Multiculturalism In Music Essay

1434 words - 6 pages

Visualize in your head a rock band, and a rapper. What kind of clothes are they wearing. What lyric styles are they singing in? And what color are they? Ongoing stereotypes suggest that the rock band is a group of white musicians and the rapper would be black. However, examples from the past and present shows that these stereotypes are untrue. Music is defined as “The art of organizing tones to produce a coherent sequence of sounds to elicit an aesthetic response in a listener” (Morris, 864). This country’s youth is unlike any others, we have much control over what we do, and music is something that evolves around all of us. In this essay, I will discuss the evolution of youth music ranging from early rock, to today’s hip hop stars, from a muliculturalistic point of view. Multiculturalism is “ a term identifying the presence of several significant cultures” (Stark, 434). Without the presence of multiculturalism, music may not be as diversified and rounded as it is today. Through sharing ideas, techniques and skills, music has evolved into a vast amount of identifying styles.
     The birth of youth oriented music began with the birth of rock and roll. Many think that rock is generally composed of a white population, and not many would believe that rock was actually started by blacks. This shows early signs of multiculturalism through music. Rock and roll music is actually a spawn of rhythm and blues, that was created in the 1950’s. The name ‘rock and roll’ was identified by Alan Freed, a radio disc jockey that introduced rhythm and blues to the mainstream public, and altered it for the rock and roll. “What Freed certainly knew but few whites were unaware of at the time was that the term (rock and roll) was widely used in black music as a euphemism for sex” (R&RG, 20). Concepts of rhythm and clues such as “complex rhythms and call-out response” and “blending work of both joys and sorrows in the South” were taken black American heritage (R&RG, 23). These styles of music were set to anglo-style songs and thus produced a new style of music. This new style of music set the stage for some of the most influential musicians of youth in this time. One of the most influential musician of this time was Chuck Berry. Berry was one of the first rhythm and blues performers to have an interracial audience, and a heavy influence in the future careers of the Rolling Stones, Beatles, and Beach Boys. This new and exiting form of musical expression was taken in by the youth. It gave them a feeling of freedom and joy that had been lacking from previous music styles. Although rock became an instant hit with the youth, the music caused displeasure in the adult world. Rock was criticized for “juvenile delinquency to loosened sexual standards” (R&RG, 27). The most notorious example of what adults didn’t like in rock music can be found in Elvis Presley. Elvis was the first white performer to expose an audience to rock music. However,...

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