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What Is Rock?

Essay by review  •  December 25, 2010  •  Essay  •  403 Words (2 Pages)  •  518 Views

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Rock music is a form of popular music with a prominent vocal melody accompanied by guitar, drums, and bass. Many styles of rock music also use keyboard instruments such as organ, piano, or synthesizers. Rock music usually has a strong back beat, and often revolves around guitar, either electric or acoustic.

Rock music has its roots in 1950s-era rock and roll and rockabilly. In the late 1960s, rock music was blended with folk music to create folk rock, blues to create blues rock and with jazz, to create jazz-rock fusion, and without a time signature to create psychedelic rock. In the 1970s, rock incorporated influences from soul, funk, and latin music. Also in the 1970s, rock developed a number of subgenres, such as soft rock, hard rock, progressive rock, and punk rock. Rock subgenres from the 1980s included synth-rock, hardcore punk and alternative rock. In the 1990s, rock subgenres included grunge-style rock, britpop, indie rock, piano rock, and nu metal.

Rock 'n' roll came from rhythm and blues (R'n'B), country, and in turn its influence fed back to these cultures, a process of borrowings, influences that continue to develop rock music. Rock 'n' roll had runaway success in the U.S. and brought R'n'B-influenced music to an international audience. Its success led to a dilution of the meaning of the term "rock and roll", as promoters were quick to attach the label to other commercial pop.

Rock 'n' roll started off in the early-to-mid 1950s in the United States. African-American artists such as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, and Fats Domino played predominantly to African American crowds. While these key early rockers were indisposed to racism, local authorities and dance halls were very much divided upon racial lines.

Mainstream acceptance of rock and roll came in the mid-1950s when what Bo Diddley describes as 'ofay dudes' (or whites) signed to major labels and started covering their material. Elvis Presley and Bill Haley and the Comets, Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash often toured and played together in dance halls and clubs across the US and Britain.

Towards the end of the 1950s "chessboard" crowds (both black and white patrons) would emerge at rock and roll concerts, as fans discovered the original artists of the songs they knew from television and the



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