Another do my homework pit thread (kindof)
Im writing an essay on how music has affected american culture think colonial-present
I have a pretty good idea of 1920s on but anyone know how american popular music was way back then (not classical)..like minstrel shows ive heard?

TLDR: Gimme American music timeline: 1600-2010
It's the other way around.

American culture has affected music.

Quote by CrossBack7
Momie's like not even a real person, just an asian, lesbian spirit.
The Blues, seriously

Aaron Copland, a respected composer when the US wasn't know for it's great composers.

Why not classical?
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^

"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.

Well there's the star spangled banner...

I've learned that from March music Jazz was born, where there's the emphasis on one and three with march, and Jazz is the opposite.
^^i only have time to cover popular music, im already stretching how broad the topic is
MGM musicals (yeah the music all sounds the same, but it had quite an impact).

EDIT: Stephen Foster too, he's Civil War-era. Father of American popular music (Oh Susanna, for instance)

Last edited by jeffbecklad at Jun 3, 2010,
Well, in the past 40 years or so, it seems like whatever music is popular at the time also impacts popular culture. Think of the 60's, and the hippy movement, with psychiedlic music. Although I think that came more out of the drugs... Anyway, how about disco in the 70's? The music and the fashion that came along with it. Or punk rock in the late 70's. The fashion, attitude, and style that came out of that. Or the 80's glam rock/hair metal? Same thing happened with that. How about the early 90's grunge? Exact same thing. And now we have hip-hop/rap and all stuff going on. It's happening now too.

But before that, blues is the best way to go, as far as American culture goes. I'm not sure about country and folk, but that's been around for a while too. But really, before that, it was all classical music, you can't avoid it.
Last edited by IommiPage at Jun 3, 2010,
stephen fosters my current starting point, was there anything before him that was popular and effected culture directly?

i already googled it

and exactly man, im gonna talk about blues/black repression and church, jazz/20s, hippies, angst teens/grunge, etc
Thanks for the help so far all!
Quote by rockingamer2
The Blues, seriously

Aaron Copland, a respected composer when the US wasn't know for it's great composers.

Why not classical?

I'm a Gershwin freak, here's some of his thoughts: (All quotations are from "The George Gershwin Reader." ISBN 0-19-513019-7. Italics are from the text, I underlined really important phrases.)

"I was becoming acquainted with that which later I was to interpret-the soul of the American people. Having been born in New York and grown up among New Yorkers, I have heard the voice of that soul. It spoke to me on the streets, in school, at the theater. In the chorus of city sounds I heard it... Wherever I went I heard a concourse of sounds... Strains from the latest concert, the cracked tones of a hurdy-gurdy, the wail of a street singer, the obbligato of a broken violin, past or present music - I was hearing within me. Old music and new music, forgotten melodies and the craze of the moment, bits of opera, Russian folk songs, Spanish ballads, chansons, ragtime ditties combined in a mighty chorus in my inner ear. And through and over it all I heard, faint at first, loud at last, the soul of this great America of ours." (pg. 92-93)

"If I were an Asian or a European, suddenly set down by an aeroplane on this soil and listening with fresh ear to the American chorus of sounds, I should say that American life is nervous, hurried, syncopated, ever-accelerando, and slightly vulgar. I should use the word vulgar without intent of offense. There is a vulgarity that is newness. It is essential. The Charleston is vulgar. But it has a strength, an earthiness, that is an essential part of symphonic sound." (pg. 93)

"I do not know what the next decade will disclose in music. No composer knows. But to be true music it must repeat the thoughts and aspirations of the people and the time. My people are Americans. My time is today. Of tomorrow, and of my tomorrow, as an interpreter of American life in music, I am sure of but one thing: that the essence of future music will hold enough of the melody and harmony of today to reveal its origin. It will be sure to have a tincture of the derided yesterday, which has been accepted today and which perhaps tomorrow will be exalted - jazz." (pg. 94)

[written in 1929] "It is well-nigh impossible to speak about fifty years of American music, since it is my sincere belief that American music is not fifty years old. Of course, America has had its share of composers fifty years ago... but theirs is neither american music nor good music... For American music means to me something very specific, something very tangible. It is something indigenous, something autochthonous, something deeply rooted in our soil. It is music which must express the feverish tempo of American life. It must express the unique life we lead here - a life of weary activity - and our gropings and vain ideals. It must be a voice of the masses, a voice expressing our masses and at the same time immortalizing their strivings. In our music, we must be able to catch a glimpse of our skyscrapers, to feel that overwhelming burst of energy which is bottled in our life, to hear that chaos of noises which suffuses the air of our modern American city. This, I feel, must be in every American music. And American music as such can hardly be said to be fifty years old. At most, it has been existing for only thirty years." (pg. 114-115)

As you can see, Mr. Gershwin firmly believes that [1] American music has only really existed since the turn of the century - he terms the "great" Edward MacDowell, "a pale shadow of Brahms... an American throat singing with a German voice." (pg. 115) [2] That music does not change society, but rather is a mere reflection of the society in which it is created. and [3] that the "American society" is best reflected in "jazz" (which we should read as both Jazz and Blues, and all modern styles derived therefrom)

Gershwin is a fantastic songwriter, and you should really consider his views, imho. He is one of the few "popular music" writers who written extensively on defining American music. If you'd like I can PM you the rest of the two articles I quoted above. The first is "Jazz is the Voice of the American Soul" (about 4 pages long), and the second is "Fifty Years of American Music... Younger Composers, Freed from European Influences, Labor Toward Achieving a Distinctive American Musical Idiom" (about 2 pages).
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Jun 3, 2010,
Part II of my suggestion: You could discuss philosophically whether music CAN influence a society.

For example: you have the Baroque idea of the "Doctrine of Affections," which stated that certain melodies, keys, and rhythms expressed various emotions more effectively then others.

For example, If you had Key, melody, and rhythm A, B, and C.

Key A + Mel A + Rhy A would be suited for a Happy, energetic dance
Key A + Mel A + Rhy C would be suited for a joyous reflection on the beauty of life
Key C + Mel C + Rhy A would be suited for a "totentanze" or "dance of death," possibly a funeral march.

And so on and so forth. Clearly, this is a simplification, but you get the idea. If this theory holds, then music can not only make us feel specific, intended feelings, but it can actually create these feelings within us. This is much different from bringing out an emotion that is already there. For example, its clear that certain types of music can appeal to our "romantic" sides and seem to inspire us; but it is not-so-clear as to whether music can actually transform us in-and-of-itself from a state of melancholy to a state of inspired hope. Most would hold that it can only bring out, not create.

If music cannot create emotions, but only bring emotions that are firmly in place to the surface, then it is literally impossible for music to affect society in any "real" sense. At the most, it would be only able to arouse our feelings in a profound way (but again, since those feelings are already present, just hidden, this is not really doing much to "revolutionize our society").

Therefore, if music cannot create emotions, but only reveal them, then it is impossible for music to affect society. The question should then be arguing as to whether or not music can create, or only reflect, emotions in a society.