Understanding The Evolution And Sources Cultural Studies Essay

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Colin Mason in "Music in Britain" says that "music has to be practiced both with love and understanding" and reminding what Anthony Milner in "Musical Times" said "it is much more than merely sound and brilliant scholarship; it reveals a passionate love for the music it discusses and communicates it to the reader".

The history of American music lies in the very first centuries; 3000 B.C. and 1st century A.D. The 1st and 8th century music was spiritual and the one that was listened by aristocratic classes and in palaces, which is secular. Spiritual music evolved rapidly, due to the advances of Christianity in America. The ecclesiastical giants of the 5th century were St. Sahag and St. Mesrob. Jewish psalms and liturgical poetry were adopted by the American Church. American music in the first century of colonization is actually the history of New England, they were the ones to bring choirs, musical notation, a number of West African slaves worship music - psalmody, sung in religious meetings, at home. What constituted the basis of the earliest American musical culture was the publishing of a number of English psalters by the time of American colonization.

United Kingdom has been a greater operator and source of musical novelty in the modern and contemporary eras through the whole of its history, its cultural background being dragged out from the United Kingdom's history, church music, Western culture and from the early and popular folk music and instrumentation of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The first music instruction books in America were created by the Puritans and also the first American school of composers. The first group of native-born American composers arose out of the singing school that is the New England "Yankee tunesmiths". William Billings (1746- 1800) was the first major figure among the New England school. There were other New England composers who emulated Billing's popularity in the late eighteenth century, but their music was said to be "crude, unlearned, unscientific, compared to that of such masters as Handel, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven." (A. N. J. Den Hollander and Sigmund Skard 296).

In the British music the head figure of the eighteenth century was a genuine Briton, George Friedrich Handel (1685- 1759), who portrayed a defining role in the music of the British Isles, first visited England in 1710, though was born in Germany, after which he settled in England and eventually became a legitimate citizen.

Secular Music

Including sacred and secular music and lining from the popular to the greatest, music in the British Isles was a divergent and ample culture starting with the earliest chronicled times until the Baroque and the rise of distinguishable modern classical music.

Cities like Boston, Newport, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Charleston were imitating British musical life. America composed English ballad operas from 1735; the earliest known American secular song being registered in 1759: by the Philadelphian Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791), "My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free". "Perhaps even more influential in shaping America's music in the last decades of the eighteenth century were immigrant professional musicians and composers, most of them arrivals from England, though a number were born in Germany, France, or Bohemia." (A. N. J. Den Hollander and Sigmund Skard 297)

1820-1920 and after 1920

The first half of the nineteenth century in America had been dominated by the romantic movement. Louis Moreau Gottschalk was the most acclaimed composer and performer of America and also Anton Philip Heinrich who introduced the symphonies of Beethoven to the New World. Music was also introduced into the public school system in America by Lowell Mason. Composers of the latter half of the nineteenth century provided a place for American music into the area of western civilization's concert culture.

…various kinds of music of a more popular less pretentious stamp, music less self- consciously derived from Europe and more deeply rooted in American democratic culture. Such music included folk and gospel hymnody both white and Negro, minstrel show songs and instrumental pieces, marches, operettas, and dance music of various sorts, including ragtime and early jazz. (A. N. J. Den Hollander and Sigmund Skard 300)

In the course of the eighteenth century, musical creation, training and performance in the United Kingdom witnessed a grand expansion and inherited classical traditions of Europe. The best top example of the Romantic thrill in Britain is William Blake, the painter and poet who said "I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's". Northern Ireland's classical music has generated remarkable composers of the early Romantic era such as Thomas Moore and Turlough O'Carolan.

What contributed to the evolution of the English terminology opera at the importance of the Baroque in the eighteenth century were representative forms of music in the Renaissance age, numbering polyphonic votive antiphons, Celtic chant, the rota, the Contenance Angloise, lute ayres and the masques, the carol in the medieval age and English madrigals, cultivated by the musicians from the British Isles.

Supporting evident national identities within the countries in the United Kingdom near the end of the nineteenth century, romantic nationalism (acknowledged by wikipedia) originated several composers and musicians of note and deriving of the folk tradition. Along with the cultural strands derived from the United Kingdom's constituent nation and provinces, these traditions have continued to develop in proper ways throughout the work of composers like Benjamin Britten, Hubert Parry, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Edward Elgar and Arthur Sullivan.

