STYLES OF MUSIC National 3-5 Understanding Music
Learning Outcomes There are many different styles of music. Through this unit you will: • Learn about styles of music related to Blues and Jazz • Learn about styles of music from around the world • Learn about popular styles of music • Learn about instrumental groups found in these styles of music • Be able to identify examples of these styles of music in musical excerpts • Improve your music literacy skills through completion of tasks
Jazz & Blues A famous jazz musician was once asked ‘What is Jazz?’ He replied ‘You see this trumpet, I play what I feel on it; that’s jazz’. Jazz and Blues can be played in many different styles. It has been played and sung over the decades and has had a strong influence over the music we listen to today, e.g. rock ‘n’ roll, pop and even some classical music. But whatever the style, old or new, we can safely say that jazz is based on feelings. When a jazz musician plays on stage he expresses his feelings, through his playing to an audience. If he plays well then people in the audience share his feelings and respond to his message. One person, after hearing Duke Ellington’s band, claimed ‘I almost jumped out of the balcony; it excited me so much I screamed.’
In order to understand jazz and blues styles better we must first go back to the 17th Century when European settlers were colonising America. Set My People Free During the 1600’s American white landowners used cheap labour in the form of African slaves, to help produce tobacco, cotton, rice and other crops. These slaves were kidnapped from their homes and shipped to America in dreadful, crowded conditions. Tight packing maximised the ‘load’ a slave ship could carry. There were many differences between the music of the white landowners and that of the slaves. Gradually new styles of music were created when the slaves mixed their own African tradition with the European music of the settlers. These new styles included work songs (used steady rhythm to keep pace of work, and kept morale up amongst the slaves), spirituals (religious songs), and Gospel music (later term for religious singing).
Ragtime Ragtime became popular in America between 1900-1920. In the early days Ragtime was usually played by black people on the piano to accompany dancing and marching. It could be heard in the saloons, cafes, gambling halls and brothels in the Southern States. Other instruments associated with this style are the banjo and violin. Ragtime was the first style of black music to be accepted by white people. Ragtime is recognised by its bouncy beat or rhythm. Feature of the Melody Line • It is syncopated(the accent of the music is on the weak beat) • Sometimes has an anacrusis (a note or notes before the first beat of the bar) • Repetition (a melody or phrase that is repeated) • Sequence (a short pattern of notes either repeated higher or lower) • It may be in a major or minor key • It may be chromatic(moving by semitones) in places Features of the Bass Line • It has a steady rhythm and usually alternates between a low note and a higher chord.
The Entertainer The most famous composer of ragtime music was Scott Joplin. He composed both The Entertainer and the Maple Leaf Rag. As you listen to The Entertainer, follow the music below. • Can you find examples of the melody line concepts in this piece? • Circle or mark the concepts found in The Entertainer.
Blues Bluesis the folk music of the black people of America, and it grew out of the same African and European ideas which produced work songs and spirituals. Like these, the Blues told of the feelings, fears and hopes of the singers. It began as much black music, in the counties of the South. Originally the blues was performed by one singer, usually accompanied by a guitar, banjo and occasionally the piano. It was a raw sounding music, full of emotion. Gospel Gospel music is religious music most commonly found in African-American communities in the USA. It came out of the hymns and spirituals that were sung in religious ceremonies and events but is heavily influenced by the same origins as blues. Gospel music is very soulful and uses a lot of the same instruments as blues such as voices, guitar and piano. The organ is also used as gospel is usually sung in a church.
Walking Bass A lot of Blues music also features what is known as a walking bassline. This is where the bass player doesn’t just play the notes of the chord, but plays a tune in its own right against the melody. Listen to C-Jam Blues and focus on the walking bass in the double bass part. Does the walking bass move mostly by step or by leap?
Improvisation & Scat Blues is not so much about playing written music and arrangements; an essential element is improvising (making it up as you go along) – singing and playing. Improvised singing which is often used in jazz and blues is called scat singing, where the singer really treats the voice as an instrument and improvises a part singing nonsense words or syllables. Scat singers include Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Cleo Lane.
Swing Swing music (also known as Big Band music), popular in the dance halls, theatres and shows, was at its peak in the 1930s. In America, Big Bands employed the services of talented arrangers and bandleaders like Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Glen Miller. The main instruments used in these Big Bands were brass (trumpet and trombone), woodwind (alto, tenor and baritone saxophone) and a rhythm section (guitar, piano, bass guitar or double bass, and jazz drum kit). The saxophones very often use pitch bendingin their playing to add to the ‘flavour’ and style of the music The rhythm is dotted in the hi-hat part of the drum kit. Big Bands also featured soloists (vocal and instrumental). Listen to Take the ‘A’ Train.
