Popular Music

12 December 2017

Popular music, or pop music’, means Clumsy of the populace’. The term embraces all kinds of folk music which, originally made by illiterate people, were not written down. The creation of a popular music that aims simply at entertaining large numbers of people is a product of industrialization, in which music became a commodity to be bought and sold. It Is In the rapid Industrialized nations, notably Britain and USA, that we first encounter composers who have devoted themselves to fulfilling a demand for popular, entertainment music.

Foster Stephen Foster (Born Lawrenceville in 1826; died in New York in 1864)Foster was an American composer, mainly self-taught In music. He wrote over 200 songs, several of which have come to be regarded almost as American folk-songs. Though a Northerner, several of his songs capture the Southern plantation spirit in an authentic and eloquent manner. His songs are considered as Distaste’, through nostalgia. All of Foster’s songs yearn for the Good old days’, but their yearning is not innocent, as real folk music Is. Souse John Philip Souse (Born in Washington DC in 1854; died in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1932) Souse was an American composer and bandmaster.As a youth he played the violin n an orchestra.

He conducted the US Marine Corps band in 1880-92. He formed his own military band In 1892, which became very popular and toured Europe four times between 1900 and 1905, and toured the world In 1910-11. Unfortunately it was plectra of the 1931 Depression. Souse was best known for his superb marches, of which he composed nearly 100. His music is also considered Distaste’, by means of hedonism. Catchall Louis More Catchall (Born In New Orleans In 1829; died In Brazil In 1969) Catchall was an American pianist, conductor and composer.He went to Paris to study in 1842.

His pianoforte debut was in 1844 was praised by Chopin. On return to the USA he toured widely, playing and conducting his own sentimental and naive music for unsophisticated audiences who enjoyed his virtuoso panache and his arrangements of national allures. He wrote two operas, two symphonies and many Blues and Ragtime Though Jazz is a twentieth century phenomenon, mainly associated with cities, its origins were in Africa. The black man’s music, transmuted into the white mans world.In his new, white American world, the black man, enslaved, inevitably used the musical techniques he had been reared on. As an outcast, he no longer sings a tribal song but calls on ancient vocal formulas of the pentatonic scale and a tumbling descent from a high note, and on traditional techniques of vocal production – modified because he sings in the American, rather than in African language. Inevitably it came into contact with the musical manifestations of the New World, especially the march and hymn.

The hymn followed a pattern of tonic, dominant and subdivision harmony, while the march provided a four-square beat.When the American black, responding to these types of music, took over the white man’s guitar, he blues was born, and with it the heart of Jazz. Blues There was no decisive break between the folk holler and the blues. Pete Williams, a black man in the Southern prison, uses the guitar to accompany himself in what he calls Prisoner’s talking’ blues’ and Levee camp blues’, but these are still hollers in which speed is heightened, with the guitar providing a repeated figure. The words of vocal blues often concern the agony of desertion, betrayal and unrequited love and sexual references are frequent.Blues Form’, as it evolved, tends to fall into a pattern, as shown: Bars 1 23456789 10 11 12 Chords —v—–l——–v——–l——- But the form is not static. It provided a harmonic framework against which the black singer could interpret his words or the instrumentalist could improvise.

Thus black melody and white harmony interact. Ragtime Ragtime is an early type of Jazz particularly for solo piano and composition rather than improvised. The famous exponent and composer of it was Scott Joplin popular from 1895-1920 when other forms of Jazz took over.Scott Joplin Scott Joplin was born in 1897 died in 1917. He was known as the king of Ragtime’. He took his musical convention from white military two-step. But Joplin music, both in the Maple Leaf Rag in 1899 that made him famous and in more harmonically sophisticated pieces like Euphonium Sounds in (1909), has an improvised feel mostly because the rhythms are Dragged’ in being syncopated.

