With the start of the 20th century music began to play a huge part in the rapidly maturing United States. The music of the 20th century was not only there to entertain the people but it was more. It was used now to influence and manipulate the listeners, the artists had a goal to entertain and to enlighten the listener so that they could get their messages heard. Music is one of the best ways to advertise and to expand ideas, and many artists knew this. Music rapidly influenced every Americans life. It was in their homes, cars, bars, theaters, movies, elevators and countless other places. Music was everywhere it defined what every American loved and worked for, it gave people hope and joy, as well as bringing out every other emotion there is in people. Music was around during the bad times as well as the good, when people were down, there were songs they could relate to, and when they were happy there were songs they could sing and dance to. Many people dont think of how much music brightens and amplifies many things, such as movies; have you ever noticed how the directors always have a song or tune for every part of the movie bringing out just the right emotion in you. Radio, what good would radio be today if music werent here. There were a few major turning points in music history during the century.
A couple of decades after the turn of the century music started to work its way into the homes of people and the invention of the record player was a big advance and people no longer needed an entire orchestra to listen to the music they loved. People still used pianos and various instruments to conduct their own music though. It was often a popular form entertainment people could gather around the musician playing the piano or any other instruments and sing along and dance. Music was becoming more and more popular.
In the 1920s the big bands had already hit the music scene and were a popular choice for many listeners, but new forms of it were branching, swing and jazz were becoming very popular. Although, it was new to the people in the United States it had mostly emerged long before then with the African-Americans, who since the days of slavery had been making there own forms of folk music. Such forms as ragtime, fife and drum bands, string bands and spirituals. Because racism was so high in the 1920s, Jazz was a radical idea many white people, who did not think that African-American music was any good. Despite the racism, though very high at the time, Jazz still exploded though out the United States. Jazz was mainly consisted of several trumpets, saxophones, and even string instruments supported by a deeper brass bass, piano and percussion. Jazz had a huge impact on the people of the early 1900s; it lessened the racism slightly opening people up to dance, which was considered an indecent act among many societies. African-American people also began to gain popularity with their smooth ability to improve the already great sound of Jazz. Such artists as Joe King Oliver and Louis Armstrong were huge and made a big impact on not only jazz, but also many people living in the U.S. at the time. Jazz paved the way for many more new innovative ideas for styles of American music.
After World War I was winding down and Jazz was hitting a peak, anther new kind of music was once again emerging. Rock n Roll was another form of African-American music merged with white-American music. In 1955 rock took of with Bill Haleys song Rock Around the Clock. The American people loved it for its exciting, heavy beat and its hypnotic power over people causing them to dance. Rock was very popular among the younger crowds, especially with the teens. It related to the topics many young people were interested in; it had songs about school, cars and young love. Many teens in the United States at this time loved it because they could relate to what the songs were saying, although this sounds like an improvement on society, some people believed it brought out the worst in people. Parents of the children often thought it gave ideas of rebellion and sin. Later in the century rock really started to have a rebellious theme, it gave American teens incentive to disobey their parents, schools and any authority in general. It was often debated that the Rock n Roll contributed to juvenile delinquency, protest, and wide spread drug use. With the idea that rock was bad, it was in the begging struggling for popularity, but new artists were the answer to the problem. One person named Elvis Presley was a huge influence on rock. His radical danced shocked and amazed everyone; instantaneously people were in love with his music, attitude and view on life. At the arrival of rock and musicians like Elvis Presley the American people were changed forever.
With Rock n Roll now the most popular form of music in the United States, the 1960s were very turbulent and the music was there the whole time supporting the protesting, outrages and violence. War in Vietnam, womens rights, and Black rights were all big issues in the 60s. The people had a new spirit at this time they were very liberal and did not stay quiet, when they felt they had to speak their mind they did. Rock music was the key element that gave the protesting Americans a way to speak out against the government and authority. Without a mass media in the U.S. at the time music was a way for people to learn and keep in touch with their culture. Almost every song in the 60s had a message of protest, especially about Vietnam; peace was on all peoples minds. Bands like Jefferson Airplane, The Beatles and The Who all had songs crying out about peace and stopping the war. One of the most popular protests was the music festival called Woodstock it had great importance in spreading the word of peace and rebellion. The music was very successful in bringing enlightenment on the feelings of the young people during this time. Because of much of musics message of rebellion and protest it often encouraged the use of drugs and free love. If Rock was not around during this time a lot people would not have spoken their mind, many more people may have been killed in Vietnam, and issues very important today may have never been brought to the attention of the people living in the United States.
During all this time a quieter and less popular form of music had already exploded in many community around the country, Gospel. It was a form of spreading religion though exciting and fun preaching in the form of music. It was a change from the restrained singing popular in the 18th century, having loud upbeat rithimes. It was originated by the blacks and was for many years considered disrespectful and rude. Although, it eventually worked its way into every church in America. It offered a new open way of worship.
History has shown us that the music we have loved and hated through out the life of this country has had such an important role in almost every big event in the history of this country that with out it our country may have been very different and maybe even a little dull. If history has tought us anything it is that music is at the top of the list for its importance in American culture, economy and life style.
Category: Music and Movies