My proposition Is for an essay based around the hypothesis that It Is getting increasing difficult to categories music due to its evolution over time. My essay is going to be split in to six main parts; the introduction/proposal, separate analyses of each genre, and a final conclusion. As this assignment is purely an aural assessment of each genre, each analysis section will remain separate, I will not be comparing genres or critically commenting on them. Three out of the four given genres are very broad categories by which to label music.
Jazz, Classical and Country music all have a long history, In which the characteristics of their music have changed over the years. I plan on identifying these characteristics, identifying what’s changed and, possibly more importantly, identifying what’s stayed the same, as it usually this that enables us to tell these different genres apart. Unfortunately for me, ass’s Rock is quite a limited genre and is not the greatest genre of choice to help prove my hypotheses correct. Thankfully, there were a great number of technological advances throughout the offs and this allowed people to become more creative and experimental with their music.
So even though let on a much shorter time scale, there still should be apparent differences throughout the decade. I will be investigating what makes ass’s rock different to ass’s or ass’s rock, how technological/ creative advancements changed the music and whether or not the ‘keyset’ is the worst musical instrument ever invented. The conclusion of my essay will be a brief overview of the piece, highlighting the exponential evolution of music today and the creation of the new genres, which allow people to experiment with the traditional characteristics of classic genres.
This essay Is going to serve as an Investigation Into the different characteristics that make up the basis of different genres of music. These chosen genres are; Jazz, Country, Classical and ass’s Rock music. I intend to analyses a number of songs/pieces from each of these genres and see whether or not certain trademark characteristics are present in all of the pieces from that genre. I also intend to investigate whether or not the characteristics by which we identify a piece of music’s genre have changed over time.
Jazz I will have to try my utmost not to offend any Jazz fans by trying to categories and fine Jazz music In only a few hundred words. “They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art. ” – Charlie Parker (Raiser, 1977, p. 27) Jazz has always been a very expressive and artistic genre of music and when you combine that with a history that spans over a century, it makes it very difficult to pin point Its key characteristics. If I had to list some of the characteristics of a progression, a syncopated/swing feel rhythm and, possibly most importantly, improvised solos.
Many Jazz standards, such as Theologies Monks ‘Round Midnight’ ND Johnny Green’s ‘Body and Soul’, abide by these rules. Having this predetermined structure provides soloists with a great deal of freedom but could be considered restrictive for other the musicians, but this is not the case. The use of 7th and 9th help give the chord progression a fresh feel, chord substitutions are often used, commonly trio-tone substitutions, and changes in key and/or tempo are also highly attractive and provide a large degree of improvisational freedom. (Wilson, 2002) “The music has gotten thick. Guys give me tunes and they’re full of chords.
I can’t play hem… ‘ think a movement in Jazz is beginning away from the conventional string of chords” – Miles Davis (Davis, 1958) The question is; are these characteristics still visible in Jazz music today? Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell. Over the years many different Jazz hybrid genres have been created such as; acid Jazz, cool Jazz, free Jazz, Jazz-rock fusion, bebop, post-bop, jazz-funk, punk Jazz… The list goes on. It is rare nowadays for an artist to solely play one style of Jazz, it is an extremely diverse genre and it is therefore pretty much impossible to define Jazz music today.
If forced, I would say there are two things by which I identify Jazz, both past and present, and those are improvisation and instrumentation. Improvised solos are still a big part of many genres of Jazz, in fact, it’s the entire basis of free Jazz and, although many different instruments have been added and taken away over the years, it’s not quite Jazz unless it has a brass section. Saxophone and trumpet have been the defining characteristics of Jazz for one hundred years and, I think, they always will be. Move got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice.
And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and Just wail. ” – Charlie Parker (Pugnacity, 2006) Country Fortunately for me, country music also has a long and rich history. Country music began in the southern states of America in the sass’s and was for many years considered to be hillbilly’s music and by some people it still is but this is not the case. “l think it speaks to our basic fundamental feelings, you know. Of emotions, of love, of breakup, of love and hate and death and dying, mama, apple pie, and the whole thing. It covers a lot of territory, country music does. Johnny Cash (Cash, 2002) Country music first evolved from folk music and in turn inherited many of its traits. Country music was originally very simple; three chord structures, relatable topics and simple instrumentation made songs catchy and memorable. As with folk music, Country music songs often told stories with their lyrics that include characters, dialogue, plot twists and climaxes. Rather than being sung, action will sometimes be spoken. While sometimes country artists will be the stars of their stories and sing them from the first person, other times they will function simply as a narrator.
