#1
The origin of rock music?
Most people asked this question will probably answer something along the lines of Chuck Berry, Elvis or Carl Perkins. Others might take it further and say that the blues is basically the same, but it came earlier. However, I’ve never heard anyone voice this opinion.

Firstly, I want to get rid of a very basic barrier. A barrier that rarely exists in other genres – and that is the instrumentation. In jazz, for instance, it doesn’t matter whether a piece is played by a saxophone and a guitar, or a bass-drums-piano trio, or a solo clarinet: what matters is the piece itself, and the playing style. The same goes for classical music – it can be a whole orchestra, or a wind quartet, or a violin solo. But in most people’s minds, rock music depends on four basic instruments: guitar, bass, drums and vocals, sometimes also a keyboard or piano.

Now, we can still find plenty of examples of rock songs without those four “crucial” instruments. Rock instrumentals are definitely a thing, so we can get vocals out of the way. Rock without drums is pretty rare; however Peter Hammill’s “The Lie” and “Modern” are pretty fine examples of how rocking a song could be, even without drums. Rock without guitar does exist widely: Royal Blood come to mind, but there are also plenty of Radiohead and Queen songs that don’t feature any guitar at all. There aren’t many examples of rock music without bass, but The Doors’ live performances have finely proved that it’s not completely necessary.









So we’ve just seen that despite the common thought, there isn’t one consistent instrument in rock. But there are other criteria that make rock music what it is, and separate it from the blues, heavy metal, jazz and electronic for that matter. To be completely honest, heavy metal is just another name for really heavy rock, and is inextricably linked to it. So the basic definition could be, it should be loud and rhythmic, at least for some part (progressive rock bands like Genesis and Yes make this necessary, as many of their songs had quiet sections as well as loud sections.)

Now, in conclusion, we should be able to make rhythmic and loud music even without those four instruments, but by replacing them with similar instruments, that existed before the electric guitar and the 1950’s. And the fine example that I see as the origin of rock music is located at the very end of one of the most epic classical pieces of all time.

I am specifically talking about Maurice Ravel’s 2nd suite from Daphnis et Chloé. This climatic end has several instances of heavy percussion and tympanis together with an aggressive choir and brass instruments, taking up the so-called role of the guitar. This revolutionary orchestration is heavier than most rock music (that isn’t categorized as metal), and was premiered in bloody 1912.



Now, one can think of other examples of aggressive classical music, earlier and later - for instance, Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique (specifically, the 5th movement - from as early as 1883) and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (premiered 1913), but I personally find rock music in general to be more reminiscent of Ravel. Of course, if you find other examples, you can tell me in the comments.

TL;DR- Rock music has very strong roots in impressionist classical music.
#2
I think a new genre of music is created when someone does something original inspired on something that came before
All it takes to create a new genre is doing one song that's different and original, if it becomes popular people will give it a name and assign it's roots based on some song that sounds somewhat close to that.
That said I don't believe that it's only the roots that matter, it's the mind of the musicians who develop an individual style, and the other musicians rip him off turn it into a popular genre.
genres are created from people who have their own "voice" not only from the music that came before them.
just my opinion, I never really think of genres when playing
Last edited by João1993 at Oct 23, 2016,
#3
No to all of the above. Rock music has no roots in impressionist classical music despite what you perceive to be similarities, which in reality are vague at best and even then purely superficial. This is like saying that birds have a very strong root in bats because both have wings and eat nectar and insects -- you just have to get past the feathers barrier.

Meanwhile you completely dismiss the actual origins of rock (blues, jazz, rockabilly, honky-tonk country, and early RnB; seem of these themselves share common origins to a large extent) which can easily be verified by reading up on the musical influence of Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, etc. Not only that, but you ignore all of the structural components of rock music, including common song structures, tonality, chord pregressions, melodic ornamentation, etc -- all of which rock has nothing in common with Ravel or Stravinsky.
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#4
theogonia777: You probably misread my post. I wasn't saying that these are the actual cultural origins of rock. I'm sure that Elvis didn't listen to Debussy. I was just pointing out that you could very easily confuse one of the examples I gave with, say, a song from EL&P - and that in retrospect, those sections can be considered similar to rock in their own right.
#5
Some prog rockers definitely took influence from classical music. But if we compare 50s rock to impressionism, it's quite different.

Rock is not dependent on instruments, but without electric guitar there would be no rock. Of course you can arrange rock songs to different instruments. But when you start removing certain elements from it, at some point it doesn't sound like rock music any more. You can make a "jazz" version of a Nirvana song and it stops sounding like rock.



So I would say most genres have a lot to do with arrangement. Why does this sound like "jazz"? It's because of the jazz harmonies, it's also about the rhythms and certain kind of articulation (I would say rhythm and articulation are the two most important things - those things alone give something a "jazzy" sound). Well, it's also about the overall arrangement - it is not based on a guitar riff that would be repeated over and over again in a typical rock song. You have these typical big band horn fills and counter melodies that just aren't typical in rock music.

