Soul Music Essay

10 October 2016

Outline and describe the development of Soul and Rap Music, including influential artists and songwriters, and the influence of this genre on the development of Afro-American Music. You are to write an essay based on your research, with particular reference to the two designated works by Marvin Gaye and Tupac. Soul music is a mixture of gospel with rhythm and blues. Although soul developed much earlier than 1950, it first gained popularity within the late 1950s and came to be called soul jazz which self-consciously used melodic figures or riffs derived from gospel music or folk blues.

Soul has its roots in African-American culture and first made its appearance in the United States. Although soul music was a blend of gospel rhythms, it had appeared more secular rather than having a religious message. Soul music is highly moving, and the type of rhythms allows soul singers to display a range of emotions in their performances. The characteristics within this genre may include the following: * Use of Melismas * Melodic ornamentation * Rhythmic complexity * Use of horn sections * Improvised vocal styles * Harmonised backing vocals * Minimised back beat Use of hand instruments such as finger snaps and/or hand claps * Use of call and response * Instruments from the Jazz Genre * Call and response Marvin Gaye was born in Washington, D. C. on April 2nd, 1939 and died on 1st April, 1984. Marvin Gaye was named after his father, a minister of the Apostolic Church. Marvin would sing in his father’s church before he sang with Motown. The spiritual influence of his early years played a big role throughout his musical career. Marvin Gaye was raised with strict control of his father, Reverend Marvin Gaye Snr.

Marvin Gaye would often find peace within music during his childhood. He mastered the piano at a young age and also the drums. Marvin Gaye had an extraordinary range that spanned three vocal styles. In 1970, he was inspired by escalating violence and political unrest over the Vietnam War, Gaye wrote the song “What’s Going On”. With the success of this single, it inspired Gaye to take even more risks, both musically and politically. Gaye struggled with substance abuse and depression. Marvin Gaye Snr shot and killed his son after a physical argument.

Gaye evolved a new musical style that influenced a generation of African American performers. What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye was released on January 17, 1971 and was recorded on June 10, 1970 – September 1970. The lyrical content of this song included references to the incident bloody Thursday. The instruments that Gaye includes are: * Male Vocals with backing vocals * Drums * Piano * Saxophone – Alto Sax * Synthesiser – strings * Horn/Brass section * Hand instruments This song shows many characteristics that appear within the Soul genre. It includes the call and response of ‘What’s Going On’ and Wall of sound is included.

The features that made this piece so successful was the fact that the song focused on major seventh and minor seventh chords, and was orientated in sounds by jazz, gospel and classical music. The form of this song is typical within the genre because it is in verse-chorus (strophic based) form. The outline of this song What’s Going On is: Intro – Verse I – Verse II – Chorus – Verse III. Rap music / hip-hop genre originated in the mid 1970s among African American and Hispanic performers in New York City. Rap is known for talking rapidly, rhythmically, vividly, and boastfully.

In the late 1970s, young DJs discovered that they could borrow and sample excerpts of recordings, and stitch then together to make a new song. Rappers would compete come up with wittier and more rebellious lyrics. Characteristics of Rap Music include: * Rhythm is synonymous and there is always a constant beat that rap songs have. * Influence – notably racism, police brutality, drugs and gang violence * Rhythmic beat: 44 time signature. Strong on bass line * Has a steady beat * Spoken lyrical line * Melismas Tupac Shakur, an American Rapper, was born in New York on 16th June 1971 and died on 13th September 1996.

Tupac was shot after attending a Mike Tyson boxing Match which he was killed by an east-coast gang in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was only 25 years old at the time of his death. Most of Tupac’s songs were about growing up among violence, racism, hardship in ghettos and other social problems and conflicts with other rappers through the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry. Tupac was the son of a Black Panther activists, and was raised by his mum when he was growing up. Tupac had no contact with his father until he was an adult. He had several arrests for violent offenses in the 1990s.

Many of Tupac’s songs are about fights, gangs, and sex. He became well known for his musical talent and violent lyrics. Tupac’s tracks identified that he would insult his enemies (East Coast). Since Tupac’s death, numerous albums has been released, selling millions of copies. Tupac’s complexity of his rhymes made him an influential artist. Changes by Tupac was released on October 13, 1998 and was recorded in 1992. This song makes references to the Black Panther society. This song refers to the opportunity of a Black President of the United States. This song shows all the characteristics of the Genre that appear within this piece.

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