“Good old jazz and rock’n’roll. Dancing to the music with your soul.”
Music has 3 main elements: Rhythm, Melody, Harmony.
Those 3 elements started with the cavemen. Rhythm by some caveman banging a drum, then Melody with another caveman humming along to the banging and last Harmony, the point where a caveman starts humming a tune to the already existing melody. From there we skip a few thousands of years of slow music evolution and reach the Orchestral era in the 1700’s.
An orchestra is 100 instruments played together, making a symphony. But having a 100 instruments played also means 100 people and while that wasn’t a problem for the wealthy, the poor didn’t have that luxury.
Then the Phonograph comes to life in 1877, thanks to Thomas Edison. That changed everything, you no longer needed 100 musicians, you simply needed the vinyl and the phonograph.Around the time of the phonograph romanticism had intruded into music and that romance music resulted into jazz.
Jazz wasn’t about 100 instruments put together to make the symphony. It started when African Americans were given some freedom, they started expressing themselves with music. Some were hired to play piano in bars and instead of playing the basics, they made their own accords and started using those. It was mostly improvised, the rhythm and the melody were a given but what made the difference, the harmony, was an improvisations, either of the moment or from a little earlier.
From the pianist in the bar, the trumpeters of the marching band, the folk songs at work, all of it influenced and created jazz. The music you could swing at. Instead of dancing waltz, you could just close your eyes, feel the music and let your feet dance, without thinking, just losing control. Jazz was all about freedom.
Following jazz came rock around the 1950’s. It was started with the introduction of the electric guitar and was influenced by jazz and country music in the creation of rock’n’roll. Though elements of rock’n’roll can be heard in 1920’s blues records, the term rock’n’roll was still not defined and today it is still arguable as to which was the first rock’n’roll single.
Rock’n’roll and its backbeat syncopated rhythm to be the revival of jitterbug dancing, a type of swing, which was the beginning of basements parties. Rock was a voice for most teenagers, often accused from parents and elders to be the music of satan, because drugs and sex were advertised through it.
Rock genres grew without the help of the music industry, it was something revolutionary, everyone liked it and everyone wanted to learn it. Then the music industry started taking the best of rockers and hooking them up with everything they wanted and in 1972 the release of the song “Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll” was basically expressing what being a rock-star was all about.
Slowly pop music was coming along with rock and in 1990’s with the synthesizer, pop, disco and electronic music started playing in bars and clubs rather than rock. From there real music started getting lost, it was getting more and more digitalized up to the point where we are today that you dont need a good singer, just a good program to tune the voice to the right notes. You don’t need someone to know to play guitar or any instrument but simply know the basics of the usage of the software he is using.
Today you no longer need any great knowledge to make music, you don’t need to have a good ear, you need a pc and you can make a song. You add the beat, a catchy tune and you are done. You don’t actually need anything else.
Today we listen to music very loud, in the car, in the room, most of the time we put the music very loud just to fill the silence. The real quality of music used to be in the ability to listen to music loudly or very quietly and still enjoy it. Putting the music loudly affects wether we like it or not, you may know but maybe not that when you put the music loud your ear doesn’t realise what its listening to.
What I am trying to say is that music used to be an art that slowly lost the artistic part. Even the ones that still remain the quality is better but not as realistic (eg. if your parents have any AC/DC or Louis Armstrong vinyls, put one on and listen. Listen closely. Then find the same song and listen to it from your computer. The reality of the recording of the vinyl got lost somewhere along the way.).
The 3 elements of music haven’t faded but music is considered art. For something to be called art you need it to have a time, a place and an emotion. If you put on a symphony of your choosing (my preference: Beethoven’s Symphony no.7 (op.92)) and close your eyes and free your brain, it will take you to a time, a place and you’ll feel something, that is why music was and is considered artistic. But if you take a modern digitalized song (eg. Skrillex ft Sirah – Bangarang) it doesn’t happen and if it does, you aren’t relaxed.
Music is an art and it ages well, it’s like whiskey or wine, the older it is, the better.
Image by <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/21749115@N00/”>Maltagirl</a>