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Music Styles for Popular Music Assignment

Jazz was first developed in the late 18th century carrying traits of African black folk music. Late 18th and early 19th century Jazz was played by Marching bands and sometimes through solo pianists.

The earliest style of Jazz was played in New Orleans and credited the name of ‘New Orleans Jazz’. This style used instrumentation such as trumpet providing the melodic side of the song, the harmony would come from the trombone, a clarinet would have been used while either guitar or piano and drums would have played the rhythm. New Orleans Jazz is known as the happiest and most accessible style of Jazz due to its basic harmonies and the ensemble it uses. An important figure that was playing in this era was Louis Armstrong; he was the first influential soloist that emerged in Jazz. Studio recordings such as his Hot Seven ensembles, laid down a future for Jazz as an imaginative and improvised style.

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During the war and a little persuasion from the mafia, most Jazz and Blues players moved to Chicago. Chicago Jazz then evolved. This was place of enthusiastic and innovative young players. Due to its technical arrangements; Chicago Jazz furthered the music of its day.

The next big thing was Swing. Swing differs from New Orleans Jazz and Chicago Jazz due to its simple ensembles, constant repeating riffs, while the musician’s solos are more sophisticated. Even though the soloists were a bit more adventurous they still paid close attention to the melody. Musician Count Basie was influential to the swing era due to the way his orchestra was played. The piano led this while also a lively ensemble played but Basie was not an important soloist; his instrument was the band.

Be-Bop was now introduced and it lasted literally 15 years. The main difference between swing and Be-Bop is the improvisation from the soloist. Most of the time the melody was forgotten after the first chorus while the chords was the basis for the solo. The soloist was allowed to adventure as much as he/she wanted to as long as it stayed in line with the chord structure. Be-Bop is known as art music due to the innovations that may be a foundation for all ideas that followed. Thelonious Monk was one of the original idea thinkers that promoted the Be-Bop era. It took years for people to understand his own rules and surprises when all of a sudden he was called a genius.

After Be-Bop came Post-Bop, the main differences are that the melodies tend to be more soulful in Post-Bop, while the rhythm section is looser. A familiar trend can be found in some of the Saxes and piano sounds being compared to early rhythm and blues.

Cool Jazz was evolved exactly after Be-Bop while overlapping with Post-Bop in the late 40’s. It was blend of Be-Bop mixed with aspects of Swing. Mile Davis was important in this era; he made the sound more personal, close and intimate. He had an elaborate career seeing that he was often developing every new innovation to the Jazz scene.

While Jazz is developing its own unique style; Blues and Latin are also innovating new ideas. Acoustic Blues basically describes every type of blues that can be played on a non-electrical instrument, e.g. piano, banjo and mandolin. County blues was basically this but it used a range of guitar and music styles like folk, finger picking and ragtime. Leadbelly is a good example of Country blues. Leadbelly was the first blues musician to achieve fame amongst a whit audience. When he started an interest in music at a young age he had a lot of influences around him; post slavery and post reconstruction era in the late 19th century.

Classic Blues was next up, this era was mainly dominated by woman singers during the 20’s and mid 30’s; singers such as Bessie Smith (the empress of the blues), and also Ma Rainey.

After the City Blues cam along, Rock and Roll was developed. This was obviously developed primarily form the blues but also R&B and country. Other influences helped the structure create a danceable and catchy tune. Once other developed styles from rock and roll emerged for instance heavy metal and hard rock, traditional rock and roll slowly deteriorated from the pop charts. Elvis Pressley has to be the obvious target for this style. He’s responsible for popularising rock and roll on an international level. He was known to be the first to fuse country and blues music into one style known as rock and roll.

Soul was next in line to emerge. This was a result of urban and commercial effects of rhythm and blues in the 60’s. One of souls main predecessors however is R&B and during the 60’s it held a tight grip to this but musicians started pushing it forward and America started creating three different types of soul. In the Urban areas such as Chicago and New York were creating smooth vocal productions. Detroit tried to create a pop-orientated sound that showed signs of Rock and Roll, R&B and Gospel. While in the south it was harder and tougher with raw vocals and tight rhythms. Stevie Wonder was very influential in this period not only could he play music blind but due to his happiness that his songs gave out.

Soul became to lose it due Funk emerging in the 1960’s. Funk also emerged from R&B but much more raw and only appeared to the more hardcore R&B audience. The groove was important in Funk and electric bass lines often served as the main riff. The instruments were often played of each other to create this groove. Funk allowed R&B artists to express themselves with improvisation and freedom. Funny enough this improvisation was occurring in the Jazz cycle right about that time aswell. James Brown “The God Father of Soul”, how many could I mention. He was one of the figures responsible for turning R&B into soul but then most agree that he was also the one to turn soul music into Funk.

Ska is a style that sounds like it has been affected by every kind of music, e.g. American R&B, big band swing, Afro Cuban jazz, religious folk music while also jump blues. Ska then emerged into Reggae, which is the music significant to Jamaica, but then again has roots back to new Orleans R&B. Ska was heard over radio transmitters from the US in Jamaica. One day it was too hot to dance to Ska due to its fast tempo beats so they slowed it down to create Reggae. Adventurous reggae artists such as ‘Bob Marley’ have influenced dance, folk and rock artists. Bob Marley is reggaes iconic figure and probably will be for a long time. Not only the fact that he made good music but he was the first Jamaican artist to achieve international stardom. His music described the day-to-day struggles of the Jamaican experience.

Bossanova emerged in the 50’s. The main artist behind this was Antonio Carlos Jobim; he created a mixture of Brazilian rhythms and melodies with improvisation. He played lightly and cool toned to create a smoothly tune. The obvious song for Jobin was ‘ Girl from Ipanema’; this was a huge hit.

Disco was found in the 70’s and probably long awaited. The beat was often emphasised the most out of the disco tunes even vocals. Once disco started getting noticed and artists were being signed up, it had a strong hand in the pop scene. Artists like Chic and the Bee gees were phenomenal in this era. Even though the Disco era faded out in the 80’s it didn’t die. Even new age styles for instance garage still has touches of disco in them and its just mutated into different styles like House, Trance, Hip Hop and also Pop.

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