Music As Influence: How Has Society Been Shaped By Musical Genres Throughout History? English Essay

1145 words - 5 pages

I have been a musician since I was in the fifth grade. I started out playing and have since played the drums, and continued on to become a mediocre piano player as well as a self-proclaimed “decent” singer. My goal with this project was to continue my study of music in a way that was entirely different. I wanted to discover what influence musical genres had on the societies in which they were most popular. The idea for this project came to me when I was listening to “Take the A-Train” by Duke Ellington. I began to think about how iconic the tune was, and how foundational jazz became to many of the genres we listen to today. My main learning outcomes were to discover how genres are formed, why genres are formed, and to discover how an individual determines their musical preferences.
Summary:
In order to fully educate myself on the sociology behind music, I read three textbooks:
1.) Davis, N. (1996). African American music: A philosophical look at African American music in society. Needham Heights, MA: Simon & Schuster.
2.) Kotarba, J. A. (2018). Understanding society through popular music. New York, NY: Routledge.
3.) Martin, P. J. (2010). Sounds and society: Themes in the sociology of music. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
These texts provided me with the span of history I was most interested in focusing on—the Jazz era to music as we know it today. I discovered that many genres form as a result of the following variables:
Geographical Location - a genres location of origin influences not only the style, but the longevity of the genre itself.
Evolution - Many genres come to life through a desire to create a different sound than what is popular. This evolution of a genres sound often pulls from styles that are already established, leaving a traceable connection between most genres’.
Demand - Often, genres form alongside the needs of society. For example, many Jazz styles were created to satisfy a culture that wished for music they could dance to. As a result of that demand, a more upbeat swing form and big band Jazz rose to popularity.
Necessity - Sometimes, genres are formed because it is what society needs. Work-songs were a comforting tool for African American slaves who were forced to do work against their will in the early United States. A similar, but more modern example would be the rise of rap music on the west coast in the 90’s, as artist such as Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls attacked police brutality and the unjust treatment of African Americans.
I began to contemplate how individuals decide what they prefer to listen to musically. I hypothesized that a lot of it had to do with familial impact—that many people are influenced by what their family listens to. I conducted a survey of 50 college students at the University of Rhode Island, 86% of whom were between 18-24 years old, to gather a small sample of what these students are listening to and why. The specific sample surveyed seemed to enjoy hip hop and alternative music above most other genres, and almost 50% stated that hip hop was the most relevant genre in today’s society. When it came to familial impact, 76.47% stated there was a difference between the genres they listened to and the genres their parents listened to, while 23.53% indicated there was no difference. Interestingly enough, 70.50% of participants reported that their family had an influence on the way their musical preferences developed, while 29.41% said their family had no effect. I hypothesized that while many students listened to different genres then their parents, they ultimately held a connection to what they heard while they were growing up. For instance, an individual who likes alternative rock music may have a father who listened to the rolling stones, or rock music of that era. This would need further research however, and a larger sample would need to be taken.
Reflection:
Overall, I think this project was a great way for me to branch out of the musical genres I most resonate with, and to educate myself on the history of other musical genres. In hindsight, I would have loved to incorporate a section or even dedicate an entire project towards discovering the extent to which sexually explicit or violent content within songs influence an individual. This thought occurred to me when I finished a class at the University of Rhode Island which covered sex and violence in the media. It would have been interesting to compare the lyrics of modern songs the lyrics of older genres and see if they correlate. I also wanted to reflect on the section in my poster featuring responses to the question: “what impact does music have on society”. There wasn’t one participant who had anything negative to say about music, which helped me to realize just how important it has and will always be.
Keywords
Music; Sociology; Musical Genres; Influence; History
Abstract
Musical genres have been an integral part in all societies, ancient and contemporary. As time has progressed, so too have the styles and methods of making and consuming music. Modern music presents us with an enormous amount of variety, allowing us to choose which genres we prefer based on our own ideologies and preferences. In order to understand how these genres came to be, one must look at the context through which they were formed. The context includes a variety of factors, such as time period, cultural and social factors, familial influence, and the geographical location where the music emerged. Historically, musical genres have experienced less variety, with classical music being the predominant force in European music. As technology advanced, so too did our exposure to the music of foreign cultures. For example, a blending of European and African cultures generated the birth of Jazz in a late 19th century North America. ultimately, the blending of genres became common practice, revealing a path to the creation of other genres that remain extremely relevant today: Jazz, Rock, Country, Rap...etc. For my Honors Project, I studied how new genres form, and more importantly, how a particular genre might impact a society at the time of its creation, and at any point after. I studied the works of Nathan Davis, Peter J. Martin, and Joseph A. Kotarba. These authors observed musical genres through the lens of sociology. The goal of this research was to gain a personal understanding of how genres are formed and to discover what societal factors may have influenced their creation. I also sought to discover which genres have the most relevant impact in today's society. To do this, I surveyed a small sample of college students at the University of Rhode Island. My combined research and survey helped me to draw multiple conclusions about the impact popular music has on our culture today.

