music, from which country music descended. It is commonly thought that Irish folk music heavily influenced the development of old time music in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, where the earliest European settlers hailed principally from Ireland.

Country music is often erroneously thought of as solely the creation of European Americans. However, a great deal of style—and of course, the banjo, a major instrument in most early American folk songs—came from African Americans. One of the reasons country music was created by African Americans, as well as European Americans, is because blacks and whites in rural communities in the south often worked and played together, just as recollected by DeFord Bailey in the PBS documentary, DeFord Bailey: A Legend Lost. Influential black guitarist Arnold Schultz, known as the primary source for thumb style, or Travis picking, played with white musicians in West-central Kentucky.

Throughout the 19th century, several immigrant groups from Europe, most notably from Ireland, Germany, Spain, and Italy, moved to Texas. These groups interacted with Mexican, Native American and U.S. communities that were already established in Texas. As a result of this cohabitation and extended contact, Texas has developed unique cultural traits that are rooted in the culture of all of its founding communities.

First generation (1920s)

Vernon Dalhart

Jimmie Rodgers

Atlanta’s music scene played a major role in launching country’s earliest recording artists in the early 1920s — many Appalachian people had come to the city to work in its cotton mills and brought their music with them. It would remain a major recording center for two decades and a major performance center for four decades, into the first country music TV shows on local Atlanta stations in the 1950s.

Some record companies in Atlanta turned away early artists such as Fiddlin’ John Carson; while others realized that his music would fit perfectly with the lifestyle of the country’s agricultural workers. The first commercial recordings of what was considered country music were “Arkansas Traveler” and “Turkey in the Straw” by fiddlers Henry Gilliland & A.C. (Eck) Robertson on June 30, 1922 for Victor Records and released in April 1923. Columbia Records began issuing records with “hillbilly” music (series 15000D “Old Familiar Tunes”) as early as 1924.

A year later, on June 14, 1923, Fiddlin’ John Carson recorded “Little Log Cabin in the Lane” for Okeh Records. Vernon Dalhart was the first country singer to have a nationwide hit in May 1924 with “Wreck of the Old ’97”. The flip side of the record was “Lonesome Road Blues,” which also became very popular. In April 1924, “Aunt” Samantha Bumgarner and Eva Davis became the first female musicians to record and release country songs.

Many “hillbilly” musicians, such as Cliff Carlisle, recorded blues songs throughout the decade and into the 1930s. Other important early recording artists were Riley Puckett, Don Richardson, Fiddlin’ John Carson, Uncle Dave Macon, Al Hopkins, Ernest V. Stoneman, Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers and The Skillet Lickers. The steel guitar entered country music as early as 1922, when Jimmie Tarlton met famed Hawaiian guitarist Frank Ferera on the West Coast.

Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family are widely considered to be important early country musicians. Their songs were first captured at a historic recording session in Bristol on August 1, 1927, where Ralph Peer was the talent scout and sound recordist. A scene in the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? depicts a similar occurrence in the same timeframe.

Rodgers fused hillbilly country, gospel, jazz, blues, pop, cowboy, and folk; and many of his best songs were his compositions, including “Blue Yodel”, which sold over a million records and established Rodgers as the premier singer of early country music.

Beginning in 1927, and for the next 17 years, the Carters recorded some 300 old-time ballads, traditional tunes, country songs and gospel hymns, all representative of America’s southeastern folklore and heritage.

Second generation (1930s–1940s)

One effect of the Great Depression was to reduce the number of records that could be sold. Radio, and broadcasting, became a popular source of entertainment, and “barn dance” shows featuring country music were started all over the South, as far north as Chicago, and as far west as California.

Roy Acuff

The most important was the Grand Ole Opry, aired starting in 1925 by WSM in Nashville to the present day. Some of the early stars on the Opry were Uncle Dave Macon, Roy Acuff and African American harmonica player DeFord Bailey. WSM’s 50,000 Watt signal (1934) could often be heard across the country,

Many musicians performed and recorded songs in any number of styles. Moon Mullican, for example, played Western swing, but also recorded songs that can be called rockabilly. Between 1947 and 1949, country crooner Eddy Arnold placed eight songs in the top 10.

Singing cowboys and Western swing

Main article: Western music (North America)

During the 1930s and 1940s, cowboy songs, or Western music, which had been recorded since the 1920s, were popularized by films made in Hollywood. Some of the popular singing cowboys from the era were Gene Autry, the Sons of the Pioneers and Roy Rogers. Country music and western music were frequently played together on the same radio stations, hence the term country and western music.

And it wasn’t only cowboys; cowgirls contributed to the sound in various family groups. Patsy Montana opened the door for female artists with her history making song “I Want To Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart”. This would begin a movement toward opportunities for women to have successful solo careers.

Bob Wills was another country musician from the Lower Great Plains who had become very popular as the leader of a “hot string band,” and who also appeared in Hollywood Westerns. His mix of country and jazz, which started out as dance hall music, would become known as Western swing. Spade Cooley and Tex Williams also had very popular bands and appeared in films. At its height, Western swing rivaled the popularity of big band swing music.

Changing instrumentation

Drums were scorned by early country musicians as being “too loud” and “not pure,” but by 1935 Western swing big band leader Bob Wills had added drums to the Texas Playboys. In the mid-1940s, the Grand Ole Opry did not want the Playboys’ drummer to appear on stage. Although drums were commonly used by rockabilly groups by 1955, the less-conservative-than-the-Grand Ole Opry Louisiana Hayride kept its infrequently used drummer back stage as late as 1956. By the early 1960s, however, it was rare that a country band didn’t have a drummer.

Bob Wills was one of the first country musicians known to have added an electric guitar to his band, in 1938. A decade later (1948) Arthur Smith achieved top 10 US country chart success with his MGM Records recording of “Guitar Boogie”, which crossed over to the US pop chart, introducing many people to the potential of the electric guitar. For several decades Nashville session players preferred the warm tones of the Gibson and Gretsch archtop electrics, but a “hot” Fender style, utilizing guitars which became available beginning in the early 1950s, eventually prevailed as the signature guitar sound of country.

Hillbilly boogie

Country musicians began recording boogie in 1939, shortly after it had been played at Carnegie Hall, when Johnny Barfield recorded “Boogie Woogie.” The trickle of what was initially called hillbilly boogie, or okie boogie (later to be renamed country boogie), became a flood beginning in late 1945. One notable release from this period was the Delmore Brothers’ “Freight Train Boogie,” considered to be part of the combined evolution of country music and blues towards rockabilly. In 1948, Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith achieved top ten US country chart success with his MGM Records recordings of “Guitar Boogie” and “Banjo Boogie,” with the former crossing over to the US pop charts. Other country boogie artists included Merrill Moore and Tennessee Ernie Ford. The hillbilly boogie period lasted into the 1950s and remains one of many subgenres of country into the 21st century.

Bluegrass, folk and gospel

Red Foley

By the end of World War II, “mountaineer” string band music known as bluegrass had emerged when Bill Monroe joined with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, introduced by Roy Acuff at the Grand Ole Opry. Gospel music, too, remained a popular component of country music. Red Foley, the biggest country star following World War II, had one of the first million-selling gospel hits (“Peace In The Valley”) and also sang boogie, blues and rockabilly.

In the post-war period, country music was called “folk” in the trades, and “hillbilly” within the industry. In 1944, The Billboard replaced the term “hillbilly” with “folk songs and blues,” and switched to “country” or “country and Western” in 1949.

Honky tonk

Hank Williams

Another type of stripped down and raw music with a variety of moods and a basic ensemble of guitar, bass, dobro or steel guitar (and later) drums became popular, especially among poor whites in Texas and Oklahoma. It became known as honky tonk and had its roots in Western swing and the ranchera music of Mexico and the border states, particularly Texas, together with the blues of the American South. Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys personified this music which has been described as “a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, a little bit of black and a little bit of white…just loud enough to keep you from thinking too much and to go right on ordering the whiskey.” East Texan Al Dexter had a hit with “Honky Tonk Blues,” and seven years later “Pistol Packin’ Mama”. These “honky tonk” songs associated barrooms, were performed by the likes of Ernest Tubb, Kitty Wells (the first major female country solo singer), Ted Daffan, Floyd Tillman, and the Maddox Brothers and Rose, Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams, would later be called “traditional” country. Williams’ influence in particular would prove to be enormous, inspiring many of the pioneers of rock and roll, such as Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, as well as Chuck Berry and Ike Turner, while providing a framework for emerging honky tonk talents like George Jones. Webb Pierce was the top-charting country artist of the 1950s, with 13 of his singles spending 113 weeks at number one. He charted 48 singles during the decade; 31 reached the top ten and 26 reached the top four.

Third generation (1950s–1960s)

See also: 1950s in music and 1960s in music

By the early 1950s a blend of Western swing, country boogie, and honky tonk was played by most country bands. Western music, influenced by the cowboy ballads and Tejano music rhythms of the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico, reached its peak in popularity in the late 1950s, most notably with the song El Paso first recorded by Marty Robbins in September 1959.

The country music scene largely kept the music of the folk revival and folk rock at a distance, despite the similarity in instrumentation and origins (see, for instance, The Byrds’ negative reception during their appearance on the Grand Ole Opry). The main concern was politics: the folk revival was largely driven by progressive activists, a stark contrast to the culturally conservative audiences of country music. Only a handful of folk artists, such as Burl Ives, John Denver and Canadian musician Gordon Lightfoot, would cross over into country music after the folk revival died out.

During the mid-1950s a new style of country music became popular, eventually to be referred to as rockabilly.

Rockabilly

Main article: Rockabilly

Rockabilly was most popular with country fans in the 1950s, and 1956 could be called the year of rockabilly in country music. Rockabilly was a mixture of rock-and-roll and hillbilly music. During this period Elvis Presley converted over to country music. He played a huge role in the music industry during this time. The number two, three and four songs on Billboard’s charts for that year were Elvis Presley, “Heartbreak Hotel”; Johnny Cash, “I Walk the Line”; and Carl Perkins, “Blue Suede Shoes”.

Johnny Cash

Cash and Presley placed songs in the top 5 in 1958 with No. 3 “Guess Things Happen That Way/Come In, Stranger” by Cash, and No. 5 by Presley “Don’t/I Beg Of You.” Presley acknowledged the influence of rhythm and blues artists and his style, saying “The colored folk been singin’ and playin’ it just the way I’m doin’ it now, man for more years than I know.” But he also said, “My stuff is just hopped-up country.” Within a few years, many rockabilly musicians returned to a more mainstream style or had defined their own unique style.

Country music gained national television exposure through Ozark Jubilee on ABC-TV and radio from 1955–1960 from Springfield, Missouri. The program showcased top stars including several rockabilly artists, some from the Ozarks. As Webb Pierce put it in 1956, “Once upon a time, it was almost impossible to sell country music in a place like New York City. Nowadays, television takes us everywhere, and country music records and sheet music sell as well in large cities as anywhere else.”

