The Roots Of Rock and Roll
- Blues - The blues form is a cyclic musical form in which a repeating
progression of chords mirrors the call and response scheme commonly found in African and
African-American music. During the first decades of the 20th century blues music was not
clearly defined in terms of a particular chord progression
- Country - the music of America's heartland, can be traced back to
British Immigrants who brought with them a tradition of storytelling Celtic ballads and
string-instrument playing, especially fiddling. The tradition survived in isolated rural
communities but developed an American accent as music for square dances and hoe-downs.
- Traditional/Folk - traditional folk music has been defined in several as music
transmitted orally, music with unknown composers, music that is played on traditional
instruments, music about cultural or national identity, music that changes between
generations (folk process), music associated with a people's folklore, or music.
The Dawn of Rock
- Bluegrass - A subgenere of country music, bluegrass shed it's formative
skin and forged a separate identity in the mid-Forties when bandleader Bill Monroe altered
the complexion of "hillbilly" music. Monroe fused country, blues, jazz, gospel,
and Celtic folk into an unified style.
- Boogie-Woogie - A style of piano playing that features a
"hot" rhythm based on eight-to-the-bar figures with the left hand. The style is
believed to have originated in Kansas City with pianists such as Pete Johnson and Joe
Turner. The term came from "booger-rooger" which was an expression for a
"hot" party or musical good time, used by Texas Twenties country bluesman Blind
Lemon Johnson. Through blues guitarists such as Albert Smith ("Guitar Boogie")
and John Lee Hooker ("Boogie Chillin") the phrase came to refer to guitar
- Gospel - The term "gospel music" was probably
coined in the Twenties by Thomas Dorsey, a Georgia blues singer who was converted and
began composing religious songs in popular styles. Originally denounced, it caught on with
the black sanctified church and has evolved along side black secular music. Gospel singing
is rooted in the ornate style of the old spirituals and in the impassioned
"testifying" declamation of Baptist preachers. The close-harmony group vocals of
the late forties and fifties gospel - with the group responding to and urging on the
soaring, improvising lead singer had many links to the acapella and and doo-wop of the
- Jazz - A music that depends primarily on improvisation and reflects a
long tradition of changing ideas of structure, freedom and swing. The first music known as
jazz was the New Orleans style ("Dixieland"), in which a small group would
improvise collectively on a well known tune. in the Twenties trumpeter Louis Armstrong and
others began to separate the soloists from the accompaniment, each permitted different
degrees of freedom -an idea that ruled jazz for the next few decades through the harmonic
and rhythmic revolutions of the big bands of the Thirties swing era, (Duke Ellington,
Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman), bee-bop in the late Forties (Charlie Parker, Dizzy
Gillespie) and "cool" and hard bop and modal playing in the Fifties (Miles
Davis, Thelonius Monk)
What is Jazz?
Rhythm and Blues - a descriptive term that has never had a clear
single meaning. In it's broadest sense, R&B denotes black pop music. However, as
black pop music changes, it has become a term that is often
defined by whatever black musical style it is attached to at a given point in time, rather
than the other way around.
In the beginning it was a renaming of "race" music. and later gave way to soul,
funk, disco and simply "black" styles. small rhythm and blues combos revved up
Tin Pan Alley pop tunes with rhythms derived from swing jazz and vocals reflecting the
blues. They linked the big band jump blues of the Forties with early rock and roll. Early
rock and roll hits were often covers by white singers of R&B hits, like Elvis
Presley's version of Roy Brown's "Good Rockin' Tonight" or Bill Haley and His
Comets cleaned-up take on Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle and Roll.
Influences courtesy Rolling Stone's "Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll."