Category Archives: Music

Detroit and Soul Music History

They say the birth of soul came in the 1950s, when the parents of gospel and jazz came together to form a more contemporary and dance-friendly style of music.

The Motor City is no doubt the backbone of modern soul and R&B. It became a powerhouse and industry standard for soul music throughout the country, competing with Atlantic Records and Stax for chart-topping hits throughout the 60s.


The one thing that stands out about Detroit’s golden era of soul music, which isn’t covered very often in many music documentaries or biographies, is the reverberation and inspiration drawn during the civil rights era occurring alongside its timeline.

Soul music isn’t just a genre, its black poetry set to the sounds that emanate from the soul.

If that sounds like a profound statement to be made, well, it’s the only way to describe what anyone feels when they identify deeply with the lyrics, the passion, and the power that soul music provides to black culture.


As with practically every music genre in history, once soul music began to dominate the charts and the money showed record labels, the music scene began to fill with copycats and water-down imitations, inspired by the pop movement craze overseas in the UK.

They began using elements of Motown’s greatness to appeal to wider audiences, i.e. white suburbia, even though soul music was very popular with nearly every demographic.

As the inner cities began to transform, gentrification and appropriation of black culture began to push Detroit communities to the breaking point, spurring the infamous Detroit riots in 1967. The destruction spelt the end of the once dominant and influential city of Detroit, as well as the golden era of soul for Motown Records. During their final years, Motown churned out, arguable, their most soulful and raw records of their time, with lyrics laced in civil rights violence, suffocating poverty, calls for peace and unity; even Marvin’s soothing voice could not turn the tides.


After the destruction and fall of a city that lead the country in both music and manufacturing, there came a new era of soul music, even with Motown now relegated to Hollywood pop hits. In Detroit, new eras of electronic music were giving way. Dance and techno exploded on the scene, the younger generations’ music didn’t sound the same, but it shared that same spark of music pioneering that Detroit is infamous for.


Along with the new era of electronics brought more tools to produce, birthing the next major black culture of hip-hop. Hip hop is a culture that is derived from soul, the poetry is sped up, but the elements of expression and raw emotion are all there. It didn’t happen until the late 90s, but Detroit officially gave birth to a new genre of soul music, dubbed “Neo-soul”, which was created from the sounds of the late hip-hop producer James “Dilla” Dewitt Yancey.

His heavy sampling of classic soul records and basement sounds of the hard-hitting 808 drums is his signature, which left big impressions on soulful R&B singers, like Lauren Hill, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and Amel Larrieux. Who partially owe their success to his creative genius and love for Detroit soul.

A Brief Music History Of The Gleeman

As Europe recovered from the savagery and barbarism, in the centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire. Two distinct types of music were available, and was represented by two different people of the time, the Monk and the Minstrel or Gleeman.

The Monk lived and worked quietly behind the strong walls of his monastery. The Minstrel, traveled from town to town all over the land mixing with all classes of society, the friend and favourite of every one, utterly destitute of all status, and a man whom it was scarcely a crime to defraud or kill. The letter of music dwelt in the monasteries, but the spirit of music, staggered drunk, wandering aimlessly, yet providing popular music for the masses. (I know some keyboard players that fit that description)

The Minstrels were poor and walked to there destinations. As well as Minstrels, there were Acrobats, Jugglers and Mountebanks who use to sell magic potions that could cure any ailment and entertained with stories and jokes. These entertainers were regarded as extremely important and even vital for the social economy of the Middle Ages, and are thought to have been a direct survival of the gladiatorial caste of Imperial Rome.

With more peaceful times, emerged an art, more entitled to the name of Minstrelsy, than the poor performance of the strollers who entertained at castle gates and market places. For a long period, Provence was the most peaceful place in Europe, and in that sunny place, Minstrelsy was greatly accepted by the rich and poor. From the eleventh century, the Troubadours were treated with honour and respect.

