Final 2: Concert Review

Zac Brown Band // June 30, 2018 // 6:30 pm // SunTrust Park // Atlanta, Georgia

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http://www.soundslikenashville.com/news/zac-brown-band-coy-bowles-music-interview/

This summer my family and I went to the Zac Brown Band concert at SunTrust Park. My whole family loves this band so it was a fun family outing and a great way for us all to spend time together. The first thing that was special about this concert was its location. SunTrust Park is the home of the Atlanta Braves baseball team. I had never been to a concert in a baseball stadium and the outdoor seating made it a very cool experience. We were right behind home plate and had a straight view of the stage. Everyone had a chair to sit in, so it was nice we didn’t have to stand the whole time. I honestly think I appreciated the music more because I was relaxed and able to sit. This gave me the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy the music and my environment instead of being tired and hot.

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The first opening act was a band named Medicine for the People. I had never heard of them but I was pleasantly surprised. I normally don’t like being at concerts where I don’t know the songs because I like to sing along and know what’s going on. But I really did enjoy sitting and just listening to new music for the first time. One song that stood out to me was “I Mua.” It’s ultimately a love song and reflects a common theme discussed in class. The guitar part really stands out and gives the piece a faster rhythm. The melody has a pretty small range and notes never alter much from the base notes.

picture: https://randompresents.bendticket.com/events/35196889/nahko-and-medicine-for-the-people?view_id=public-event-overview&basename=nahko-and-medicine-for-the-people

onerepublic.jpgThe next act was the popular band One Republic. They have been around for years and I remember listening to their songs when I was in middle school. They are considered a pop-rock band and are made up of five members: Ryan Tedder as vocalist, Zach Filkins and Drew Brown as the guitarists, Brent Kutzle as the bassist/cellist, and Eddie Fisher as the drummer. All the members of the band worked very well together and they were a cohesive group. They interacted and looked like they were having a great time, which makes it more fun to watch. Some of the songs they performed were “Apologize,” “Counting Stars,” and “Good Life.” They played so many songs that I didn’t even realize were theirs. One of my favorite songs was “Secrets.” Their songs tell stories and many people can find them relatable. The beginning starts off with a slower rhythm and then there is a crescendo at the chorus and the drums come in. The rock element of drums on the second and fourth beats is very evident. Their voices harmonize and everything flows together. At the end of their set, the lead singer did a solo piece of “Halo” which he had actually written for Beyonce. I never knew this so I thought it was very neat to learn that some musicians in bands end up writing songs for other artists.

Picture: http://www.smartgirlpolitics.com/onerepublics-counting-stars-capture-fallen-world-possibility-redemption/

mgid-ao-image-mtv-379267.jpgThen it was finally time for the main act. By the time they came on it was dark out and this allowed the stage lights to make a dramatic effect. Most of the members of the band grew up in Georgia, so they told the crowd it was extra special for them to be playing there. They gave so much energy into their performances and gave the audience a true show. They are a country band and you can definitely hear this in their music with their distinct dialects.

One song that stood out during the concert was “My Old Man.” For this song, the lead singer had his father and his children come up on stage. To see the inspiration for this song and his whole family was very special and you got a glimpse into his life. It’s considered a ballad with narrated text. Ballads are characteristic of both Blues and Country songs. It has a slower rhythm and a small range of notes. A simple guitar and fiddle are used and this gives it a very laid back tune with very little texture. It has a monophonic melody and the harmony is in consonance. The lyrics are so relatable and my mom even cried during this song.

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The finale song was one of their most popular songs, “Chicken Fried.” This song is my favorite summer time song because it is so uplifting and fun to sing along with. It reminds me of a Western Swing type song where you would dance along with. The violinist was amazing had many solos that really stood out. There is some syncopation in the chorus where the rhythm takes an unexpected turn. It has a steady beat with a faster rhythm. Towards the end of the song, it becomes a lot slower and then comes the climax where it speeds up again. It builds anticipation and gives the song a great ending.

