Music in the United States
to its diversity, popular music in the United States today
challenges simple description. The history of popular music
in the 1970s and '80s is basically that of rock music which
has grown to include hundreds of musical styles. New styles
such as folk, salsa, new wave, funk, reggae, heavy metal, acid
rock, punk rock, rap, hip hop, acid jazz and world music have
developed. Country rock, a fusion of country and western and
rock 'n' roll, grew popular in the 1970s.
of rhythm and blues and gospel music came to be known as soul.
Disco, a repetitive dance music, and rap music are direct descendants.
Rap developed in the mid-1970s among African-American and Hispanic
performers in New York City. It generally consists of chanted,
often improvised, street poetry usually accompanied by disco
or funk music. The 1990s saw the birth of alternative music
or grunge. Techno, a style of dance music that gained popularity
in the 1990s, combines computer-generated, disco like rhythms
with digital samples.
music, there is a strong crossover phenomenon. Cultural influences
are much more readily available. The trend is not towards one
big homogeneous style, but rather an interesting meeting of
different influences in projects here and there. Whereas in
the past jazz, blues and country all came out of the roots
of black society and Appalachia, nowadays there are influences
from farther away. Musicians have become much more globally
aware of other kinds of music. A whole genre called "world
music," a sort of mix of ethnic music adapted to modern
western styles, has developed. It includes any ethnic music
that isn't big enough to have its own category.
in particular, have exerted an extraordinary hold for the past
two decades or so -- rap and its close cousin, hip-hop. Born
of inner-city poverty rap replaces sung melodies with rhythmically
punchy, mostly rhymed recitation set to an insistent beat.
Hip-hop uses many of the same features, but it is a more dance-driven,
rather than message-driven, phenomenon. Both styles have African-American
roots, but have been quickly embraced by white performers and
can be encountered today just about everywhere and in just
about any circumstance.
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