The late 1950s saw the emergence of the Lubbock sound, but by the end of the decade, backlash as well as traditional artists such as Ray Price, Marty Robbins, and Johnny Horton began to shift the industry away from the rock n’ roll influences of the mid-1950s.

The Nashville and countrypolitan sounds

Main article: Nashville sound

Beginning in the mid-1950s, and reaching its peak during the early 1960s, the Nashville sound turned country music into a multimillion-dollar industry centered in Nashville, Tennessee. Under the direction of producers such as Chet Atkins, Paul Cohen, Owen Bradley, and later Billy Sherrill, the sound brought country music to a diverse audience and helped revive country as it emerged from a commercially fallow period.

This subgenre was notable for borrowing from 1950s pop stylings: a prominent and smooth vocal, backed by a string section and vocal chorus. Instrumental soloing was de-emphasized in favor of trademark “licks”. Leading artists in this genre included Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, Skeeter Davis, The Browns, and Eddy Arnold. The “slip note” piano style of session musician Floyd Cramer was an important component of this style.

Nashville’s pop song structure became more pronounced and it morphed into what was called countrypolitan. Countrypolitan was aimed straight at mainstream markets and it sold well throughout the later 1960s into the early 1970s (a rarity in an era where American popular music was being decimated by the British Invasion). Top artists included Tammy Wynette, Lynn Anderson, and Charlie Rich, as well as such former “hard country” artists as Ray Price and Marty Robbins.

Despite the appeal of the Nashville sound, many traditional country artists emerged during this period and dominated the genre: Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Porter Wagoner, and Sonny James among them.

Country soul – crossover

Main article: Country soul

In 1962, Ray Charles surprised the pop world by turning his attention to country and western music, topping the charts and rating number three for the year on Billboard’s pop chart with the “I Can’t Stop Loving You” single, and recording the landmark album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.

The Bakersfield sound

Main article: Bakersfield sound

Another genre of country music grew out of hardcore honky tonk with elements of Western swing and originated 112 miles (180 km) north-northwest of Los Angeles in Bakersfield, California. Influenced by one-time West Coast residents Bob Wills and Lefty Frizzell, by 1966 it was known as the Bakersfield sound. It relied on electric instruments and amplification, in particular the Telecaster electric guitar, more than other subgenres of country of the era, and can be described as having a sharp, hard, driving, no-frills, edgy flavor. Leading practitioners of this style were Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Tommy Collins, Gary Allan, and Wynn Stewart, each of whom had his own style.

Country rock

Main article: Country rock

The late 1960s in American music produced a unique blend as a result of traditionalist backlash within separate genres. In the aftermath of the British Invasion, many desired a return to the “old values” of rock n’ roll. At the same time there was a lack of enthusiasm in the country sector for Nashville-produced music. What resulted was a crossbred genre known as country rock.

Early innovators in this new style of music in the 1960s and 1970s included Bob Dylan who was the first to revert to country music with his 1967 album John Wesley Harding (and even moreso with that album’s follow-up, Nashville Skyline) followed by folk rock band The Byrds (with Gram Parsons on Sweetheart of the Rodeo) and its spin-off The Flying Burrito Brothers (also featuring Gram Parsons), guitarist Clarence White, Michael Nesmith (Monkees and First National Band), the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Commander Cody, The Allman Brothers, The Marshall Tucker Band, Poco, Buffalo Springfield, and The Eagles among many. The Rolling Stones also got into the act with songs like “Honky Tonk Women” and “Dead Flowers”.

Described by Allmusic as the “father of country-rock”, Gram Parsons’ work in the early 1970s was acclaimed for its purity and for his appreciation for aspects of traditional country music. Though his career was cut tragically short by his 1973 death, his legacy was carried on by his protégé and duet partner Emmylou Harris; Harris would release her debut solo in 1975, an amalgamation of country, rock and roll, folk, blues and pop.

Subsequent to the initial blending of the two polar opposite genres, other offspring soon resulted, including Southern rock, heartland rock and in more recent years, alternative country.

In the decades that followed, artists such as Juice Newton; Alabama; Hank Williams, Jr. (and, to an even greater extent, Hank Williams III); Gary Allan; Shania Twain; Brooks & Dunn; Faith Hill; Garth Brooks; Dwight Yoakam; Steve Earle; Dolly Parton; Rosanne Cash and Linda Ronstadt moved country further towards rock influence.

Decline of Western music and the cowboy ballad

By the late 1960s, Western music, in particular the cowboy ballad, was in decline. Relegated to the “country and Western” genre by marketing agencies, popular Western recording stars released albums to only moderate success. Rock-and-roll dominated music sales, and Hollywood recording studios dropped most of their Western artists. The shift in country music production to Nashville also played a role, where the Nashville sound, country rock, and rockabilly music styles predominated over both ‘cowboy’ artists and the more recent Bakersfield sound. The latter was largely limited to Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and a few other bands. In the process, country and western music as a genre lost most of its southwestern, ranchera, and Tejano musical influences. However the cowboy ballad and honky-tonk music would be resurrected and reinterpreted in the 1970s with the growth in popularity of “outlaw country” music from Texas and Oklahoma.

Fourth generation (1970s–1980s)

Outlaw country

Main article: Outlaw country

Derived from the traditional Western and honky tonk musical styles of the late 1950s and 1960s, including Ray Price (whose band, the “Cherokee Cowboys”, included Willie Nelson and Roger Miller) and mixed with the anger of an alienated subculture of the nation during the period, outlaw country revolutionized the genre of country music.

Willie Nelson

“After I left Nashville (the early 70s), I wanted to relax and play the music that I wanted to play, and just stay around Texas, maybe Oklahoma. Waylon and I had that outlaw image going, and when it caught on at colleges and we started selling records, we were O.K. The whole outlaw thing, it had nothing to do with the music, it was something that got written in an article, and the young people said, ‘Well, that’s pretty cool.’ And started listening.” (Willie Nelson)

The term outlaw country is traditionally associated with Hank Williams, Jr, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, David Allan Coe, Whitey Morgan and the 78’s, John Prine, Billy Joe Shaver, Gary Stewart, Townes Van Zandt, Kris Kristofferson and the later career renaissance of Johnny Cash, with a few female vocalists such as Jessi Colter and Sammi Smith. It was encapsulated in the 1976 album Wanted! The Outlaws. A related subgenre is Red Dirt. Michael Martin Murphey was also a part of the Outlaw Country movement.

Country pop

Main article: Country pop

Country pop or soft pop, with roots in both the countrypolitan sound, folk music, and soft rock, is a subgenre that first emerged in the 1970s. Although the term first referred to country music songs and artists that crossed over to top 40 radio, country pop acts are now more likely to cross over to adult contemporary music. It started with pop music singers like Glen Campbell, Bobbie Gentry, John Denver, Olivia Newton-John, Anne Murray, Marie Osmond, B. J. Thomas, The Bellamy Brothers, and Linda Ronstadt having hits on the country charts.

Lynn Anderson in concert

Between 1972 and 1975, singer/guitarist John Denver released a series of hugely successful songs blending country and folk-rock musical styles (Rocky Mountain High, Sunshine on My Shoulders, Annie’s Song, Thank God I’m a Country Boy, and I’m Sorry), and was named Country Music Entertainer of the Year in 1975. The year before, Olivia Newton-John, an Australian pop singer, won the “Best Female Country Vocal Performance” as well as the Country Music Association’s most coveted award for females, “Female Vocalist of the Year”. In response George Jones, Tammy Wynette, and other traditional Nashville country artists dissatisfied with the new trend formed the short-lived Association of Country Entertainers in 1974.

During the mid-1970s, Dolly Parton, a highly successful mainstream country artist since the late 1960s, mounted a high profile campaign to crossover to pop music, culminating in her 1977 hit “Here You Come Again”, which topped the U.S. country singles chart, and also reached No. 3 on the pop singles charts. Parton’s male counterpart, Kenny Rogers came from the opposite direction, aiming his music at the country charts, after a successful career in pop, rock and folk music, achieving success the same year with “Lucille”, which topped the country charts and reached No. 5 on the U.S. pop singles charts. Parton and Rogers would both continue to have success on both country and pop charts simultaneously, well into the 1980s. Artists like Crystal Gayle, Ronnie Milsap and Barbara Mandrell would also find success on the pop charts with their records as well.

Dolly Parton

In 1975, author Paul Hemphill stated in the Saturday Evening Post, “Country music isn’t really country anymore; it is a hybrid of nearly every form of popular music in America.”

During the early 1980s, country artists continued to see their records perform well on the pop charts. Willie Nelson and Juice Newton each had two songs in the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 in the early eighties: Nelson charted “Always On My Mind” (No. 5, 1982) and “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” (No. 5, 1984), and Newton achieved success with “Queen of Hearts” (No. 2, 1981) and “Angel of the Morning” (No. 4, 1981). Four country songs topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the 1980s: “Lady” by Kenny Rogers, from the late fall of 1980; “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton, “I Love a Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt (these two back-to-back at the top in early 1981); and “Islands in the Stream”, a duet by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers in 1983, a pop-country crossover hit written by Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees. Newton’s “Queen of Hearts” almost reached No. 1, but was kept out of the spot by the pop ballad juggernaut “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. Although there were few crossover hits in the latter half of the 1980s, one song — Roy Orbison’s “You Got It”, from 1989 — made the top 10 of both the Billboard Hot Country Singles” and Hot 100 charts.

The record-setting, multi-platinum group, Alabama, was named Artist of the Decade for the 1980s by the Academy of Country Music.

Neocountry

In 1980, a style of “neocountry disco music” was popularized by the film Urban Cowboy, which also included more traditional songs such as “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Charlie Daniels Band. A related subgenre is Texas country music.

Sales in record stores rocketed to $250 million in 1981; by 1984, 900 radio stations began programming country or neocountry pop full-time. As with most sudden trends, however, by 1984 sales had dropped below 1979 figures.

Truck driving country

Main article: Truck-driving country

Truck driving country music is a genre of country music and is a fusion of honky tonk, country-rock and Bakersfield Sound. It has the tempo of country-rock and the emotion of honky-tonk, and its lyrics focus on a truck driver’s lifestyle. Truck driving country songs often deal with trucks and love. Well-known artists who sing truck driving country include Dave Dudley, Red Sovine, Dick Curless, Red Simpson, Del Reeves, The Willis Brothers and Jerry Reed, with C. W. McCall and Cledus Maggard (pseudonyms of Bill Fries and Jay Huguely, respectively) being more humorous entries in the subgenre. Dudley is known as the father of truck driving country.

