Popular Music in America

Subject: Art
Pages: 6
Words: 1567
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: College

“Differences and similarities between the use of music in traditional Native American cultures and in contemporary American popular culture”

Traditional Americans believed that music emanated from God at the commencement of the universe. Therefore, the creator is the vital source of music since as evident in the creation process (Kuiper 203). In some indigenous American groups, music was equated to property. In order for a different individual or entity to use music, there had to be permission from the community that owned it because songs had in-built values specific to that culture. Each fresh season led to the creation of diverse types of new-fangled music to mark important events. The creator passed on songs to generations through apprenticeship, aping, and participation in performances.

Oral diffusion was the main course of spread across generations, but technology advanced other routes like taping and writing. Their performances brought together numerous cultural facets including dance, veneration, and social issues. Initially, the styles used depending on the native’s physical location, but further mixing led to the integration of novel techniques. Ideally, music was a kind of heritage owned by the community, but not regarded as a form of trade or commercialized item for income (Rubin 36).

Currently, American culture has highly commercialized and artists venture into it as a profession, as opposed to the former times where the art purposely entertained people. The way of performance is different from the natives. Immigration has led to the existence of new genres of music that never existed before. Such novel forms take the roots of the initial native inhabitants and others. Consequently, the music describes the common and livelihood conditions of the group presenting it. Political ideas are in many instances presented using music.

Popular music is mainly structured in a way that it targets the young owing to messages contained in genres like raps (Holt 86). Symbolism has emerged in association with some varieties of music. This is verified by various stage performances. Association to cults, consolidation of themes on sexuality, religion, and rights is common in the new albums produced regularly.

“Ways in which gospel has influenced popular music and ways in which popular music has influenced gospel: vocal style, harmony, melody, orchestration and rhythm”

In many aspects, the two categories of music interact. This results from the dynamics in the music market that influence what the people wish to listen to. In the fashionable world, there is borrowing in music to create blends that suit the listeners. Blues, a subtype of popular music include many similarities with the current gospel music playing frequently. They generate similar echoes. The songs performed during worship have had sway on pop music especially in bringing harmony (Moore 60). Moore outlines that blending emanates from the marketing process of both products.

Rhythm is another aspect that has penetrated from the popular type to Gospel. The type and order of beats that were once used in popular genres like “Rock and Roll” have been introduced to modern gospel music (Campbell 8). Gospels in former days were remarkably slower but gained cadence from the faster pop songs. Presentation style is similar in the two music classes whereby the number of singers presenting in a particular presentation resembles. Moreover, the main instruments employed are the same.

Pop music received the influence of harmony from the ‘old type’ of the gospel, the hymns. This is especially coordinating the different voices to bring out a more coherent output from the summation of the voices.

“Aspects of early Rock ‘n’ Roll come from African-American traditions versus Euro-American traditions”

Rock ‘n’ roll is from African slaves in the United States. The Africans brought their traditional styles, which Americans adapted later for example the Cakewalk and Charleston style. “Roc ‘n’ roll” lyrics have rigorous lyrics and its characteristics are from African dancing, which is in African- American dance. The African Movement expression is a dance where blacks bend their arms a little, shake hips and shoulders scuff, and hope around. On the contrary, the Europeans just swing limbs. The downward course is a style belonging to Africans. One bends slightly facing down flattening the feet widely backward to form a solid stand, but Europeans assume a vertical posture, lift arms in the air and raise the foot up onto the toes (Barbara).

Another different aspect is the type and tune combinations. Euro- American Rock ‘n’ Roll started from a single type of style namely blues. The blues are slow, associated with vocal tunes, which have repetitive rhythms that relate to daily life experiences. The African- American traditional lyrics combined both the blues and jazz to add flavor to create different rhythms and harmony. The African-American singers incorporated Jazz because of instruments like trumpets and pianos, which produce and blend pitch quality. Variation of sound from Jazz tunes facilitated the famous shake dance styles adapted by African-Americans (Lamb).

The argument for and against Barkley assertion

Barkley’s assertion is factual. The four artists mentioned are among the most successful songwriters, each achieving greatly in their pieces of creation. Each acquired ‘Grammy awards’ more than once with other prestigious rewards for their prowess in song creation. In all their works, distinct ideas from musicians who participated in “Urban folk revival” are observable. “Dylan and the Beatles” made an improvement to the art presently used (Weismann 172). The themes in their compositions; issues such as persons, recent proceedings were also present and had more themes other than love alone. Secondly, there is the application of symbolism to represent current and past occurrences. Thirdly, they encompass the use of rhyme in the compositions for the word within the sentences of the stanza. Aspects of enjambment are evident in the creation of the four artists (Weissman 23). Experts edited the work in the studio before the release so that some adding’s may be done to improve on the superiority of work. Finally, the four artists wrote songs that were stories, a song like a rapid video which articulates all the issues that the writer had in mind (Weismann 172).

