Musical genre incorporating diverse styles from Africa, eastern Europe, Asia, South and Central America, the Caribbean, and nonmainstream Western folk sources. The term was first coined largely in response to the sudden increase of recordings in non-English languages that were released in Great Britain and the United States in the 1980s, but by the early 1990s world music had become a bona fide musical genre and counterpoint to the increasingly synthetic sounds of Western pop music. Initially, African popular music and world music were virtually synonymous, and the genre's biggest stars included the Nigerians King Sunny Ade and Fela Anikulapo Kuti and the Senegalese Youssou N'Dour. Moreover, one of its earliest advocates was the Cameroonian-born Frenchman Francis Bebey. By the 21st century world music encompassed everything from Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and the pop-flamenco of the French group the Gipsy Kings to “ambient-global” projects that merged so-called ethnic voice samples with state-of-the-art rhythm programming.
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Style of U.S. popular music sung and performed primarily by African American musicians, having its roots in gospel music and rhythm and blues. The term was first used in the 1960s to describe music that combined rhythm and blues, gospel, jazz, and rock music and that was characterized by intensity of feeling and earthiness. In its earliest stages, soul music was found most commonly in the South, but many of the young singers who were to popularize it migrated to cities in the North. The founding of Motown in Detroit, Mich., and Stax-Volt in Memphis, Tenn., did much to encourage the style. Its most popular performers include James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, and Aretha Franklin.
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Musical style that arose in the U.S. in the mid-1950s and became the dominant form of popular music in the world. Though rock has used a wide variety of instruments, its basic elements are one or several vocalists, heavily amplified electric guitars (including bass, rhythm, and lead), and drums. It began as a simple style, relying on heavy, dance-oriented rhythms, uncomplicated melodies and harmonies, and lyrics sympathetic to its teenage audience's concerns—young love, the stresses of adolescence, and automobiles. Its roots lay principally in rhythm and blues (R&B) and country music. Both R&B and country existed outside the mainstream of popular music in the early 1950s, when the Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed (1921–65) and others began programming R&B, which until then had been played only to black audiences. Freed's success gave currency to the term rock and roll. The highly rhythmic, sensual music of Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and the Comets, and particularly Elvis Presley in 1955–56 struck a responsive chord in the newly affluent postwar teenagers. In the 1960s several influences combined to lift rock out of what had already declined into a bland and mechanical format. In England, where rock's development had been slow, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were found to have retained the freshness of its very early years and achieved enormous success in the U.S., where a new generation had grown up unaware of the musical influences of the new stars. At the same time, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, the Byrds, and others were blending the traditional ballads and verse forms of folk music with rock, and musicians began to explore social and political themes. Performers such as the Grateful Dead, Jim Morrison of the Doors, and Frank Zappa of the Mothers of Invention combined imaginative lyrics with instrumental virtuosity, typically featuring lengthy solo improvisation. Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix won large followings with their exotic elaborations on R&B. The 1970s saw the rise of singer-songwriters such as Paul Simon, Neil Young, Elton John, David Bowie, and Bruce Springsteen, and rock assimilated other forms to produce jazz-rock, heavy metal, and punk rock. In the 1980s the disco-influenced rock of Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Prince was balanced by the post-punk “new wave” music of performers such as Laurie Anderson, Talking Heads (led by David Byrne), and the Eurythmics—all of whom illustrated their songs with music videos. By the 1990s rock music had incorporated grunge, rap, techno, and other forms.
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Common symbols used in modern musical notation.
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Popular entertainment that featured successive acts by singers, comedians, dancers, and actors. The form derived from the taproom concerts given in city taverns in England in the 18th–19th centuries. To meet the demand for entertainment for the working class, tavern owners often annexed nearby buildings as music halls, where drinking and smoking were permitted. The originator of the English music hall as such was Charles Morton, who built Morton's Canterbury Hall (1852) and Oxford Hall (1861) in London. Leading performers included Lillie Langtry, Harry Lauder (1870–1950), and Gracie Fields. Music halls evolved into larger, more respectable variety theatres, such as London's Hippodrome and the Coliseum. Variety acts combined music, comedy acts, and one-act plays and featured celebrities such as Sarah Bernhardt and Herbert Tree. Seealso vaudeville.
