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Article

Allan F. Moore

[acid rock]

A style of rock that grew out of the hippies’ removal to San Francisco in 1965, in connection with the use of the drug LSD or ‘acid’. It featured extended blues-based improvisations, surrealist lyrics with performances often loud and accompanied by lavish light-shows. The effect was intended to evoke or support a drug-induced state. Prominent bands included Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin’s Big Brother and the Holding Company and Country Joe and the Fish, who established an alliance with the Californian folk scene. The underground hippy movement largely died after 1967 owing to its exploitation by the media and promoters. However it developed in the UK in the late 1960s, particularly through the experiences with LSD of some musicians, where the style was often combined with the use of Indian instruments. Lennon’s early experiments yielded Tomorrow never knows, which contained lyrics from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Hendrix harnessed guitar distortion to counter-cultural sentiments in songs such as ...

Article

Allan F. Moore

An aggressive style of rock that was part of a deeply contradictory movement initiated in London by Malcolm McLaren in 1975. Having managed the US glam rock band the New York Dolls, McLaren moulded the Sex Pistols, gaining them notoriety through astute management. The music blended established techniques of instrumentation, forms and chordal repertory, but articulated them with abandon and ferocity. From pub rock bands like Eddie and the Hot Rods came simple chord structures and a disdain for slick performance; from American precursors like Iggy Pop and Lou Reed came challenging lyrics and a sense of confrontation; echoes can be found of the Who and the early Kinks in an aggressive instrumental attack and use of minimal riffs. Many bands, such as the Sex Pistols and the Stranglers, publicly espoused nihilism which, in the case of the Gang of Four, the Fall and Siouxsie and the Banshees, gave rise to musical experimentation, while others, including the Damned and the Rezillos, employed a reckless humour which simultaneously celebrated and derided tacky bourgeois values. The Clash's refusal of apparent polish initially qualified them as punk, but they represented a more genuine, radical, proletarian streak. By the end of ...

Article

Sydney Hutchinson

A partner dance and music style of the southwest United States and Mexico. Its name means “little break,” referring to the quick backbends of the female partner or the breaking of a wild horse. The dance references cowboy life in its use of Western attire, hat tricks, and vigorous moves like caballito (little horse). Mexican folklórico dances contributed to quebradita-style zapateo footwork; other influences came from country line dance and hip-hop. Quebradita music is based on a fast cumbia rhythm usually played by bandas, technobandas, or conjuntos norteños. The rhythm is particularly associated with such Jalisco-based technobandas as Banda Machos, Banda Maguey, and Banda El Mexicano. Quebradita is often performed together with música ranchera and valses, polkas, or sones of the banda repertoire.

The 1990s quebradita craze was attributable in part to anti-immigrant politics in California, which caused many Mexican American youth to practice the new dance as a symbol of pride in Mexican identity. Hundreds of dance clubs formed in the border area and beyond and were widely cited as an alternative to gang activity. The quebradita has also been credited with the rise of banda as a major presence in the U.S. Latin music market, and it influenced the subsequent development of ...

Article

Ragga  

Roger Steffens

[raggamuffin]

A sub-genre of reggae; an alternative term for much of the dancehall music emanating from Jamaica and Britain since the mid-1980s, in much the same way that ‘blue beat’ has become the accepted UK term for ska. Most trace its beginning to Wayne Smith's influential Jamaican single, Under Me Sleng Teng (1985), which used a rhythm from a Casio electronic keyboard of the time, so ushering in the era of digitized rhythms that have subsequently almost taken over the sound of reggae. Performing in a pumped-up DJ style, with elements of hip hop combined with aggressive and sometimes witty vocal stylings, raggamuffin artists include the DJs Shabba Ranks, Capelton, Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Admiral Bailey, Cutty Ranks, Gen. Levi, Red Rat, Tiger, Goofy, Elephant Man, Spragga Benz, Mr Vegas and Ward 21, often singing in combination with one another. Among the main producers are Bobby Digital, Donovan Germaine, Gussie Clarke, Steely and Cleevie, Mafia and Fluxy, Jr. Kelly and King Jammy. A more recent development of the sub-genre, called opera house, taps the operatic talents of multi-talented Pavarotti-inspired artists such as Lukie D, singing in a satirically bombastic style....