The history of the Troubadour as existing in Provenge, in the days prior to the Albigensian Crusade, forms one of the most interesting and unique episodes in musical and literary history. The social position of the Troubadours was a curious one. Recruited, as was the order, from all ranks of society, the Troubadour might be the son of a knight, as was Guiilem de Cabestanh; or he might belong to the trading classes, as did Peire Vidal, the son of a furrier at Toulouse. In any sphere of life, however, the fact of being a Troubadour at once placed a man on a sort of equality with the greatest, for a Troubadour was essentially a privileged person.

You would think that the Troubadour would have a lot in common with the Minstrel, but the Troubadour had no love for the Minstrel and at every opportunity would talk down to the Minstrel with sarcastic cruelty.

History of Jazz Music in Kansas City

From its beginnings as nothing more than a simple trading post on the banks of the Missouri river, to its raucous heyday in the 1920’s and 30’s, Kansas City has retained the independent spirit of its frontier beginnings. Even though an assortment of colorful characters, cowboys, politicians, criminals, and even wagon trains populate the history of Kansas City, you can forget everything you’ve ever heard about it being a “cow town.” Today, the outgrowth of that colorful history and frontier spirit radiates energetically throughout the city
and its populace.

Widely regarded as the birthplace of Jazz. KC’s early reputation as a “wide-open, anything goes” city captivated and allured the musical performers of the day. It’s central location and ease of access via rail were the other components which induced this musical migration. Kansas City became a haven for musicians and fans alike.

The musicians, who interpreted their experiences in KC’s permissive environment through their music, were also creating the elastic techniques and musical license, which remain at the heart of Jazz today. The hub of this development was the
18th and Vine district. Many legendary musicians, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Turner and Charlie Parker to name a few, made their way to Kansas City. Their connection to one another and to the Kansas City “scene” brought about a unique musical expansion which enriched the city’s history and initiated the genesis of Jazz.

Kansas City’s affiliation with Jazz is celebrated daily at the American Jazz Museum
in the 18th and Vine District and nightly at clubs and restaurants throughout the city.
Live Jazz and Blues are still an important part of the Kansas City entertainment and nightlife scene.

How Pop Music Originated

Pop music is generally associated with a ‘populist movement’ and these are not new. In fact populist movements can easily be traced back to ancient Rome and probably way further back than that. One of the more recent populist movements occurred in the sixteen hundreds or there about. There was also a ‘Free Love’ movement in Germany just prior to the Nazi take over.

“Hawaian music history”

So this sets the stage for pop music in this country. Pop music as we know it is a mixture of the Blues and Folk Music, plain and simple. One would have to give a lot of credit to the invention of the electric guitar as well, which was used as early as nineteen thirty-one, with early proponents such as Les Paul. The electric guitar, however, was first used in the Big Band, which was jazz. So jazz or Blues mixing with Folk Songs, however you want to look at it.

The basic musical practice of pop music is the same as Blues or Jazz. In jazz, musicians use a chord chart and improvise or make-up their parts. In Blues, the musical practice is much the same except the chords involved are much simpler. These are three chords, known as the Blues Chords. These are also the most used chords in pop music. Jazz could be considered a bit of a more specialised application of the Blues performance practice and this is generally attributed to Black music.

I think the most interesting thing is that there was this same populist/snob divide going on way back, that people who don’t look very far back in history only attribute to today’s pop music. Way back, jazz was derided as a low, debased musical form that would degenerate society. There are also songs that go way, way back such as “Momma Don’t ‘Low,” which have lyrics that say ‘momma don’t allow no guitar playing ’round here.’

Further back then that, we have Plato saying that new and novel fashions in music should be avoided because they will unsettle a societies most important conventions. But, as I often point out, what society today doesn’t need to have its most important conventions unsettled? The thing to consider, though, is that pop music today is the same as it was back in the nineteen fifties. That’s because it is being manipulated through the conventional media channels who, like Plato, don’t want anything of new and novel fashion because that would unsettle their most important convention which is their profits.

