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Article

William Kirk Bares

Hybrid genre with origins in London’s acid house scene of the late 1980s. Originating with the English DJ and producer Gilles Peterson, the label denotes a craze, a marketing category, and a durable transatlantic jazz subculture with links to hip hop, rave and club music. Notable bands include the Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, Galliano, and Us3 in the UK and Digable Planets, Groove Collective, and Brooklyn Funk Essentials in the USA. During the music’s heyday in the 1990s, groups fused improvised live jazz with soul-jazz beats and elements of hip hop, including lyrics by established rappers like Guru and MC Solaar. The dance-oriented music tapped into the era’s fascination with jazz history, DJ culture, and retro kitsch. Jazz publications of the 1990s, including the UK-based Straight No Chaser (devoted entirely to acid jazz), debated whether acid jazz was innovative or derivative, genuinely or only superficially jazz. Its advocates touted its accessibility and potential to revive neglected jazz artists and grooves. Collaborations with veteran jazz musicians like Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers and Ron Carter added credibility to the movement....

Article

Musical subculture of the late 1980s and 90s. Acid jazz is largely a fusion of black American musical styles such as funk, soul and hip-hop combined with a visual aesthetic which borrows extensively from both British popular culture of the 1960s and black American street style of the 70s. Fundamentally a form of street style, it combined music, fashion and recreational drug use to create an ‘attitude’ that owed much to the beatniks of the 1960s (hence ‘jazz’) and a nostalgia for the 1960s and 70s, regarded as a time when musicianship was vital to good dance music as opposed to the more contemporary technological emphasis. The term covers a wide range of musical styles, from the electronic disco styling of bands such as Jamiroquai and Brand New Heavies to the Santana-inspired funk rock of Mother Earth and the Mendez Report. The common denominator is usually the influence of funk, drawing on syncopated rhythmic interplay between the instruments and the use of chromatic chord sequences used widely in post-bop jazz but rarely in mainstream pop or dance music....

Article

Peter Manuel

The field of Afro-Caribbean music comprises a vast and heterogeneous corpus of genres and practices, with most forms of Caribbean music evolving as syncretic products of diverse African- and European-derived elements. Many of these genres have established substantial presences in or influences on music culture in the mainland United States, whether through the activities of diasporic communities or via cross-cultural interactions.

Afro-Caribbean musics may be regarded as spanning a gamut of styles. On one end would lie various neo-African traditional genres that bear close affinities to counterparts or predecessors in Africa and may even embody marginal survivals of entities now obscure in that continent. Particularly prominent in the neo-African category are the many Afro-Caribbean genres – both recreational as well as religious – that feature a West African-derived format of three drums playing ostinato-based rhythms, accompanying call-and-response singing and dancing by groups, couples, or an individual.

The 20th century saw the emergence of a rich and dynamic variety of creole commercial popular music genres whose styles evolved in connection with the new mass media of records and, from the 1920s, radio. Most of these genres were distinctively Afro-Caribbean both in stylistic features as well as the social milieus that generated them and the personnel that performed them. Several came to enjoy considerable popularity in the USA, and especially in New York City, whose mass media infrastructure, immigrant enclaves, and receptive non-Caribbean audiences enabled it to become a dynamic secondary center of Caribbean popular music. At the same time, African American popular musics, from rock to rap, exerted their own sorts of influences on Caribbean popular music scenes, resulting in a dynamic and ongoing process of mutual inspiration and cross-fertilization....

Article

Gunther Schuller

[Cubop]

A jazz style. It was created from a fusion of bop with traditional Cuban elements, that arose in the 1940s, primarily in the work of Dizzy Gillespie; it is distinguished from the more general Latin jazz by the specific influence of Cuban dance, folk and popular idioms. Although a Latin-American or Caribbean influence (Jelly Roll Morton called it the ‘Latin tinge’) is discernible in jazz from the late 19th century, the earliest use of Cuban elements is traceable only to Alberto Socarras and Mario Bauzá in the late 1930s. Afro-Cuban jazz became a clearly defined style and acquired an international following only when Gillespie, who had been influenced by Bauzá, began to collaborate with the outstanding Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo. For Gillespie, Bauzá, and others, the main impulse for the Afro-Cuban movements came from their feeling that American jazz of the 1930s and 1940s, being essentially monorhythmic, needed the kind of enrichment that an infusion of Afro-Cuban polyrhythms would provide....