It's also about form. Classical and rock are very different when it comes to form, not just song structures but also about certain kind of repetition and development. Rock music (and popular music in general) is based on a pattern that gets repeated over and over again in a song. This can be a drum beat, a guitar riff, a bassline, a chord progression, whatever. It's based on heavy repetition.
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#6
Genre does not exist. These are just words that we have a collective understanding of, that we use in order to describe a complex concept (i.e. a bands "sound") to those who have never heard that group, but have heard music in general.

"Rock" or "Jazz" or whatever has 0 meaning outside of that context.

In a sense, basically exactly what Mags and Theo said.

Also, OP, pretty much ALL classical music is heavier than rock

Daphnis and Chloe rules.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#7
Quote by selkayann
theogonia777: You probably misread my post. I wasn't saying that these are the actual cultural origins of rock. I'm sure that Elvis didn't listen to Debussy. I was just pointing out that you could very easily confuse one of the examples I gave with, say, a song from EL&P - and that in retrospect, those sections can be considered similar to rock in their own right.
I think you're confusing "origins" with "similarities".

The reason some prog rock (ELP, Peter Hamill, Radiohead, etc) resembles some classical music is that that genre of rock consciously took inspiration from certain aspects of classical music - in the mistaken belief that that was a "progressive" thing to do (rather than a regressive, conservative thing, abandoning what was revolutionary about rock in a feeble attempt to give it some old-fashioned "artistic" gravitas). It doesn't mean that you can describe the classical (or post classical) music that inspired them as "rock" in any meaningful way. You could point to some pieces that "rock" (as a verb) in the sense that they are loud and have insistent or repetitive rhythms. But that doesn't make them "rock music".

I agree with you that volume and rhythm (particular types of rhythm) are basic defining factors of rock music. The role of volume in particular is often ignored when defining "rock". If there's one thing that bound all the 1960s inventors of rock music together, it was the obsessive pursuit of ever louder volume, ever more powerful amps. A rock gig had to be a visceral experience, a physical sensation as well as an aural and visual one. That was the main way it differentiated itself from everything that had gone before. (It may be that drug experiences inspired that idea: that music should not just be something to contemplate, to be emotionally moved by, or to dance to, but should overwhelm all the senses. It also usefully put off the older generation: "if it's too loud, you're too old.")

And I say 1960s, not 1950s, because before around 1964 there was only "pop" music and "rock'n'roll", the latter being an outdated genre by that time. The "rock" musicians of the 1960s brought together all the 1950s influences (blues, country, R&B), and - essentially - added bigger amps and more distortion, as well as a deeper respect for blues than rock'n'roll had shown. "Maximum R&B" as the Who appropriately dubbed it (before anyone thought to give it the one word name "rock"). Distortion was an important companion of volume, in filling out the "wall of sound". Amp manufacturers of the early-mid 60s, happy to provide increased volume, were somewhat bemused to find that guitarists actually wanted the amps to distort as well.

The prog rock of the late 60s/early 70s was the expression of more highly educated rock musicians who felt (mistakenly) that they were getting a bit old to play what was still regarded as teenage music at that time, or that mid-60s rock was too "simple". Of course, they made that judgement according to harmonic and formal criteria, the province of classical music, ignoring the rhythmic and timbral elements that were more unique to rock. (A few more underground bands did try to maintain a forward outlook, but mainly prog resulted in a dilution of what made rock special, which is why its pretensions were ridiculed by the punk rockers of the late 70s, who attempted to revive the essence of rock; making the reverse mistake in turn: valuing crudity in place of sophistication.)

We could also point to more cultural defining factors of rock: that it is made predominantly by young white males. Maybe not so young these days, of course, but black rock musicians are still noticeably rare, just as female ones are. (Yes, I know about the exceptions. It's the rarity I'm talking about. In general, black musicians gravitate to what they see as their own cultural inheritance: R&B, hip-hop, etc., if they're American, reggae if British.)
Last edited by jongtr at Oct 23, 2016,
#8
Quote by selkayann
theogonia777: You probably misread my post. I wasn't saying that these are the actual cultural origins of rock. I'm sure that Elvis didn't listen to Debussy. I was just pointing out that you could very easily confuse one of the examples I gave with, say, a song from EL&P - and that in retrospect, those sections can be considered similar to rock in their own right.


So first of all, you might want to reread since I never mentioned cultural origins. Second, your post is claiming that rock music is heavily rooted in impressionist classical music which you offer no explanation for other than that some rock bands don't use guitar. Now, just because this is true of ELP does not mean that it is the norm because 99% of rock music uses guitar.