“Ways in which immigration to the United States (New York in particular) affected the music of the Latin Caribbean”

Latin Caribbean immigrants in America experienced Cultural Revolution that caused remarkable transformations in their music. Their relocation to New York brought unto them some sense of urbanization. This had an overall weighty upshot for popular music (Shepherd 385). Travelers and artists that included circuses, sorcerers, performing families, theatrical associations, and minstrels originally were the major entertainers during the “mid-nineteenth century” (Shepherd 385). Homogenization of trendy music threatened the native Latin genre as they slowly Americanized.

Serious studies on music-cultural roots begun in Latin communities with the intent of redefining their music and presenting it to the world. Latino musicians took stage enthusiastically in music and enjoyed U.S varieties including “jazz, country, rock, and punk.” Vital musical expressions of fashionable style like “jazz, salsa, and hip hop” emerged due to constant and concentrated exchanges amid these groups and US Afro-American enlightening processes (Lucky, Armstrong & Estrada 242). Immigration into modern cities including New York that had a variety of cultures reinforced it. Cuban folk music derived from a mixed Caribbean heritage of Hispania and Africa was combined with both jazz and “Puerto Rican folk” idioms like “jibaro, bomba, and call-and-response plena” (Lucky, Armstrong & Estrada 242). This was especially in New York “barrios.” The result was a specifically rhythmically incisive style that came to be known as “salsa.” Music became a social outlet for many communities and those derived from the rhythmic richness of “conga, rumba, and mambo” became commonplace. Popular Latin stars like “Dezi Arnaz not only satisfied their immigrant communities but also attained general success with music that greatly fuses the Latin style with more generic trends (Lucky, Armstrong & Estrada 243). New York steadily became a center of the multicultural musical display with the entrance of immigrants.

“Asian Americans have not yet produced a recognizable, uniquely American music that is equivalent to Jazz or Tejano…”

It is factual that Asian Americans are yet to create an identifiable exclusively American genre, which resembles “Jazz or Tejano.” Though there are excellent Asian artists, they scarcely attain any remarkable popularity and effect in American showbiz. The tale of Mr. Lee featured in “New York Times” (Navarro) portrays the stereotype of the ” Asian Thing” as one factor that has overtime dragged budding Asian artists from excelling in music. They are associated with a sport like Kung fu and are not expected to sound like American pop stars. To an extent, the music sector does not yet endeavor to nurture Asian-American talent. As noted in the article, Michael Hong, “CEO of ImaginAsian Entertainment” explains that many talented Asian-American artists exist, but nobody is ready to sign them (Navarro). There are several inequalities and prejudices that Asians, including classical musicians, face in the US. Race relations, immigration history, class dynamics, masculinity, and sexual norms are cited as hindrances to excellence by Asian artists (Yoshihara xii). Classical music does not overly spread to the Asian-Americans as in the case of those in the cradle (Yoshihara xii). Asians dedicate their efforts to music despite frequent disappointments, frustrations, and self-questioning. There is the conviction that the Asian-American community is yet to produce an exclusive, inimitably American genre similar to Jazz and Tejano owing to the technology and growing acceptance of cultural and racial diversity amongst the dominant Americans.

Works Cited

Barbara, Gel. Archives of Early Lindy Hop. n.d. Web.

Campbell, Michael. Popular Music in America: And The Beat Goes on. Ohio, OH: Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.

Holt, Fabian. Genre in Popular Music. London: University of Chicago ltd Press, 2007. Print.

Kuiper, Kathleen. Native American Culture, 1st ed. New York. NY: Britannica Educational Publishing, 2011. Print.

Lamb, Alex. Rock ‘n Roll Music. 2007. Web.

Lucky, James. Armstrong, Jeanne. & Estrada, Lawrence. Immigration in America today: an encyclopedia. Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. 2006. Print.

Moore, Alan. Blues and Gospel Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.

Navarro, Mireya. Trying to Crack the Hot 100.The New York Times. 2007. Web.

Rubin, Rachel and Jeffrey Melnick. Immigration and American Popular Culture. New York, NY: New York University Press, 2007. Print.

Shepherd, John. Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. New York, NY: Continuum International Publishing Group. 2003. Print.

Yoshihara, Mari. Musicians from a different shore: Asians and Asian Americans in classical music. Pennsylvania, PA: Temple University Press. 2007. Print.

Weissman, Dick. Which Side Are You On?: An Inside History of the Folk Music Revival in America. London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006. Print.