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Article

Barry Kernfeld

From the late 1940s, a jazz style derived largely from Bop, but advocating a moderation of those musical, emotional or ritualistic qualities associated with the parent style. Most of its musicians pursued a soft level of dynamics, for example favouring drum brushes rather than sticks, and many avoided a pronounced use of vibrato. Beyond this the pursuit of moderation was diverse and inconsistent. Possibilities included the meticulously restrained lyricism of Stan Getz’s solo on Early Autumn with Woody Herman’s Second Herd (1948, Cap.); the elimination of cutting sharply differentiated articulation, as heard in the highly chromatic and rather unmelodic unison themes and improvised lines presented by Lennie Tristano’s group (1949); an emphasis on mid-range register and subdued timbres, and a delicate balance between improvisation and composition, as practised by Miles Davis’s ‘Birth of the Cool’ nonet (1949–50); the Baroque- and Classically-influenced chamber jazz of the Modern Jazz Quartet (from ...

Article

Corrido  

Jacqueline Avila

A lyrical epic and narrative song form popular in Mexico, stemming from the literary tradition of the Spanish romance. The corrido was present in Mexico as early as the 18th century, but did not rise to popularity until the Revolution of 1910 as a means for sharing current events. After the Revolution, the corrido lost some of its popularity as a tool for communication with the emergence of new media.

The corrido descends from the lyrical tradition of the Spanish romance, a literary form that chronicled epic themes, such as love and religious topics. These romances were initially sung in a quick, continuous 16-syllable line then were later broken up into a line of verse with eight syllables and a refrain. After the Spaniards arrived in New Spain, the romances were incorporated into regional practices and underwent alterations that included changes to the thematic material and the structure. The romance spread up to northern Mexico, characterizing it as a rapidly growing form. The early romances incorporated themes of incest, infidelity, and the beauty of landscape, marking its initial phase as a more novelistic genre....

Article

Charlie Seemann

An American occupational folk song of working cowboys. Authentic traditional cowboy songs are occupational folk songs, as are the Work songs of sailors, loggers, and miners. With origins in the trail-drive days of the late 1800s, they grew out of day-to-day work experience and reflect the tasks and life of the working cowboy. These songs express harsh realism, dealing with the business of herding cattle, the hardships and dangers of the drive, and the food and living conditions on the trail and in the cow camps. Non-occupational western songs dealing with various other aspects of the frontier experience—outlaws, buffalo hunting, Indian fighting, women, and immigration—are often considered to be cowboy songs. While most cowboy songs comprised verses made up by cowboys, many had origins in folk songs from the British Isles. Some are reworked versions of older songs, such as “Streets of Laredo,” which can be traced to a British broadside ballad, and “Bury me not on the lone prairie,” which is a cowboy version of the old sailor’s song “The Ocean Burial.” Originally an oral tradition, in the late 19th century such songs began to appear in popular newspapers, as broadsides, in stockmen’s journals and other magazines, and in songbooks. The first significant collections were N. Howard “Jack” Thorp’s ...

Article

Douglas B. Green

A phenomenon of the 1930s and 40s that wedded the unlikely combination of sweet music with rugged outdoor action. Cowboys had often been linked with music in the public imagination, and when sound came to motion pictures in 1929 it was only logical that a cowboy might sing as well as use his fists and guns. The first talking western, In Old Arizona (1929), starred Warner Baxter who not only sang, but won an Academy Award for Best Actor. Singing in westerns was an off-and-on affair until 1934, when Mascot Pictures hired an extremely popular country radio singer, Gene Autry, to appear in small roles in Ken Maynard’s pictures. Some in the film industry initially scoffed at the notion of the singing cowboy, but quickly lined up their own singing cowboy series following Autry’s sudden, overwhelming, and nationwide success. Soon nearly every studio had a singing cowboy series; even action-oriented films often paused while some singer or group such as the Sons of the Pioneers sang while at chores or around the campfire....

Article

, 20th-century club dance music. It developed out of Disco and the invention of the synthesizer into a major worldwide force, eclipsing rock; unlike most others genres, it has developed at a very fast rate, aided largely by the continual invention of sub-genres and frequent artistic collaborations.

The roots of dance music can be traced to the early Hip hop crews of the New York streets in the late 1970s. Hip hop was the fusion of early DJ techniques (see DJ, Mix and Scratching), Rap, break dance and, significantly, graffiti culture. The DJ's use of specially extended versions of tracks (on 12-inch singles) had begun in the last days of disco with records by the New York Citi Peech Boys, D Train and others. Artists such as Kool Herc and D.J. Hollywood began mixing and scratching records at block parties in the south Bronx. They were then joined by early rap artists, who gave the Jamaican art of toasting a more contemporary, political and lyrical vitality. Afrika Bambaataa further developed hip hop with ...

