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Lec 6 - Oct 16:2012.docx

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Joshua Pilzer

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012 Country Blues, City Blues, Urban Blues Country and city blues coexisting in the early history of the blues  then when the blues really moves through the migration, then we get the urban blues All of these genres have a relative intelligibility (standard North American English) Differences between Country & City Blues  Country has some artists who you can hardly understand what they‟re saying  a „black‟, African American dialect of English  City is much more intelligible  meant to be heard and appreciated in the metropolitan cities “Pop” Category How it went from being mainstream in the United States (Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, etc. sounds) Idea of “mainstream” is real and exerts a powerful influence on people The “Birth” of Rock „n‟ Roll Most central – productive of most of the kinds of music we listen to today  How do we get from the soft, gentle crooning of Bing Crosby to Johnny Burnette‟s crazy sounding rocking music  Faster, change of instrumentation (electric guitars that use distortion) o Distortion: pushing sound and technology as far as it‟s supposed to go, and a little further, almost to destruction – overheating of amplifier tubes that stops the clear conduction of the sound o Changes timbre (tone colour) Origins of R&R?  “Before Elvis there was nothing” – quote attributed to John Lennon o Comes out of nowhere? o Revolutionary concoction of social elements  legacy of great men who create great music  Out of the soil? o The American southern soil; folk myth of the origins – it grows up out of the ground like folk music o Mass-mediated genre of music o Some kind of cultural milieu of the American South  Rock and roll an “industrial category” created in late 50s o Just like hillbilly music, race records, etc. o Moniker invented as a category for selling records  take a bunch of musical life and give it a label – *seems to be the way*  A “crossover” Three-streams  Pop  Country – City – Urban Blues  „Hillbilly‟; Country; Rockabilly (Rock + Hillbilly, belated term for up-tempo country) == Jump Blues; R&B  Rock n‟ Roll Example: “Beans and Corn Bread” (1949) – Louis Jordan  Influence of the Big Band movement (saxophones, brass, drums, etc.)  drums are a key part of the foundation for rock n‟ roll)  Coordination between drums and bass (rhythm section – important also)  Bass does harmonic things – adds musical texture – highly coordinated with drums  Vocals are almost distorted too – rough timbre  this distortion* is important in terms of rock n‟ roll exceeding limitations – youth uprising of a certain kind that is figured within the music through things like distortion (music is too fast, too loud, etc.) R&B Example: “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” (1954) – Big Joe Turner Vs. “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” – Bill Haley and the Comet
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