In the music of the notable rag composers, for example James Scott and Bobbie Blake and as well as Joplin, the music has pathos but not sentimentality.Blues and Jazz meet in the evolution of piano Jazz. When blacks came across broken down pianos they treated them as mechanized guitars. “Barbershops” pianists came to make basic, usually very fast use of the harmonies of the 12-bars blues and to seek monastic substitutes for the guitar’s expressiveness by way of “crunched” tones, slides and displaced accents. The pianist exploited the power of a percussive keyboard, creating momentum with a pounding left hand usually in patterns of repeated tones or unequal rhythms the came to be known as boogie basses.Gradually, barbershops pianist exploited complexities of texture as well as to exploit rhythmic force. Leroy Carr, as a singer and pianist, shows how white art may lead elegance to black passion, as the reimbursement’s of the barbershops piano came to term with the artificialness of rag.

James P. Johnson trained in both barbershops IANA and ragtime traditions and distinguished for his command of an irresistibly striding bass and for the delicate precision of the right-hand figuration.Blues Singing Fusion of blues and rag exemplified in Johnny’s playing is crucial to the evolution of jazz, especially during the sass. The most revered singers were women. The earliest of the great women blues singers, Gertrude Rained nickname “Ma”. Her vocal timbre often had a liturgical flavor. She found no barriers between country blues gospel and minstrel show music.

Bessie Smith Bessie Smith (1894-1937), the most famous blues singer of the sass was known as he Empress of Blues’. Like all the finest Jazz her music sprang from tension: between country and town, black and white, art and entertainment.Like other women blues singers, Smith usually performed in dialogue with a melody instrument, which both intensified and depredations the vocal line. She gave superb versions of folk blues like Escaroles Love’ and Reckless Love’ with Louis Armstrong playing a cornet obbligato and of her own Young women blues and Poor man blues with the cornet of Joe Smith her favorite collaborator. Jazz Since women blues singers worked with Jazz players and used conventions from both jazz and minstrel show, their work had many features in common with the music of the early Jazz band.This began in New Orleans where, as we have seen, a lively black population mingled with a cosmopolitan society of white Americans, Frenchman, Spaniards, Italians and German. From these cross-fertilization the New Orleans Jazz band became established with instruments from the white military band.

The cornet (later trumpet), clarinet and trombone were the main melody instruments. A tuba (later string bass) provided the bottom line, reinforced by drums and other percussion instruments. The banjo substituted for the guitar as harmonic fill-in.Later when bands no longer marched the piano became the main harmony instrument, combined with plucked strings. The music of the New Orleans band compromises tension between the trumping military beat and the symmetries of white harmony on one hand and on the other the black solo lines which, with their African flexibility of pitch and rhythm, try to override the basic form. The supreme New Orleans soloists- Louis Armstrong, cornet and trumpet, Johnny Odds, clarinet and Sidney Becket (soprano saxophone) – attain a levitating ecstasy with their soaring improvised melodies.They also affirm their humanity in imbuing their instruments with the expressiveness of the voice.

Louis Armstrong The voice and instrument speak, the body move: so the heart of music is in the spoken and unspoken word and in physical movement. What is remarkable about New Orleans Jazz is that this word -body relationship flourished within the context of westernizes commercial music. We can hear this in the supreme achievements of band Jazz, the recordings made by Louis Armstrong with his Hot Five and Hot Seven in 1926-8, Tight Like This.Tragedy is overt in Armstrong famous unaccompanied solo opening to West End blues. The consummation of New Orleans Chicago Jazz involves a marriage between black folk melody and the harmony of white art music is revealed in Armstrong’s recording of “King Oliver’s Weather Bird which he presents simply as a duet with Earl Hines. Armstrong and Hines have proceeded from the folk heterodyne of early Jazz to a true improvised polyphony. These tracks were recorded in 1928, Just before Armstrong left Chicago for New York, later to embark on a career as a show-business entertainer as well as a Jazzmen.