Article

Disco  

David Brackett

A form of dance music that dominated popular music during the late-1970s. It features regular bass drum accents on every beat, frequent use of orchestral instruments and synthesizers, Latin percussion, and simple lyrics oriented around dancing, romance and a party-led life style. The term derives from discothèque: venues that began playing pre-recorded dance music in the early 1960s.

Disco emerged from clubs in New York City that catered primarily to African-American, Latino and gay subcultures. Based on the ‘sweet’ soul sounds popularized by the Motown and Philadelphia International recording companies, disco also included funk and Latin elements, and initially included a stylistically diverse range of songs. Its impact extended beyond musical style, challenging prevalent notions in popular music criticism about authorship and creativity. The central figure in this challenge was the DJ. Because DJs were responsible for selecting and sequencing songs, it was their taste that dictated disco’s sense of style rather than the singers and instrumentalists of soul and rock musics; successful DJ’s could acquire their own following in much the same way as a recording artist. In fact, the disco DJs predilection for reconfiguring existing recordings by fading out of one song and into another led to the recording industry’s invention of the 12-inch single, designed for easier editing. DJs shared the creative locus of the disco scene with the audience itself, as the focus on dancing stressed social interaction....

Article

J. Bradford Robinson

A term applied to the jazz played by white musicians of the early New Orleans school, but sometimes also to New Orleans jazz as a whole and often to the post-1940 revival of this music (also known as traditional jazz). Owing to the absence of recorded evidence, the stylistic differences between early black jazz in New Orleans and its white counterpart played by groups such as Papa Jack Laine’s and others is impossible to document. However, early commentators and observers are fairly unanimous in pointing out that white musicians were slower to grasp the rhythmic swing and blues inflections essential to jazz, though at the same time they made important contributions to its repertory and harmonic and melodic vocabulary. The name ‘dixieland’ derives from the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, a white New Orleans group which became internationally successful through its tours and recordings from ...

Article

A technique of reggae in which records are remixed to create new backing tracks for improvised vocal solos (‘toasting’). The remixing of records may include such techniques as the adding of sound delay or reverberation, and sound effects may also be incorporated. It was developed by record producers such as ...

Article

Dave Laing

A term used for a broad range of popular music in which contemporary amplified instruments are used to reinterpret traditional music or to accompany contemporary songs in a folk idiom. It was first applied in 1965 in the USA when the Byrds recorded songs associated with the folk singers Pete Seeger (Turn, Turn, Turn) and Bob Dylan (Mr Tambourine Man). The group had an orthodox rock line-up of drums and electric guitars. The Byrds inspired others in turn, including Dylan, to attempt various forms of folk-rock synthesis. Dylan used electric guitars and the electronic organ playing of Al Kooper on his recordings before working with the Hawks (later renamed the Band) in concert. In New York, the Lovin' Spoonful performed the charming and witty compositions of John Sebastian in the manner of an electric jug band. However, ‘folk rock’ was soon appropriated by the record industry as a marketing concept, used to describe almost any group employing vocal harmonies and an acoustic or semi-acoustic instrumental sound. Such groups included Simon and Garfunkel, Sonny and Cher, the Turtles, the Mamas and the Papas and Harper's Bizarre....

Article

Funk  

David Brackett

An African-American popular music style. It features syncopated interlocking rhythm patterns based on straight quaver and semiquaver subdivisions, a vocal style drawn from soul music, extended vamps based on a single and often complex harmony, strong emphasis on the bass line, and lyrics with frequent spiritual themes and social commentary. The use of the term for a musical style inverts the negative colloquial meaning of strong aromas, particularly of a bodily and sexual nature.

While the adjective ‘funky’ was applied to gospel-influenced jazz in the 1950s, and appeared in song titles as early as 1967, for example Funky Broadway by Dyke and the Blazers, it did not become widespread as a term for a specific genre until the mid-1970s. The increased use of the term in the late 1960s coincided with a shift in African-American politics from the integrationist stance of the Civil Rights movement, associated with the rise of soul music, to the more radical stance of the Black Power Movement, a shift heralded by James Brown’s funk recording ...

Article

Joseph E. Morgan

[gangster]

Rap subgenre. It is characterized by semi-spoken rhymes that are declaimed over a rhythmic musical backing, texts that emphasize the violence of street life, and artists that depend on a violent public image for a measure of their authenticity.