Article

Rave  

Ian Peel

A sub-genre of dance music in the UK from the early 1990s, derived from acid house. It consists of simplistic, anthem-like electronic melodies over very high tempo, electronic techno backing. Like acid house, it was dance music initially for illegal rave parties, often held in secret locations such as warehouses or fields. Despite condemnation from the mass media (many rave parties and musicians thrived on the use of the drug ecstasy), it enjoyed mass commercial success through artists such as Altern 8, Praga Khan and the Prodigy. Unlike other electronic genres, rave artists also had a strong visual sense from dance to fashion accessories (many inspired by rave drug culture) to club decoration. This commercial success was helped by a string of novelty rave singles, such as Smart E’s SesamE’s Treat and Mark Summer’s Summers Magic, both of which sampled themes from children’s television. Several rave artists have achieved longevity including Moby, 808 State and Cappella. Rave music has continued as ‘happy hardcore’ but lacks its former commercial appeal. Live events have also been driven further underground following the introduction in the UK of the Criminal Justice Bill, which included clauses written especially to outlaw large outdoor parties....

Article

Reggae  

Stephen Davis

A term denoting the modern popular music of Jamaica and its diaspora. It also refers specifically to a rhythmic format that originated in 1968, sparked a worldwide cultural trend in the 1970s, and has continued as the bedrock of the digital forms that have come to dominate Jamaican pop music.

The origins of reggae are found in Mento, Jamaica's Cuban-inflected calypso music that dates from the late 19th century. Mento was a celebratory, rural folk form that served its largely rural audience as dance music and an alternative to the hymns and adapted chanteys of local church singing. As the Jamaican population began to shift in the late 1950s, urban migration and the social changes that accompanied industrialization created a demand for a faster, electrified dance music. In the capital of Kingston and in the larger island towns, entrepreneurs set up mobile sound systems to bring in the powerful rhythm and blues of American stars like Fats Domino and Louis Jordan. By ...

Article

Katynka Z. Martínez

A catchall category that includes mariachi, ranchera, norteño, banda, duranguense, and other music with roots in rural Mexico. The Recording Industry Association of America also includes Tejano music within this category. Many U.S. radio stations abandoned Spanish-language pop or música romántica formats and switched to Regional Mexican Music in the 1990s. These stations attracted larger audiences and Regional Mexican Music soon began outselling other Latino music genres. These sales were attributed not only to the popularity of corridos that focus on the experiences and working conditions of recent immigrants but also to the growing popularity of narcocorridos. In 2000 the Fonovisa Record label, which at the time was the largest independent Latino music label in the United States, boycotted the first Latin Grammy ceremony to protest what label executives saw as a bias against Regional Mexican genres and favoritism to pop artists signed to Sony’s Latin labels. Only five Fonovisa artists were nominated among the 200 nominees and all five were in the Regional Mexican field. Nominated artists such as Pepe Aguilar and Los Tigres del Norte boycotted the award ceremony. Since then, immigration raids have resulted in lower attendance at Regional Mexican concerts and ...

Article

Howard Rye

A term coined in 1949 to describe music marketed primarily to African-Americans, initially used by Billboard to replace the term ‘Race records’, which had become unacceptable and had already been replaced by some record companies by the term ‘Sepia series’. Like the Race and Sepia catalogues which preceded them, labels devoted to rhythm and blues and the rhythm and blues series of the major record companies encompassed the whole spectrum of African-American music, including blues, jazz, gospel music, popular vocal groups and comedians. However, as there was by this time a wider market available for many types of jazz, jazz records in the rhythm and blues catalogues tended to be those especially aimed at African-American dancers and party-goers, and placing a particular stress on overt swing and blues feeling. As a catch-all term for the African-American catalogues, rhythm and blues was supplanted by soul in 1969.

The term is also applied to certain characteristic African-American musical styles prominent during the late 1940s and the 1950s. Critical opinion has never coalesced on whether rhythm and blues in this sense is a genre of jazz or of blues, a hybrid of the two, or a separate musical idiom. Its most immediate jazz antecedents are the blues-based big bands which came to prominence in the early 1940s, such as those of Jay McShann, Lucky Millinder, Erskine Hawkins and Buddy Johnson, and the jump bands which flourished in the later swing era. These bands found that survival in the market place required increasing emphasis on an insistent beat, on blues and blues-ballad vocals, and on solo work emphasizing overt emotion and rhythmic excitement. To some extent, this was a conscious reaction to the direction being taken by the jazz avant garde of the day, the creators of bop. The vocalist and alto saxophonist Louis Jordan later said ‘I wanted to play for the people, not just a few hep cats’. Bands working in this style included those already mentioned, as well as those of Roy Milton, Joe Liggins, Tiny Grimes and various groups led by Johnny Otis....

Article

Rock  

Richard Middleton

A term used to denote a particular category of pop music. A contraction of Rock and roll, it first appeared in the 1960s, when it was used to describe certain new pop music styles developing after about 1965 in North America and Britain. These styles were mostly associated with young, white audiences and musicians: for example, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in Britain, and bands based in California such as Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. The governing principles that were felt to underlie these styles were their seriousness and commitment. These qualities were the basis of a contrast made by rock fans and musicians between their music and contemporary popular music styles considered to be more commercially orientated, by now often described pejoratively as ‘pop’. Subsequently ‘rock’ was applied to music thought to display the same sense of commitment or to derive stylistically from rock of the late 1960s. The rock–pop contrast became a staple of critical and historical discourse. However, even in the 1960s the sociological and stylistic distinctions between rock and pop were often blurred, and this was increasingly so from the 1970s on, especially after punk rock (...

