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date: 17 January 2021

Beat Musiclocked

  • Allan F. Moore


A style of British pop music developed in the early 1960s; it was significant as the first time musicians of that country had created their own sound, rather than imitating the US originals. In Liverpool, Merseybeat was spearheaded by the Beatles, whose early style grafted onto a skiffle base the instrumental and vocal textures, melodic structures, syncopated rhythms and responsorial vocal styles of early rock and roll, the modality and verse–refrain form of Anglo-Celtic folk song, and some ornamental chromaticisms and triadic parallelisms from late 19th-century European harmony. Other leading exponents included Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Searchers. The Beatles’ insistence on writing their own material was a novel redivision of labour which has had lasting consequences. In London an alternative approach was dominated by the Rolling Stones, the Kinks and the Who, in which a narrower amalgam was found, with the skiffle and rock and roll foundation partly replaced by a harder-edged rhythm and blues sound, in a selfconscious attempt at authenticity. In the USA the term ‘British invasion’ is preferred to ‘beat’, calling attention to the flood of such bands as these into the US market during the period ...

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