Neotraditionalist movement

Main article: Neotraditionalist country

During the mid-1980s, a group of new artists began to emerge who rejected the more polished country-pop sound that had been prominent on radio and the charts, in favor of more, traditional, “back-to-basics” production. Led by Randy Travis, whose 1986 debut album Storms of Life, sold four million copies and was Billboard’s year-end top country album of 1987, many of the artists during the latter half of the 1980s drew on traditional honky tonk, bluegrass, folk and western swing. Artists who typified this sound included Travis Tritt, Alan Jackson, Ricky Skaggs, Kathy Mattea, George Strait and The Judds.

Fifth generation (1990s)

Garth Brooks

Country music was aided by the FCC’s Docket 80-90, which led to a significant expansion of FM radio in the 1980s by adding numerous higher-fidelity FM signals to rural and suburban areas. At this point, country music was mainly heard on rural AM radio stations; the expansion of FM was particularly helpful to country music, which migrated to FM from the AM band as AM became overcome by talk radio (the country music stations that stayed on AM developed the classic country format for the AM audience). At the same time, beautiful music stations already in rural areas began abandoning the format (leading to its effective demise) to adopt country music as well. This wider availability of country music led to producers seeking to polish their product for a wider audience. Another force leading to changes in the country music industry was the changing sound of rock music, which was increasingly being influenced by the noisier, less melodic alternative rock scene. “New country” ended up absorbing rock influence from more electric musicians that were too melodic for modern rock but too electric for the classic country music sound. (A number of “classic rock” artists, especially Southern rock ones such as Charlie Daniels and Lynyrd Skynyrd, are more closely associated with the modern country music scene than that of the modern rock scene.)

In the 1990s, country music became a worldwide phenomenon thanks to Billy Ray Cyrus and Garth Brooks. The latter enjoyed one of the most successful careers in popular music history, breaking records for both sales and concert attendance throughout the decade. The RIAA has certified his recordings at a combined (128× platinum), denoting roughly 113 million U.S. shipments. Other artists that experienced success during this time included Clint Black, Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin, Travis Tritt, Alan Jackson and the newly formed duo of Brooks & Dunn; George Strait, whose career began in the 1980s, also continued to have widespread success in this decade and beyond. Toby Keith began his career as a more pop-oriented country singer in the 1990s, evolving into an outlaw persona in the late 1990s with Pull My Chain and its follow-up, Unleashed.

Female artists such as Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Deana Carter, LeAnn Rimes, Shania Twain, and Mary Chapin Carpenter all released platinum selling albums in the 1990s.

The Dixie Chicks became one of the most popular country bands in the 1990s and early 2000s. Their 1998 debut album Wide Open Spaces went on to become certified 12x platinum while their 1999 album Fly went on to become 10x platinum. After their third album, Home, was released in 2003, the band made political news in part because of lead singer Natalie Maines’s comments disparaging then-President George W. Bush while the band was overseas (Maines stated that she and her bandmates were ashamed to be from the same state as Bush, who had just commenced the Iraq War a few days prior). The comments caused a rift between the band and the country music scene, and the band’s fourth (and, to date, final) album, 2006’s Taking the Long Way, took a more rock-oriented direction; the album was commercially successful overall but largely ignored among country audiences. (The band is currently on hiatus as Maines pursues a solo career; in the meantime, the two other members are continuing with their side project, the Court Yard Hounds.)

In the early-mid-1990s, country western music was influenced by the popularity of line dancing. This influence was so great that Chet Atkins was quoted as saying “The music has gotten pretty bad, I think. It’s all that damn line dancing.” By the end of the decade, however, at least one line dance choreographer complained that good country line dance music was no longer being released.

Sixth generation (2000s–present)

Richard Marx crossed-over with his Days In Avalon album, which features five country songs and several singers and musicians. Alison Krauss sang background vocals to Marx’s single “Straight From My Heart.” Also, Bon Jovi had a hit single, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”, with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. Kid Rock’s collaboration with Sheryl Crow, “Picture,” was a major crossover hit in 2001 and began Kid Rock’s transition from hard rock to a country-rock hybrid that would later produce another major crossover hit, 2008’s “All Summer Long.” Darius Rucker, former frontman for the 1990s pop-rock band Hootie and the Blowfish, began a country solo career in the late 2000s, one that to date has produced three albums and several hits on both the country charts and the Billboard Hot 100. Singer song writer Unknown Hinson became famous for his appearance in the Charlotte television show Wild,Wild, South. After which Unknown Hinson started his own band and toured in southern states. Other rock stars who featured a country song on their albums were Don Henley and Poison.

In 2005, country singer Carrie Underwood rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol and became a multi-platinum selling recording artist and multiple Grammy Award winner. With her first single, “Inside Your Heaven”, Underwood became the only country artist to have a #1 Hit on Billboard Hot 100 Songs chart in the 2000-2009 decade. In 2007, Underwood won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist and became the first country artist in 10 years to win such award and the second of only three to ever win it. Underwood also made history by becoming the seventh woman to win Entertainer Of The Year for the Academy of Country Music Awards, and the first woman in history to win Entertainer of the Year for the Academy of Country Music Awards twice, as well as twice consecutively. Underwood’s debut album, “Some Hearts”, was not only the fastest-selling debut album by any country artist in history, but was ranked by Billboard.com as the #1 Country Album of the 2000-2009 decade. In 2010, Underwood sang with Brad Paisley at the Greenbrier Classic PGA Tour Event. After this, they became good friends and released their duet “Remind Me” in 2011.

Underwood was one of several country stars produced by a television series in the 2000s. In addition to Underwood, American Idol launched the careers of Kellie Pickler, Josh Gracin, Bucky Covington, Kristy Lee Cook, and Danny Gokey (as well as that of occasional country singer Kelly Clarkson) in the decade, and would continue to launch country careers in the 2010s. The series Nashville Star, while not nearly as successful as Idol, did manage to bring Miranda Lambert and Chris Young to mainstream success, also launching careers of lower-profile musicians such as Buddy Jewell, Sean Patrick McGraw, and Canadian musician George Canyon. Can You Duet? produced the duos Steel Magnolia and Joey & Rory.

Teen sitcoms also have had an impact on modern country music; in 2008, actress Jennette McCurdy (best known as the sidekick Sam on the teen sitcom iCarly) released her first single, “So Close;” following that with the single “Generation Love” in 2011. Another teen sitcom star, Miley Cyrus (of Hannah Montana), also had a crossover hit in the late 2000s with “The Climb” and another with a duet with her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, with “Ready, Set, Don’t Go.” Jana Kramer, an actress in teen drama One Tree Hill, released a country album in 2012 that has produced two hit singles as of 2013. Actress Hayden Panettiere also began recording country songs as part of her role in the TV series Nashville; several have reached the lower ends of the top 40 of the country charts.

In 2010, the group Lady Antebellum won five Grammys, including the coveted Song of the Year and Record of the Year for “Need You Now”.

A large number of duos and vocal groups have begun to emerge on the charts in the 2010s, many of which feature close harmony in the lead vocals. In addition to Lady Antebellum, groups such as The Quebe Sisters Band, Little Big Town, The Band Perry, Gloriana, Thompson Square, Eli Young Band and the Zac Brown Band have emerged to occupy a large portion of the new country artists in the popular scene.

One of the most commercially successful artists of the late 2000s and early 2010s has been singer-songwriter Taylor Swift. Swift first became widely known in 2006 when her debut single, “Tim McGraw,” was released when Swift was age 16 and has been prolific in releasing both pop and country singles since then. In 2006, Taylor released her first studio album, Taylor Swift, which spent 275 weeks on Billboard 200. It became one of the longest-running album in Billboard 200. In 2008, Taylor Swift released her second studio album, Fearless, which made her the second longest number one charted in Billboard 200 and the second best-selling album (just behind Adele’s 21) among this 5 year. In 2010 Grammys, Taylor Swift was 20 and won Album of the year for Fearless which make her become the youngest artist to win this award. Swift had received seven Grammys already, which made her the most awarded country solo artist, although this includes her non-country songs as well. Buoyed by her teen idol status among girls and a change in the methodology of compiling the Billboard charts to favor pop-crossover songs, Swift’s 2012 single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” spent the most weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart of any song in nearly five decades (although that benchmark would be surpassed almost immediately by Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise,” which, as of July 2013, is in the midst of an even longer run at the top of the Hot Country Songs chart; both songs alternated back and forth on the charts for several months).

Rock music influence in country also has become more overt during the late 2000s and early 2010s as artists like Eric Church, Jason Aldean, and Brantley Gilbert have had success; Aaron Lewis, former frontman for the rock group Staind, had a moderately successful entry into country music in 2011 and 2012. Also rising in the late 2000 and early 2010s was the insertion of rap and spoken-word elements into country songs; artists such as Cowboy Troy and Colt Ford have focused almost exclusively on country-rap (also known as hick hop) while other, more mainstream artists (Big & Rich and Jason Aldean) have used it on occasion.

International

Canada

Main articles: Canadian Country Music Association and Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Outside of the United States, Canada has the largest country music fan and artist base. Mainstream country music is culturally ingrained in the prairie provinces and in Atlantic Canada: areas with large numbers of rural residents. Celtic traditional music developed in Atlantic Canada in the form of Scottish, Acadian and Irish folk music popular amongst Irish, French and Scottish immigrants to Canada’s Atlantic Provinces (Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island). Like the southern United States and Appalachia, all four regions are of heavy British Isles stock and rural; as such, the development of traditional music in the Maritimes somewhat mirrored the development of country music in the US south and Appalachia. Country and Western never really developed separately in Canada, however, after its introduction to Canada, following the spread of radio, it developed quite quickly out of the Atlantic Canadian traditional scene. While true Atlantic Canadian traditional music is very Celtic or “sea shanty” in nature, even today, the lines have often been blurred. Certain areas often are viewed as embracing one strain or the other more openly. For example, in Newfoundland the traditional music remains very unique and Irish in nature, whereas traditional musicians in other parts of the region may play both genres interchangeably. There is also a thriving country community in the province of Quebec.

Don Messer’s Jubilee was a Halifax, Nova Scotia based country/folk variety television show that was broadcast nationally from 1957 to 1969. In Canada it out-performed The Ed Sullivan Show broadcast from the United States, and became the top-rated television show throughout much of the 1960s. Don Messer’s Jubilee followed a consistent format throughout its years, beginning with a tune named “Goin’ to the Barndance Tonight”, followed by fiddle tunes by Messer, songs from some of his “Islanders” including singers Marg Osburne and Charlie Chamberlain, the featured guest performance, and a closing hymn. It ended with “Till We Meet Again”.