In the mid-1970s hip hop materialized from a culture rife with street gangs, but much early rap was party-themed and lighthearted in content. Rap’s lyrical themes began to change after the release of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message” (1982), which signaled a more serious lyrical turn. Rappers began to exploit the imagery of gang warfare in order to “dis” (disrespect) other competing groups. This approach also offered disenfranchised African American youth a way to strike back against police brutality and other aspects of systematized racism even as its adoption of outlaw narratives conformed to dominant media images of black criminality and hypersexuality. Philadelphia rapper Schooly D’s “Gangster Boogie” (...

Article

Garage  

Will Fulford-Jones

A form of 20th-century club dance music. As ‘garage’ rock, the term had earlier been used to denote movement primarily outside the commercial rock mainstream, predominantly in the USA and beginning in the 1960s, and with a philosophy somewhat akin to later Indie music. It originated at the Paradise Garage nightclub in New York City, from where the genre takes its name. Like house music, it was derived from and shares many of disco’s characteristics, with simple, rigid 4/4 rhythm tracks and pulsating basslines (often influenced by dub reggae). However, while disco used large orchestras to add texture to the music, garage is nearly all electronic. It is slower than house, with 115-20 beats per minute as opposed to 122-6, and, in contrast to the more rhythmic arrangements found in more generic house music, is smoother, more melodic and frequently contains a female soul vocal. Early garage records included D-Train’s ...

Article

Allan F. Moore

A highly theatrical mode of presentation found in 1970s rock and pop which, in its parade of an inauthenticity that hardly appeared to sell out to commercial interests, prepared the way for the eruption of punk rock by the middle of the decade. Glam, a contraction of the slightly seedy glamour, proclaimed dissatisfaction with the excessive machismo prevalent in growing hard rock. By 1971 the New York Dolls, David Bowie and Marc Bolan's T. Rex had begun experimenting with overt feminine make-up and some cross-dressing on stage. Bowie's transgressions were most calculated, perceiving most clearly the value of image, both on stage and in print. They shared an emphasis on short, well-constructed, hook-based songs in opposition to the lengthy meanderings of progressive rock, although Bowie's contemporary work in particular, for example Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, was stylistically little removed from hard rock. Around 1972 Roxy Music combined this demeanour with a progressive style founded on Brian Eno's atmospheric tape treatments and Andy Mackay's raucous saxophone. The irony of the genre's inauthenticity became particularly apparent in the UK glitter rock bands of the early 1970s, particularly Slade, Sweet and Gary Glitter. These shared pared-down guitar textures and teen-orientated promotion, often becoming indistinguishable from mainstream teenage pop by the mid-1970s....

Article

Bill C. Malone

revised by Travis D. Stimeling

Country music variety show. Begun in November 1925, just weeks after Nashville radio station WSM began broadcasting, the program began as a noncommercial show called the WSM Barn Dance. It was renamed Grand Ole Opry in 1927, a reference to the grand opera often broadcast in Walter Damrosch’s program that preceded it. It is broadcast weekly and has become the longest continuously running radio show in the United States. It was the brain-child of announcer George Dewey Hay, who had previously worked as a producer on the National Barn Dance in Chicago. Originally owned by the National Life and Accident Insurance Company, which owned WSM, the show was sold to Gaylord Broadcasting (later Gaylord Entertainment) in 1983. Early programs featured folk entertainers from Middle Tennessee, among them the Gully Jumpers, Uncle Jimmy Thompson, Dr. Humphrey Bate and the Possum Hunters, DeFord Bailey, the Fruit Jar Drinkers, and Uncle Dave Macon. From ...

Article

Grunge  

Robert Walser

A subgenre of 1990s alternative rock. The term was originally used in Seattle to describe the slow punk metal of the band the Melvins. It spread as a label for other local bands, such as Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and TAD, who were forging a new sound out of the Heavy metal of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC and Kiss, combined with the post-punk styles of Sonic Youth, the Replacements and Hüsker Dü. Bands in other cities were also classified as grunge, especially Stone Temple Pilots and Dinosaur Jr; the genre also had links and affinities with female hardcore bands like L7, Hole and Babes in Toyland. Many of the Seattle grunge bands were associated with and first recorded on that city’s Sub Pop record label. The Seattle scene started attracting attention in the late 1980s, but grunge came to national and international attention after Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit...