At concerts, I often don’t think the performers are as good as they are on their recordings. But Zac Brown Band was 100 times better live which made the concert that much better and it exceeded by expectations. It was also interesting to observe the crowd. It was filled with many families and young adults. It really shows the audience that they reach and who is listening to their music.IMG_1914.jpg

Picture: http://www.cmt.com/artists/zac-brown-band
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Final 1: Musical Web

Barbara Allen” – H.J. Beeker (English-Celtic Ballad)

Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 2.02.59 PM.pngThis song was very simple and easygoing. I imagine myself sitting by a tree strumming a guitar and looking out into the distance. The lyrics really tell a story and is filled with many images. The melody and tune throughout the song are the same; there are no fluctuations and it never gets higher or lower. This reflects a strophic form, where everything is sung at the same tune. It has a very consistent pattern and you have an idea what is coming. The version of the song by HJ Beeker came out in 1936 and I think it reflects its time. This was during World War 2 and was a more solemn time. This music isn’t boisterous, but rather it is simple and calming. If you read the words, it has a pretty sad ending. I feel like the tune is peppy and you wouldn’t think that something sad happens at the end. Iambic foot is also used which is a pattern for putting the stress on certain words. This gives it a predictable pattern.

This is an example of a ballad, which is a poem that is sung, and usually depicts a story. Country music and Blues styles of music also use ballads to tell their stories. Ballads tend to use the strophic form where the lyrics are all sung at the same tune. They also tend to have ballad meter in which stanzas of four lines have stressed syllables in the pattern of 4 + 3 + 4 + 3. This is especially seen in “Amazing Grace” and other hymns. Other ballads include: “John Hardy” by the Carter Family and “Gypsy Davy” by Woody Guthrie.

picture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Allen_(song)

Jacob’s Ladder” – Paul Robeson (Spiritual)

Paul_Robeson1.jpgThis song has a heavier melody and is very loud. Robeson was a human and civil rights advocate and I think this is reflected in his song because it is very powerful and is a statement piece. You can’t forget it and I think this shows that he was a strong fighter. There is a climax where the song gets very loud; however, it does get very soft at one point. I think this makes it stand out a lot because you remember when it changes. This song has call-and-response in it. The singer calls for the audience to sing and they respond to this request. Call and response was very common back when not everyone could read or there weren’t enough books for everyone to read off of. This is seen in gospel songs we will hear later in the class. The main instrument, or only instrument, in this song is a piano. The piano and voice harmonize. There are only 4 distinct lines in this song. He repeats each one 3 times with a common line at the end of each verse. The first few times I was listening I didn’t even notice that he was saying the same thing. Every time he repeats it, it sounds so different because it gets louder or softer. At the end of the song, the congregation joins in with the lead singer.

This song is representative of spiritual music that came out of Africa. Traditions and cultures were passed down to further generations and many things were only passed on verbally. Some spirituals were known as “slave songs.” These spirituals relate a lot to the Old and New Testament, which really relate back to the gospel and psalm section. They are quite religious in nature. They have more general views of the world and most have anonymous authors.

Picture: https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/paul-robeson-5054.php

Para Los Rimberos” – Tito Puente (Mambo/Caribbean Music)

Titu-Puente1.jpgThis was one of my favorite songs of this section. I am a Spanish minor and have studied abroad in Buenos Aires. I enjoy this style of music a lot because it is fast and fun to dance to. This song shows the use of clave, which uses the repetition of rhythm to make a pattern. There are many different instruments used which give it multiple layers and textures. This song is also an example of mambo and salsa. It is upbeat and has a quicker rhythm. This music originated in Cuba and it seems to become more eclectic as it becomes more integrated into America.

This music relates to other units of this class in a way that it originated in other parts of the world and ended up migrating to the United States. It’s very cultural to Latin America. It’s a piece made to be danced to and many other pieces are dance pieces also. While “Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copland is a ballet piece and has a much slower rhythm, it’s still made for dancing. You can see aspects of Latin American music in American jazz and other popular music. It’s very upbeat and energetic.

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Cotton Eye Joe” – Bob Wills – Western Swing

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It is very eclectic and has a lot of different sounds going on. It has a rhythm that you can dance to and it has a very quick pace. This song reflects its time because Texas was home to the mixing of different styles, including country and jazz. Many people swing dance to this song. Instruments played include a fiddle, guitar, and it has a “boom chuck” accompaniment. More specifically, he used a steel guitar which gives it more of a country vibe. I honestly could never understand the words before so reading them was a bit strange. He repeats a lot of the same words and in my opinion it doesn’t really tell a story. It refers to cotton patches and his fiddle which reflects back to the time period of this song. The lyrics are sung very fast and it’s almost like he’s yelling them at you instead of singing them.