Wolfe, 1999) The instrumentation of a country band we be similar to that of standard rock or harmonica and steel guitars would help give the music its distinctive twangs sound. I-IV-V and I-II-V were popular, the pieces were not often very structurally complex as the main feature of the song was the lyrics. Country music has changed greatly over the years, considering Taylor Swift is a modern example of a country star, you’d struggle to find similarities between her music and that of a traditional country music singer such as Jimmie Rodgers.
Instruments such as the banjo and the fiddle would mound out of place in one of Swifts chart topping hits but it can be argued that the message and emotions that her songs purvey are that of a country music song. In an interview on ‘The Douglas Show in 1971 , Johnny Cash said that country music was like soul music because it came from the heart and I think that modern country music qualifies by that definition. “l think if you sit there and think I have to put this instrument on this song because if I don’t people will think that I’m in a different genre, then I think that is possibly overthrowing what you do” – Taylor Swift (Hansel, 2013)
Classical We rather incorrectly generalist classical music. Google defines classical music as “Serious or conventional music that follows long-established principles rather than a folk, Jazz, or popular tradition”, by this definition classical music spans from way back to medieval times right up to modern day. Whereas technically, classical music is music that was composed in the classical era (1730-1820). The music composed in this relatively short period of time abided by a set list of characteristics.
Classical music had a lighter, clearer texture than its predeceasing era, it utilized a slightly argue orchestra, replaced the formerly popular harpsichord with the recently developed piano and was mainly homophobic. Comparing early and later classical music by this definition would make for short reading as, by the nature of having musical periods, no drastic changes occurred until the next musical age (the romantic period 1815-1910). I regard any music that is played on acoustic orchestral instruments to be classical music.
If we were to compare music over the years that fits this description, the change is huge. Considering that the triton was once thought of as “the devil’s interval” shows how the opinion of music has changed. Some of the modern experimental uses of tonality, harmony, instrumentation and rhythm in the works of John Cage or Stravinsky would appear like madness to the likes of Beethoven and Bach. “l can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones” -John Cage (Satellite, 2003) Despite all this, classical music is seen as a form of music for a certain class of people.
Traditionally, the only people that could afford to go see a live classical performance were wealthy and the people who were wealthy were usually middle class or higher and unfortunately this stigma has stuck. G’s Rock You may think that not much could have changed in the space of a decade but you’d be wrong. Due to the nature of modern life and the exponential growth of technology, new musical trends seem to come and go in the blink of an eye. The ass’s was no rose to fame and some faded away.
The ass’s saw the creation and rise of the power ballad, bands such as Bon Jove and Defy Leopard first mastered the art in the early ass’s which resulted in lengthy successful careers but the power ballad didn’t reach its peak until the latter half of the ass’s. By 1987 almost every band was impelled to include at least one or two ballads on an album to ensure decent sales. Once bands such as Skid Row and Poison established their dominance, the power ballad had nearly run its course, and a certain blandness became all too commonplace. Peak, 2012) Punk Rock was created in the late ass’s and rose had to mainstream popularity by the ass’s. It was a heavily distorted, emotionally charged sub-genre of rock that opposed the ass’s synch pop of the time with stripped down instrumentation and often politically charged, anti-establishment lyrics. This new, rebellious genre of music paved the way for new sub-genres of rock such as alternative rock. The name alternative rock was given to a new form of rock created in the late sass’s that didn’t fit in with any other mainstream genres.
New sub-genres were cropping up so quickly, they were running out of names. Alternative rock bands such as The Cure, R. E. M and the Smiths had all rose to fame by the ass’s. The rapid development of music technology had a massive impact on music in the sass’s. The creation of electronic music had become much easier by the sass’s with some bands completely replacing all instruments with synthesizes sounds. Bands such as The Human League, Duran Duran and the Rhythmic found success using electronic sounds but people soon became bored and popularity fell by the late ass’s.