Jelly Roll Morton, a light-skinned New Orleans black, produced, between 1926-1930, a series of according with his Red Hot Peppers. He composed most of the numbers in the convention of the Souse march and trio and even wrote down 12-bar blues with precise indication of harmony and figuration. The music involved Jazz improvisation, though Morton, as pianist-director of his steel basically New Orleans ensemble, controlled real acerbic blues like Smokehouse Blues or in a cross between the two like The Chant, they generate passion while managing to sound blithely carefree.Their improvised composition, as distinct from Louis Armstrong’s improvisation, is an irresistible affirmation of the human spirit. Duke Longtime A further refinement of Moron’s approach occurs in the music of Duke Longtime, born in Washing DC. Morton was the first, Longtime was the second composer in Jazz history; he remains the finest. He scored for a bigger band, using choir of saxophones blending, or playing in contrast, with brass and reeds, supported by string bass and percussion Longtime directed from or beside the keyboard.

Longtime composed almost all the bands material using a 32-bar format rather more than the 12 bar blues. The artful quality of Elongation’s music lies first in the tunes which are memorable and recognizable his such as Black Beauty (1928) and Solitude and Mood Indigo (1930). Longtime starts from the cliches of white march and hymn, he adds chromatic richness that can plum our emotions. The music remains folk improvisation in tune with the spirit of the blues and at heart profoundly African.In a piece remains sinister because of the padding cat beat and the cross-rhythms of the guitar. One example of this ambiguity is the Black and Tan Fantasy (1927). Longtime fuses the spirit of New Orleans Jazz with the precise realization of art.

Compromise teen black Jazz and white art entails the acceptance of white show business, which, in an industrial society, is arts popular manifestation. There are two complimentary strands in this process. One develops black Jazz into a mechanized powerhouse; the other combines popular conventions with the escape art of musical comedy.The two streams converge, as did blues, minstrel show and rag in the earlier generation. American Musical The Jazz musicians we have discussed have all been black, indirectly of African descent. The musicians who worked in music theatre on Broadway during the same cascades were all white, mostly of Jewish European ancestry. Musical comedy had its roots in European operetta, Viennese, French and English.

One of the earliest and most talented of Broadway composers, Jerome Kern, though born in New York in 1885, studied in Europe, intending to become a classical composer.He returned the USA and to Tin Pan Alley. He produced his first show in 1912. During the next 30 years composed musicals such as Sunny (1925), Showboat (1927) and The Cat and the Fiddle (1931), which gave “classic” formulation to musical comedy conventions. The format of musical comedy steers it towards escapism. Broadway musical comedy emulates the operettas of such composers as the Stresses, Lear, Offenbach and Sullivan, transplanting both themes and forms in to an American environment.The themes are again either hedonistic or nostalgic.

The forms follow a predictable pattern, the tunes constructed within rigidly diatonic, symmetrical eight-plus-eight- measure periods, though the harmony and modulations, especially in the middle eight, may be more adventurous than those of the old minstrel music. ; Irving Berlin Irving Berlin, born in Russia as Israel Blaine in 1888, was taken to New York as a baby. He had no musical training except what he picked up as a singing waiter.When he discovered that he had gift for writing word and tunes he was content to pick out the melody with one finger on the piano, leaving harmonistic and notation to a professional. Berlins songs have only two basic themes: an adolescent pleasure in the present moment and an equally adolescent nostalgia, sometimes tinged with self-pity. The tunes, with their narrow range and stepwise movement, more or less sing themselves. Such songs do not deny that love may hurt: they seek pleasure from the hurt itself and create and illusion that we can live on the surface of our motions.

