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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Evolution of Music

I have many friends and many tastes in music. Some of my friends are into the hair bands of the 80s, others prefer the rock bands of the 70s and more love the music of today. I grew up on a mix of all that and more. I grew up on my parents' music - Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty, George Jones, Patsy Cline, The Platters, Elvis, Buddy Holly... I could go on, but I think you get the point. My father was a child of the 40s (born in 1943) and my mother is a child of the 50s (born in 1949) and they each grew up with their parents' music. My father turned 13 in 1956 and my mother was the same age in 1963. At 13, we begin to form our own opinions on music and develop our own tastes. I turned thirteen in 2001, and like my parents before me, made my own music choices and many of those choices have stayed with me.

A few of my friends have a grudge against a new genre known as “Country-Rap”. I, personally, don’t have a problem with it and I applaud the bravery of Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton to try something new and to evolve their music.

Music is forever evolving. Music started out as a series of simple chants until someone decided to add some instruments to those chants; drums, flutes made out of bone and added melodies to those chants. The oldest surviving work of music dates back to approximately 1400 BCE and was written on a clay tablet. It is called the Hurrian Song. Harps, flutes and early clarinets were used by the Old Kingdom Egyptians and music was said to have been invented by one of their gods, Thoth. Percussion, lyres and lutes were added were added during the Middle Kingdom and orchestras were created. During the Renaissance, voices were added and choirs sang hymns. During the Baroque period, operas were introduced as were more instruments – brass, woodwinds, the pipe organ, the harpsichord, clavichord… The world was also introduced to the composers Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, and later Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.

In the last century, the evolution of music sprang forward in leaps and bounds. Swing came around in the 20s and 30s with Jazz and Blues following very closely. Rock and Roll, Rockabilly and Country emerged in the 50s with Popular music (or Pop) emerging as a by-product of the 50s. From there, music branched off into subgenres – Blues Rock, Jazz-Rock, Heavy Metal, Punk Rock, Alternative, Progressive Rock… Without Bach and Beethoven, we wouldn’t have had Johnny Mercer, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, or Tommy Dorsey. Many solo artists performed with big bands; artists like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Doris Day or Peggy Lee. Jazz and Swing gave way to Motown. Blues gave way to Rock; Hip Hop was influenced by Disco; Reggae by Hip Hop and now we have fusions of several genres in one. We also have artists like Michael Bublé who have brought a renewed interest in the music of the 50s and 60s, which I think is something amazing.

Now, to get back to the “Country-Rap” point. Like I said, music is consistently changing and evolving. Much of today’s music I can’t really accurately put into any one genre because many artists use several in their music. The Backstreet Boys use a mix of Pop, Hip-Hop and Electronic in their music; Hanson incorporates influences of rock, blues, jazz… whatever their musical moods instruct them to go. So, it only makes sense that Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton are experimenting with the music they create. Some of my friends absolutely hate the direction Aldean and Shelton have taken their music, but I am open to it. Music will forever change and that’s the beauty of it. Music is a universal language, and like language, it is always evolving. And that’s a wonderful thing.