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MLE

Rock Music

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I'm curious and would like to ask you all:

What comes to mind when you think 'rock music'?

Can you define what 'rock music' is? - Is it just a sound or is it something more...?

Where did it come from and why?

Edited by MLE

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The best I can propose is this: The impossibility of a simple definition is why we have rock history, why it moves and changes. It's a movement of actual people, a cultural phenomenon and the only way to find out what it is and can be is to experiment with it. That's what Led Zeppelin did, and what every great Rock & Roll band has done. It originally came from a certain meeting-point of influences in the U.S.A. in the fifties, became influential elsewhere, especially in the U.K., and then developed from there.

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The best I can propose is this: The impossibility of a simple definition is why we have rock history, why it moves and changes. It's a movement of actual people, a cultural phenomenon and the only way to find out what it is and can be is to experiment with it. That's what Led Zeppelin did, and what every great Rock & Roll band has done. It originally came from a certain meeting-point of influences in the U.S.A. in the fifties, became influential elsewhere, especially in the U.K., and then developed from there.

So rock (or music in general, really) is relative to it's social environment. Can you define what this movement/cultural phenomenon is or what it represents?

Edited by MLE

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Rock music is a genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States.[1][2][3] It has its roots in 1940s' and 1950s' rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical sources.

Musically, rock has centered around the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with bass guitar and drums. Typically, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature utilizing a verse-chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse and common musical characteristics are difficult to define. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political in emphasis. The dominance of rock by white, male musicians has been seen as one of the key factors shaping the themes explored in rock music. Rock places a higher degree of emphasis on musicianship, live performance, and an ideology of authenticity than pop music.

By the late 1960s, referred to as the "golden age"[1] or "classic rock"[2] period, a number of distinct rock music sub-genres had emerged, including hybrids like blues rock, folk rock, country rock, and jazz-rock fusion, many of which contributed to the development of psychedelic rock influenced by the counter-cultural psychedelic scene. New genres that emerged from this scene included progressive rock, which extended the artistic elements;glam rock, which highlighted showmanship and visual style; and the diverse and enduring major sub-genre of heavy metal, which emphasized volume, power, and speed. In the second half of the 1970s, punk rock both intensified and reacted against some of these trends to produce a raw, energetic form of music characterized by overt political and social critiques. Punk was an influence into the 1980s on the subsequent development of other sub-genres, including new wave, post-punk and eventually the alternative rock movement. From the 1990s alternative rock began to dominate rock music and break through into the mainstream in the form of grunge, Britpop, and indie rock. Further fusion sub-genres have since emerged, including pop punk, rap rock, and rap metal, as well as conscious attempts to revisit rock's history, including the garage rock/post-punk and synthpop revivals at the beginning of the new millennium.

Rock music has also embodied and served as the vehicle for cultural and social movements, leading to major sub-cultures including mods androckers in the UK and the hippie counterculture that spread out from San Francisco in the US in the 1960s. Similarly, 1970s punk culture spawned the visually distinctive goth and emo subcultures. Inheriting the folk tradition of the protest song, rock music has been associated with political activism as well as changes in social attitudes to race, sex and drug use, and is often seen as an expression of youth revolt against adultconsumerism and conformity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_music

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A very DELicate question,

Gotta think about it some more.

I don't think the question is as delicate as the answer is intricate, which Otto Masson noted.

Basically, reswati, what does rock music mean to you?

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Rock music is a genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States.[1][2][3] It has its roots in 1940s' and 1950s' rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical sources.

Musically, rock has centered around the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with bass guitar and drums. Typically, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature utilizing a verse-chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse and common musical characteristics are difficult to define. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political in emphasis. The dominance of rock by white, male musicians has been seen as one of the key factors shaping the themes explored in rock music. Rock places a higher degree of emphasis on musicianship, live performance, and an ideology of authenticity than pop music.