Once with the rise of numerous composers who manifested new trends in western music, had a greater interest in folk music and in the novel approach of French impressionism, and with the accomplishment of Charles Ives - America's most remarkably individualistic composer who got famous after he died in 1954- the course 1820-1920 in American art music concluded.

The 1920s and after the World War II

"The Roaring Twenties", as this era was known dealt with young composers who confronted with new ideas and materials, new techniques to coordinate recommended sounds by the European directors of the New Music (Stravinsky, Schoenberg, the Futurists) and by the new American "urban folk music" of jazz.

As Aaron Copland, perhaps along with George Gershwin the leading young composer of the decade, has written in his book Our New Music: "Contemporary music as an organized movement in the U.S.A. was born at the end of the First World War." (A. N. J. Den Hollander and Sigmund Skard 302)

Close to the early twentieth century turned into an important centre of folk music worldwide as well as polish and Ukrainian fiddling, polka and diverse type of Latin music. The Thirteen Colonies settled during 1607 and 1733 by Great Britain and the United Kingdom on the Atlantic Coast of the original United States, and the Anglo culture developed into a significant foundation of American popular and folk music. Numerous folk song of America are similar to the British ones though with new lyrics.

England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have their own contrasting folk music forms. Folk music blossomed until the era of industrialization after which contemporary forms of popular music such as music hall and brass bands started taking its place. This headed to two folk revivals, in the late-19th century and in the mid-20th century, fact that preserved folk music as a notable sub-culture in the society.

In Ireland the prestige of popular instruments like fiddles has continued during the centuries. Probably the most renowned modern musician persuaded by the folk tradition is Van Morrison. Ballads and laments are part of the folk music of Scotland played by a solo artist with back-up bagpipes, harps or fiddles. The celebrities of the 1960s revival from Scotland and other regions near United Kingdom were Cathy-Ann McPhee and Jeannie Robertson.

Folk music in Wales is sung in communal dances and music festivals. In the twentieth century the Welsh musicians had to reproduce their traditional music when the revival started, because they had been under English culture for a long time. The preservation and repetition of the traditions of folk music in England directed to the formation of various combinations with other forms of music which led to the creation of another genres such as punk, electric and metal folk and keeps on flourishing on regional and national scenes, especially in regions like Northumbria and Cornwall.

In the 1920s there were essential increases in what concerns popular music. The most considerable American music of the 1920s was jazz music. "The most gifted song writer of the decade" (A. N. J. Den Hollander and Sigmund Skard 304) in the United States was George Gershwin whose creation was shaped by influences from jazz, and who also managed to stir interest to the international public.

In Scotland jazz has influenced dance bands and it seems that they are more entertaining and creative. There is a great tradition regarding jazz music and Scotland has generated some of the world's class performers. Also the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival was a great opportunity for the most well-known jazz musicians to come to Scotland. Furthermore, jazz was present in the Ireland's showband routine. In an article published on the BBC website "About Jazz music in Wales", was played in pubs and clubs, and it still is nowadays.

Jazz got from America to Britain by the albums and the musicians who came in this country though it still was a new type of music. British performers started to play this music from the 1930s and through the 1940s. The 1930s in jazz music represented the formation for British dance bands, which led to popular music and social music and that is when jazz began to be present on radio or social circumstances. From the 1960s jazz in Britain started to develop more individual characteristics, absorbing a variety of influences, including free jazz and British blues.

What turned to be predominant in the popular music of the twentieth century in the United Kingdom, was the music of the Unites States, and this was the reason for the outburst of the British Invasion, that is the most well-known British music which include the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and Britpop. This music became very famous in the United States from 1964 to 1966. British artists influenced modern music; United Kingdom's music industry is said to be one of the biggest worldwide.

The significant change of the mid-1950s was the impact of American rock and roll, which provided a new model for performance and recording, based on a youth market. Its emergence as a major international force in popular music in led to its emulation in Britain, which shared a common language and many cultural connections.

Initially this was dominated by American acts, or re-creations of American forms of music, but soon distinctly British forms began to appear, first in the uniquely British take on American folk music in the skiffle craze of the 1950s, then in the beginnings of a folk revival that came to place an emphasis on national traditions and then in early attempts to produce British rock and roll.

