A. Music of the United States


The music of the United States reflects the country's multicultural population through a diverse array of styles. Rock and roll, hip hop, country, rhythm and blues, and jazz are among the country's most internationally renowned genres. Since the beginning of the 20th century, popular recorded music from the United States has become increasingly known across the world.

The original inhabitants of the United States were the hundreds of Native American tribes, who played the first music in the area. Beginning in the 17th century, immigrants from England, Spain, and France began arriving in large numbers, bringing with them new styles and instruments. African slaves brought their own musical traditions, and each subsequent wave of immigrants also contributed to a sonic melting pot.

Much of modern popular music can trace its roots to the emergence in the late 1800s of African American blues and the growth in the 1920s of gospel music. Elements of African, European and indigenous music mixed in varying amounts to form a wide array of diverse styles. Long a land of immigrants, the United States has also seen documented folk music and recorded popular music produced in the ethnic styles of Ukrainian, Irish, Scottish, Polish, Mexican and Jewish communities, among others. Many American cities and towns have vibrant local music scenes which, in turn, support a number of regional musical styles. Aside from populous cities like New York, Nashville and Los Angeles, many smaller cities and regions have produced memorable and distinctive styles of music. The Cajun and Creole traditions in Louisianan music, the folk and popular styles of Hawaiian music, and the bluegrass and old time music of the Southeastern states are but a few examples of the regional diversity of modern American music.

The music of the United States can be characterized by the use of syncopation and asymmetrical rhythms, long, irregular melodies, which are said to "reflect the wide open geography (of the American landscape)" and the "sense of personal freedom characteristic of American life". Some distinct aspects of American music, like the call-and-response format, are derived from African techniques and instruments, introduced by African Americans brought to North America as slaves.



Throughout the early part of American history, and into modern times, the relationship between American and European music has been a much-discussed topic among scholars of American music. Some have urged for the adoption of more purely European techniques and styles, which are sometimes perceived as more refined or elegant, while others have pushed for a sense of musical nationalism that celebrates distinctively American styles. Modern classical music scholar John Warthen Struble has contrasted American and European, concluding that the music of the United States is inherently distinct because the United States has not had centuries of musical evolution as a nation. Instead, the music of the United States is that of dozens or hundreds of indigenous and immigrant groups, all of which developed largely in regional isolation until the American Civil War, when people from across the country were brought together in army units, trading musical styles and practices.

The Civil War, and the period following it, saw a general flowering of American art, literature and music. Amateur musical ensembles of this era can be seen as the birth of American popular music. "These early amateur bands combined the depth and drama of the classics with undemanding technique, eschewing complexity in favor of direct expression. If it was vocal music, the words would be in English, despite the snobs who declared English an unsingable language. In a way, it was part of the entire awakening of America that happened after the Civil War, a time in which American painters, writers and 'serious' composers addressed specifically American themes." During this period, the roots of blues, gospel, jazz and country music took shape; in the 20th century, these became the core of American popular music, which further evolved into the styles like rhythm and blues, rock and roll and hip hop music.


Ex.4. Answer the questions:

1. In what way does American music reflect the country's multicultural population?

2. Who contributed to the development of the 17-18th century American music?

3. What are the roots of modern popular music?

4. Where do distinctive styles of music come from?

5. What is American music characterized by?

6. What are the results of Americo-European cooperation in music?

7. Describe the USA music in the period of the Civil War.


Ex.5.& Match parts of the statements. Then read text Band check your answers.

1. The names of Pink Floyd & Elton John a) punk

2. British music takes its roots in b) legendary bands

3. Britain made great contribution into c) after the war

4. The Clash are famous for playing d) 'Please, Please Me'.

5. 'Skiffle' bands became popular e) music performed by

ordinary people

6. One of the first Beatles' hits was f) are world known

7. Larger than life bands are g) development of R& R

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