Progressive rock of the 70s also diverted significantly from the roots of rock music and is, again, an exception rather than a typical representation of rock music as a whole. And if we are not talking the roots of rock and its 20 year history before the emergence of prog rock, then one subgenre that emerged 20 years after the fact is not indicative of the genre's roots.
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#9
^This. Prog rock is a special case; the ethos of that scene is completely different than their contemporaries. You can't try to generalize the whole population by using one of the most fringe groups as an example; it just gives you inaccurate results.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#10
If you believe Chuck Berry is the godfather of rock, well... A big part of Chuck Berry's sound on his recordings is that he is playing straight eighth notes over a shuffle rhythm played by session jazz musicians he didn't even know.
#11
If you ask me, Rock's predecessor is obviously Rock 'n Roll (hence the name) and is usually distorted. Rock 'N Roll was influenced mainly by R&B and Blues mixed with Jazz and Country influences. Prog Rock empathizes the Jazz influence and is heavily inspired by Classical music. Heavy Metal's initial influences are said to include Psychedelic Rock, Blues Rock, and a hint of Classical but eventually got mixed with everything else (like Rock) and spawned three-dozen sub-genres. That's pretty much my 2 cents.
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#12
selkayann "..There aren’t many examples of rock music without bass, but The Doors’ live performances have finely proved that it’s not completely necessary..."

I disagree..no..your just wrong...Ray Manzarek was playing the bass lines..and yes those lines were completely necessary...now to be technical .. you don't need a bass player to play the bass lines..the rest of your post can fit into many different ways to see the evolution of an amalgam of styles merging at a certain period of time.. the term "rock & roll" was credited to a few disk jockies who were pioneers of getting this new sound on the radio..where I grew op..Alan Freed was this person..WINS 1010AM
play well

wolf
#13
Quote by wolflen
selkayann "..There aren’t many examples of rock music without bass, but The Doors’ live performances have finely proved that it’s not completely necessary..."

I disagree..no..your just wrong...Ray Manzarek was playing the bass lines..and yes those lines were completely necessary...now to be technical .. you don't need a bass player to play the bass lines..


I mean, from a technical point, the lowest instrument is the bass instrument, even if it is not an instrument that is normally considered to be a bass instrument (such as upright, tuba, bass synth, organ pedals, etc).

And in fact, many early rock n roll bands used upright bass rather than bass guitar, such as Waylon Jennings when he played bass for Buddy Holly. While the bass guitar had existed since the 30s, it wasn't until the late 50s that it really began to replace the upright bass in rock music. All the early Elvis records, Bill Haley, etc were all using upright bass.

And in fact, many rock bands playing 50s style rock n roll and plenty of rock fusion bands (be it with jazz, country, bluegrass, rockabilly, etc) still make use of upright bass -- both acoustic and electric. And there are of course a ton of rock bands, particular from the 80s and onwards, that use predominantly synth bass.
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Last edited by theogonia777 at Oct 25, 2016,
#14
if you paid attention to the changes in pop music from the early 50's to the late 60's it was a study in evolution at the speed of light..the early to mid 50s the term rock & roll gave birth to many different styles and talented musicians singers and "do-wop" flavored groups..and many pioneers and influential players..Berry..little Richard..the list is long..late 50's early 60's a renewed interest and expression of traditional folk music rose in certain parts of major cities ..in NY it was Greenwich Village...small coffee houses sprang up on the small and narrow streets and singers and guitar, banjo players could be heard and seen playing basically for nothing..or a pass the hat type of cost..there was little mention of this as it was not considered to be "news worthy" to any extent..at the same time AM radio was still playing "rock & roll" in 1959.. the Platters, Clyde McPhatter and Connie Francis were in the "top 10" .. far from radical..there was an alternative radio format..FM..few listened to it..many didn't even know it existed..is was an option if you were buying a car..few bought it..in San Francisco music was evolving..after the Beatles hit the US in 1963, guitar oriented musical groups began to appear some good some awful..and FM radio at this point was commercial free..and was playing some of this music..now groups with very strange names began to have a following..and the electric guitar was the glue in all these groups..a star that came out of the folk scene in the early 60s was Bob Dylan..and in 1965 he played at Newport Folk Festival..and brought the Butterfield Blues Band with him..it was too radical for some as they booed their beloved folk idol..and even brought tears to his eyes at the Forrest Hills Tennis Stadium in NY..now a new label was heard .."Folk Rock" and many groups began performing and recording Dylan songs all electric guitars..and many groups became famous..The Byrds..and many others..there was enough public acceptance for this music it was now on AM &FM and in the charts..that a major music festival was created in 1967..in fact is was considered the "First" rock festival..Monterey Pop..and major rock & roll acts some folk and R & B...but what changed the direction of "rock" and the use of guitar was when a new face to the US said.." ahhh foxy!' and there was no longer any doubt what "Rock" was..

yes this is a"'very" condensed version of "rock" history .. but is shows how major changes grow slowly and seem unrelated into the "so that's where it came from" realization .. and to this day the events mentioned are still being felt and explored in music that is not easy to define..and lets be glad its not..
play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at Oct 25, 2016,