The guest performance slot gave national exposure to numerous Canadian folk musicians, including Stompin’ Tom Connors and Catherine McKinnon. Some Maritime country performers went on to further fame beyond Canada. Hank Snow, Wilf Carter (also known as Montana Slim), and Anne Murray are the three most notable.

The cancellation of the show by the public broadcaster in 1969 caused a nationwide protest, including the raising of questions in the Parliament of Canada.

The Prairie provinces, due to their western cowboy and agrarian nature are the true heartland of Canadian country music. While the Prairies never developed a traditional music culture anything like the Maritimes, the folk music of the Prairies often reflected the cultural origins of the settlers, who were a mix of Scottish, Ukrainian, German and others. For these reasons Polkas and Western music were always popular in the region and with the introduction of the radio, mainstream country music flourished. As the culture of the region is western and frontier in nature, the specific genre of country and western is more popular today in the Prairies than in any other part of the country. No other area of the country embraces all aspects of the culture, from two step dancing, to the cowboy dress, to rodeos, to the music itself, like the Prairies does. That being said, the Atlantic Provinces produce far more traditional musicians, however, they are not usually specifically country in nature, usually bordering more on the folk or Celtic genres.

Many traditional country artists are present in Eastern and Western Canada. They make common use of fiddle and pedal steel guitar styles. Some notable Canadian country artists include: Shania Twain, Anne Murray, k.d. lang, Gordon Lightfoot, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Blue Rodeo, Tommy Hunter, Rita MacNeil, Stompin’ Tom Connors, Ronnie Prophet, Carroll Baker (singer), The Rankin Family, Ian Tyson, Johnny Reid, Paul Brandt, Jason McCoy, George Fox, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Hank Snow, Don Messer, Wilf Carter, Michelle Wright, Terri Clark, Prairie Oyster, Family Brown, Johnny Mooring, Marg Osburne, Doc Walker, Emerson Drive, The Wilkinsons, Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans, Crystal Shawanda, Dean Brody, Shane Yellowbird, Gord Bamford, Chad Brownlee, The Road Hammers, and The Higgins.

Australia

Main article: Australian country music

Olivia Newton-John singing in Sydney in 2008.

Australian country music has a long tradition. Influenced by American country music it has developed a distinct style, shaped by British and Irish folk ballads and Australian bush balladeers like Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson. Country instruments, including the guitar, banjo, fiddle and harmonica create the distinctive sound of country music in Australia and accompany songs with strong storyline and memorable chorus.

Folk songs sung in Australia between the 1780s and 1920s based around such themes as the struggle against government tyranny, or the lives of bushrangers, swagmen, drovers, stockmen and shearers continue to influence the genre. This strain of Australian country, with lyrics focusing on Australian subjects, is generally known as “bush music” or “bush band music”. Waltzing Matilda, often regarded as Australia’s unofficial National anthem, is a quintessential Australian country song, influenced more by British and Irish folk ballads than by American Country and Western music. The lyrics were composed by the poet Banjo Paterson in 1895. Other popular songs from this tradition include The Wild Colonial Boy, Click Go The Shears, The Queensland Drover and The Dying Stockman. Later themes which endure to the present include the experiences of war, of droughts and flooding rains, of Aboriginality and of the railways and trucking routes which link Australia’s vast distances.

Pioneers of a more Americanised popular country music in Australia included Tex Morton (known as The Father of Australian Country Music) in the 1930s. Other early stars included Buddy Williams, Shirley Thoms and Smoky Dawson. Buddy Williams (1918-1986) was the first Australian born to record country music in Australia in the late 1930s and was the pioneer of a distinctly Australian style of country music called the bush ballad that others such as Slim Dusty would make popular in later years. During WWII, many of Buddy Williams recording sessions were done whilst on leave from the Army. At the end of the war, Williams would also go on to operate some of the largest travelling tent rodeo shows Australia has ever seen.

In 1952, Dawson began a radio show, and went on to national stardom as a singing cowboy of radio, TV and film. Slim Dusty (1927–2003) was known as the King of Australian Country Music, and helped to popularise the Australian bush ballad. His successful career spanned almost six decades and his 1957 hit “Pub With No Beer” was the biggest-selling record by an Australian to that time, and with over seven million record sales in Australia he is the most successful artist in Australian musical history Dusty recorded and released his one-hundredth album in the year 2000 and was given the honour of singing Waltzing Matilda in the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Dusty’s wife Joy McKean penned several of his most popular songs.

Chad Morgan, who began recording in the 1950s has represented a vaudeville style of comic Australian country; Frank Ifield achieved considerable success in the early 1960s, especially in the UK Singles Charts and Reg Lindsay was one of the first Australians to perform at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry in 1974. Eric Bogle’s 1972 folk lament to the Gallipoli campaign “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda” recalled the British and Irish origins of Australian folk-country. Singer-songwriter Paul Kelly whose music style straddles folk, rock, and country is often described as the poet laureate of Australian music.

Keith Urban in 2007

By the 1990s, country music had attained cross-over success in the pop charts with artists like James Blundell and James Reyne singing “Way Out West”, and country star Kasey Chambers winning the ARIA for Best Female Artist in 2003. The cross-over influence of Australian country is also evident in the music of successful contemporary bands The Waifs and The John Butler Trio. Nick Cave has been heavily influenced by the country artist Johnny Cash. In 2000, Cash, covered Cave’s “The Mercy Seat” on the album American III: Solitary Man, seemingly repaying Cave for the compliment he paid by covering Cash’s “The Singer” (originally “The Folk Singer”) on his Kicking Against the Pricks album. Subsequently, Cave cut a duet with Cash on a version of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” for Cash’s American IV: The Man Comes Around album (2002).

Popular contemporary performers of Australian country music include: John Williamson (who wrote the iconic “True Blue”), Lee Kernaghan (whose hits include “Boys From the Bush” and “the Outback Club”), Gina Jeffreys, Forever Road and Sara Storer. In the USA, Olivia Newton-John, Sherrié Austin and Keith Urban have attained great success.

Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach at the 2009 Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Country music has also been a particularly popular form of musical expression among Indigenous Australians. Troy Cassar-Daley is among Australia’s successful contemporary indigenous performers Aboriginal artists and Kev Carmody and Archie Roach employ a combination of folk-rock and country music to sing about Aboriginal rights issues.

The Tamworth Country Music Festival began in 1973 and now attracts up to a 100,000 visitors annually. Held in Tamworth, New South Wales (Country music capital of Australia), it celebrates the culture and heritage of Australian country music. During the festival the CMAA holds the Country Music Awards of Australia ceremony awarding the Golden Guitar trophies.

Other significant country music festivals include the Whittlesea Country Music Festival (near Melbourne) and Boyup Brook Country Music Festival (Western Australia) in February; the Bamera Country Music Festival in June (South Australia), the National Country Muster held in Gympie during August, Mildura Country Music Festival for “independent” performers during October and the Canberra Country Music Festival held in the national capital during November. Some festivals are quite unique in their location: Grabine State Park in New South Wales promotes Australian country through the Grabine Music Muster Festival; Marilyns Country Music Festival is a unique event held in South Australia’s Smoky Bay in September and is the only music festival in the world using an oyster barge as a stage.

Country HQ showcases new talent on the rise in the country music scene downunder. CMC (the Country Music Channel), a 24 hour music channel dedicated to non-stop country music, can be viewed on pay tv and features once a year the Golden Guitar Awards, CMAs and CCMAs alongside international shows such as The Wilkinsons, The Road Hammers, and Country Music Across America.

Other international country music

Tom Roland, from the Country Music Association International, explains Country Music’s global popularity: “In this respect, at least, Country Music listeners around the globe have something in common with those in the United States. In Germany, for instance, Rohrbach identifies three general groups that gravitate to the genre: people intrigued with the American cowboy icon, middle-aged fans who seek an alternative to harder rock music and younger listeners drawn to the pop-influenced sound that underscores many current Country hits.”

One of the first Americans to perform country music abroad was George Hamilton IV. He was the first country musician to perform in the Soviet Union; he also toured in Australia and the Middle East. He was deemed the “International Ambassador of Country Music” for his contributions to the globalization of country music. Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Keith Urban, and Dwight Yoakam have also made numerous international tours.

The Country Music Association undertakes various initiatives to promote country music internationally.

In the United Kingdom, a country-derived genre known as skiffle peaked in the 1950s thanks to the efforts of Lonnie Donegan; though the genre as a whole was very short-lived, most of the bands involved with the British Invasion began their careers as skiffle musicians. American country-western musician Slim Whitman was even more successful in the UK than he was in the United States during the same decade. With a handful of exceptions (such as the surprise success of Faron Young’s top-5 UK hit “It’s Four in the Morning,” which did far better in the UK than the U.S. upon its 1971 release), country music has not been well received in the UK; when American country artists such as Garth Brooks, Dwight Yoakam and Alan Jackson started making transatlantic tours in the 1990s, they were treated largely with scorn by the British press.

In South America, on the last weekend of September, the yearly “San Pedro Country Music Festival” takes places in the town of San Pedro, Argentina. The festival features bands from different places of Argentina, as well as international artist from Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Peru and the United States.

In India, the Anglo-Indian community is well known for enjoying and performing country music. An annual concert festival called “Blazing Guitars” held in Chennai brings together Anglo-Indian musicians from all over the country (including some who have emigrated to places like Australia).

In Ireland TG4 began a quest for Ireland’s next country star called Glór Tíre, translated as Country Voice, it is now in its 6th season and is one of TG4 most watched TV shows. Over past ten years country and gospel recording artist James Kilbane has reached multi-platinum success with his mix of Christian and traditional country influenced albums. James Kilbane like many other Irish artists are today working closer with Nashville. A recent success in the Irish arena has been Crystal Swing.

In Sweden, Rednex rose to stardom combining country music with electro-pop in the 1990s. In 1994, the group had a worldwide hit with their version of the traditional Southern tune “Cotton-Eyed Joe”.

In Poland an international country music festival, known as Piknik Country (picnic country), has been organized in Mrągowo in Masuria since 1983.

There’s more and more country music artists in France. Some of the most importants are Liane Edwards, Annabel, Rockie Mountains, Tahiana, Lili West. French rock and roll superstar Eddy Mitchell is also very inspired by Americana and country music.

In Iran, country music is about to known in the recent years. According to Melody Music Magazine, the pioneer of country music in Iran is the English speaking country music band, Dream Rovers whose founder, singer and songwriter is Erfan Rezayatbakhsh (elf). The band was formed in 2007 in Tehran and during this time they have been trying to introduce and popularize country music in Iran by releasing two studio albums and performing live at concerts concerning so many difficulties that the Islamic regime in Iran makes for the bands that are active in western music field.