The British product has generally been considered inferior to the American version of the genre, and made very little international or lasting impact. However, it was important in establishing British youth and popular music culture and was a key factor in subsequent developments that led to the British Invasion of the mid-1960s. Since the 1960s some stars of the genre, most notably Cliff Richard, have managed to sustain very successful careers and there have been periodic revivals of this form of music.

The term "rock and roll" now has at least two different meanings, both in common usage. The American Heritage Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary both define rock and roll as synonymous with rock music. Encyclopedia Britannica, on the other hand, regards it as the music that originated in the mid-1950s and later evolved "into the more encompassing international style known as rock music."

In The United States, the 1960s saw several important changes in popular music, especially rock. Many of these changes took place through the British Invasion where bands such as The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, and later Led Zeppelin became immensely popular and had a profound effect on American culture and music.

These changes included the move from professionally composed songs to the singer-songwriter, and the understanding of popular music as an art, rather than a form of commerce or pure entertainment. These changes led to the rise of musical movements connected to political goals, such as civil rights and the opposition to the Vietnam War. Rock was at the forefront of this change. In the early 60s, rock spawned several subgenres, beginning with surf. Surf was an instrumental guitar genre characterized by a distorted sound, associated with the Southern California surfing youth culture.

Following the turbulent political, social and musical changes of the 1960s and the early 1970s, rock music diversified. What was formerly a discrete genre known as rock and roll evolved into a catchall category called simply rock music, which came to include diverse styles like heavy metal and punk rock. Punk was a form of rebel rock that began in the 1970s, was loud, aggressive and quite simple. It began as a reaction against popular music of the time, and mostly disco and arena rock.

The punk movement of the late 1970s began in England. Great British bands of this scene were The Sex Pistols and The Clash. The Punk style was Mohicans, bondage clothes, safety pins, piercing and bovver boots. The first punk band is thought to be the Ramones from 1976. This was taken up in Britain by bands also influenced by the pub rock scene, like the Sex Pistols and The Clash, particularly in London, who became the vanguard of a new musical and cultural movement, blending simple aggressive sound and lyrics with clothing styles and a variety of anti-authoritarian ideologies.

A British hip hop scene emerged in the early 1980s, largely based on American hip hop music at parties and club nights. In this period some pop records dabbled with rap - such as Adam and the Ants' "Ant Rap" (1981) LP, Wham's "Wham Rap (Enjoy What You Do)" (1982) and Malcolm McLaren's "Buffalo Gals" (1982). More serious British artists were rapping live or recording amateur tapes in the early 1980s, but the first British hip hop tune released on record was "London Bridge" by Newtrament in 1984. Hip Hop Connection, the first major British hip hop magazine, was founded in 1989 and by the early 1990s the British hip hop scene seemed to be thriving.

By the beginning of the 1980s in the United States, there were popular hip hop songs, and the celebrities of the scene, like LL Cool J, gained mainstream renown. Other performers experimented with politicized lyrics and social awareness, or fused hip hop with jazz, heavy metal, techno, funk and soul. New styles appeared in the latter part of the 1980s, like alternative hip hop and the closely related jazz rap fusion, pioneered by rappers like De La Soul.

Gangsta rap is a kind of hip hop, most importantly characterized by a lyrical focus on macho sexuality, physicality and a dangerous criminal image. Though the origins of gangsta rap can be traced back to the mid-1980s style of Philadelphia's Schoolly D and the West Coast's Ice-T, the style broadened and came to apply to many different regions in the country, to rappers from New York, such as Notorious B.I.G and influential hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan, and to rappers on the West Coast, such as Too Short and N.W.A. A distinctive West Coast rap scene spawned the early 1990s G-funk sound, which paired gangsta rap lyrics with a thick and hazy sound, often from 1970s funk samples; the best-known proponents were the rappers 2Pac, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg. Gangsta rap continued to exert a major presence in American popular music through the end of the 1990s and into the 21st century.

Popular music of the United Kingdom in the 2000s continued to expand and develop new sub-genres and fusions. While talent show contestants were one of the major forces in pop music, British soul maintained and even extended its high profile with figures like Joss Stone and Amy Winehouse, while a new group of singer/songwriters, including KT Tunstall and James Blunt, achieved international success. New forms of dance music emerged, including grime and Dubstep. There was also a revival of garage rock and post punk, which when mixed with electronic music produced new rave.