Article

Jason Mellard

The hard country style foregrounds country music’s regional, working-class, and rural accents and subject matter. Thematically, hard country emphasizes struggle, loss, and the authenticity of the song as an expression of the personal experience of the artist. In instrumentation, honky-tonk arrangements of guitar, steel guitar, fiddle, drums, and bass predominate, though the gothic elements of traditional bluegrass may also qualify it as a “hardcore” music. Together, these elements constitute an oppositional pose to what many hard country artists and fans see as the perennial “pop” drift of mainstream country production. As such, hard country can be as much an argument about the genre’s history and proper form as it is a musicological descriptor. Hard country artists and fans also espouse a loyalty to the traditional core of country music, though this has not precluded hard country performers from borrowing liberally from the blues and rock. Indeed, borrowings from the blues may well provide one of the defining qualities of hard country music, as this was what set apart the patron saints of hard country, Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams, from many of their contemporaries. Geographically, hard country has often imagined itself to be outside of Nashville’s orbit, with its headquarters in Texas (Houston, Austin) and California (Bakersfield). Practitioners of hard country include David Allan Coe, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Jamey Johnson, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Paycheck, Billy Joe Shaver, Ernest Tubb, and Dale Watson....

Article

Allan F. Moore

An imprecise term, partly co-extensive with heavy metal, referring to a group of styles originating in the late 1960s as a response to and development of the prevailing counter-culture. Dominant techniques include deep-tuned drums and ringing cymbals played with a marked absence of local syncopation, and declamatory vocals inherited from Mick Jagger. The characteristic and frequent use of organs can be heard in the works of Deep Purple, the Doors and Steppenwolf, along with guitar riffs, power chords and boogie patterns largely from the blues-based playing of Cream, the Groundhogs and Led Zeppelin. Slower ballads mix these features with ringing arpeggios. Gary Moore's Victims of the Future (1984) encapsulates many of these techniques.

The subject matter of the songs emphasizes a misogynistic, macho sexuality and an unfocussed but often environmentally aware liberal politics. Hard rock, however, avoids heavy metal's leanings towards madness, violence and the occult. Steppenwolf's early ...

Article

Robert Walser

A term used since the early 1970s to designate a subgenre of hard rock music. From the nineteenth century it had been used to refer to artillery or poisonous compounds. During the 1960s, British hard rock bands and the American guitarist Jimi Hendrix developed a more distorted guitar sound and heavier drums and bass that led to a separation of heavy metal from other blues-based rock. Albums by Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple in 1970 codified the new genre, which was marked by distorted guitar ‘power chords’, heavy riffs, wailing vocals and virtuosic solos by guitarists and drummers. During the 1970s performers such as AC/DC, Judas Priest, Kiss and Alice Cooper toured incessantly with elaborate stage shows, building a fan base for an internationally-successful style. Popularity waned at the end of the decade, but the early 1980s brought the ‘new wave’ of British heavy metal to revive the genre just as Edward Van Halen’s astonishing virtuosity was inspiring a new generation of guitarists....

Article

Allan F. Moore

Before the punk explosion in the UK in the mid-1970s, six major record labels (what are now CBS/Sony, the American Warner and MCA, the Dutch Polygram, British EMI and German BMG) operated an effective monopoly on access to mass public taste, especially throughout the Anglophone world. Through its explicit challenge to bourgeois values, punk broke this monopoly, enabling independent (hence indie) labels to gain an effective market share. Consequently Stiff Records became immediately important, especially through their promotion of Elvis Costello and the Attractions. Other notable labels include: Rough Trade, who marketed the Smiths; Creation, who marketed Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub and, latterly, Oasis; 4AD with the Cocteau Twins; Kitchenware with Prefab Sprout; Beggar's Banquet; Demon and One Little Indian. Such labels' real independence from larger competitors was called into question particularly by Rough Trade's distribution problems in 1991.

As a style label indie is not particularly useful, although it does carry connotations of sensitive, somewhat introspective personas who generally lack strong vocal projection. Indie music eschews overt commerciality and relies on dense, overdriven guitar chords rather than riffs, alongside the presence of thousands of small-time dedicated bands. In the late 1980s the term became particularly associated with a new wave of Manchester bands such as Inspiral Carpets, Happy Mondays, New Order and Stone Roses. By the mid-1990s the best of indie was regularly on show at large-scale festivals, such as Glastonbury and Reading in the UK and Lollopallooza in New York....

Article

J-Pop  

Noriko Manabe

A form of popular music that has been dominant in Japan and features catchy melodies with Japanese lyrics sung over Western-pop accompaniments. The term was coined by foreign-owned record chains such as Tower Records in the 1980s and was picked up in 1988 by the radio station J-Wave; it came into general parlance in the 1990s. The genre was partly the product of the mainstreaming of rock and the blending of that style with kayōkyoku (Japanese-language pop music in Western style). Musical tracks may draw from a number of styles, including pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop, and Okinawan music, and “world music” catchy melodies that can be used as hooks for jingles or sung in a karaoke bar are highly prized. Notable artists include the female pop idols Ayumi Hamasaki, Utada Hikaru, and Koda Kumi; boy bands, such as SMAP and Arashi, from the artist management company Johnny’s; and rock bands such as the B’z....