By the late 1960s, referred to as the "golden age"[1] or "classic rock"[2] period, a number of distinct rock music sub-genres had emerged, including hybrids like blues rock, folk rock, country rock, and jazz-rock fusion, many of which contributed to the development of psychedelic rock influenced by the counter-cultural psychedelic scene. New genres that emerged from this scene included progressive rock, which extended the artistic elements;glam rock, which highlighted showmanship and visual style; and the diverse and enduring major sub-genre of heavy metal, which emphasized volume, power, and speed. In the second half of the 1970s, punk rock both intensified and reacted against some of these trends to produce a raw, energetic form of music characterized by overt political and social critiques. Punk was an influence into the 1980s on the subsequent development of other sub-genres, including new wave, post-punk and eventually the alternative rock movement. From the 1990s alternative rock began to dominate rock music and break through into the mainstream in the form of grunge, Britpop, and indie rock. Further fusion sub-genres have since emerged, including pop punk, rap rock, and rap metal, as well as conscious attempts to revisit rock's history, including the garage rock/post-punk and synthpop revivals at the beginning of the new millennium.

Rock music has also embodied and served as the vehicle for cultural and social movements, leading to major sub-cultures including mods androckers in the UK and the hippie counterculture that spread out from San Francisco in the US in the 1960s. Similarly, 1970s punk culture spawned the visually distinctive goth and emo subcultures. Inheriting the folk tradition of the protest song, rock music has been associated with political activism as well as changes in social attitudes to race, sex and drug use, and is often seen as an expression of youth revolt against adultconsumerism and conformity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_music

Hey, thanks a lot, weslgarlic! :lol: This reminds me of a story: The other day this man came up to me with two paper trapezoids. One was red, the other was blue and he says:

"Look at these two pieces of paper, can you tell me which one is bigger?"

"They're both the same size."

"You take the fun right out of it." :lol:

Inheriting the folk tradition of the protest song, rock music has been associated with political activism as well as changes in social attitudes to race, sex and drug use, and is often seen as an expression of youth revolt against adultconsumerism and conformity.

Are there any examples of this currently in rock music? I guess since some consider Lady Gaga a Rock Star, so she may qualify because of her Gay Rights work. Can we think of any more...?

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To me rock music was always edgier, louder and more instrument driven than pop.

I know some will disagree but I think guitars are important to defining what is rock music.

I think the rhythm section is just as important, I think loudness does not the rock group make, it is much more complex than that.

I think composition is important in defining what is rock.

I think rock is more complex, less sugar-coated and less snappy than pop.

Rock has an edge, a growl and balls, where pop doesn't!

I think there are many instances where rock borders on pop.

I think there are less instances where pop borders on rock!

I consider GaGa talented in her own vein, she is edgy and pushes the envelope, she writes her own stuff, plays an instrument or two very well, but i still consider her extremely pop.

I consider Madonna very pop.

Most rock groups I own and listen to whole albums at one sitting all the way through!

Most pop I listen to one song at a time on the rare instance i listen to the radio and i do not ever buy pop music.

I could go on and on, and in the end this is all just my opinion and interpretation.

I do know this, I know rock when I hear it.

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Like pornography/obscenity...hard to define but you know it when you see it.

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Hmmm, rock can run the gamut from Elvis, to The Ventures, to The Kingsmen, to The Beatles, to The Stones, to Love, to Hendrix, to Blue Cheer, to Janis & Big Brother, to Bad Company, to Black Sabbath, to Dire Straits, to Pink Floyd, to Metallica, and on and on and on and on............ It's quite a menagerie. :^)

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Like pornography/obscenity...hard to define but you know it when you see it.

Yes, but I am afraid one person's Rubens is another person's Mapplethorpe (and versa vice)! :D

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Thank you for your analysis, Bayougal. I noticed your use of 'was' here:

To me rock music was always edgier, louder and more instrument driven than pop.

Do you believe that is no longer the case today...?

two very well, but i still consider her extremely pop.
I consider Madonna very pop.

Okay, so maybe you'd be able to answer for me, in your opinion, why is it people call her a Rock Star (and others like her) if her music is not of rock genre, but extremely pop, as you said.