Article

Nancy P. Riley

The term “alternative country” refers to Country music of the late 20th century that existed outside of mainstream country (as represented by Nashville and contemporary country radio) and incorporated country music with aspects of punk, rock and roll, and roots influences. During the 1990s, alternative country identified with a punk rock do-it-yourself ethos and a connection to indie-rock fans and scenes, with live venues and independent record labels playing a crucial role in its emergence. Further, the term owes much to the success of underground rock bands like R.E.M. and Nirvana that became commercially successful, marketed as “alternative.”

The mythologized origins of alternative country begins in 1990, when the Belleville, Illinois band Uncle Tupelo released their debut album, No Depression (Rockville Records, 1990), which featured a collection of punk-influence rock songs and ballads with a country influence, including the title track, an edgy cover of the Carter Family tune “No Depression in Heaven.” The album led to a discussion folder on America Online, also named “No Depression,” which in turn led to a bi-monthly magazine of the same name. Although Uncle Tupelo disbanded in ...

Article

Stephen D. Winick

Government agency and archive. The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress was created by the US Congress in 1976 to “preserve and present American Folklife,” the first time US federal law mandated the conservation of folk culture. The Center soon acquired the Archive of Folk Culture, which had been established by the Library of Congress’s music division in 1928. Through the efforts of such leaders as Robert W. Gordon, John Lomax, Alan Lomax, and Joe Hickerson, the archive had acquired thousands of hours of field recordings, and provided access to them in a public reading room as well as through books and record albums. By 1978, when it became part of AFC, it was already the largest ethnographic archive in the United States, as well as the source for many popular pieces of music, including Aaron Copland’s Hoedown, Johnny Cash’s “Rock Island Line,” and the Kingston Trio’s “Tom Dooley.”...

Article

Katherine Meizel

American television show. Developed by the music executive Simon Fuller of 19 Entertainment, American Idol is one of more than 40 “Idol” programs that have been televised around the world, each designed for a particular nation or region. The show was first broadcast on British television as Pop Idol in 2001, before airing in the United States on the Fox Network the following year. American Idol itself has been broadcast in more than half of all sovereign states.

Its format draws on forerunners including Major Bowes’ Amateur Hour, Star Search, Popstars, and The Eurovision Song Contest and invites viewers to vote, typically by telephone or text message, in the election of a new pop star. Candidates vying for a recording contract are chosen by producers through a series of open auditions. When the voting episodes begin, contestants’ live weekly performances are critiqued by a panel of judges. Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul served as the initial panel of judges for ...

Article

Michael Ethen

A genre of recorded music and performance that peaked in the 1970s. After a decade of the music’s development, the label stabilized in critical discourse around 1977. It describes a subset of rock music either designed for, or to evoke, performance in large venues, delivered chiefly by American groups backed by powerful conglomerate record companies. As a marker of its wide popularity, the genre drew the scorn of rockist critics but the adoration of unabashed entertainment seekers. Typical songs are either anthemic, encouraging the vocal and visceral participation of audiences, or of a ballad type, providing moments of repose. Instrumental solo features also figure prominently, showcasing drummer proficiency and reinforcing the ideals of guitar-hero culture. Designed for live performance, these songs also succeed as sonic artifacts, since recordings that include pre-recorded audience noise and rhythmic hand claps frequently give the illusion of concerts. Although recordings are equally deserving of the term, more illumination derives from an examination of its performance history....

Article

Peter Dickinson, H. Wiley Hitchcock and Keith E. Clifton

A short vocal piece of serious artistic purpose. During the 18th century “art song” came to have its predominant modern meaning of secular solo song with an independent keyboard accompaniment; for a discussion of songs for more than one voice (or partsongs) see Choral music. The subject of this article is the development of the art song tradition in the United States. Other types of song (discussed elsewhere in this dictionary) include theater songs, popular songs, ragtime and jazz songs, folksongs, and work songs.

The earliest extant American art songs, signed “F. H.,” are contained (along with some 100 mid-18th-century English songs) in a manuscript copied out by Francis Hopkinson, an amateur musician from Philadelphia. The first of these to appear in the manuscript is “My days have been so wondrous free,” dated 1759 and long regarded as the first American secular song; the others initialed by Hopkinson – “The Garland, Oh come to Mason Borough’s grave,” and “With pleasure I have past my days” – may be contemporaneous. Like the songs in Hopkinson’s later published collection, ...

Article

Katherine K. Preston and Michael Mauskapf

[music management]

This article addresses the history of individuals and organizations devoted to the management of musical artists and their careers in the United States.