RELATED

how the reputations of cleopatra has been presented throughout film - Open University, The arts past and present - Assingment

891 words - 4 pages passage of Act 1 scene 3 of Doctor Faustus and how it contributes to the character of Faustus. The first thing that strikes me is the use of the words ‘gloomy shadow’ and ‘drizzling look’ at the start of the passage. These adjectives first set the scene as an uninviting place and gives a sinister tone. I noticed that power is a big theme in this text. For example throughout the text Marlowe uses the words like virtue, obedience, humility, pliant and

Sport is most likely as old as the humankind itself. It has been creating - UMES/English 101 - Essay

543 words - 3 pages Adil Ahmed Ms. Ulbricht ENG 101 September 17, 2018 Word Count: 531 SOCCER SPORT GAME Sport is most likely as old as the humankind itself. It has been creating with the creating and development of the humanity. To my mind, we can hardly overestimate the meaning of sport in our life and everyday activities, because it’s the primary purpose is to bring up the harmoniously developed generation - the generation of strong and healthy people. Sport

This Essay Is About The Way In Which Technology Has Shaped Our Society

658 words - 3 pages . If we would not have been so hungry for wealth there wouldn't be so many poor people existent as today. In the US alone, over 17 per cent of the population lives life below the poverty line. And why? Because they didn't realize that when they lost their jobs they wouldn't be able to pay for their huge debts they had from their loanes. By the way, would it be a coinsidence that the US contributes the most to the technology sector, and also has

me me me: an essay about my life over the past 24 years reflecting on how its shaped me as a person - Higher English - reflective

1275 words - 6 pages increased as I have started a Higher English course that I will attend for 3 hours on a Thursday night. From a young age my dad has encouraged a fit and healthy lifestyle that I still pursue by adding 3-5 training sessions at the gym to my weekly routine alongside the occasional run or water sports with my friends. I feel that regularly going to the gym is not only beneficial for my overall health but it’s great for gaining some much needed head space

How your hometown shaped you as a person? - Kempner High School - Essay

921 words - 4 pages Growing up in Houston as the middle child of two Vietnamese refugees, I’ve come to learn that family life is one of the most influential factors that has shaped me as a person-for both the better and the worst. When I was born, my dad was studying computer programming and had to leave college in order to tend for me as well as my older sister. Residing in a crime-ridden apartment complex located in Houston, activities such as leaving the house

To what extent has the Westminster Parliament been marginalised by an overly powerful executive? - Politics - Essay

2114 words - 9 pages effectiveness of parliament resulting in parliament becoming ‘totally irrelevant’ (King and Crewe, 2013, p. 361). Whilst the extent to which the parliament of Westminister has been marginalised by an overly powerful executive largely depends on each individual election, parliamentary term and Prime Ministerial style, the evidence I will present in this essay overwhelmingly suggest that The Parliament of Westminister has in fact not been

How has the context of Henry IV, shaped your appreciation of the play and its concerns - Grammar - Essay