I do know this, I know rock when I hear it.

Like pornography/obscenity...hard to define but you know it when you see it.

Absolutely. But it would be easier to identify rock music if we knew what that thing we 'know' we're hearing exactly is. Is a sound, is it the musicians, is it the movement/cultural phenomenon, like Otto Masson and Weslgarlic (wikipedia) pointed out? What...?

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Another question:

The band Breaking Benjamin, for example, is called a rock band. I didn't think 'rock music' nor did I hear that 'thing' when I heard Breaking Benjamin. What exactly makes them a rock band? Are they Rock Stars?

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Hmmm, rock can run the gamut from Elvis, to The Ventures, to The Kingsmen, to The Beatles, to The Stones, to Love, to Hendrix, to Blue Cheer, to Janis & Big Brother, to Bad Company, to Black Sabbath, to Dire Straits, to Pink Floyd, to Metallica, and on and on and on and on............ It's quite a menagerie. :^)

Agreed. But The Ventures sound is vastly different from that of Metallica, so if they're both 'rock music', then what is it that ties them together in that genre?

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Thank you for your analysis, Bayougal. I noticed your use of 'was' here:

Do you believe that is no longer the case today...?

Okay, so maybe you'd be able to answer for me, in your opinion, why is it people call her a Rock Star (and others like her) if her music is not of rock genre, but extremely pop, as you said.

Absolutely. But it would be easier to identify rock music if we knew what that thing we 'know' we're hearing exactly is. Is a sound, is it the musicians, is it the movement/cultural phenomenon, like Otto Masson and Weslgarlic (wikipedia) pointed out? What...?

You asked, Do you believe that is no longer the case today...?

I believe we have been living in the "cult of personality" age for well over 30 years now and it is harder for me to find rock music that I like.

So much "Rock" music sounds alike to me... And borders on pop!

Maybe I am finally turning into the old lady with the cane screaming, "You call that music, dammit?"

For example, I liked the first full album by Rival Sons, Before the Fire. I would say they are rock!

Their last few albums (I bought them), not so much.

I think they are trying too hard.

I loved Jack White's solo album Blunderbuss. But is it rock? I say yes, but i know many would very much disagree with me!

But I sure don't think it is pop! Lol

I like some songs by The Winery Dogs, but not all.

I sort of like The Black Keys, El Camino.

To me their sound has changed dramatically!

I loved the guitar on Little Black Submarines... But Gold On The Ceiling to me was pure pop!

I love Alabama Shakes, but they are more a Blues Band. (I love most blues bands!)

Arcade Fire? My jury is still out, sometimes they sound like David Bowie, sometimes like really bad disco music, sometimes they are just brilliant!

Avenged Sevenfold (to me sounds just like Metallica)? Meh! Rock? yes, but not very original.

I LOVE Muse!! Yet, are they Rock?

Prog Rock?

Operatic Prog Rock? :D ???

I love Muse! Yeah, they are rock!

I could go on and on.

I think I am open to new music, but again my ear seems to not be so accommodating. :)

Why do they call GaGa a rock star?

She has a big personality and lives the life!

But she is know as a personality, and that personality and persona is as important as her music, if not MORE important!

I think my generations definition of a rock star and today's definition is worlds apart.

In my opinion, one of the differences is the putting of the personality before the music! The classic rock star (or at least the good ones) always tended to put the music first!

Pop stars put the persona front and center!

To me the boys of Zeppelin were way beyond any genre, they defied genre!

Rock, folk, country, eastern, blues!

But I don't think they would ever be classified as Pop.

So again you ask, what is Rock?

I know this isn't what you are looking for, but...it is as some of the others have said,

It is what each of us determine it to be!

I think that is the beauty of the music!

Edited for clarity ...after too much vino, maybe! :D

Edited by Bayougal65

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You asked, Do you believe that is no longer the case today...?

I believe we have been living in the "cult of personality" age for well over 30 years now and it is harder for me to find rock music that I like.