The Most Influential People in Music

Here is a list of arguably the most influential people in music history. It’s a list which could be debated for months which makes it even more interesting, but what is incontrovertible is the profound impact these people have had on not only the music industry but on our culture as well.

What list of the most influential people in music would be complete without The Beatles? The Beatles changed the face of Pop and the music industry. They pushed boundaries with albums such as “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “the White Album”. There mix of psychedelic transient whorls and messages of love and peace became a catalyst for the hippy revolution and influenced the way people thought. The band became so influential they were able to break the mould and create a whole new concept and definition of what popular music should be. The Beatles harnessed the environment around them and communicated a meaningful message to the masses.

Elvis Presley was from Memphis, Tennessee his southern drawl and punk rock fashion influenced politics and music. His music was influenced by Jazz, Gospel and Blues and helped break down racial barriers, his music coincided with a strong civil rights movement which made him even more evocative. Elvis became such an icon he was almost god-like with hip swivels and a cool swagger which made girls want to be with him and guys want to be like him, but underneath it all his songs had strong undercurrents of love, religion and race, which influenced the millions of people who listened to him from across the globe. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) he has had 150 different albums and singles that have been certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum. His total record sales are said to exceed 1 billion worldwide more than any other artist in history.

Bob Dylan integrated Blues, Folk, Country and Rock into his music with his unique style, distinctive vocals and profound lyrics set an enviable standard which many have tried to emulate but few have succeeded. He is known as the poet-laureate of Rock n’ Roll, his music came from the heart and has stayed with fans ever since. Bob Dylan has affected many peoples’ lives which is why he is seen as such an iconic figure to this day.

Sam Philips was a music producer whose credits include Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison to name just a few. Some say he was the first Rock ‘n’ Roll producer ever and without him Rock ‘n’ Roll as we know it would not be what it is today. His vision and guidance helped many of recent histories most loved performers bring pleasure and entertainment to fans worldwide.

The Most Inspirational Guitarists in Music

Guitar is a combination of sounds. It is not only the display of technical abilities, but it also expresses the feelings of the artist. Many times, guitarists with very natural and basic musical skills have made a unique and popular music. There are a lot many guitarists from every musical genre and era.

There are hundreds of names of inspirational guitarists in the musical history. So many high-ranking and most significant guitarists have contributed, and devoted themselves for betterment of music. However, a few guitarists stand above the rest when it comes to music.

Today these legendary guitarists are inspiration for so many youngsters, and upcoming guitarists. It is all a matter of taste. Here is a list of some great, virtuosic, and innovative guitarists.

Jimi Hendrix was a legend. His real name was James Allen Hendrix. Rolling Stone magazine has ranked him number one among the top 100 guitarists of the world. His musical achievements are Bold As Love, Experienced, Bleeding Heart and (slight return) Voodoo Chile. (All Along the Watchtower) by Dylan is the song, which was sung by Jimi, and got an outstanding response from the listeners. People loved this song, because Jimi completely made this song sung like his own. There is a taste of Dylan in the song. Hendrix is a legend, and will always live in the hearts of his fans.

Frank Vincent Zappa was an American music composer, producer, director, and an electric guitarist. Zappa gained popularity for writing rock, jazz, and orchestral music. He was born on December 21, 1940, and died on December 4, 1993. Zappa had a career of more than 30 years. Zappa composed more than 60 albums in his career, and introduced a band with the name of The Mothers of Invention as a solo artist. Zappa directed several music videos, feature length films, and designed album covers on his own.

Carlos Augusto Alves Santana is a Mexican musician, and guitarist. He was born on 20 July 1947 and also won a Grammy Award. Santana gained popularity in 60s, and early 70s. Along with his band, he composed rock, jazz fusion, and salsa. Band featured blue-based guitar lines against the Latin beats like congas, and timbales. Santana kept on working over, decades and once again got huge popularity in 1990s. Rollong Stone ranked Santana number 15th amongst the World’s Top Guitarists.