Performers and shows

Main articles: List of country music performers, List of country performers by era, and List of country television and radio shows

US cable television

Six U.S. cable TV networks are at least partly devoted to the genre: CMT and CMT Pure Country (both owned by Viacom), Rural Free Delivery TV (owned by Rural Media Group), GAC (owned by The E. W. Scripps Company), The Nashville Network (owned by Luken Communications), and ZUUS Country (owned by ZUUS Media, LLC).

The first American country music video cable channel was the original version of The Nashville Network, launched in the early 1980s. In 2000, after it and CMT fell under the same corporate ownership, the channel was renamed and reformatted as The National Network, a general-interest network, and eventually became Spike TV. The current version of the channel launched in 2012 after Viacom (Spike’s parent company) sold the TNN intellectual property to Luken Communications and Jim Owens Entertainment (the company behind Crook & Chase).

Canadian television

Only one television channel is currently dedicated to country music in Canada and that is CMT (Canada) owned by Corus Entertainment (90%) and Viacom (10%). But in the past the show Don Messer’s Jubilee had great impact on country music in Canada in fact it is the program that launched Anne Murray’s career.

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Music History

Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. The word derives from Greek μουσική (mousike; “art of the Muses”).

The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of music vary according to culture and social context. Music ranges from strictly organized compositions (and their recreation in performance), through improvisational music to aleatoric forms. Music can be divided into genres and subgenres, although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are often subtle, sometimes open to personal interpretation, and occasionally controversial. Within the arts, music may be classified as a performing art, a fine art, and auditory art. It may also be divided among art music and folk music. There is also a strong connection between music and mathematics. Music may be played and heard live, may be part of a dramatic work or film, or may be recorded.

To many people in many cultures, music is an important part of their way of life. Ancient Greek and Indian philosophers defined music as tones ordered horizontally as melodies and vertically as harmonies. Common sayings such as “the harmony of the spheres” and “it is music to my ears” point to the notion that music is often ordered and pleasant to listen to. However, 20th-century composer John Cage thought that any sound can be music, saying, for example, “There is no noise, only sound.” Musicologist Jean-Jacques Nattiez summarizes the relativist, post-modern viewpoint: “The border between music and noise is always culturally defined—which implies that, even within a single society, this border does not always pass through the same place; in short, there is rarely a consensus … By all accounts there is no single and intercultural universal concept defining what music might be.”

History

Further information: History of classical music traditions

Prehistoric eras

Main article: Prehistoric music

Prehistoric music can only be theorized based on findings from paleolithic archaeology sites. Flutes are often discovered, carved from bones in which lateral holes have been pierced; these are thought to have been blown at one end like the Japanese shakuhachi. The Divje Babe flute, carved from a cave bear femur, is thought to be at least 40,000 years old. Instruments such as the seven-holed flute and various types of stringed instruments, such as the Ravanahatha, have been recovered from the Indus Valley Civilization archaeological sites. India has one of the oldest musical traditions in the world—references to Indian classical music (marga) are found in the Vedas, ancient scriptures of the Hindu tradition. The earliest and largest collection of prehistoric musical instruments was found in China and dates back to between 7000 and 6600 BC. The Hurrian song, found on clay tablets that date back to approximately 1400 BC, is the oldest surviving notated work of music.

Ancient Egypt

Main article: Music of Egypt

Musicians of Amun, Tomb of Nakht, 18th Dynasty, Western Thebes.

The ancient Egyptians credited one of their gods, Thoth, with the invention of music, which Osiris in turn used as part of his effort to civilize the world. The earliest material and representational evidence of Egyptian musical instruments dates to the Predynastic period, but the evidence is more securely attested in the Old Kingdom when harps, flutes and double clarinets were played. Percussion instruments, lyres and lutes were added to orchestras by the Middle Kingdom. Cymbals frequently accompanied music and dance, much as they still do in Egypt today. Egyptian folk music, including the traditional Sufi dhikr rituals, are the closest contemporary music genre to ancient Egyptian music, having preserved many of its features, rhythms and instruments.

Asian cultures

Gangubai Hangal
Durga
See also: Music of Iran, Music of Afghanistan, Music of Tajikistan, Music of Sri Lanka, and Music of Uzbekistan

Indian classical music is one of the oldest musical traditions in the world. The Indus Valley civilization has sculptures that show dance and old musical instruments, like the seven holed flute. Various types of stringed instruments and drums have been recovered from Harrappa and Mohenjo Daro by excavations carried out by Sir Mortimer Wheeler. The Rigveda has elements of present Indian music, with a musical notation to denote the metre and the mode of chanting. Indian classical music (marga) is monophonic, and based on a single melody line or raga rhythmically organized through talas.Silappadhikaram by Ilango Adigal gives so much information about how new scale can be formed by modal shift of tonic from existing scale. Hindustani music was influenced by the Persian performance practices of the Afghan Mughals. Carnatic music popular in the southern states, is largely devotional; the majority of the songs are addressed to the Hindu deities. There are a lot of songs emphasising love and other social issues.

Asian music covers the music cultures of Arabia, Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Chinese classical music, the traditional art or court music of China, has a history stretching over around three thousand years. It has its own unique systems of musical notation, as well as musical tuning and pitch, musical instruments and styles or musical genres. Chinese music is pentatonic-diatonic, having a scale of twelve notes to an octave (5 + 7 = 12) as does European-influenced music. Persian music is the music of Persia and Persian language countries: musiqi, the science and art of music, and muzik, the sound and performance of music (Sakata 1983).

References in the Bible

Main article: History of music in the biblical period

“David with his harp” Paris Psalter,
c. 960, Constantinople

Music and theatre scholars studying the history and anthropology of Semitic and early Judeo-Christian culture have discovered common links in theatrical and musical activity between the classical cultures of the Hebrews and those of later Greeks and Romans. The common area of performance is found in a “social phenomenon called litany,” a form of prayer consisting of a series of invocations or supplications. The Journal of Religion and Theatre notes that among the earliest forms of litany, “Hebrew litany was accompanied by a rich musical tradition:”

“While Genesis 4.21 identifies Jubal as the “father of all such as handle the harp and pipe,” the Pentateuch is nearly silent about the practice and instruction of music in the early life of Israel. Then, in I Samuel 10 and the texts that follow, a curious thing happens. “One finds in the biblical text,” writes Alfred Sendrey, “a sudden and unexplained upsurge of large choirs and orchestras, consisting of thoroughly organized and trained musical groups, which would be virtually inconceivable without lengthy, methodical preparation.” This has led some scholars to believe that the prophet Samuel was the patriarch of a school, which taught not only prophets and holy men, but also sacred-rite musicians. This public music school, perhaps the earliest in recorded history, was not restricted to a priestly class—which is how the shepherd boy David appears on the scene as a minstrel to King Saul.”

Antiquity

Western cultures have had a major influence on the development of music. The history of the music of the Western cultures can be traced back to Ancient Greece times.

Ancient Greece

Music was an important part of social and cultural life in Ancient Greece. Musicians and singers played a prominent role in Greek theater. Mixed-gender choruses performed for entertainment, celebration, and spiritual ceremonies. Instruments included the double-reed aulos and a plucked string instrument, the lyre, principally the special kind called a kithara. Music was an important part of education, and boys were taught music starting at age six. Greek musical literacy created a flowering of music development. Greek music theory included the Greek musical modes, that eventually became the basis for Western religious and classical music. Later, influences from the Roman Empire, Eastern Europe, and the Byzantine Empire changed Greek music. The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world.

The Middle Ages

Léonin or Pérotin
Breves dies hominis

The medieval era (476 AD to 1400 AD) started with the introduction of chanting into Roman Catholic Church services. Western Music then started becoming more of an art form with the advances in music notation. The only European Medieval repertory that survives from before about 800 is the monophonic liturgical plainsong of the Roman Catholic Church, the central tradition of which was called Gregorian chant. Alongside these traditions of sacred and church music there existed a vibrant tradition of secular song. Examples of composers from this period are Léonin, Pérotin and Guillaume de Machaut.

The Renaissance

T.L. de Victoria
Amicus meus

Allegory of Music, by Filippino Lippi

Renaissance music (c. 1400 A.D. to 1600 A.D.) was more focused on secular themes. Around 1450, the printing press was invented, and that helped to disseminate musical styles more quickly and across a larger area. Thus, music could play an increasingly important role in daily life. Musicians worked for the church, courts and towns. Church choirs grew in size, and the church remained an important patron of music. By the middle of the 15th century, composers wrote richly polyphonic sacred music. Prominent composers from this era are Guillaume Dufay, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Thomas Morley, and Orlande de Lassus. However, musical activity shifted to the courts. Kings and princes competed for the finest composers.

Many leading important composers came from Holland, Belgium, and northern France and are called the Franco-Flemish composers. They held important positions throughout Europe, especially in Italy. Other countries with vibrant musical lives include Germany, England, and Spain.

The Baroque

J.S.Bach
Toccata und Fuge

The Baroque era of music took place from 1600 to 1750, as the Baroque artistic style flourished across Europe; and during this time, music expanded in its range and complexity. Baroque music began when the first operas were written and when contrapuntal music became prevalent. German Baroque composers wrote for small ensembles including strings, brass, and woodwinds, as well as choirs, pipe organ, harpsichord, and clavichord. During this period several major music forms were defined that lasted into later periods when they were expanded and evolved further, including the fugue, the invention, the sonata, and the concerto. The late Baroque style was polyphonically complex and ornamental and rich in its melodies. Composers from the Baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, and Georg Philipp Telemann.

Classicism

W.A. Mozart
Symphony 40 g-moll

The music of the Classical Period (1750 A.D. to 1830 A.D.) looked to the art and philosophy of Ancient Greece and Rome, to the ideals of balance, proportion and disciplined expression. It has a lighter, clearer and considerably simpler texture, and tended to be almost voicelike and singable. New genres were discovered. The main style was the homophony, where prominent melody and accompaniment are clearly distinct.

Importance was given to instrumental music. It was dominated by further evolution of musical forms initially defined in the Baroque period: the sonata, the concerto, and the symphony. Others main kinds were trio, string quartet, serenade and divertimento. The sonata was the most important and developed form. Although Baroque composers also wrote sonatas, the Classical style of sonata is completely distinct. All of the main instrumental forms of the Classical era were based on the dramatic structure of the sonata.

One of the most important evolutionary steps made in the Classical period was the development of public concerts. The aristocracy would still play a significant role in the sponsorship of musical life, but it was now possible for composers to survive without being its permanent employees. The increasing popularity led to a growth in both the number and range of the orchestras. The expansion of orchestral concerts necessitated large public spaces. As a result of all these processes, symphonic music (including opera, ballet and oratorio) became more extroverted.

The best known composers of Classicism are Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Christoph Willibald Gluck, Johann Christian Bach, Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert. Beethoven and Schubert are also considered to be composers in evolution towards Romanticism.