Musicians who toured the United States during the first half of the 19th century relied on individuals to manage their tours. Some of the most important early impresarios included William Brough, max Maretzek , bernard Ullman , and maurice Strakosch . These men travelled the musicians’ routes, sometimes with the performers and sometimes a week or two ahead, and were responsible for renting a performance venue, arranging publicity, and engaging supporting musicians and needed instruments. Managers also made travel arrangements, secured lodging, and negotiated terms with the managers of local theaters or halls. Some of these managers were themselves performers; the pianist Strakosch frequently toured with singers, and Maretzek was the conductor for his opera companies. This style of management essentially replicated the modus operandi of itinerant theatrical stars. (...

Article

Loren Kajikawa

Record label based in San Francisco, California. Founded by Jon Jang and Francis Wong in 1987, it was inspired by African American musicians, including Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Sun Ra, and members of Chicago’s AACM, who turned to self-production as a way to maintain creative control of their work. With its name derived from the phrase “Asian American Improvised Music,” the label initially functioned as an outlet for recordings by Jang and pianist Glenn Horiuchi, two early leaders in ASIAN AMERICAN JAZZ. In 1988, Jang and Wong created Asian Improv Arts, a nonprofit organization promoting performances by Asian American artists, many of whom record with the label.

Early Asian Improv releases reflect the concerns of the Asian American consciousness movement, such as combating anti-Asian violence and gaining redress and reparations for Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. In the 1990s, however, the label began broadening its roster to reflect a greater diversity of artistic and ethnic viewpoints, including a greater engagement with music and musicians from Asian countries. Although primarily devoted to creating space in the recording industry for Asian American voices, the record label has fostered collaboration across racial lines. For example, African American musicians Fred Anderson, Joseph Jarmon, James Newton, Max Roach, and numerous others have released recordings with Asian Improv or appeared on recordings by its artists....

Article

Bachata  

Sydney Hutchinson

Dominican musical genre and dance. Bachata developed out of earlier rural string musics, principally bolero but also son, merengue, and ranchera. The term originally applied to the informal rural parties where such music was played. In the 1960s, as peasants moved to the cities, bachata developed as part of the urban underworld and changed from a romantic serenade style to one associated with brothels and harsh lyrics. At that time, it was known as musica de amargue (bitter music) or musica de guardia (military-man music, reflecting its audience) and was widely despised for its low-class connotations and explicit double entendres, although it received heavy airplay on Santo Domingo’s Radio Guarachita.

In the 1980s Blas Durán’s experiments with electric guitar and the development of a unique dance style began to expand bachata’s audience, while the so-called technoamargue by 1990s artists like Víctor Víctor, Luis Díaz, Sonia Silvestre, and particularly Juan Luis Guerra led to its widespread acceptance across social classes. Today, ...

Article

Baguala  

William Gradante

[joi-joi, tonada, vidalita, vidala coya]

A lyric song form of Paraguay and northern Argentina. The baguala is characterized by melodies that use only the three pitches of a single major triad. Accompanied by the caja (frame drum) and tambor (bass drum), it is typically performed in Carnival season by men, women and children, grouped in a circle and singing choruses in unison and in octaves, while a leader uses falsetto and ...

Article

William Gradante

[bailecito de tierra]

A couple-dance common to the indigenous peoples of Bolivia and northern Argentina, featuring zapateo (foot-stamping), handkerchief-waving and other circular movements. Melodies are frequently pentatonic and performed in parallel 3rds to melancholy seguidilla verses. A common trait is the contrast between the 3/4 melodies of the voices, violin, harp and accordion, and the syncopated 6/8 accompaniment of the ...

Article

Balada  

Daniel Party

Spanish-language variant of the international pop music ballad. A hybrid of Mexican bolero, Italian and French orchestrated love songs, and early rock and roll ballads, balada emerged simultaneously in Spain and throughout the Americas in the late 1960s. Lyrics are invariably about love and purposely lack references to socio-political issues or local events to maximize potential target audiences. Most often performed by a solo singer, early balada moves at a slow to moderate tempo, and the musical accompaniment, by either a rock ensemble or a studio orchestra, is secondary to the voice. Early baladistas include Mexicans Carlos Lico and Armando Manzanero, Cuban American La Lupe, Spaniards Raphael and Julio Iglesias, Brazilian Roberto Carlos, Argentines Leonardo Favio and Sandro, and Chilean band Los Ángeles Negros.