Joni Mitchell was born on November 7, 1943. She is a Canadian musician, songwriter, and painter. Mitchell started singing in nightclubs in Western Canada. She worked for almost four decades as a musician, and lyricist. She wrote folk, pop, rock, and jazz with 23 albums. Joni Mitchell moved to California in 1967 where Elliot Roberts helped her in building her career. While performing in Florida she met David Crobsy who convinced her to record a sole acoustic album. She made her band by the name of Ladies of the Canoyn in 1971. Joni Mitchell became a big name, and got immediate success.

Kurt Cobain was born on 20 February 1967, and died on 5 April 1994. He was a songwriter, lead singer, and guitarist of his band named Nirvana. Kurt introduced subgenre of alternative rock called grunge. First album was Smells Like Teen Spirit. Second album was Nevermind, it also gained popularity, and as a result, alternative rock became very popular on radio and music television in the United States during the early, and mid 1990s. Since their first album, this band has sold over twenty-five million albums in the US alone, and over fifty million all over the world.

Hawaiian Music History

Hawaiian music is a product of years of acculturation of different cultures and sounds, a wonderful melding of different  Its history is as diverse as the history of its peoples.

Hawaiians did not merely absorb music and instrument brought to the island. They adapted music based on how it  their own traditional songs and chants. As a result, the Hawaiians have given the world the slack key guitar, the steel guitar, and the ukulele among others.

Traditional Hawaiian folk music is primarily a celebration

of nature, their gods, and love of life. Religious in nature, Hawaiian music traditionally involved chant and hula. Chants were either accompanied with music and dance (mele hula) or without (mele oli).

Before the arrival of the Europeans and their guitars, traditional Hawaiian musical instruments included the ipu (gourd drum), ipu heke (double gourd drum), ili’ili (two flat stones clicked together),  ohe hanu inu (wooden nose flute), large Conch shell that produces deep resonant sounds when blown, pu ohe (bamboo trumpet), and puili (slit sticks made from bamboo). Hawaii has little metals and minerasl (besides lava) so their ancient musical instruments were mostly made from shells, plants, and trees.

Documented Hawaiian music history did not start until the 18th century upon the arrival of the haoles (non-Hawaiian) in the island. Hawaiian culture expert Elizabeth Tatar divides Hawaiian music history from the arrival of the Europeans to the present into seven periods:

1820 to 1872

Mexican cowboys (vaqueros) came to Hawaiian with their guitars. King Kamehameha III brought them to teach Hawaiians how to control overpopulation of cattle in 1832. They taught the Hawaiians how to play the guitar. The Hawaiians changed the tuning of the guitar to adapt it to their traditional Hawaiian songs and chants. They loosened or slackened the strings of the guitar, thus giving the world the slack key guitar.

Music Icons And Their Place In Music

There are so many music icons that have entertained millions of fans over the years and left some really great and outstanding performances that will be remembered for a life time. Some of these music icons will take their place in history as being the best. These people are known celebrities whose fame in the music culture as being legendary. Here are some of these performer who have paced their way into the hearts of many who live forever in the minds and souls of their fans.

During the fifties there was rock and roll and with it came many singers whose names will take their place in music history, such as chuck berry. Chuck Berry made his name well known as singer, guitarist and song writer during the fifties. He is considered by many in the industry to be a pioneer of rock and roll.

Elvis Presley went on to become one of the most popular singers during the 20th century. He became a cultural icon and was very well known for the name Elvis and went on to be referred to as the king of rock and roll or just the king. He went on to become a leading star in newly popular sound and his energized performances of his songs made him enormously popular in the industry of entertainment.

In was during 1960 when a band from Liverpool became commercially successful and also were the most critically acclaimed acts in history. There sound was quite the same as many other during their early years, but they would go on working with several types of sound from rock and roll to pop ballads and even psychedelic rock as well as many more.

The Beatles made one of their first national tours in London in 1963 with a show that took place in Bradford. The tour was then used as their opportunity to generate their type of sound and style, which would finally lead them to becoming one great band to ever become part this kind of industry.