The string instruments are also very important during this time period. This song is more of a western swing, which introduces saxophones and trumpets. This is similar to the instruments played in jazz. Something that I realize more in this song is the relevance of the dialect and regionalism. You can tell this is a country-type of song because of how his voice says the words.  Overall, I really enjoy this song. They used to play a different version it during the seventh inning stretch at Braves game and it reminds me of my childhood going to the ballpark. The melody sounds similar to some of Jimmie Rodgers songs, with its guitar and sometimes steel guitars. Country and Blues songs usually tell stories and express the feelings and lives of the present day people. Another song with the country melody and sound is Hank Williams’ “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry.” Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers helped develop the style of singing called yodeling.

picture: http://www.texashighways.com/featured-events/item/8143-45th-annual-bob-wills-day

Texas Flood” – Stevie Ray Vaughn – Blues

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This song was out in the 1980s and was written in the 1960s. To me, this song was slower but very vibrant with the use of the electric guitar, which gave it a mixture of different styles in my opinion. For me, electric guitar reminds me more of rock and roll and this is a little toned down from that. This song is in a twelve bar blues form (AAB). There is a long introduction with just instrumentals and I think this sets the tone. This introduction is in the form of a four-bar guitar intro. There is a strong presence of drums and the electric guitar gives it a texture. The lyrics are sung at a slower rhythm and are really drawn out. He repeats most of his phrases at least 2 times and it overall tells a story but it takes a while to get all of the lyrics across. It’s about a flood in Texas and he’s just staying out in the rain because he can’t call anyone. I don’t necessarily think the words match with the rhythm and instrumentals behind the song.

While it is in the Blues section, it definitely incorporates some techniques from the rock-and-roll era with the electric guitar. It has the twelve-bar blues form though. The 60s-80s was a time period where people were finding their own expression and pushed the limits. You can see the mixing of styles in this song.

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“Preachin’ Blues” – Robert Johnson – Blues

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This song is from the 1930s and you can tell it’s an older song. The singing has soul to it and it tells a story, similar to country music. It utilizes the bottleneck style, which is when you slide over the strings of the guitar with the broken top of a bottle. It mimics the sound of a whaling voice and gives the vocalist an extra accompaniment. There is more variability in his singing and you don’t necessarily know which way it’s going to go. This blues song sounds more country and reminds me of an older song that would be sung out on the farm. The way Johnson uses the guitar allows him to add his own style which became more recognized throughout the rest of the century. His style influenced many other musicians later in time. It also follows the twelve bar blues form (AAB).

Many notable musicians have covered this song, including The Rolling Stones and Led Zepellin. He carved the way for many famous rock-and-rock singers of future generations. The use of the bottleneck is similar to the new technological sounds we see later in the song “Hyperprism.” People used what was around them and thew new advances to change music.

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Amazing Grace” – John Newton (Psalm/Hymn)

LifeOfNewton.jpgThis song is very familiar to me, as it was played every Thursday at chapel when I went to high school. It is prevalent in many movies and is a very popular tune. People often reference this song so nonchalantly that it is very involved in popular culture without even recognizing it. In this song you can hear the technique of lining out, in which the head singer sings the lyrics before the group and then they repeat the lyrics back. This is usually used in a group, unrehearsed setting. This song is usually sung in a church. This song reflects the period of the Usual Way. This was a way of passing down of religious songs during colonial America. Lining out was used because the leader would have to trigger the memories of the crowd because there were limited books to be read from. The version the listening guide has a very slow tempo. The words are very powerful and I think they match the slower pace of the song.

This uses characters similar to those used in spiritual music. Lining out is similar to call and response, and this was used because many people didn’t know how to read. It was an easier way to verbally pass down these songs and the traditions that lay behind them. This ultimately led to slower paced songs along with many songs with similar tunes that were easy to remember. I think this style of music also similarly relates to gospel music in the sense that it has religious themes and is usually sung in a religious setting, like church. “Amazing Grace” is a quintessential hymn that most people know despite their religion. Below is an example of a country singer performing this piece. It also shows that musicians of other genres can blend together their styles to make a different sounding piece.

picture: https://banneroftruth.org/us/store/history-biography/life-of-john-newton/

“Swing Down, Chariot” – Golden Gate Quartet (Gospel)