During the 1970s, the genre’s golden age, balada featured sophisticated orchestral arrangements and lavish studio production, a trend developed in Spain by producer Rafael Trabucchelli and arranger Waldo de los Ríos. In the 1980s, Miami became the most important balada production center, as the city grew into the main hub for United States marketing and distribution in Latin America. The Miami-based balada industry served as a gateway for Latin American artists hoping to extend their popularity beyond their country of origin to the rest of Latin America and the United States. Balada albums produced in Miami are not limited to slow romantic ballads, but also include up-tempo, dance-oriented songs. During its golden age, the majority of balada singers were males, who targeted a mostly female audience by appearing sensitive and vulnerable. Baladas were regularly featured in Latin American soap opera soundtracks, and many baladistas, such as José Luis Rodríguez, Chayanne, and Daniela Romo, starred in soap operas....

Article

Charles Garrett

A short popular song that often features a narrative element. The word often signifies a slow-tempo love song, and ballads became especially important to jazz repertory and Tin Pan Alley song. In recent decades, ballads have been performed frequently by modern-day crooners, jazz singers, pop superstars, and hard rock groups (“power ballads”)....

Article

Gavin Mueller

[Bmore club, club music]

A style of house music influenced by hip hop that originated in Baltimore in the late 1980s. During that decade house and hip-house from Chicago and New York were popular in Baltimore’s clubs, leading to several local productions. Early club tracks, notably Scottie B’s “I got the Rhythm” (1991) and Frank Ski’s “Whores in this House” (1993), show a marked influence from British breakbeat hardcore. Perhaps due to this lineage, Baltimore club is noticeably more sample based than similarly inspired genres such as ghettotech and ghetto house and has a characteristic breakbeat shuffle built using samples from Lynn Collins’s “Think” (1972). Producers incorporate recognizable snippets from television themes and pop songs, and frequently punctuate tracks with sampled gun shots, horns, and shouts. DJ Rod Lee pioneered a more song-based style of club, in which he sang and chanted over his beats; his album The Official...

Article

Bambuco  

William Gradante

The national dance of Colombia. It is said to have been the favourite of Símon Bolívar, Colombia's independence leader (1824). Early references identify it with the Bunde, a dance of African origin. In the 19th century Colombian national composers wrote bambucos and pasillos, leading popular music into a ‘golden age’. Originally a serenading song for the solo voice, the modern bambuco is most often sung in duet or parallel 3rds, with strummed accompaniment on tiple (small 12-string guitar), guitar and bandola (flat-backed lute). A courting or pursuit dance, characterized by delicate toe-dancing by both male and female, it has a specific choreography with variations, involving eight possible basic steps: (i) invitación: invitation to the dance; (ii) ochos: dancing in a figure-of-eight pattern; (iii) codos: dancing with elbows touching; (iv) coquetos: ‘flirtatious’ steps when the man attempts to steal a kiss from the woman; (v) perseguida: dancing in a circle, the man pursues the woman; (vi) ...

Article

Banda  

Helena Simonett

[Banda Sinaloense]

Banda (band) is a generic Spanish term for a variety of ensembles consisting of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments found throughout Latin America. Introduced in the mid-1800s, brass bands were a fixture of Mexico’s musical life in the late 19th century and flourished in both rural and urban areas. With the revolutionary movement (1910–20) bandas populares (popular bands) developed pronounced regional characteristics, and the lineup in regional bands became increasingly more standardized.

Among the many regional bands, banda sinaloense (Sinaloan banda) stands out, as this type gained a reputation in the international popular music market at the close of the twentieth century. The ensemble dates back to the military bands of European colonists and to the brass music of German immigrants to Mexico’s northern Pacific coast in the mid-19th century. After its consolidation in the early 20th century, band membership in Sinaloa averaged from nine to 12 musicians playing clarinets, cornets or trumpets, trombones with valves, saxhorns, tubas, snare drums (...

Article

Jeffrey J. Noonan

A loose association of instrument manufacturers, music publishers, professional performers, teachers, and amateur players dedicated to promoting the banjo, mandolin, and guitar (BMG) as solo and ensemble instruments for the concert hall. The movement coincided with the spread of mass production and mail order magazines in the music industry and remained closely tied to music publishers and instrument manufacturers. Rooted in the activities of Samuel Swaim Stewart, a banjo manufacturer, music publisher, and creator of Stewart’s Banjo and Guitar Journal (1882–1901), the movement coalesced as other publishers and manufacturers imitated him with magazines promoting the fretted instruments. While early manufacturers and magazines focused on the banjo, the mandolin eventually became the principal instrument of the movement. The guitar generally played a supporting role in BMG ensembles. BMG magazines supported the industry with promotional reviews and direct access to consumers while the industry supported the magazines with advertising. Initially centered in the northeast, the BMG movement expanded nationally and internationally....