Jazz Jazz can be composed, arranged and written down but is essentially improvised music. The music is based on a regular swinging beat with frequent syncopation and cross rhythms(3 beats against 2). The first jazz bands appeared in New Orleans as smaller versions of early marching bands. This early jazz is known as Dixieland. In Dixieland jazz all the players would improvise music at the same time which gives it a slightly manic, crazy sound. In later jazz each player takes it in turns to improvise. Jazz uses similar instruments to Swing music, though you may also hear other instruments including the clarinet. TASK 1 Complete the listening questions based on blues/jazz styles of music.
World Music World music includes many different styles, specific to their country of origin. Just as we have our own distinct style of music in Scotland, such as pipe bands, other countries have their own unique musical identity. Latin American MusicLatin American music is based on dancerhythms from South America. The music is characterised by its lively nature and complex rhythm patterns, and the use of percussion instruments is very common. Concepts commonly found in Latin American music are repetition, syncopation, cross rhythms. These concepts can be found in styles such as samba and salsa. African Music In Africa, the music is very rhythmic and exciting. People do not usually just listen to the music, they join in by singing, playing or dancing. African music usually consists ofAfrican drums like congas (barrel-shaped drums) or djembe drums. You may also hear voices and bells. Concepts commonly heard are cross rhythms and repetition.
PanpipesPanpipes are found in South America particularly in the Andes, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela. These instruments have been a part of South American culture for many centuries. They consist of a set of pipes (different sizes) without finger-holes and the pipes are joined together. The sound is produced by blowing across the top like blowing a bottle. Steel Band The steel drum is very popular in Jamaica and Trinidad and originates from the Caribbean. Bands are made up of oil drums which have been hammered to make different pitches. Music for steel drums is usually very lively. Indian MusicIndian music has a very distinctive sound. The main instruments you would usually expect to hear are the sitar (a guitar-like instrument with a long neck, usually with 7 strings) and the tabla (a pair of drums which usually accompany the sitar). TASK 2 Complete the listening questions based on styles of world music.
Popular Styles of Music Since the beginnings of music recording and growing media outlets during the past century, there have been many more different styles of music being written including: Popular styles of music use both instruments and voices but in very different ways.
Instruments and Voices in Popular Music Some of the instruments and voices most commonly found in popular music are electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, drum kit, piano, organ, lead vocals and backing vocals. As we look at our popular styles of music you will hear examples of these instruments and voices being used. Most popular music comes in the form of songs. A popular structure/form for a song is verse and chorus. The music of the verse will repeat, often with different words, and between verses the chorus will normally repeat and features different music to the verse. Drum fills are often used on the drum kit throughout songs as a way of decorating the rhythm. In order to keep the song interesting throughout there is often a middle 8. This is a section which provides a contrast to the opening section. It is often eight bars long with an instrumental solo.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues and jazz music were at the height of their popularity between 1900 -1940. However, after the Second World War people, and particularly teenagers, were changing. Although blues and jazz continued to be enjoyed, new styles of popular music were born. Rock ‘n’ Roll was introduced by musicians such as Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and Buddy Holly. Teenagers loved this exciting new music though their parents thought it was a bad influence and tried to have it banned from being played on the radio! Rock ‘n’ Roll is influenced by blues , jazz, gospel and country music and uses some of the same instruments found in these styles such as electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar and drum kit.
Rock After the Rock ‘n’ Roll music of the 1950s lots of other ‘popular’ styles of music started to appear. Music could be recorded more easily as technology developed, and with more and more people having access to radio and television, music was everywhere. Rock is a style of popular music with a heavy driving beat. It uses mostly electric instruments such as electric guitar, bass guitar and microphones for the singers. This allows the band to create a big, loud sound, as well as a heavy beat on the drum kit. The main singer in the band is known as the lead vocal. They are the ones who sing the melodies, while backing vocalssupport the lead singer, usually singing in harmony in the background.
To help create a big sound in rock music the electric instruments sometimes use effects to alter their sound. Distortion gives a 'fuzzy' sound rather than the usual clean sound on an electric guitar. Reverb (short for reverberation) gives the impression of different hall acoustics, so the instrument sounds like it’s being played in a big or small space. These effects can also be used by singers using a microphone.
Pop Pop music is short for ‘popular’, a style of music played by a group of musicians. Much of the music you hear in the charts can be described as pop. Pop music also uses lead and backing vocals, and many of the same instruments as rock music. However, in pop music the singer’s don’t usually play any of the instruments themselves.
Reggae Reggae music originates from Jamaica in the Caribbean. It was developed in the late 1960s and has quite a distinctive sound. The rhythm has strong accents on the 2nd and 4th beats of the bar which makes it feel off the beat. Sometimes people will count the off-beat as an ‘and’, like 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and. One of the most famous performers of Reggae music is Bob Marley.
Rapping Rappingis a feature of hip hop. This is a style of music that came out of the DJ-ing, MC-ing, graffiti culture of urban America, particularly with the Afro-American kids living in the high-rise tower blocks of the Bronx in New York. Rapping involves rhyming lyrics which are spoken and performed in time to a beat. The lyrics are usually about expressing attitude and rebellion. TASK 3 Complete the listening task based on styles of popular music.