Cole Porter Cole Porter (1891-1964). The cynical title of Porter’s musical Anything Goes (1934) is typical; so too is the fact that it conveys the mood of the sass with carefree is no positive element except the rudimentary boy-girl relationship, as expressed in the song “All Through the Night”. Its tune is merely a descending chromatic scale that, prompting dreamy modulations, induces trance, making the love seem almost too innocent to be true. Porter’s chromatics cast an ironic reflection on the diatonic love-songs of Berlin.The satirical elements in Porter’s songs are not sharp; they tend o defuse passion and violence, and become part of the American Dream. Yet his irony sometimes carries an uneasy honesty that we do not find in later musicals such as Richard Rodgers Oklahoma (1943). Occasionally, for instance in “Night and Day”, Porter allowed wit to be disturbed not only by passion but also by something not far from fright.

George Gershwin Only one composer of Broadway and Tin Pan Ally overrode the illusory nature of the conventions to produce works of genius; George Gershwin. Many songs he contributed to ephemeral musicals have survived in their own right.Evidence of Gershwin’s percipience lies in his discovery of his essential theme in a novel by Dubos Hayward dealing with life among the blacks in New Orleans. From it was made a libretto for Porgy and Bess which, starting out as an ambitious musical, ended up as a fully-fledged opera exploiting an interplay of speech, recitative, arioso and pop “aria” and exhibiting a musical-theatrical craft to rival Puccini, if not Verdi. Swing era Gershwin’s understanding of the black blues, though intuitive, was profound is indicated by the fact that his tunes have always been favored material for Jazz improvisation.Porgy and Bess itself have been given superb Jazz treatments by such distinguished musicians as Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Gill Evens, Ray Charles and Cleo Elaine. This provides a link to the evolution of Jazz, now both black and white, in the sass’s and ass’s; the era of swing, during which the relationship of band to soloists changed.

Even Elongation’s band grew to considerable dimensions and has affiliations with the big white bands that were more a part of show business than of Jazz.The earliest was the concert band of Paul Whitman, for which Gershwin composed Rhapsody in Blue, and to which some of the most talented of white Jazz wind players contributed. Dominating the era of world war II was the big band of Glenn Miller. More interesting both musically and sociologically is Benny Goodman, a white clarinetist who directed big and small bands and who looked, from the world of commerce, towards both Jazz and art. It is significant that Goodman, himself a fine musician, was the first white impresario to promote black Jazzmen on equal terms.Count Basis The supreme achievements of Jazz during the swing era remain black, notably the Kansas City bands of Count Basis. The Basis band is an authentic successor to the boreholes music of shanty-town piano thumper.

The machine- made energy of the massed brass is now set against the wiry agility of Basis’s piano playing. Basis’s which is more blues-influenced than Elongation’s, rhythmic momentum liberates the soloist but at the same time threatens his individuality. Cabaret singers The big band era was also the age of the great Jazz cabaret singers.Basis worked with male blues “shouters” such as great Jimmy Rushing. He also worked with Billie Holiday, the finest female Jazz singer since Bessie Smith, who restricted herself costly to pop standards. Holiday died young, of heroin, but other great cabaret singers of the sass’s and ass’s, notably Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Betty Carter, have carried on performing into the sass’s. The individual voice and spoken or sung word may still triumph.

Instrumentalists During the sass’s and ass what came to be called Modern Jazz reverted to private values.A pianist-composer like Theologies Monk had some of the attributes of a high priest, literally turning his back on his audience as he created a nervously tight, harmonically and tonally contorted revamping of old boreholes styles. Miles Davis, in his Cool’ Jazz of the sass, tempered Jazz heat with the muted sonority of his trumpet. Often he was abetted by the swinging lilt of Bill Vans’s piano-playing. Evans was a white man. So is the composer-arranger Gill Evans, with whom Davis collaborated in some of the most beautiful Jazz Tone poems’ since Longtime, notably the suite derived from Porgy and Bess (1958).Among the saxophonists of modern Jazz Charlie Parker stands supreme, the most inventive and influential Jazz soloist since Armstrong.