Golden_Gate_8120731_PG.jpgI have heard this song before and it is usually more solemn and in a slower tempo with less musical accompaniment. The version by the Golden Gate Quartet was a different version and I really enjoyed it. This is an example of a Black Gospel song during the 1930s. This style has some characteristics from the blues and jazz. The gospel quartet was a group of 4 men who sang in harmony without musical instruments. This type of music usually began slow and finished with a more rhythmic finish. In the version of the song by the Golden Gate Quartet, they used some instruments, including piano, guitar, bass, and drums, but they also used their voices to mimic some other sounds. The song starts out rather slow and speeds up throughout the entire song. I think this makes it a little dramatic at the beginning and builds the suspense. It also makes the ending fun and joyous, because this is a very spiritual song.

At the beginning of the 1900s, black gospel quartets became very prevalent. They came out of the boom of gospel songs and choirs. However, these quartets have faster rhythms and include more instruments. Black artists were also paving their wave in jazz and blues styles and groups of singers became more popular. Their sound takes parts from jazz and R&B. This gospel style is typically seen in churches and other religious settings which is similar to psalms.

Picture: http://www.musicweb-international.com/nostalgia/2004/Jan04/Golden_Gate.htm

Wondrous Love – Anonymous IV (Psalm/Hymn)

Wondrous-Love.pngThis song wasn’t my favorite and had a different style. In my opinion, it’s a little harsh sounding to the ear. This song displays elements of the regional folk characteristics that were introduced during its time. “Wondrous Love” exemplifies the use of austere open consonances, where it is played in a stricter or straightforward manner. It is very simple in texture and there are no ostentatious instruments or jumping around in pitch and notes. The tune is in tenor. It almost sounds like it is being sung in a round. It is a very religious song and I can imagine it being played in a church or during a religious service. It is hard for me to listen to the words because the voices almost sound like screeching and it is not a soothing song.

This is different from the hymn we heard earlier, “Amazing Grace.” It seems much slower and it is sung at a much higher pitch. However, it is similar in the way that it has the same tune throughout the whole song. Lyrics are also very repeated which has been prevalent in most songs we have observed so far.

Picture: https://www.sacredheart.edu/aboutshu/news/newsstories/2012/march/shu-choirs-to-present-wondrous-love.html

Yankee Doodle Boy” – Little Johnny Jones: Richard Perry – Musical

126dc1016e5cca9e003d4ce3bf35f705.jpgI really enjoyed this song. I have heard “Yankee Doodle” growing up, so this song sounded very familiar. It incorporated many different tunes and lyrics from other songs, including “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Dixie.” Its eclectic lyrics reflect the eclectic culture of America, which is fitting because this is a patriotic song. It has a very fast pace and sounds almost like a march song. It seems very “American,” with references to Uncle Sam and Yankees. I feel like this would have been very patriotic during its time and would unite a group of people together. The piano and drums are very prominent and give it a marching band vibe. I think all the rhyming words are also fun and gives it a bounce. The melody is simple and repeats and is easy to follow along. The tune has carried on through popular culture and is very recognizable.

This song is meant to stir up a sense of nationalism and unite a group of people. In a way this is like the spiritual songs that African Americans brought over to the Americas because it gave everyone a common ground to bond over. This song appears in the musical Little Johnny Jones and is reflects the way American musicals were straying off. Some people often dance to this song so it ties back into songs made for dancing, like Western swings.

Picture: https://www.pinterest.com/desertglitter/americana/

Cool” (West Side Story) – Leonard Bernstein – Musical

o-west-side-story-original-broadway-facebook.jpgThis song comes from the musical West Side Story, which takes on a plot similar to Romeo and Juliet. This musical came out in 1957. It incorporates many styles of music, including jazz, rock, and Latin. The beginning of the song has a mysterious tone to it, using many instruments to give it many different layers. A big aspect of the changing musical was the inclusion of dancing and different choreography. I can imagine people on stage moving around the stage when I hear this song. I can see people interacting and snapping along. You can hear the jazz aspect in the song with the use of the saxophone. This song doesn’t sound typical of this time and you can tell there’s a story behind it. It’s made for the stage because he’s basically singing the dialogue instead of simply speaking it. I like all the different instruments used to give it some complexity and different ranges.