Romanticism

R. Wagner
Die Walküre

Romantic Music (c. 1810 A.D. to 1900 A.D.) turned the rigid styles and forms of the Classical era into more passionate and expressive pieces. It attempted to increase emotional expression and power to describe deeper truths or human feelings. The emotional and expressive qualities of music came to take precedence over technique and tradition. Romantic composers grew in idiosyncrasy, and went further in the syncretism of different art-forms (such as literature), history (historical figures), or nature itself with music. Romantic love was a prevalent theme in many works composed during this period. In some cases the formal structures from the classical period were preserved, but in many others existing genres, forms, and functions were improved. Also, new forms were created that were deemed better suited to the new subject matter. Opera and ballet continued to evolve.

In 1800, the music developed by Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert introduced a more dramatic, expressive style. In Beethoven’s case, motifs, developed organically, came to replace melody as the most significant compositional unit. Later Romantic composers such as Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvořák, and Gustav Mahler used more elaborated chords and more dissonance to create dramatic tension. They generated complex and often much longer musical works. During Romantic period tonality was at its peak. The late 19th century saw a dramatic expansion in the size of the orchestra, and in the role of concerts as part of urban society. It also saw a new diversity in theatre music, including operetta, and musical comedy and other forms of musical theatre.

20th- and 21st-century music

Main article: 20th-century music

Double bassist Reggie Workman, tenor saxophone player Pharoah Sanders, and drummer Idris Muhammad performing in 1978

With 20th-century music, there was a vast increase in music listening as the radio gained popularity and phonographs were used to replay and distribute music. The focus of art music was characterized by exploration of new rhythms, styles, and sounds. Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, and John Cage were all influential composers in 20th-century art music. The invention of sound recording and the ability to edit music gave rise to new sub-genre of classical music, including the acousmatic and Musique concrète schools of electronic composition.

Jazz evolved and became an important genre of music over the course of the 20th century, and during the second half of that century, rock music did the same. Jazz is an American musical artform that originated in the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States from a confluence of African and European music traditions. The style’s West African pedigree is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note. From its early development until the present, jazz has also incorporated music from 19th- and 20th-century American popular music. Jazz has, from its early-20th-century inception, spawned a variety of subgenres, ranging from New Orleans Dixieland (1910s) to 1970s and 1980s-era jazz-rock fusion.

Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed in the 1960s from 1950s rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, and country music. The sound of rock often revolves around the electric guitar or acoustic guitar, and it uses a strong back beat laid down by a rhythm section of electric bass guitar, drums, and keyboard instruments such as organ, piano, or, since the 1970s, analog synthesizers and digital ones and computers since the 1990s. Along with the guitar or keyboards, saxophone and blues-style harmonica are used as soloing instruments. In its “purest form,” it “has three chords, a strong, insistent back beat, and a catchy melody.” In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it branched out into different subgenres, ranging from blues rock and jazz-rock fusion to heavy metal and punk rock, as well as the more classical influenced genre of progressive rock and several types of experimental rock genres.

Performance

Main article: Performance

Chinese Naxi musicians

Performance is the physical expression of music. Often, a musical work is performed once its structure and instrumentation are satisfactory to its creators; however, as it gets performed, it can evolve and change. A performance can either be rehearsed or improvised. Improvisation is a musical idea created without premeditation, while rehearsal is vigorous repetition of an idea until it has achieved cohesion. Musicians will sometimes add improvisation to a well-rehearsed idea to create a unique performance.

Many cultures include strong traditions of solo and performance, such as in Indian classical music, and in the Western art-music tradition. Other cultures, such as in Bali, include strong traditions of group performance. All cultures include a mixture of both, and performance may range from improvised solo playing for one’s enjoyment to highly planned and organised performance rituals such as the modern classical concert, religious processions, music festivals or music competitions. Chamber music, which is music for a small ensemble with only a few of each type of instrument, is often seen as more intimate than symphonic works.

Aural tradition

Many types of music, such as traditional blues and folk music were originally preserved in the memory of performers, and the songs were handed down orally, or aurally (by ear). When the composer of music is no longer known, this music is often classified as “traditional.” Different musical traditions have different attitudes towards how and where to make changes to the original source material, from quite strict, to those that demand improvisation or modification to the music. A culture’s history may also be passed by ear through song.

Ornamentation

Main article: Ornament (music)

In a score or on a performer’s music part, this sign indicates that the musician should perform a trill—a rapid alternation between two notes. About this sound Play (help·info)

The detail included explicitly in the music notation varies between genres and historical periods. In general, art music notation from the 17th through the 19th century required performers to have a great deal of contextual knowledge about performing styles. For example, in the 17th and 18th century, music notated for solo performers typically indicated a simple, unadorned melody. However, performers were expected to know how to add stylistically appropriate ornaments, such as trills and turns. In the 19th century, art music for solo performers may give a general instruction such as to perform the music expressively, without describing in detail how the performer should do this. The performer was expected to know how to use tempo changes, accentuation, and pauses (among other devices) to obtain this “expressive” performance style. In the 20th century, art music notation often became more explicit and used a range of markings and annotations to indicate to performers how they should play or sing the piece.

In popular music and jazz, music notation almost always indicates only the basic framework of the melody, harmony, or performance approach; musicians and singers are expected to know the performance conventions and styles associated with specific genres and pieces. For example, the “lead sheet” for a jazz tune may only indicate the melody and the chord changes. The performers in the jazz ensemble are expected to know how to “flesh out” this basic structure by adding ornaments, improvised music, and chordal accompaniment.

Production

Main article: Music production

Jean-Gabriel Ferlan performing at a 2008 concert at the collège-lycée Saint-François Xavier

Music is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, or as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Amateur musicians compose and perform music for their own pleasure, and they do not derive their income from music. Professional musicians are employed by a range of institutions and organisations, including armed forces, churches and synagogues, symphony orchestras, broadcasting or film production companies, and music schools. Professional musicians sometimes work as freelancers, seeking contracts and engagements in a variety of settings.

There are often many links between amateur and professional musicians. Beginning amateur musicians take lessons with professional musicians. In community settings, advanced amateur musicians perform with professional musicians in a variety of ensembles and orchestras. In some cases, amateur musicians attain a professional level of competence, and they are able to perform in professional performance settings. A distinction is often made between music performed for the benefit of a live audience and music that is performed for the purpose of being recorded and distributed through the music retail system or the broadcasting system. However, there are also many cases where a live performance in front of an audience is recorded and distributed (or broadcast).

Composition

Main article: Musical composition

An old songbook showing a composition

“Composition” is often classed as the creation and recording of music via a medium by which others can interpret it (i.e., paper or sound). Many cultures use at least part of the concept of preconceiving musical material, or composition, as held in western classical music. Even when music is notated precisely, there are still many decisions that a performer has to make. The process of a performer deciding how to perform music that has been previously composed and notated is termed interpretation. Different performers’ interpretations of the same music can vary widely. Composers and song writers who present their own music are interpreting, just as much as those who perform the music of others or folk music. The standard body of choices and techniques present at a given time and a given place is referred to as performance practice, whereas interpretation is generally used to mean either individual choices of a performer, or an aspect of music that is not clear, and therefore has a “standard” interpretation.

In some musical genres, such as jazz and blues, even more freedom is given to the performer to engage in improvisation on a basic melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic framework. The greatest latitude is given to the performer in a style of performing called free improvisation, which is material that is spontaneously “thought of” (imagined) while being performed, not preconceived. Improvised music usually follows stylistic or genre conventions and even “fully composed” includes some freely chosen material. Composition does not always mean the use of notation, or the known sole authorship of one individual. Music can also be determined by describing a “process” that creates musical sounds. Examples of this range from wind chimes, through computer programs that select sounds. Music from random elements is called Aleatoric music, and is associated with such composers as John Cage, Morton Feldman, and Witold Lutosławski.

Music can be composed for repeated performance or it can be improvised: composed on the spot. The music can be performed entirely from memory, from a written system of musical notation, or some combination of both. Study of composition has traditionally been dominated by examination of methods and practice of Western classical music, but the definition of composition is broad enough to include spontaneously improvised works like those of free jazz performers and African drummers such as the Ewe drummers.

Notation

Main article: Musical notation

Sheet music is written representation of music. This is a homorhythmic (i.e., hymn-style) arrangement of a traditional piece entitled “Adeste Fideles”, in standard two-staff format for mixed voices. About this sound Play (help·info)

Notation is the written expression of music notes and rhythms on paper using symbols. When music is written down, the pitches and rhythm of the music is notated, along with instructions on how to perform the music. The study of how to read notation involves music theory, harmony, the study of performance practice, and in some cases an understanding of historical performance methods. Written notation varies with style and period of music. In Western Art music, the most common types of written notation are scores, which include all the music parts of an ensemble piece, and parts, which are the music notation for the individual performers or singers. In popular music, jazz, and blues, the standard musical notation is the lead sheet, which notates the melody, chords, lyrics (if it is a vocal piece), and structure of the music. Scores and parts are also used in popular music and jazz, particularly in large ensembles such as jazz “big bands.”

In popular music, guitarists and electric bass players often read music notated in tablature (often abbreviated as “tab”), which indicates the location of the notes to be played on the instrument using a diagram of the guitar or bass fingerboard. Tabulature was also used in the Baroque era to notate music for the lute, a stringed, fretted instrument. Notated music is produced as sheet music. To perform music from notation requires an understanding of both the rhythmic and pitch elements embodied in the symbols and the performance practice that is associated with a piece of music or a genre. In improvisation, the performer often plays from music where only the chord changes are written, requiring a great understanding of the music’s structure and chord progressions.

Improvisation

Musical improvisation is the creation of spontaneous music. Improvisation is often considered an act of instantaneous composition by performers, where compositional techniques are employed with or without preparation. Improvisation is a major part of some types of music, such as blues, jazz, and jazz fusion, in which instrumental performers improvise solos and melody lines. In the Western art music tradition, improvisation was an important skill during the Baroque era and during the Classical era; solo performers and singers improvised virtuoso cadenzas during concerts. However, in the 20th and 21st century, improvisation played a smaller role in Western Art music.

Theory

Main article: Music theory

Music theory encompasses the nature and mechanics of music. It often involves identifying patterns that govern composers’ techniques and examining the language and notation of music. In a grand sense, music theory distills and analyzes the parameters or elements of music – rhythm, harmony (harmonic function), melody, structure, form, and texture. Broadly, music theory may include any statement, belief, or conception of or about music. People who study these properties are known as music theorists. Some have applied acoustics, human physiology, and psychology to the explanation of how and why music is perceived. Music has many different fundamentals or elements. These are, but are not limited to: pitch, beat or pulse, rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, allocation of voices, timbre or color, expressive qualities (dynamics and articulation), and form or structure.