Although he used blues and pop conventions, his rapid chord changes and flexible meter steered Jazz improvisation once more towards a linear approach. This is evident too in the playing of Stan Get and in that of John Coloration and Ornate Coleman. We can also hear the influence of Parker in the Jittery linearity of the playing of Bud Powell who, like Parker, was a drug-infected victim of Jazz neurosis.McCoy Tuner starting in the sass in duo with Coloration as a brilliant exponent of blues and standard forms. White Country Music In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the original white settlers on the American continent brought their folk music with them, and it too has been ransomed into an industry: the pop music known as country and western. The music originated, however in the Eastern States, where emigrants from Britain had sung their old songs, rendered scrawnier and more rasping by the tough conditions of pioneer life.Even in the mid-twentieth century this is still evident in the singing of men and women living in remote areas of the Carolinas, Kentucky and Virginia.

The instrumentalists, however, who made music not so much to alleviate loneliness as to stimulate communal activity, transformed their old-world models more radically. Georgian, Arkansas and Virginian fiddlers such as Fiddling’ John Carson played the old Scots and Irish reels with wild abandon, making music of almost manic cheerfulness. Provided a recipe for pop or entertainment, as distinct from folk, music. The fiddling of the string bands of the sass abandons everything to hedonism.This euphoria is no less evident in the banjo and guitar pickers who often support the fiddlers themselves play European-based dance music, or accompaniments to songs, some derived from British sources, others newly invented. Both fiddle music and plucked tiring music tends to be fast, regular in meter and diatonic. Bluegrass Some fiddlers and string players formed string bands such as the Skillet Licker, the Gully Jumpers or the North Carolina Ramblers.

The music they made in the sass and ass was still a melody of old British songs and dances drained of hurtful elements and seasoned with bits of American hymned, march and ballad.At first this concerted music was still folk music. It served the needs of the community. During the sass it became more streamlined, exploitable on radio and recording. It was named “bluegrass” in homage to its Eastern mountain origins. Bluegrass music was performed by a lead singer who also played the guitar, banjo or mandolin, vigorously supported by other players of guitar, banjo and harp, with an interlacing of fiddlers. Tunes were fast and plainly diatonic.

There may be a hint of desperation in the way in which the most melancholy local events – railway accidents, hanging etc- are recounted with headily impervious glee.One finds something similar in the more Jazz-influenced string bands that, in the sass, came to be known as “Western swing”. Carter Family The Carter family, a Virginian mountain family who collected and arranged old-time hymns and ballads, sang quavers bass in the vocal trio. All the Carters’ songs, whatever their origin or theme, come out at moderate-to-fast tempo, regular in meter and in unsullied diatonic. The Carters’ importance is attributable not to exceptional talents but to their incorruptible integrity. Through popularized, even commercialese, they were little changed between the sass and the sass.With the Carters and the frail, clown like figure of Jimmy Rodgers the Lonesome Cowboy, country music became an industry in which the opposite poles of pop music, hedonism and nostalgia, were identified.

Country singers like Dolly Barton and Lacy J Dalton have entered big business in becoming pop stars, without destroying the folk- like creativity they started from. Rock The rock explosion that occurred in the wake of World War II and came to fruition in the sass was an attempt to re-create music, having become an industry, tried to absorb the life-giving primitivism of black Jazz.Black-white integration worked both ways. If white culture engulfed black, black culture was now eager to take advantage of white technology to boost its growing self-confidence. From this process emerged hat came, appropriately, to be called soul music: the traditional passion and pain of black gospel music and of the blues are given greater punch by electric rather than male and female soul singers- Otis Redding and James Brown, Nina Simons and Earth Franklin. Also, in the sass blacks established their own record-producing industry, based in Detroit, manufacturing their own black style, called Midtown.This fast, regular-metered, cheerily diatonic music, reflecting the blacks self- assurances, is best represented by Diana Ross and her Supremes.