Because this song is written for a musical, there is definitely a story behind the lyrics. This is similar to opera because the words and script are sung instead of spoken. Musicians, like George Gershwin, wrote music for musicals and he is also mentioned in the topic on American Classical Music. The jazz and Latin music are used to represent each group of people in the play. The jazz reflects the white gang and the Latin music represents the Puerto Rican gang. Other styles of music often stereotype groups of people also. For example, some country music is referred to as hillbilly music and many people envision rednecks out on the farm singing it. Others may relate gospel music with black choirs. Music can represent groups of people whether it is accurate or not.

Picture: https://illustrateher.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/you-want-to-live-in-this-lousy-world-play-it-cool/

“It Ain’t Necessarily So” – George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Dorothy Howard – Opera

You can tell this is an older song. It reflects the beginning styles of the opera, in which lines of the actors are sung, not spoken. This song uses call in response, in which the lead singer sings first and the others respond with those lyrics. It goes from slow to fast and back to slow again. It tells a story because this style is usually seen in plays. It seems very relevant to the time it was written and shows the authenticity of the time. I think it makes the song go by slower when they use call and response and it’s not my favorite. But overall, it has a really pretty sound to it and I think it was very important for its time.

Operas used dancing, singing, and acting. They utilized different folk elements and idioms that helped distinguish it from European opera culture. “It Ain’t Necessarily So” comes from the opera Porgy and Bess and shows the close connection between the operas and musicals of this time. This song almost has a blues feel, with the low and steady rhythm.Porgy&Bess.jpg

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gershwin.jpg“Rhapsody in Blue” – George Gershwin – American Classical Music

I remember this piece very well and I remember its smooth and elegant beginning. However, the longer you listen to it you encounter some dissonance and a grandiose climax. The piano part sometimes seems like it is not playing along with the other instruments. After finishing this course and learning about all the different styles, I can definitely hear the blending of jazz elements along with the classical music characteristics. “Rhapsody in Blue,” is a jazz concerto piece that is meant to be played by the piano. There are many solo parts for many different instruments, including the clarinet, trumpet, and piano. I like how it used a crescendo and got gradually louder; this builds the song up and creates a type of anticipation for the listener. It also includes cadenzas, which are long improvisation parts during the solos.

Gershwin’s parents were Russian immigrants and he lived in the eclectic state of New York. This is fitting that he incorporated multiple different styles into his music. Gershwin helped introduce both operas and musicals to an American setting and was very influential.

picture: http://masterworksbroadway.com/artist/george-gershwin/

“Appalachian Spring” – Aaron Copland – American Classical Music

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This was another piece I really enjoyed. This song is included in Copland’s trilogy of ballet scores. It is a modern dance score and has a melody that is very simple and pretty. It’s soft and has an elegant feeling to it. It could represent the simplicity of life and this was often played during sacred dances. Copland’s music is very well known today and everyone has probably heard his work even if they are not aware. There are parts where it grows louder and is very strong (the climax), but then there are parts where it becomes very soft. The first half of the song sets the stage for the climax of the song and builds up for the last portion of the song.

Copland changed the way music was played and wanted to express what he was feeling in few words. He got inspiration from jazz, cowboy tunes, and Shaker hymns. I can imagine going to a ballet or a play and having people dance to this song on stage. “Appalachian Spring” came out about 20 years after “Rhapsody in Blue” but I can still hear some similarities in the melodies.

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“Hyperprism” – Edgard Varése – Modernism

Varése was an immigrant to the US. He composed during a period known as the Machine Age because new technologies were being created and new artificial sounds were being used. Orchestras were made up of flutes, piccolos, clarinets, horns, trumpets, and trombones, and this new era added instruments like the anvil, a slapstick, rattles, bells, and sirens. The song “Hyperprism” is very loud and incorporates all of these new sounds. There climaxes when the drum is very powerful with the loud sirens, and then there are quiet parts with the conventional flutes. I don’t think there was one constant melody because there were so many different things going on. I could hear some dissonance between all the sounds and it didn’t sound like they should go together. It also has very distinct timbres. He recombines different timbres, or tone colors, and gives the listeners something new to comprehend.

