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Music and Popular Culture: Lecture Notes
Lecture 10: March 20 th
Black Pop and Rise of Disco in the 1970s
- A national youth dance culture rose in prominence in the 70s
- Soul Train was another show (similar to American Bandstand) that showcased
mainstream black pop
- Funk, soul, motown pop and genre fusions were the black mainstream genres at the
- Wattstax, also known as the “black Woodstock” was a significant concert organized by
Stax records for the benefit of communities damaged by race riots in LA.
- This concert took place in an auditorium rather than a field like Woodstock
- Songs performed at Wattstax were politically driven and were pro-civil rights.
- Reggae and disco were largely underground in the early 70s, yet began to emerge later
in the decade
- was a disjoint, angular and choppy genre with a vocal line that did not follow any
- Funk possesses a complex groove (multilayered collection of riffs and rhythm)
- The “groove”, was an element where each instrument possessed individual rhythm.
- Syncopation : placement of rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn't normally
occur, meaning there is an accent on the weak part of the beat.
- Funk is an ancestor to the rap/hip-hop and disco genres
- Derives many of its characteristics from Jazz
- A broad genre with two focuses:
1. Pure dance music focus
2. Narrative driven funk (hybrid with motown pop)
•Music Example: Sly and the Family Stone – “ Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice
oThis band consisted of both white and black artists, a very unusual phenomenon
at the time
oThe mix-race element evoked a pro-integration political statement
oMartin Luther King Jr. was all for pro-integration, that is to say, the integration
of blacks into white society
oThis song places a heavy emphasis on the bass sound
oThe groove is much more complex than proto-funk (James Brown)
oVocals are unimportant with disjoint melodic line
oLyrics are not the focus
oThere are elements of psychedelic music
oThe “Wawa” pedal creates electronic effects on guitar. The use of this pedal is a
prominent characteristic of disco-funk music
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