The sound of Midtown has en wildly imitated by pop groups on both sides of the Atlantic from the late sass. But the emergence of rock and roll in the mid-twentieth century was a white phenomenon, in that young whites listened to black rhythm and blues out of frustration with their own society. It is possible to see Elvis Presley as a successor to the country singer Hank Williams. Both were Southern white boys with an evangelical background.Hank William Williams composed most of his own material in an idiom related to that of the Carter family, though with a touch of the black blues that gave a darker shade to the hymn- eke and ballad style. Elvis Presley Occasionally the black elements in Williwaw’s songs reinforced by the electric beat, guide him towards early Presley- style rock and roll. Elvis Presley responded to a non- conformist small-town background far more rebelliously.

Whereas Williams created his own songs, mostly about broken loves, Presley used other people’s modes and manners to evoke an image of narcissistic self-esteem.Dressed extravagantly he brought it off because he had abilities to bolster charisma. Parsley’s confidence in his voice projected his image, Heartbreak Hotel, the number that bought him instant name in 1956, was in origin a Southern country song. Presley uses both black barbershops and white Pentecostal styles as part of his performing expertise. Strait romantic lyricism is held in tension. The performance stimulates because it is precarious. He was always a performer and never a composer.

The two poles of his nature- white dream-maker and black rebel- were both attempted escapes from routine.Presley was a solo performer: he could brook no competition. But as rock music developed it increasingly took over from gospel music the concept of the group. The rock group reached its climax not in the USA but in traditionally noncreative Britain. Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones, whose heyday was in the sass’s, represents the closest approach pop ha made to an orgiastic music comparable with that created in African societies. This is seen in the group’s singer Nick Eager’s Africanized yelling and bodily gyrations, as well as in the fact that he adopted much of his material from black blueness like Muddy Waters.The Rolling Stones’ instrumental resources also have rudimentary origins, electric guitars and keyboards being vastly amplified versions of blues guitar, country harmonica, bagpipes and author.

Amplification intensifies primitivism, since electronics may create a nightmarish inflation of the pitch both because it is metrically cruder and because, in amplification it is so loud, passing the threshold of tolerance. Breaking the sound barrier may become not a permissive euphoria but a destructive force relatable to voodoo.In 1970 Eager’s rendering of Under my thumb triggered a Hell’s Angels ritual murder at the site of the performance. Primitive pentatonic melody here relies mainly on the driving beat for its momentum; harmony, as in real tribal music, is minimal or non-existent. This may be observed too in Award’ American rock groups such as the Doors, the Grateful Dead and the drug-orientated Velvet Underground. Music-Theatre, rock musicals Just as the energy of the Rolling Stones seemed to have weathered the years, so something has survived from the happier and happier cults of the sass.There is a direct return, if in simple form, to the Greek concept of music-theatre ritual.

This is also demonstrated in the Tribal musicals’ of which Gal. McDermott Hair (1969) was the first to achieve artistic and material success. Similar themes and structure appear in The Who’s Tommy and in Andrew Lloyd Weeper’s Jesus Christ Superstar. The use of multiple media 0 word, sound, movement, lighting 0 and of improvisation and audience participation means involvement rather than passive reception. Most pop concerts have become theatre ritual in this sense.Audiences will no longer tolerate a pop concert without visual as well as audible appeal. The Yes’s performance of their Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973) has something in common with the later music rituals of Steakhouses, in intention as well as in technique and technology.

Pop is ritual in an emergent stage, and its ambiguity may e a strength. The long-playing record, tape and audio-visual are more radical innovations than we once realized. They transplant ritual from temple or theatre to any place.Individuals may create one, as do The Who in Quadraphonic (1965) or Pink Floyd in Atom Heart Mother (1968) and The Wall (1979). Intellect and technology are combined with feeling and instinct. The Battles The most successful group in pop history, the Battles, was the best. Their quality depended on the fact that they made songs of pronounced individuality.

The return to origins in the basic beat, the often modal tunes, the side-stepping harmonies, were even a location and a name. American blues and country music interlaced with British hymn and music hall in the memorable melodies.

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