Varése came during the time of new technological innovations. His music has such a distinct sound because it uses these new instruments and machines. This song sounds like it could be apart of a film score. Its texture makes it perfect for the background of a movie and helps place the setting and tells a story. This style really set the stage for current electronica music and EDM.

picture: https://thefrogweb.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/raw/

Overall, music is related in more aspects than it’s not. Common themes in music include religion, freedom, love, hardship, and much more. You can see these themes in all styles of music from country all the way to gospel. It’s also neat to see how all of the styles developed from each other. Most music comes back and relates to folk music and spirituals. From there, immigration, expansion, and traveling took music across the world and allowed for subtle changes to be made. Many traditions were passed verbally and folklore continued in the American South. Country music became popularized in the south and helped spread all types of music. Blues is the most universal style of music and has the most constant form. Many other styles have Blues qualities to it and this is the most recognized. Country music led to Blues, which paved the way for later rock music. Hip-hop emerged from rock music and then later technological advances spurred EDM and new forms of music. Todays musicians are still heavily influenced by people of the 1900s and even earlier. Music never dies but continues to grow as a whole and with characteristics and techniques from earlier generations.

Music Reflection

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Music is played all over the world; it is universal and is a mode to unite people. As music came to America, it slightly changed and had new characteristics added to it. America is known as the melting pot due to all of the eclectic people and cultures and this gives its music another dimension. It brings together many different styles and makes it into something new.

George Gershwin was very influential in making American Classical music; he incorporated some characteristics of jazz into his concert pieces. His song “Rhapsody in Blue” came out in 1924 and was very different for its time. It is a jazz concerto piece that is meant to be played by the piano. There are many solo parts for many different instruments, including the clarinet, trumpet, and piano. Sometimes the piano sounds like it is in dissonance and doesn’t go with the overall flow of the piece. The keys are not in harmony. There are also parts of crescendo where it gets gradually louder.


All of this “Americanized” music created the Golden Age of Hollywood. This was during the 1930-1960 ages when the movie industry boomed along with the music played in them. Film scores, which are different from soundtracks, are the orchestral music played in the film. These tended to be classical compositions with orchestras. The soundtracks were made up of the more popular songs played in the films. The music in a film can make or break it. For example, the orchestral music in Star Wars can build up a scene and can set the context. The scores were composed by John Williams. His music is filled with leitmotifs, which are musical melodies used to represent people, ideas, and emotions. Its powerful sound can set the context of grandiosity. One certain sound or song can be used to represent a specific character. For example, the “Imperial March” is used to represent Darth Vader. Another example is Harry Potter, with its light sound portraying innocence or its deep booming sound demonstrating the dark characters. Music can control how the audience feels, when they feel it, and controls practically everything. These scores have a lot of similarities with Classical music, however the music usually originates with the script rather than the composer. The composer does not have as much independence and authority as he does in Classical music. Also, the music was later added to the films. The scenes were not filmed with the music playing.


Lastly, Afro-American music refers to the music created by those of African ancestry. It became extremely relevant during the Black Power movement of the 1960s. It utilizes characteristics of early jazz music and can use a ragtime rhythm. It also includes banjos and sometimes uses components of the Blues style. Oftentimes it can be considered program music, which is instrumental music that does not include lyrics. The music is developed based on solely sounds, and these sounds create the story themselves. An example of this style is William Grant Still’s “Afro American Symphony.”

 

History of the Blues

258c97b4300c3d30cedf94e4c046c728.jpgIn 1865, the Civil War ended with the North defeating the South. This war abolished slavery; however, these former slaves still didn’t have many rights and suffered through hard living conditions. Everywhere you went, you would see men with guitars whether they were on the streets, in shops, or in their homes. Music became an outlet for people, a different way for them to express themselves and to share their stories. Because these former slaves did not have an education, they couldn’t read and did not have much money to go to school. They taught themselves how to play instruments and learned songs by ear.

The Blues style began in the South, most specifically the Mississippi delta, and later spread all over the country. The Blues was very different from other genres of music in that it had a pretty standard form with little variation. It typically follows a 12-beat form and has the textual form AAB. It’s a 3-verse lyric with 3 stanzas each containing four beats. The first and second stanzas are the same while the third stanza is different. This pattern can be inverted but it is not done often. The four basic chords are also usually playing in a major key. Because the Blues came from the freed slaves, many popular themes of the songs include love, loss, jealousy, discrimination, and death. Anything was possible when writing these songs and they were a way for them to express their sorrows and to let loose.

