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The History of American Music

The History of American Music. Intro Questions:. What is culture? What is cultural history? What do we mean by “popular” culture? How has music both impacted and been shaped by history? What is the difference between “commercial” and “artistic” success? Which is more important?.

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The History of American Music

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  1. The History of American Music

  2. Intro Questions: • What is culture? What is cultural history? • What do we mean by “popular” culture? • How has music both impacted and been shaped by history? • What is the difference between “commercial” and “artistic” success? Which is more important?

  3. African-American History • Forced transportation and enslavement across Atlantic (1600s-1800s) • Conversion to Christianity • Abolition of Slavery (1865) • Reconstruction & Lynching • Segregation • Migration from country to city and South to North

  4. The Great Migration African-Americans move North

  5. From the “Old” World... • American music created out of mix of traditions from Europe and Africa • Legacy of ballads and classical music from Europe • Chanting, drumming, rhythms, and oral history from Africa • Influence of “Griot” from West Africa • “Folk” music as representation of ordinary people and their histories and cultures

  6. Into the “New” World • Enslaved Africans and European Immigrants bring their cultures to America (Melting Pot) • Influence of West Indies culture, New Orleans and “Creole” (mixed race) • Work songs, song leaders, “call and response” • “If the trees are to be cut, you must sing. Without song the bush knife is dull.” (Nigerian proverb) • Early kind of protest music • Religious influence, spirituals (Baptist)

  7. Hint! Test Question #1 • What historical factors lead to the creation of American music? How did both Europeans and Africans influence this?

  8. The Blues

  9. Blues • Simple form: 3 chords, usually in12 bar sequences • AAB Rhyme Pattern • Solo performance, Personal/Emotional/Spiritual • BUT ALSO: Communal, Oral History and Stories • Improvisation • Percussive Rhythm

  10. Blues Themes • Work/Labor • Religion • The Devil • Travel and the Crossroads • Sin and Vice (Drinking, Gambling, Fighting, Sex) • Love and Death • Freedom

  11. Early Blues Music • Individual performance (Solo) • Acoustic guitar • Harmonica • Vocal changes: shouts, moans, falsetto • Use of slides

  12. Early Blues Greats • Robert Johnson • Son House • Blind Lemon Jefferson • Charley Patton • Lightnin’ Hopkins • “Ma” Rainey

  13. Expansion of the Blues • Early recordings bring the Blues out of the South • Blues records become popular • Impact of the electric guitar • Blues music influences Jazz, Gospel, and Rock ‘n’ Roll • The “roux” or base for all forms of American popular music

  14. Blues Icons • Bessie Smith • Muddy Waters • Howlin’ Wolf • B.B. King • John Lee Hooker • Stevie Ray Vaughn

  15. Hint! Test Question #2 • What themes did blues musicians focus on? How did the lyrics of blues songs reflect the life of black Americans? Explain how the blues captured the experience of African-Americans in the period after emancipation.

  16. Jazz

  17. Jazz • Born in New Orleans • Created from Ragtime and Blues • Larger groups than blues, usually bands or orchestras • Variety of instruments: Trumpet, Piano, Trombone, Saxophone, Rhythm section (guitar, drums, bass), Vocalist • Close connection to dancing and live performances • Improvisation and soloing • Syncopation (Playing off the beat)

  18. Jazz (continued) • Major Jazz cities: • Chicago • New York City • Kansas City • White and black musicians not allowed to perform together • But in late night jam sessions whites and blacks shared music • Jazz slang words: “Cat,” “chick,” “cool,” “dig,” “funky,” “hip”

  19. The “Jazz” Age • Important Events of Early 1900-1929: • World War I • Prohibition • The Roaring Twenties • The Great Migration • Harlem Renaissance

  20. “Flappers”

  21. Big Band and “Swing” 1930s-1940s

  22. Major Events of 1930s • Great Depression • The Dust Bowl • World War II • Continued problems with segregation and civil rights

  23. Bebop (1940s-1950s) • Experimental • Chaotic • Smaller Groups (3-5) • Extensive solos • Problems with Drug Use • Created big division in jazz

  24. Jazz Icons • Louis Armstrong • Duke Ellington • Billie Holiday • Ella Fitzgerald • Charlie Parker • Thelonious Monk • Miles Davis

  25. Hint! Test Question #3 • What major events influenced jazz music during the twentieth century? How did jazz change from the late nineteenth century to the 1950s?

  26. Rock ‘n’ Roll 1950s and 1960s

  27. Origins of Rock ‘n’ Roll • White musicians incorporating elements of the Blues • But also influenced by Country, Folk, and Jazz • Invention of Electric Guitar (1936) and Amplification • Television (Huge impact from 1950s onward) • Cold War and American Prosperity • “Baby Boomer” Generation, Teenage Rebellion

  28. Early Rock ‘n’ Roll • Chuck Berry • Elvis • Bo Diddley • Jerry Lee Lewis • Little Richard

  29. British Invasion The Beatles, The Who, The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones

  30. Bob Dylan • Brought new sound to “popular” music • Combined folk, blues, rock, country, and other genres • Lyrical genius • Unconventional voice • “Like a Rolling Stone”

  31. Psychedelic Rock • San Francisco • Closely connected to Hippies, Communes, and Drug Culture • Major bands: • Grateful Dead • Jefferson Airplane • The Doors

  32. Woodstock (1969)

  33. Hint! Test Question #4 • What technological advances were significant for the popularity and success of Rock ‘n’ Roll? How did Rock develop from earlier forms of music?

  34. Protest Music

  35. Introductory Questions • Why do we protest? What does this term mean? • What issues cause people to protest? Has this changed? • How have songs become important to protest movements? • Do music and politics mix? How?

  36. Examples of Protest Songs • Folk tradition-Woody Guthrie • Work Songs • Blues and Jazz • Music in the 1960s • Punk and Reggae • Hip hop and Rap

  37. Billie Holiday- “Strange Fruit” Protest Song against Lynching

  38. Bob Dylan • Greatly influenced by Woody Guthrie • Songs about civil rights and anti-war • Dubbed “Poet of his Generation” • Turned against folk and “protest” music when he went “electric”

  39. Hip Hop • Created in black inner-city neighborhoods • Themes: Racism, Poverty, Police Brutality, Inequality • Examples: • Public Enemy • Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five • Run-DMC • Jurassic Five

  40. Hint! Test Question #5 • What is “protest” music? How has music been an important form of political expression? What issues or problems have artists raised in their songs?

  41. Music Today 1970s-2010s

  42. Major Genres of the Last 50 Years • Punk • Heavy Metal • Funk • Hip Hop • Disco • Pop (Popular) • Rap • Grunge • Electronic Dance Music (EDM) • Indie (Independent)

  43. Impact of New Technologies • New Recording Formats • MTV • Digital Storage • The Internet • Napster

  44. The Future of Music?

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