Pitch is a subjective sensation, reflecting generally the lowness or highness of a sound. Rhythm is the arrangement of sounds and silences in time. Meter animates time in regular pulse groupings, called measures or bars. A melody is a series of notes sounding in succession. The notes of a melody are typically created with respect to pitch systems such as scales or modes. Harmony is the study of vertical sonorities in music. Vertical sonority refers to considering the relationships between pitches that occur together; usually this means at the same time, although harmony can also be implied by a melody that outlines a harmonic structure. Notes can be arranged into different scales and modes. Western music theory generally divides the octave into a series of 12 notes that might be included in a piece of music. In music written using the system of major-minor tonality, the key of a piece determines the scale used. Musical texture is the overall sound of a piece of music commonly described according to the number of and relationship between parts or lines of music: monophony, heterophony, polyphony, homophony, or monody.

Timbre, sometimes called “Color” or “Tone Color” is the quality or sound of a voice or instrument. Expressive Qualities are those elements in music that create change in music that are not related to pitch, rhythm or timbre. They include Dynamics and Articulation. Form is a facet of music theory that explores the concept of musical syntax, on a local and global level. Examples of common forms of Western music include the fugue, the invention, sonata-allegro, canon, strophic, theme and variations, and rondo. Popular Music often makes use of strophic form often in conjunction with Twelve bar blues. Analysis is the effort to describe and explain music.

Philosophy and aesthetics

Main articles: Philosophy of music and Aesthetics of music

Philosophy of music is the study of fundamental questions regarding music. The philosophical study of music has many connections with philosophical questions in metaphysics and aesthetics. Some basic questions in the philosophy of music are:

  • What is the definition of music? (What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for classifying something as music?)
  • What is the relationship between music and mind?
  • What does musical history reveal to us about the world?
  • What is the connection between music and emotions?
  • What is meaning in relation to music?

Traditionally, the aesthetics of music explored the mathematical and cosmological dimensions of rhythmic and harmonic organization. In the eighteenth century, focus shifted to the experience of hearing music, and thus to questions about its beauty and human enjoyment (plaisir and jouissance) of music. The origin of this philosophic shift is sometimes attributed to Baumgarten in the 18th century, followed by Kant. Through their writing, the ancient term ‘aesthetics’, meaning sensory perception, received its present day connotation. In recent decades philosophers have tended to emphasize issues besides beauty and enjoyment. For example, music’s capacity to express emotion has been a central issue.

In the 20th century, important contributions were made by Peter Kivy, Jerrold Levinson, Roger Scruton, and Stephen Davies. However, many musicians, music critics, and other non-philosophers have contributed to the aesthetics of music. In the 19th century, a significant debate arose between Eduard Hanslick, a music critic and musicologist, and composer Richard Wagner. Harry Partch and some other musicologists, such as Kyle Gann, have studied and tried to popularize microtonal music and the usage of alternate musical scales. Also many modern composers like Lamonte Young, Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca paid much attention to a scale called just intonation.

It is often thought that music has the ability to affect our emotions, intellect, and psychology; it can assuage our loneliness or incite our passions. The philosopher Plato suggests in the Republic that music has a direct effect on the soul. Therefore, he proposes that in the ideal regime music would be closely regulated by the state. (Book VII)

There has been a strong tendency in the aesthetics of music to emphasize the paramount importance of compositional structure; however, other issues concerning the aesthetics of music include lyricism, harmony, hypnotism, emotiveness, temporal dynamics, resonance, playfulness, and color (see also musical development).

Cognition and psychology

Music cognition

Main article: Music cognition

The field of music cognition involves the study of many aspects of music, including how it is processed by listeners. Rather than accepting the standard practices of analyzing, composing, and performing music as a given, much research in music cognition seeks instead to uncover the mental processes that underlie these practices. Also, research in the field seeks to uncover commonalities between the musical traditions of disparate cultures and possible cognitive “constraints” that limit these musical systems. Questions regarding musical innateness, and emotional responses to music are also major areas of research in the field.

Deaf people can experience music by feeling the vibrations in their body, a process that can be enhanced if the individual holds a resonant, hollow object. A well-known deaf musician is the composer Ludwig van Beethoven, who composed many famous works even after he had completely lost his hearing. Recent examples of deaf musicians include Evelyn Glennie, a highly acclaimed percussionist who has been deaf since age twelve, and Chris Buck, a virtuoso violinist who has lost his hearing. This is relevant because it indicates that music is a deeper cognitive process than unexamined phrases such as, “pleasing to the ear” suggests. Much research in music cognition seeks to uncover these complex mental processes involved in listening to music, which may seem intuitively simple, yet are vastly intricate and complex.

Montreal Neurological Institute researcher Valorie Salimpoor and her colleagues have now shown that the pleasurable feelings associated with emotional music are the result of dopamine release in the striatum—the same anatomical areas that underpin the anticipatory and rewarding aspects of drug addiction.

Cognitive neuroscience of music

Main article: Cognitive neuroscience of music

The primary auditory cortex is one of the main areas associated with superior pitch resolution.

Cognitive neuroscience of music is the scientific study of brain-based mechanisms involved in the cognitive processes underlying music. These behaviours include music listening, performing, composing, reading, writing, and ancillary activities. It also is increasingly concerned with the brain basis for musical aesthetics and musical emotion. Scientists working in this field may have training in cognitive neuroscience, neurology, neuroanatomy, psychology, music theory, computer science, and other allied fields.

Cognitive neuroscience of music is distinguished from related fields such as music psychology, music cognition and cognitive musicology in its reliance on direct observations of the brain, using such techniques as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), magnetoencephalography (MEG), electroencephalography (EEG), and positron emission tomography (PET).

Music psychology

Main article: Music psychology

Music psychology, or the psychology of music, may be regarded as a branch of psychology or a branch of musicology. It aims to explain and understand musical behavior and musical experience. Modern music psychology is mainly empirical: music-psychological knowledge tends to advance primarily on the basis of interpretations of data about musical behavior and experience, which are collected by systematic observation of and interaction with human participants. Music psychology is a field of research with practical relevance for music performance, music composition, music education, music medicine, and music therapy.

Cognitive musicology

Main article: Cognitive musicology

Cognitive musicology is a branch of cognitive science concerned with computationally modeling musical knowledge with the goal of understanding both music and cognition.

Cognitive musicology can be differentiated from the fields of music cognition, music psychology and cognitive neuroscience of music by a difference in methodological emphasis. Cognitive musicology uses computer modeling to study music-related knowledge representation and has roots in artificial intelligence and cognitive science. The use of computer models provides an exacting, interactive medium in which to formulate and test theories.

This interdisciplinary field investigates topics such as the parallels between language and music in the brain. Biologically inspired models of computation are often included in research, such as neural networks and evolutionary programs. This field seeks to model how musical knowledge is represented, stored, perceived, performed, and generated. By using a well-structured computer environment, the systematic structures of these cognitive phenomena can be investigated.

Psychoacoustics

Main article: Psychoacoustics
Further information: Hearing (sense)

Psychoacoustics is the scientific study of sound perception. More specifically, it is the branch of science studying the psychological and physiological responses associated with sound (including speech and music). It can be further categorized as a branch of psychophysics.

Biomusicology

Main article: Biomusicology

Biomusicology is the study of music from a biological point of view. The term was coined by Nils L. Wallin in 1991. Music is an aspect of the behaviour of the human and possibly other species. As humans are living organisms, the scientific study of music is therefore part of biology, thus the “bio” in “biomusicology.”

Biomusicologists are expected to have completed formal studies in both biology or other experimental sciences and musicology including music theory. The three main branches of biomusicology are evolutionary musicology, neuromusicology, and comparative musicology. Evolutionary musicology studies the “origins of music, the question of animal song, selection pressures underlying music evolution”, and “music evolution and human evolution”. Neuromusicology studies the “brain areas involved in music processing, neural and cognitive processes of musical processing,” and “ontogeny of musical capacity and musical skill”. Comparative musicology studies the “functions and uses of music, advantages and costs of music making”, and “universal features of musical systems and musical behavior.”

Sociology

Main article: Sociomusicology

This Song Dynasty (960–1279) painting, entitled the “Night Revels of Han Xizai,” shows Chinese musicians entertaining guests at a party in a 10th-century household.

Music is experienced by individuals in a range of social settings ranging from being alone to attending a large concert. Musical performances take different forms in different cultures and socioeconomic milieus. In Europe and North America, there is often a divide between what types of music are viewed as a “high culture” and “low culture.” “High culture” types of music typically include Western art music such as Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and modern-era symphonies, concertos, and solo works, and are typically heard in formal concerts in concert halls and churches, with the audience sitting quietly in seats.

Other types of music—including, but not limited to, jazz, blues, soul, and country—are often performed in bars, nightclubs, and theatres, where the audience may be able to drink, dance, and express themselves by cheering. Until the later 20th century, the division between “high” and “low” musical forms was widely accepted as a valid distinction that separated out better quality, more advanced “art music” from the popular styles of music heard in bars and dance halls.

However, in the 1980s and 1990s, musicologists studying this perceived divide between “high” and “low” musical genres argued that this distinction is not based on the musical value or quality of the different types of music.[citation needed] Rather, they argued that this distinction was based largely on the socioeconomics standing or social class of the performers or audience of the different types of music.[citation needed] For example, whereas the audience for Classical symphony concerts typically have above-average incomes, the audience for a rap concert in an inner-city area may have below-average incomes.[citation needed] Even though the performers, audience, or venue where non-“art” music is performed may have a lower socioeconomic status, the music that is performed, such as blues, rap, punk, funk, or ska may be very complex and sophisticated.

When composers introduce styles of music that break with convention, there can be a strong resistance from academic music experts and popular culture. Late-period Beethoven string quartets, Stravinsky ballet scores, serialism, bebop-era jazz, hip hop, punk rock, and electronica have all been considered non-music by some critics when they were first introduced.[citation needed] Such themes are examined in the sociology of music. The sociological study of music, sometimes called sociomusicology, is often pursued in departments of sociology, media studies, or music, and is closely related to the field of ethnomusicology.

Media and technology

Further information: Computer music

The music that composers make can be heard through several media; the most traditional way is to hear it live, in the presence of the musicians (or as one of the musicians), in an outdoor or indoor space such as an amphitheatre, concert hall, cabaret room or theatre. Live music can also be broadcast over the radio, television or the Internet. Some musical styles focus on producing a sound for a performance, while others focus on producing a recording that mixes together sounds that were never played “live.” Recording, even of essentially live styles, often uses the ability to edit and splice to produce recordings considered better than the actual performance.