By the end of the 19th century, blacks began to be integrated into society and this helped a new style of the blues emerge. The train system began to represent their freedom, because they could move up to the North where they could hopefully make a living. According to the film, white people didn’t have the innate musical sense to play the blues, so the integration brought in new components. Songs became more sorrowful and filled with anguish. The Blues was originally limited to the ghettos, but it eventually entered the urban centers. Black people began to learn how to play white people’s instruments (“Story of the Blues” film). Words took a more secondary role. Because instruments became very expensive, people started to create their own instruments. The kazoo, jug, and washboard were all simple, household items used to imitate real instrumental sounds. The first blues and jazz recordings were done in Chicago, which ended up being a big refuge city. Music was created for specific races; white people created music for white people to listen to and black people created music for black people to listen to.


Blind Lemon Jefferson was the first to record his compositions. He had a special inflection in his voice that made him stand out to his listeners. One of his notable songs

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is “Prison Cell Blues.” It is not in the typical 12-bar form, but rather an 8-bar form. Its lyrics are also in the AB form rather than the AAB form. Female singers did not appear until the 20th century. For example, Memphis Minnie started her career in Memphis, Tennessee and was an example of women supplementing their music with a side job in prostitution (Wikipedia). This was very common for female musicians back in the day and there was even a legal block for prostitution to keep in controlled (“Story of the Blues” film). One of her popular songs is “True Love.” Louis Armstrong was another influential musician coming out of New Orleans. He helped move the focus of music towards solo performances (Wikipedia). He was also a scat singer, which is style of singing without using words. Its improvisation with syllables that don’t form words.

 

71RYBWPQm3L._SL1050_.jpgThe Blues form tapered off into different genres, including: country blues, delta blues, and Texas blues. Jazz is another type of music that came from the Blues. It brought in new possibilities and the voices gave a more personal inflection that was passed down to the instruments. No black musician was considered a good musician without being able to play a good Blues song (“Story of the Blues” film). Later on, small groups and orchestras emerged. Black dance orchestras became popular with the help of James Reese Europe in the beginning of the 1900s. He started the Clef Club Orchestra, which united more than one hundred black musicians and included guitars, mandolins, and banjos.


In one part of the film, music was being played with the visual of a stormy day and you can faintly hear the rain and some thunder. The blues sound has the tone of a rainy day and can be very calming and soothing. But this rain also represents their sorrow and the suffering caused after the war. I enjoyed the back story of the origins of the Blues music. I think learning how the music originated helps listeners appreciate it more and understand its depth. There have been so many influential musicians and it’s interesting that their form is pretty consistent. Other styles of music tend to have a lot of variety but the Blues stays constant for the most part.

Music: Reflection

This class has raised many questions regarding music, its style, its history, and its influence over the society. I might not have even thought of some of the discussion questions that have been brought up and it’s great to see everyone’s points of view. It gives you a different perspective and gives you new ideas that might not have been thought of alone.

One of my favorite topics so far has been music as an advocacy for change. We can be so blind to the influence music holds over our lives. Musicians and singers use their talent and stardom to advocate for the people. They are role models and icons and their words have a lot of power in them. Songs tell stories and can be very reflective of the time period.


The example I used was the song “Where is the Love” by the Black Eyed Peas. This song came out in 2003 and it discusses the issues of discrimination, hate, and hypocrisy. They say “to discriminate only generates hate” and everyone is “distracted by the drama” (genius.com). With todays technology, many songs are accompanied by music videos which enhance the power of the songs. The music video for “Where is the Love” puts images and videos with its words and shows the issues they are talking about. A picture is worth a thousand words. Over 10 years later, the Black Eyed Peas put out a new version of their song that incorporates even more artists and is updated on current issues. With all of the shootings and terrible events happening in the world, the song is even more prevalent than ever. This song brings to light the issues at hand and makes people talk about them.


Relating to the Civil Rights Movement topic of the class, Aretha Franklin came out with her song “Respect” in 1965 (Wikipedia). This song became very influential during the Feminist Movement. It is an empowering song and Franklin changed the way for domineering sexual authority (Rolling Stones). Her voice spoke for the thousands of women who couldn’t speak out about the issue and she also empowered many women who might not have stood up for themselves. She sings, “All I’m askin’ is for a little respect.” This time was fighting for women’s rights and they wanted to be treated equally. This song refers to women as strong and independent and its fast tempo gives it an anthem-like feel.