Article

Roger Steffens

A style of urban popular music, originating in Jamaica. It was a transitional music between ska and reggae, akin to American rhythm and blues, and with a heavy emphasis on harmony groups and solo vocalists, who also began to explore social issues in their lyrics. The distinctive horn section of the influential ska group, the Skatalites, no longer dominated the local popular music sound after they disbanded in 1965. Instead, a line-up of piano, bass and drums established rock steady and ultimately led to reggae in 1968. In addition, the frenetic beat of ska had been slowed down for dancing during the summer heatwave of 1966, and so provided a chance to penetrate the increasingly political and socially aware lyrics sung by groups like Desmond Dekker and the Aces, and the Wailers, then including Bob Marley. Stylists such as the ‘king of rock steady’ Alton Ellis and his main rival Ken Boothe made distinctly Jamaican covers of American soul songs. As with the emergence of ska, entrepreneurs ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd and ‘Duke’ Reid promoted the sound through their recordings and sound system dances. Other producers included Joe Gibbs, Sonia Pottinger, Ken Lack, Lloyd Daley and Derrick Harriott: from them came the international popularity of reggae in the 1970s through which many of rock steady’s stars were able to sustain global careers....

Article

Robert Walser

The earliest recognized style of rock and roll by white performers. Its practitioners were white southerners in the USA who had been attracted to and learned from the music of African-Americans; they called it country rock, but music industry figures and fans dubbed it rockabilly as a different way of signifying the merger of blues and hillbilly styles. One of its first stars, Carl Perkins, defined it as ‘a country man’s song with a black man’s rhythm’. Its origins are usually traced to the 1954 recordings of the genre’s most successful singer, Elvis Presley. Like Presley, most of rockabilly’s early stars recorded at Sam Phillips’s Sun Studios in Memphis, where a distinctive echo effect was used to enhance the music. Typically, twangy electric guitar, slapped upright bass and (after 1956) drum kit accompanied the singer, although other instruments often appeared, most notably Jerry Lee Lewis’s piano. Rockabilly generally used the electric guitar as the main solo instrument, marking a shift away from the saxophone and piano solos of jump blues and other popular African-American genres. However, it frequently used boogie rhythms and 12-bar blues progressions, and was closely related to the rhythm and blues of African-American performers such as Bo Diddley, T-Bone Walker and Chuck Berry....

Article

Ska  

Roger Steffens

[bluebeat]

A style of Jamaican popular music and dance. From 1961 to 1965 it was the predominant popular style in Jamaica, and can claim to be its first truly indigenous music. A stylistic amalgam of African-Cuban and New Orleans influences, jazz, quick-time rhythm and blues and Rastafarian rhythms, it primarily originated with the Skatalites, who recorded under a variety of names and provided ska’s chief musicians. The group’s line-up consisted of piano (Jackie Mittoo), guitars (Ernest Ranglin, Lyn Tait and Jah Jerry), bass (Lloyd Brevett), drums (Lloyd Knibbs), and a horn section (Lester Sterling, alto saxophone; Tommy McCook, ‘Ska’ Campbell and Roland Alphonso, tenor saxophones; Karl Bryan, baritone saxophone; ‘Dizzy’ Johnny Moore and Baba Brooks, trumpets; Don Drummond, trombone). It was popularized by the seminal Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd of Studio One, and ‘Duke’ Reid of Treasure Isle, and its influence has now flourished worldwide. Using a staccato guitar to accentuate the upbeats of its distinctive double-time shuffle rhythm in simple quadruple metre, ska’s chugging melodies and propulsive horn section represented youthful emancipation as Jamaica celebrated its independence....

Article

Skiffle  

A hybrid style of popular music that has affinities with jazz and country blues. The term ‘skiffle’ appears originally to have been applied in the USA during the 1930s to entertainment provided at rent parties, which encompassed blues, barrelhouse, boogie-woogie and other styles of black popular music. This music was revived in the 1950s, mostly by white groups, who learnt the repertory from touring black performers and from recordings. Skiffle bands played in a style loosely based on that of the spasm bands from New Orleans and such groups as the Mound City Blue Blowers led by Red McKenzie. They often included acoustic guitar, harmonica, kazoo, jug, washtub bass and washboard or drums, and the chordal and melodic instruments provided a simple three- or four-chord accompaniment to a vocal part.