1649 words - 7 pages Jerome Ayad  “How has the context of Henry IV, shaped your appreciation of the play and its  concerns”  Henry IV part I is one of Shakespeare’s more popular plays for a plethora of reasons.  One being Shakespeare’s ability to draw on elements of English society making the play  very relatable to its audience. This ability to seamlessly blend in the context of the time  adds more meaning to the play as a whole. Through this Shakespeare was able

A History On The Gershwin's Musical "Oh, Kay!" - History - Essay

2786 words - 12 pages of jazz, but a sharp shortage of alochol due to Prohibition) and opens in the decadent Long Island estate of Jimmy Winter as it is being cleaned with “The Woman’s Touch” by a team of young ladies who admire and glorify Jimmy. Soon it is discovered that Jimmy’s home has been stashed with illegal booze by the English bootlegger, the Duke of Durham, and his American assistants, “Shorty” McGee and Larry Potter. Duke and Larry discuss what to do

For as long as we can remember America has always been closely associated with racism - South San Antonio High School/ Goverment 1301 - Essay

2001 words - 9 pages Racism in america By: Alexis Cervantes Cervantes 1 Alexis Cervantes Mr. Ybanez Government DC 8 December 2015 Racism In America For as long as we can remember America has always been closely associated with racism. Racism is something everyone has witnessed and or experienced, man individuals become victims of racism and aren’t even aware of it, It was created socially, primarily by how people perceive ideas and faces, we are not quite used to

How Magwitch and Miss Havisham shaped the lives of Pip and Estella - English literature - essay

1737 words - 7 pages game. Throughout the novel, this cold-hearted attitude remains evident. As Pip matures, one notices that this experience has left an impression on him. A struggle takes hold within him as he is caught between his affection for Joe (his uncle), and a growing aversion to his surroundings, as they remind him of being ‘coarse and common’. This aversion becomes plainly spoken after Pip admits to being ashamed of his home by stating: “I had believed

The Creation of the Musical Canon and Different Artists' Responses to It - Music 15 - Essay

1321 words - 6 pages 1 The Musical Canon Lives On In today’s modern world, everyone knows about the great composers of classical music: Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, etc. They have been memorialized for all eternity in what is now known as the musical canon. Because of the construction of this musical canon, the concert hall has since been transformed into a “musical museum”. This concept of the canon has created a lasting effect on composers of the generations to come

The Influence of Early Gregorian Plainchant on Liturgical Music - Music History II - Research Paper

2297 words - 10 pages assimilation from past to present. Many people may argue that music from as early as the second century has no similarities to music that is performed today. However, it is important for all musicians to understand where the basis from current music theory began. Knowing where many tunes got their origin, and how they influenced the occurrence of music that we know and love today is vital for a complete understanding of music history. “Gregorian chant

Describe how 19th radicalism was formed and spread throughout America - SUNY Geneseo History 161 - essay

1665 words - 7 pages Dillon Szmala History 161- Final Essay Professor Jurnack Radicalism can be best described as the opinions and behavior of people who favor extreme changes, especially in government, political ideation and behavior.  This type of behavior has been studied by historians for centuries across the globe. One could argue that the first radical movement in the United States was the Colonies’ seeking freedom from Great Britain. This event sparked

How technology has changed our society - Wayland Baptist Univesity/ Info System & Theory. - Essay

1589 words - 7 pages has nothing to do with that is a self is malicious. I think the reason we in some cases partner innovation with being shrewd is that as we narrative our lives on long range informal communication locales, we are urged to disclose each idea into the web for audit. Conclusion, Technology has affected society from multiple points of view; the greatest impact has been the innovation of the Web, which is given to us by means of PCs and cellphones. The

how has hard ship shaped your life - richland college describe your life - personal biography

1145 words - 5 pages of black leaders were killed. The only thing that would make things better would be if i helped educate the people. I had to get a higher position in the united states that's why I decided to run for president in 1968 I lost by 2 votes to Nixon I saw how slowly everything was moving into place. So I opened my own business i made up a computer company called Atari. sold it in 1976 for 28 million. I decided to invest a million dollars in a brand