Sources:

https://genius.com/The-black-eyed-peas-where-is-the-love-lyrics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respect_(song)

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/500-greatest-songs-of-all-time-151127/aretha-franklin-respect-36873/

Music in Civil Rights Movement

The Civil Rights Movement took place between 1954 and 1968 (Wikipedia) and fought to give African Americans their necessary rights. The beginning of the film goes into the segregation that occurred in the deep south, mainly Mississippi and Alabama. This period was a very difficult time and music was an outlet to share ideas and also as a way to feel connected with other people.   selma_march_cover.jpg

The film interviews African Americans who lived through this Civil Rights period and they share their experiences with music and their hardships. The songs in the film are very spiritual and reflect the ideas of freedom. They include rebellious songs that empower many people and gives them the confidence to pursue their dreams. The music during this movement gave people an identity. It reflects the future and has hopeful tones. They sung about overcoming the adversity and what the future could hold. Some songs later became known as songs of the movement and reflected their journey.

To me, many of the songs sounded like stereotypical gospel songs that would be sung in churches. They were full of energy and spirit and told stories. The lyrics were meaningful and got people riled up to fight the cause. Many of the songs were later known as coming from this period in time, and I think this is very reflective of the capacity they held over people and others even knowing their meaning.

You can never take songs away from the people, and music was a way for them to share their souls. Songs and music were modes of communications and were ways for people to express themselves. Music unites people and gives everyone a common ground to gather togethermlkjr_wide-3392e29850b9316426c0e457d9874673a2dfba28-s900-c85.jpg; it forms a community where everyone is accepted.

I can’t imagine living through this period in history. I think it’s so important to learn about the past and hear everyone’s points of view. It’s so hard to imagine some of the stories told, but it was a serious part of history and it’s necessary to hear all of these stories. I loved hearing how music was a method for people to survive. It gave people a light and a means to come together and fight for each other. Community is everything and the power behind them is incredible.

A singer that came out of this era was Aretha Franklin. Her song “Respect” was a prominent song for the Women’s Movement and is another example of how music can unit a front and bring about change. It is so empowering and is still very well known today.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_rights_movement

Amazing Grace – A Tradition

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“Amazing Grace” was written by John Newton in the late 1700s as a hymn. His writing abilities help historians connect with him and his stories revealed some deep truths. Newton grew up during a prime time for the slave trade. He spent time on boats that brought slaves from their native lands to foreign countries. This period in his life spurred his interest in God, which consequentially brought him to write his hymns. The lyrics of “Amazing Grace” reflect his struggles and coming to see the truth.

This film is a great representation of how many people this song affects. Most people know this song without even realizing it. It is thought of with much ease and tends to be recognized automatically. It triggers memories and evokes traditions. This song reaches a wide variety of people and it has a different meaning for everyone. This video really demonstrates all the different people who take meaning to this song and appreciate its depth. It goes back for generations and the tradition held with this song is rich. Different families tell their stories of what it means to them and stories behind it. A woman in the video describes it as bringing about “another dimension” (Amazing Grace: The Story of a Song). This song really helps people push through hard times and brings a light to people’s lives.

“Amazing Grace” is usually sung in a church and can have a religious sentiment for many. However, it is also played in more casual settings. The film even depicts some prisoners who tell the meaning of the song to them and how it gets them through. Some people in the film mention singing it while working and it helped get them through the day. It can be sung anywhere and can be sung in a variety of ways.

It is a very open-ended song. One person in the video comments that it can be applicable to almost any situation you put it in (Amazing Grace: The Story of a Song). It can bring communities, families, and friends together under a common ground. The people in the video give their interpretations of the lyrics and it all depends on how you look at it. The song was originally sung very straightforward and slower, but the melody has changed over the years and people add different notes to make it their own. I think the song is so powerful because the people who sing it put so much energy into it. You can feel the emotion in the lyrics and it has the power to make even the toughest men cry. I think it’s so bare and honest that you can take the song as you wish. It gives you goose bumps and it can make a huge difference in your life.

It is so interesting to me to see how one song can influence so many and in so many different ways. For some, singing these hymns bring about tears and it really hits home. For others, it has a mystical element that puts them in a trance. The music brings people and families together and is rich in tradition. I love how the song has been adapted throughout the years. It was written so long ago but is still applicable and has had much time to be changed or personalized. I loved watching the different stories this song brings up for all these people. There is not one strict meaning and everyone in the entire world can find it effective. We can be so closed-minded and not understand the importance and extremity of cultures, but everyone is connected by this one song.