While the skiffle revival of the 1950s embraced the USA and Germany, it gained most ground in Great Britain. The earliest recordings by Chris Barber (...

Article

Stephen Holden

A term invented in the early 1970s to describe acoustic folk-rock and other tuneful, soothing types of popular music that use electric instruments. James Taylor, Neil Young (the early recordings), and Cat Stevens typify the folk element in soft rock; in Los Angeles the pop-rock groups Bread and the Carpenters made polished, soft-rock recordings that the music industry designated ‘middle of the road’. The term is now applied broadly to quieter popular music of all sorts that uses mild rock rhythms and some electric instruments in songs of the ballad type....

Article

Brenda M. Romero

The generic Spanish term son is used widely throughout the Spanish-speaking Americas to refer to a song or song and dance style. The term jarocho refers to people and all things from Veracruz, Mexico, including their fast-paced song and dance style, which combines musical elements of the Spanish colonists, indigenous groups, and Africans. Son jarocho is associated with jaranas or fandangos, events where the music is played and danced on tarimas, raised wooden platforms that act as resonators for the zapateado, improvised footwork that adds to the music’s characteristic percussive and rhythmic elements. The main instrument of the best-known son jarocho style in Mexico is the arpa jarocha, a 32- to 36-stringed diatonic harp that plays highly ornamented melodies; other instruments include the jarana (small guitar with eight strings in five courses; accompanies with percussive strumming) and the requinto (four strings played with a long, thin plectrum; provides percussive melodic counterpoint). In the United States other instruments are commonly used, especially the ...

Article

Cathy Ragland

The term refers almost exclusively to Mexican DJs who mix Colombian and Mexican cumbias and other popular Spanish-language music genres at bailes (dances) in Mexico and, more recently, the United States. At the dance, the DJ selects and edits new and cutting-edge cumbias and reads dedications and shout-outs from audience members over the live mix. Video and audio recordings of the dance are duplicated and sold in flea markets and swap meets (typically where pirated CDs and DVDs are sold) in Mexico and independent record shops in the United States. They are also traded on the Internet. The sonidero scene originated in the late 1970s in crowded and impoverished barrios like Tepito and Peñón de los Baños in Mexico City and, some years later, in the slums of the northern industrialized city of Monterrey. The first sonideros, with stage names like Arcoiris, Sonido la Changa, and Sonorámico, would set up an outdoor ...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

[funky jazz, funk]

A type of hard bop dating from the mid-1950s. Played most often in small groups led by a tenor or alto saxophonist, a pianist or a Hammond organist, it is characterized by simple, tuneful themes and improvisations, modelled on the speech inflections of black preachers in the sanctified churches. Its leading exponents were Cannonball Adderley, Gene Ammons (late in his career) and Charles Mingus....

Article

Marc Rice

[Kansas City jazz]

A style of jazz developed in the 1920s and 30s unique to Kansas City and the Southwest. It grew from the ragtime traditions of Missouri, the blues of the Southwest, and the fierce musical and economic competition that was a fact of life for the territory bands working in the region. Features of the mature Southwest style include a heavy emphasis on improvisation, a driving 4/4 beat, and the influence of blues forms and harmonies.

Kansas City was the focal point of jazz in the Midwest and Southwest, due to its vibrant African American communities, and a political climate that enabled the presence of alcohol and vice in venues where the music was performed. The city was home to dozens of musicians and several bands, the most important of which were the Bennie Moten and George E. Lee Orchestras. There were dance halls and many jazz clubs where local and visiting musicians were allowed to experiment, and to challenge each other through “cutting contests” that demonstrated their improvisation skills. (...

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Stride  

J. Bradford Robinson

A solo jazz piano style that arose after 1910, and especially in the 1920s, in Harlem, New York, and hence sometimes takes the name ‘Harlem school’. It is largely derived from ragtime, adapting ragtime's left-hand patterns to form the distinctive ‘stride bass’ ( ex.1). Such patterns were often varied, however, and in the best performances led to spontaneous and inventive cross-rhythms, polymetres and surprising harmonic effects. The bass represents only one of the increased virtuoso demands of the stride style, which in general called for fast tempos, full use of the piano's range and a wide array of pianistic devices, some from the classical repertory in which many of the Harlem pianists (notably James P. Johnson and Fats Waller) were trained. The style was practised most widely at social gatherings, particularly at Harlem's informal ‘rent parties’. Johnson, Waller and Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith were much recorded, though other leading stride pianists like Luckey Roberts are less well represented on disc, and the apparently influential Abba Labba (Richard McLean) made no recordings. The style exercised great influence on subsequent jazz pianism, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum and Thelonious Monk freely expressing their debt to it. With the resurgence of historical jazz styles in the 1970s, stride piano has once again become commercially viable, attracting a number of highly accomplished specialist performers and an appreciative international audience....