Music in the past twenty years was characterized by, among other concepts, the two concepts of alternative cultures and postmodernism. The context below will explain how the lyrics, instrumentation or sound, subjects or themes of five major cultures of music support or relate to these two concepts.
This article will also provide examples of artists, the varying years they recorded their album in various cultures of music. The context below shall also reveal my thoughts of how the five different cultures of music portray and display our current generation in relation to the concepts above.
On examination of the concept of alternative cultures in music, it can be observed that this concept varies with different kinds of music culture. The common cultures of music known today are the hip hop, blues, jazz, rock-punk, and modern crank cultures. The instrumentation used in the hip-hop culture is diverse.
Around two decades ago, the culture of hip hop was referred to as commercial hip-hop within the dance industry. Today, there are the meaning of hip-hop is varied as numerous artists have defined the culture differently.
One popular definition is that included in the 1999 album of the high and mighty hip hop group titled Home field advantage. The lyrics of one of the songs in the album stated that “Modern hip hop has grown from the dancing and shaking moves to just plain rapping.” This, according to Brod (159), describes the evolution of hip-hop in the recent years.
Meanwhile, the culture of blues is usually associated with characteristics such as specific lyrics, bass lines and instruments which derive sounds that affect individuals differently. For instance, some people are used to listening to blues when they wake up in the morning while others love to listen to blues just before they sleep.
The culture of blues was traditionally known as rock and roll. The new modern genre of blues that goes by the title of blues rock is a culture based on love songs and relationships. In the modern world, it is also associated with human emotions examples being melancholy or sadness.
The culture of jazz, entails making music by the use of instruments, mostly drum sets and trumpets. These instruments used are meant to echo sounds of clarity, warmth, unbelievable sense of swing and therefore create a harmonious atmosphere.
In the history of jazz music, Louis Armstrong was among the most popular individuals related with the genre. On August 4th 1901, Armstrong perfected the improvised acts of performing solo (Storb 103).At first, the solo performances were done in shows during the breaks but later, the solo performances turned into shows of their own.
In exploring the concept of modernism in the evolution of jazz, there are several types of jazz music that arise and these are the Big Band, Bebop, Ragtime, and Early fork jazz. In the current day, there exists a new type of jazz known as Free Jazz which entails the players being allowed to produce squeaking and sniveling sounds with their instruments, of cause depending with the audience.
The culture of rock music, especially the punk rock, is often associated with fast, hard-edged music with stripped down instrumentation that create excessive sounds of metallic rhythms. Punk rock music had various phases in the 1980s such as the proto-punk type of music that was composed of short songs that were often political and very aggressive in nature.
As years went by, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, musicians who were inspired by punk rock designed a new kind of rock known as pop punk rock which included distinctive styles of clothing and jewellery adornment.
The crank culture is the most recently adopted culture in music. The crank form of music originated from fusion of the hip hop and electric genres. Crank music originated from Memphis, Tennessee and had become very popular in the 1990s within the US. By 2004, the genre had attained mainstream success. The music is characterized by the use of drum-machine rhythm, vocals characterized by shouting and heavy bass line that rhyme together in a call-answer manner.
My perception of some of the positive results associated with music cultures includes the creation of employment to many individuals and the entertainment associated with music while the negative effects include the music culture’s negative contribution to the erosion of societal moral standards.
These evolving cultures portray our current generation as morally decayed, not principled and also a generation that is gradually abandoning the historical heritages that was one associated with music.
There are several cultures associated with different types of music, each having a few characteristics that differentiate it from the rest.
This article has explored five different types of music cultures and described a few of the characteristics associated with each. The article also includes my views about the positive and negative effects of the music culture. From this article, it is apparent that the music cultures have evolved a lot since inception and will continue to evolve as time passes by.
Brod, Doug. SPIN: Greatest Hits: 25 Years of Heretics, Heroes, and the New Rock ‘n’ Roll. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons press, 2010. (Print).
Storb, Ilse. Jazz meets the world – the world meets Jazz. Berlin: LIT Verlag Munster press, 2000 (Print).