As talking pictures emerged in the early 20th century, with their prerecorded musical tracks, an increasing number of moviehouse orchestra musicians found themselves out of work. During the 1920s live musical performances by orchestras, pianists, and theater organists were common at first-run theaters. With the coming of the talking motion pictures, those featured performances were largely eliminated. The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) took out newspaper advertisements protesting the replacement of live musicians with mechanical playing devices. One 1929 ad that appeared in the Pittsburgh Press features an image of a can labeled “Canned Music / Big Noise Brand / Guaranteed to Produce No Intellectual or Emotional Reaction Whatever”

Since legislation introduced to help protect performers, composers, publishers and producers, including the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 in the United States, and the 1979 revised Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works in the United Kingdom, recordings and live performances have also become more accessible through computers, devices and Internet in a form that is commonly known as Music-On-Demand.

In many cultures, there is less distinction between performing and listening to music, since virtually everyone is involved in some sort of musical activity, often communal. In industrialized countries, listening to music through a recorded form, such as sound recording or watching a music video, became more common than experiencing live performance, roughly in the middle of the 20th century.

Sometimes, live performances incorporate prerecorded sounds. For example, a disc jockey uses disc records for scratching, and some 20th-century works have a solo for an instrument or voice that is performed along with music that is prerecorded onto a tape. Computers and many keyboards can be programmed to produce and play Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) music. Audiences can also become performers by participating in karaoke, an activity of Japanese origin centered on a device that plays voice-eliminated versions of well-known songs. Most karaoke machines also have video screens that show lyrics to songs being performed; performers can follow the lyrics as they sing over the instrumental tracks.

Internet

The advent of the Internet has transformed the experience of music, partly through the increased ease of access to music and the increased choice. Chris Anderson, in his book The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, suggests that while the economic model of supply and demand describes scarcity, the Internet retail model is based on abundance. Digital storage costs are low, so a company can afford to make its whole inventory available online, giving customers as much choice as possible. It has thus become economically viable to offer products that very few people are interested in. Consumers’ growing awareness of their increased choice results in a closer association between listening tastes and social identity, and the creation of thousands of niche markets.

Another effect of the Internet arises with online communities like YouTube and Facebook, a social networking service. Such sites simplify connecting with other musicians, and greatly facilitate the distribution of music. Professional musicians also use YouTube as a free publisher of promotional material. YouTube users, for example, no longer only download and listen to MP3s, but also actively create their own. According to Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, in their book Wikinomics, there has been a shift from a traditional consumer role to what they call a “prosumer” role, a consumer who both creates and consumes. Manifestations of this in music include the production of mashes, remixes, and music videos by fans.

Business

Main article: Music industry

The music industry refers to the business industry connected with the creation and sale of music. It consists of record companies, labels and publishers that distribute recorded music products internationally and that often control the rights to those products. Some music labels are “independent,” while others are subsidiaries of larger corporate entities or international media groups. In the 2000s, the increasing popularity of listening to music as digital music files on MP3 players, iPods, or computers, and of trading music on file sharing sites or buying it online in the form of digital files had a major impact on the traditional music business. Many smaller independent CD stores went out of business as music buyers decreased their purchases of CDs, and many labels had lower CD sales. Some companies did well with the change to a digital format, though, such as Apple’s iTunes, an online store that sells digital files of songs over the Internet.

Education

Non-professional

Main article: Music education

A Suzuki violin recital with students of varying ages.

The incorporation of music training from preschool to post secondary education is common in North America and Europe. Involvement in music is thought to teach basic skills such as concentration, counting, listening, and cooperation while also promoting understanding of language, improving the ability to recall information, and creating an environment more conducive to learning in other areas. In elementary schools, children often learn to play instruments such as the recorder, sing in small choirs, and learn about the history of Western art music. In secondary schools students may have the opportunity to perform some type of musical ensembles, such as choirs, marching bands, concert bands, jazz bands, or orchestras, and in some school systems, music classes may be available. Some students also take private music lessons with a teacher. Amateur musicians typically take lessons to learn musical rudiments and beginner- to intermediate-level musical techniques.

At the university level, students in most arts and humanities programs can receive credit for taking music courses, which typically take the form of an overview course on the history of music, or a music appreciation course that focuses on listening to music and learning about different musical styles. In addition, most North American and European universities have some type of musical ensembles that non-music students are able to participate in, such as choirs, marching bands, or orchestras. The study of Western art music is increasingly common outside of North America and Europe, such as the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, or the classical music programs that are available in Asian countries such as South Korea, Japan, and China. At the same time, Western universities and colleges are widening their curriculum to include music of non-Western cultures, such as the music of Africa or Bali (e.g. Gamelan music).

Academia

Musicology is the study of the subject of music. The earliest definitions defined three sub-disciplines: systematic musicology, historical musicology, and comparative musicology or ethnomusicology. In contemporary scholarship, one is more likely to encounter a division of the discipline into music theory, music history, and ethnomusicology. Research in musicology has often been enriched by cross-disciplinary work, for example in the field of psychoacoustics. The study of music of non-western cultures, and the cultural study of music, is called ethnomusicology. Students can pursue the undergraduate study of musicology, ethnomusicology, music history, and music theory through several different types of degrees, including a B.Mus, a B.A. with concentration in music, a B.A. with Honors in Music, or a B.A. in Music History and Literature. Graduates of undergraduate music programs can go on to further study in music graduate programs.

Graduate degrees include the Master of Music, the Master of Arts, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (e.g., in musicology or music theory), and more recently, the Doctor of Musical Arts, or DMA. The Master of Music degree, which takes one to two years to complete, is typically awarded to students studying the performance of an instrument, education, voice or composition. The Master of Arts degree, which takes one to two years to complete and often requires a thesis, is typically awarded to students studying musicology, music history, or music theory. Undergraduate university degrees in music, including the Bachelor of Music, the Bachelor of Music Education, and the Bachelor of Arts (with a major in music) typically take three to five years to complete. These degrees provide students with a grounding in music theory and music history, and many students also study an instrument or learn singing technique as part of their program.

The PhD, which is required for students who want to work as university professors in musicology, music history, or music theory, takes three to five years of study after the Master’s degree, during which time the student will complete advanced courses and undertake research for a dissertation. The DMA is a relatively new degree that was created to provide a credential for professional performers or composers that want to work as university professors in musical performance or composition. The DMA takes three to five years after a Master’s degree, and includes advanced courses, projects, and performances. In Medieval times, the study of music was one of the Quadrivium of the seven Liberal Arts and considered vital to higher learning. Within the quantitative Quadrivium, music, or more accurately harmonics, was the study of rational proportions.

Zoomusicology is the study of the music of non-human animals, or the musical aspects of sounds produced by non-human animals. As George Herzog (1941) asked, “do animals have music?” François-Bernard Mâche’s Musique, mythe, nature, ou les Dauphins d’Arion (1983), a study of “ornitho-musicology” using a technique of Nicolas Ruwet’s Langage, musique, poésie (1972) paradigmatic segmentation analysis, shows that bird songs are organised according to a repetition-transformation principle. Jean-Jacques Nattiez (1990), argues that “in the last analysis, it is a human being who decides what is and is not musical, even when the sound is not of human origin. If we acknowledge that sound is not organised and conceptualised (that is, made to form music) merely by its producer, but by the mind that perceives it, then music is uniquely human.”

Music theory is the study of music, generally in a highly technical manner outside of other disciplines. More broadly it refers to any study of music, usually related in some form with compositional concerns, and may include mathematics, physics, and anthropology. What is most commonly taught in beginning music theory classes are guidelines to write in the style of the common practice period, or tonal music. Theory, even of music of the common practice period, may take many other forms. Musical set theory is the application of mathematical set theory to music, first applied to atonal music. Speculative music theory, contrasted with analytic music theory, is devoted to the analysis and synthesis of music materials, for example tuning systems, generally as preparation for composition.

Ethnomusicology

Main article: Ethnomusicology

Ethnomusicologist Frances Densmore recording Blackfoot chief Mountain Chief for the Bureau of American Ethnology (1916)

Ethnomusicology

In the West, much of the history of music that is taught deals with the Western civilization’s art music. The history of music in other cultures (“world music” or the field of “ethnomusicology”) is also taught in Western universities. This includes the documented classical traditions of Asian countries outside the influence of Western Europe, as well as the folk or indigenous music of various other cultures. Popular styles of music varied widely from culture to culture, and from period to period. Different cultures emphasised different instruments, or techniques, or uses for music. Music has been used not only for entertainment, for ceremonies, and for practical and artistic communication, but also for propaganda.

There is a host of music classifications, many of which are caught up in the argument over the definition of music. Among the largest of these is the division between classical music (or “art” music), and popular music (or commercial music – including rock music, country music, and pop music). Some genres do not fit neatly into one of these “big two” classifications, (such as folk music, world music, or jazz music).

As world cultures have come into greater contact, their indigenous musical styles have often merged into new styles. For example, the United States bluegrass style contains elements from Anglo-Irish, Scottish, Irish, German and African instrumental and vocal traditions, which were able to fuse in the United States’ multi-ethnic society. Genres of music are determined as much by tradition and presentation as by the actual music. Some works, like George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, are claimed by both jazz and classical music, while Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story are claimed by both opera and the Broadway musical tradition. Many current music festivals celebrate a particular musical genre.

Indian music, for example, is one of the oldest and longest living types of music, and is still widely heard and performed in South Asia, as well as internationally (especially since the 1960s). Indian music has mainly three forms of classical music, Hindustani, Carnatic, and Dhrupad styles. It has also a large repertoire of styles, which involve only percussion music such as the talavadya performances famous in South India.

Music therapy

Main article: Music therapy

Music therapy is an interpersonal process in which the therapist uses music and all of its facets—physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual—to help clients to improve or maintain their health. In some instances, the client’s needs are addressed directly through music; in others they are addressed through the relationships that develop between the client and therapist. Music therapy is used with individuals of all ages and with a variety of conditions, including: psychiatric disorders, medical problems, physical handicaps, sensory impairments, developmental disabilities, substance abuse, communication disorders, interpersonal problems, and aging. It is also used to: improve learning, build self-esteem, reduce stress, support physical exercise, and facilitate a host of other health-related activities.

One of the earliest mentions of music therapy was in Al-Farabi’s (c. 872 – 950) treatise Meanings of the Intellect, which described the therapeutic effects of music on the soul.[verification needed] Music has long been used to help people deal with their emotions. In the 17th century, the scholar Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy argued that music and dance were critical in treating mental illness, especially melancholia. He noted that music has an “excellent power …to expel many other diseases” and he called it “a sovereign remedy against despair and melancholy.” He pointed out that in Antiquity, Canus, a Rhodian fiddler, used music to “make a melancholy man merry, …a lover more enamoured, a religious man more devout.” In November 2006, Dr. Michael J. Crawford and his colleagues also found that music therapy helped schizophrenic patients. In the Ottoman Empire, mental illnesses were treated with music.