Music Presentation Sylva Emilyan, Fall 2008
What is music? • Music is organized sound created by human voices or instruments. • Some historians believe that music started with the desire to imitate sounds in nature. “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without” - Confucius
Music Seminar: Fall 2008 Silva Emilyan, DIS 180 “Information Ecology”
“Music is love in search of a voice” - Leo Tolstoy “Without music, life would be a mistake” - Friedrich Nietzsche “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents." - Ludwig van Beethoven “Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid” - Frank Zappa
What makes a music genre popular? In one word, FANS!
Most of us listen to sounds made popular in our commercial culture: TV, movie tracks, concerts, clubs, malls…
Repetition • The more that we hear the same sound, the more it becomes familiar to the ear. • The more familiar we become to hearing particular types of sounds the more we can decide what type of music “sounds good”. • By using the same elements to create a similar sound, the audience identifies particular sounds and groups them into categories of “style”. • Similar styles of music can be contained under a larger category called a “genre”
Religion • During the middle ages and the time of the Renaissance era, the church had much greater control of what the people could experience culturally and the type of music and sounds that could be played. During this time, what was “popular” was greatly restricted by the church. • As the church began to lose some of its dominance in the mainstream culture, people had more freedom to choose and create music with fewer limitations and restrictions. • “Minor” sound, complex rhythms and untraditional dynamics and tonalities began to be explored.
Evolution of musical sounds • As time passes, the “same old sound” may begin to lose popularity with the mainstream audience. • Newer sounds that have evolved from the old sound begin to emerge and change the way particular styles are played. • If the change in the style is drastic enough and establishes enough fans, an entirely new genre is born. • Inevitably, these new sounds eventually will become familiar again and they too will be considered “old.”
Technology of musical sounds • In taking a closer look at how sounds can evolve to form a new genre, we can compare the music of the Classical period over 150 years ago to the music of just 75 years ago, the age of Jazz and Swing music. • During the very early years of Jazz music, instruments were more similar to a concert band but shortly after the birth of Jazz a single drummer on a drum set became essential to every band. • 150 years ago, in the height of the classical era, this would not have been possible because the drum sets were not invented until the early 1900s.
Technology + Evolution • Just as the drum set and a new style of playing called “improvisation” ushered in a new genre called Jazz, the invention of the electric guitar by “Les Paul” paved the way for a new genre called “Rock ‘n’ Roll”, which evolved from the sound of “Blues music.”
Political • Sometimes music gains popularity for political reasons, as seen in the rise of folk music during the anti-war / peace movement of the 60’s.
Regional • Throughout history, genres are developed in a particular region. • “Tango” traditionally originated among European immigrant populations of Argentina and Uruguay but it’s still a dominant part of their culture.
We can see this regional factor in the birth of “Grunge” in Seattle, in the early 90’s. • Bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana collaborated and influenced each other in a way that was isolated to the rest of the pop music world at that time.
. . .we see how music influences the way we dress, act, and relate among the people in our culture. Nirvana Pearl Jam
Lifestyle David Bowie • A new genre of music often emerges because people believe it gives them the power to express themselves or the certain type of lifestyle that they have.
Lifestyle “Glam” “Goth” • Again, we can see lifestyle play a role in people’s choice of music, such as “Glam” and “Goth” music.
Expression • Sometimes, a genre is popular just because of the way it is delivered or expressed. • One of the main reasons, Disco music became popular in the late 70’s was for its regular bass beat which made it particularly fun for dancing.
Lifestyle + Expression • Usually there are combination of reasons that ultimately makes a genre of music popular. • Hip-Hop is an expression of the trials of the inner-city lifestyle and the emotions that are associated with it.
In Review. . . • Repetition • Religion • Evolution • Technology • Regional • Political • Lifestyle • Expression Although we didn’t cover every reason that makes a genre popular, we can see that some of the main ones are:
Results of the survey from our class: Today’s 3 most popular genres: Hip-Hop, Pop, Rock What makes genres popular? Most popular answer, “we hear it all the time” Where do you get your music from? Internet, iTunes, and friends. Do you download illegally? YES (8) NO (5)
FYI: According to the Recording Industry Association of America Top 5 Diamond (10 million copies +) albums: 1.Eagles “Greatest Hits, 1971-1975” 2.Michael Jackson “Thriller” 3.Pink Floyd “The Wall” 4.Led Zeppelin “Zeppelin IV” 5.AC/DC “Back in Black”
Top 5 selling artists of all time: 1.The Beatles 2.Garth Brooks 3.Elvis Presley 4.Led Zeppelin 5.Eagles
Credits: www.RIAA.com “The Art of Being Human” by Janaro Richard and Altshuler Thelma “Listen” by Joseph Kerman and Gary Tomlinson Wikipedia, musicians Recommended film: “Latcho Drom”