To many there are five top icons of all time who took a spot in history, such as Michael Jackson, who made his start in this business when he began singing along with his brother as the Jackson Five. The Beatles of coarse went on to become more than a household name. But one of the most successful bands ever.

Learning Music History

A solid Music Education program trains its students in understanding Music History. History allows students to appreciate different styles of music. This is really important for composition students. Coupled with their understanding of theory, they can draw from various genres to create their own original styles.

“Rock music history”

Understanding the different time periods in Music History is very important because the students are able to see the progression of one style of music to the next. Also, the students will see the connection between styles and the events that occurred during different time periods. The students will see how historical events were and still are reflected in music. The following is a list of European time periods and the type of music that dominated during that time:

1.The Ancient Period (app.753 B.C.-336 A.D.) – Monophony (music having one voice)

2. The Medieval Period (app. 336-1500) – Polyphony (music having more than one voice)

3. The Renaissance Period (app. 1450-1600) – Musica Reservata (music that consists of various texts, sung simultaneously, that share the same sentiment)

4. The Baroque Period (app. 1600-1750) – Toccata (light, fast-moving piano composition), Fugues (composition with re-occurring themes in different voices), Preludes (usually a short introductory piece to a more complex composition)

5. The Classical Period (app. 1750-1827) – Sonata (composition consisting of three contrasting sections called the exposition, the development and the recapitulation)

6. The Romantic Period (1827-1900) – Program Music (music that moves emotions in order to create mental images or depict pictures in the imagination)

7. Music During the Early to Mid -Twentieth Century (1900-1951) – Impressionism (music that focuses on an atmosphere rather than arousing emotions using non-traditional methods), Expressionism (music that expresses intense emotions using non-traditional methods of writing)

Each type of music reflected the era in which it flourished. It took on its characteristics and told the story of events as they unfolded, making music a reflection of its time.

Punk Rock Music History

The widespread of rock and punk songs across the world is not as rapid as pop genre but they’re truly controversially known as widely listened by funky and wacky teenagers and liberated crowds. You may have heard of groups called Fallout Boy and Metallica. They’re just two of the many contemporary rock artists and bands that pave way for liberation and loudness in terms of music. The earlier bands to be known are Sex Pistols and the Scientists. Following a proto-punk genre in the late 1960’s, the punk rock music history kicked off when Ramones Band led the way in said genre.

Rebellion, liberation and victory are the usual themes of punk and rock tunes. Back in the 70’s, punk rock music history revealed that the masses never really appreciated the roughness of instrumentals and politically controversial approach of punk rock. In the United Kingdom, early punk bands failed to win the hearts of song fanatics. They didn’t establish mainstream success quite easily not until the late 90’s due to the emergence of alternative rock tunes. Delusions, depressions and harsh revelations are reflected in the lyrics of punk rock, which is why only certain groups of individuals could adhere to this line of sounds.

As accounted in punk rock music history, the commencements of liberated songs were frequently debated between fanatics of ballads and lovers of alternative rock. There have been varying opinions about punk rock. Some say that they are garage tunes, which actually started when the band called Sonics played without defined musicals, no instrumental standards and lack of music rules. More bands like MC5, Velvet Underground and Stooges made their debut in the late 1960’s, and they created a more controversial and vulgar image for the punk rock genre. New York Dolls and David and Bowie delivered influential inspirations of rock and roll that’s largely outrageous and far different from the approach that Elvis Presley established long before they launched their music.

At the beginning of 1990’s, there surfaced to be a punk revival of a few bands that didn’t quite had a good start 30 decades back. The format of punk rock music is usually straightforward and realistic depicting crime issues, government agenda, social ills and other societal struggles. In punk rock music history, Iggy Pop was deemed to be the godfather of punk music. It was apparent that revolutionary scene of music in the 1970’s paved way to the distinctiveness of fashion and music style of rockers and punk artists which have their certain niche of followers. Such certain punk look is exemplified in leather jeans and jackets, darkened eyelids, long polished nails and sporty get-up has remained to be apparent among famous punk artists of today’s generation.