What is "Popular Music"?
It isn't "Art" (classical) music
Not absolutes, they are our opinions
Not considered folk music
Is made by people for their own entertainment
Made by people who do something else for a living
You do it because you love it
Music that is produced for money
Neither good nor bad
Money is involved, people trying to make a living at it
Making, producing and performing for a market
Interested in people listening to it and liking it
Because market are involved we need distribution
Dealing with music that is very important in terms of its relationships with mass media
Interconnected with changes in technology
There is no such thing as bad music
There is music that you like, there is music that you dont like. But there is nothing objectively in music
Music that we like reflects social values that we believe are important
What went into forming Popular Music
Most important influence
Massive social experiment that started 400 years ago
Mass amounts of Africans and Europeans living together
Issues of gender, business etc.
The interaction of "African" and "European" Culture
West coast just under Saharan Desert
North: Middle East
England, little bit of the British Isles
We create culture based on models we see around us
Based on where you grew up and with whom you grew up
In North America those divisions are drawn on physical appearance
Birth place of rock and roll
When does the history of Popular Music in the West begin?
North American Slave Trade
First time we know of this happening on North American Soil
Millions of folks from west African were attacked, beaten into submission, chained (many killed), loaded on a ship,
shipped across the ocean in HORRIBLE conditions, then sold to the highest bidder. As long as they did their work
they lived, when they could no longer work they died
Treatment of Slaves
Differences in North and South American based on religion of slave owners
African Retention more obvious in South American music
Spain and Portugal controlled south America, big chunk of Central America
France controlled South America, North America (till war with British), Caribbean
New Orleans Old Alabama
During free time slaves were allowed to practise and do whatever they wanted to do as long as Example of African American musical culture
they didnt cause trouble Example of what a lot of music historians think you might
British controlled North America have heard if you were listening to African slaves working
Wanted to stamp out "Africanness" Written in 1945
African Retentions in music: Recordedby Alan Lomacks
1. Interest in percussive and distorted timbres Timbre: quality of sound Distortion indicates an overload of emotion Realized in the south that many cultural practises
Putting themselves physically in jeopardy
2. Values in the Ecstatic and the Cathartic Syncopation: Very complex rhythms Shown as showing commitment were going to vanish and went to rural towns to
3. Rhythmic complexity - syncopation record all songs
4. Use of "riffs" Riff: small self contained piece of music that Call and response: musical tennis
repeats creating a larger composition. (remains
5. Use of "call and response"
the same throughout the music) Legacy of slavery is Example of a Riff:
fundamental to what goes Led Zeppelin - Whole Lot of a Love
Slavery ends when Abe Lincoln signs the emancipation proclamation on in the US today Motif: changes in every possible way
Civil war fought over slavery?
Really fought over whether the territories to the West of the Mississippi would be slave states or free states
Slavery was already on the way out
Would have died out by 1820
Made cotton production easier
Slavery ends in 1865
Recording technology not created until 1875
Mark Twain wrote about his travels in the south
Made a great effort to inform people about how life was really like as a slave
Wrote at length about slavery
James Brown - invented Funk music
Pass time/set pace, coordinate work
Pay careful attention to the way the things were the night before
Set pace to the slowest/weakest worker
Music 2II3 Page 1 Set pace to the slowest/weakest worker
Created songs everyday
A good song leader got more work done
Slave owners realized this
"floating pool of verse"
Slaves had virtually nothing
Acapella, music made only by singing
All documents tell us they sang
In West African Culture music was all over the place
Specific music was sang for different things
Old Alabama's format-
Called a 'Form chart'
4 3 3 4 3 3 4 4 3 4 3 3 3 4 3 3 3
A a b a a b a a b a a a b a a a b
The numbers represent the number of bars or 'measures' for each line of words.
The lower case letters refer to the text of the song
Upper case are melodic
In Old Alabama, they repeat the first two lines then change what the lyrics are for the third line thus it goes
a(same) a(same) b(different). This resets every 'verse'. So if it was abc for the first verse the second verse would
not be def, it would be abc again (or a different derivation)
If a professional musician wrote the form chart the bars would all be the same and the verses would all be aab as
well instead of changing it later to aaab
The workers lack self-consciousness- did not pay attention to right or wrong notes, just felt through the music,
hence the shift in bars and verse length
Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin which prolonged slavery.
Thomas Edison invented the Gramophone in 1875
Audio files found at http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~orion/2ii3
First two chapters available at http://www.wwnorton.com/ebooklite/wts2e/welcome.asp
Slaves read the bible and learned of the tale of Moses(Israelites being put into slavery and saved by Moses)
Call and response
Use of body-clapping and stomping
Ecstatic outcry of participants during song
Distortion of vocal timbre
Line Hymn usually does call and response, but the slaves added their improvisation into it.
"Oh Jonah" The Golden Jubilee Quartet
Gospel develops early in the post-war period when after the freedom of the slaves, a lot of people who were
supporting it opened up colleges and universities for blacks.
They needed to sing for the whites to make money and made a more typical European sound, Gospel.
Music 2II3 Page 2 Post Slavery
New forms of music begin to appear during the late 1800s:Ragtime, Jazz, Blues.
No new cultural forms occur until 20 years after slavery because of the lack of a change of mindset.
Ragtime: Example- The Entertainer
Jazz- Addition of the drum kit.
Blues- Considered as a musical aesthetic OR an actual musical structure.
First form of Blues is called Country (rural) Blues.
performed by a wandering musician who sang and accompanied himself with an acoustic guitar
It was dangerous to travel in the rural areas, especially if you were alone and black.
Very plaintive vocal sound
Themes included :Travel, Economicsand Love.
The themes are interesting because they are all things of which the now free slaves could not have prior to the
end of slavery
12 measure phrases
a-a-b lyric pattern
call and response between guitar and voice: Voicesometimes would go for two bars then guitar would play the other two
floating pool of verse: Blues musicians would slip local names and issues into their songs
Chords are based around the chromatic scale. I being the first chord IV being the fourth chord.
Blind Willie McTell- Blues musician.