So much "Rock" music sounds alike to me... And borders on pop!

Maybe I am finally turning into the old lady with the cane screaming, "You call that music, dammit?"

No, Bayougal, I don't believe you're turning into that old lady (Hey, age is ONLY a number!), because I'm just a few years shy of 30 and I feel the same way! And yeah, I agree, for some time now music acts have been more dependent on their image than the music they make.

Is it possible that what they are calling 'rock music' today is ACTUALLY pop...?

For example, I liked the first full album by Rival Sons, Before the Fire. I would say they are rock!

Their last few albums (I bought them), not so much.

I think they are trying too hard.

I think I am open to new music, but again my ear seems to not be so accommodating. :)

In your estimation, if they're not producing music that is up to par with their first album, then what exactly is their motivation, or what happened?

Why do they call GaGa a rock star?

She has a big personality and lives the life!

But she is know as a personality, and that personality and persona is as important as her music, if not MORE important!

I think my generations definition of a rock star and today's definition is worlds apart.

In my opinion, one of the differences is the putting of the personality before the music! The classic rock star (or at least the good ones) always tended to put the music first!

Pop stars put the persona front and center!

I totally agree! You've thoroughly explained what a Pop Star is, but still I must ask, she's POP, why is it that they call her a Rock Star?? What the hell makes her 'Rock'? I really want to know! lol.

To me the boys of Zeppelin were way beyond any genre, they defied genre!

Rock, folk, country, eastern, blues!

But I don't think they would ever be classified as Pop.

:thumbsup:

So again you ask, what is Rock?

I know this isn't what you are looking for, but...it is as some of the others have said,

It is what each of us determine it to be!

I think that is the beauty of the music!

Edited for clarity ...after too much vino, maybe! :D

No, I think that is what I am looking for. I think the freedom to be your own person and have your own thoughts and ways has everything to do with Rock Music!

It was wonderful reading your thoughts. I have a decent bottle of Cab in my pantry, I'd give it to you just for sharing them with me!

:yourock:

I look forward to reading everyone's thoughts!

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Agreed. But The Ventures sound is vastly different from that of Metallica, so if they're both 'rock music', then what is it that ties them together in that genre?

I'd say the 4/4 beat. :^)

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I'd say the 4/4 beat. :^)

Hmm... not so sure time signature has much to do with it...

Any musicians here who can comment on this one?

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Sounds like someone has a term paper due and wants others to do the hard work for them, haha.

In musical terms:

In sociological terms:

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So rock (or music in general, really) is relative to it's social environment. Can you define what this movement/cultural phenomenon is or what it represents?

Hi again, MLE ... When I saw this a couple of days ago I thought, Jesus, that's a pretty sweeping question! But then I thought I could maybe limit my response to just a few remarks on a limited time-span. I really don't think there is a stable meaning here. It's ever changing, as I implied in my first response on this thread.

The history of rock has been pretty interesting. It was of course an American phenomenon to begin with. The musical background of Rock & Roll lies I think in a somewhat chaotic meeting of different strands of the extremely rich popular music traditions of America – I am not really sure there‘s any point in trying to define that ... there is an interesting book by Robert Palmer called Rock & Roll: An Unruly History – he was an extremely knowledgeable musical critic, but also a musician and lived through those times. He says it hardly even mattered what the musicians called themselves – they just came together and new sounds would develop. One thing it certainly involved was black musical influences cutting across racial barriers and reaching white musicians and white audiences, perhaps mainly the blues and various related types of music. Even within the first generation of American rockers there was a great deal of diversity. But here‘s the thing, by 1960 Rock & Roll seemed to be left just about completely paralyzed, with most of its leaders out of the loop for different reasons. Let‘s see whether I get all this right: Jerry Lee Lewis scandalized in 1958 – big time this time. Elvis Presley was drafted in the same year. Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens died in a plane crash in February 1959. Gene Vincent developed severe problems with alcohol in the late 1950‘s. Eddie Cochran died in a car crash in 1960. Chuck Berry went to jail in the same year. Carl Perkins‘s career took a dive and he succumbed to alcoholism after 1958. Rock history seemed to be over already. And it had only just started. The moment of bubblegum and the twist seemed to have arisen. (Palmer has another view of this era, which to me seems overly generous).

But was rock actually over by 1960? It had actually had offshoots in England where the Rock influence became one with the so-called skiffle movement in the fifties, especially in about 1956-1958. People often don‘t realize what that really signifies, but it was a huge mass musical movement amongst extremely young people – there were perhaps 30 thousand skiffle bands and outfits, and thus, obviously, thousands upon thousands of youngsters who had picked up instruments and learned to play - some more than others, of course. Absolutely astonishing. This was kind of like a reserve army after 1962, when The Beatles, themselves coming from that background, broke through; and there was also a blues scene, variously related to societies of record collectors, that really predated the skiffle craze. The Beatles became so big not just because of their very real brilliance, but also because they were part of something much bigger, an actual movement. They were in Liverpool, and traveled early to Hamburg. But there was another ongoing scene in London, and lots of bands in the midlands, in Manchester and elsewhere.

Now we are talking about the generation of baby-boomers here – young people were quite numerous in proportion to the rest of the population, and they had shared feeling and experiences to do with stifling conformism, the weight of the establishment, etc. Moreover, through the sixties real political openings seemed present as well, the irrationality of the war effort in Vietnam was plain to see, and most young people opposed it. This was immediately visible in the growing demos everywhere. For a while the world just seemed ready for the taking. And now, note this: the bands in the forefront of the musical movement weren‘t speaking to a certain part of the market at all – the people who like this, as opposed to the people who like that – but to everybody. They carried a sort of universal message. They probably never believed the older people would sympathise with what they had to say, but that could be discounted. They were on their way out, anyway. A better world was on the horizon. You could actually speak to „everybody“ in this sense – really meaning young people ... or those who had turned on, tuned in and dropped out, made love and not war, felt the young man blues ...

The Beatles and other British bands started flying over to America and play to young people there. They met old blues heroes, met other young musicians, often part of local scenes in the U.S. and just a lot of young people that understood where they were coming from. They could relate. The whole scene snowballed, and you start to get musical influences criss-crossing the ocean very rapidly. By 1966 the scene was no longer really containable as such within national borders, and the sheer musical fertility was utterly incredible. Once again, The Beatles were leaders – and Bob Dylan helped them play that role, as we all know. He in turn was influenced by the English musicians and wanted to go electric. You see how it works. So much was happening, at such a fast rate – constant revolutionizing of popular music every month, really. Just think about the records being released in 1967, 1968, 1969, and really until punk came through in England (1976). While rock music is still fertile, I think it‘s no exaggeration to say that this was a golden age – and the music is not likely to ever play a similar role again as it did in this period.

What I am getting at is this: you have two movements simultaneously among young people. The beginnings of a left political movement that was actually independent from both the Social Democrats and the official Communist movement; and a flowering cultural movement in especially music. Obviously this happened completely independently of any business interests - it just happened. And when the musicians started to realize just how much their music resonated with the other kids, they started to make demands. They wanted artistic control, and they wanted to actually see some of the money that the music was attracting. The Beatles wanted to develop their music freely, so did Led Zeppelin, right from the start – and this helped other bands to also get their way in dealing with record companies, promoters and the rest. What later happened with so-called progressive rock is completely incomprehensible unless you keep this background in mind, but it really affected the whole scene, it seems to me. The scene was still chaotic and all that, and everybody was of course trying to make a buck for themselves, but in retrospect the musicians had a moment of power and glory, as in many cases they could get away with doing pretty much what they wanted (of course, much later some people started to complain that they were self-absorbed, self-important and self-indulgent ... because they weren‘t playing the supposedly more honest three minute three chord punk songs that the people complaining about this wanted to hear). You didn‘t order Led Zeppelin about, or you‘d have Peter Grant to deal with!

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