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In music, institution for education in musical performance and composition. The term and institution derives from the Italian conservatorio, which in the Renaissance period and earlier denoted an orphanage often attached to a hospital. The children there were given musical training; the term gradually came to apply to music schools. The first secular school of music for students at large was established in Paris in 1784. Throughout the 19th century the French model was copied, with modifications, in Europe and in the U.S., later in Canada and Australia. Conservatories typically offer instruction to people of all ages, but the primary focus is on students age 10–25. Important U.S. conservatories include the Curtis Institute of Music, the Eastman School, and the Juilliard School.
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German music box, with disk in playing position, from Leipzig, c. 1900
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In chemistry and physics, a theoretical model describing the states of electrons in solid materials, which can have energy values only within certain specific ranges, called bands. Ranges of energy between two allowed bands are called forbidden bands. As electrons in an atom move from one energy level to another, so can electrons in a solid move from an energy level in one band to another in the same band or in another band. The band theory accounts for many of the electrical and thermal properties of solids and forms the basis of the technology of devices such as semiconductors, heating elements, and capacitors (see capacitance).
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Musical ensemble that generally excludes stringed instruments. Ensembles of woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments originated in 15th-century Germany, taking on a particularly military role; these spread to France, Britain, and eventually the New World. In the 15th–18th centuries, many European towns had town musicians, or waits, who performed especially for ceremonial occasions in wind bands often consisting primarily of shawms and sackbuts (trombones). In the 18th–19th centuries, the English amateur brass band, largely consisting of the many newly developed brass instruments, took on the important nonmilitary function of representing organizations of all kinds. In the U.S., Patrick Gilmore's virtuoso band became famous in the mid-19th century; his greatest successor, John Philip Sousa, bequeathed a repertory of marches that has remained very popular. The “big band,” under leaders such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie, was central to American popular music in the 1930s and '40s. In the rock band, unlike most other bands, stringed instruments (electric guitars and electric bass) are paramount.
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Art concerned with combining vocal or instrumental sounds for beauty of form or emotional expression, usually according to cultural standards of rhythm, melody, and, in most Western music, harmony. Music most often implies sounds with distinct pitches that are arranged into melodies and organized into patterns of rhythm and metre. The melody will usually be in a certain key or mode, and in Western music it will often suggest harmony that may be made explicit as accompanying chords or counterpoint. Music is an art that, in one guise or another, permeates every human society. It is used for such varied social purposes as ritual, worship, coordination of movement, communication, and entertainment.
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Traditional music played by professional musicians (klezmorim) in the Jewish ghettos of eastern Europe, especially for weddings and other ceremonies. The klezmer tradition has its roots in medieval Europe. By the 19th century its style was well-developed, influenced not only by the liturgical music of the synagogue (which allows only unaccompanied singing), but also that of the local non-Jewish cultures. It is primarily lively dance music. Klezmer ensembles have varied considerably; in the U.S., where a klezmer revival began in the 1980s, a typical band consists of four to six musicians playing some combination of violin, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, tuba, accordion, double bass, and percussion.
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Music composed to accompany a play. The practice dates back to ritualistic Greek drama, and it is thus connected to the use of music in other kinds of ritual. Sometimes limited to the role of introduction or interlude (setting a mood or a historical period, for example), it may also accompany spoken dialogue (see melodrama). Film and television music is sometimes considered incidental music.
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Musical style that originated among whites in rural areas of the southern and western U.S. The term country and western music was adopted by the music industry in 1949 to replace the derogatory hillbilly music. Its roots lie in the music of the European settlers of the Appalachians and other areas. In the early 1920s the genre began to be commercially recorded; Fiddlin' John Carson recorded its first hit. Radio programs such as Nashville's
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Form of black American music derived from Pentecostal church worship services and from spiritual and blues singing. Recordings of Pentecostal preachers' sermons were immensely popular among African Americans in the 1920s. Taking the scriptural direction “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord” (Psalm 150), Pentecostal churches welcomed timbrels, pianos, banjos, guitars, other stringed instruments, and even brass into their services. Choirs often featured the extremes of female vocal range in antiphonal counterpoint with the preacher's sermon. Other forms of gospel music have included the singing and acoustic guitar playing of itinerant street preachers; individual secular performers; and harmonizing male quartets, whose acts included dance routines and stylized costumes. Gospel music's principal composers and practitioners included Thomas A. Dorsey, who coined the term; the Rev. C.A. Tindley (1851–1933); the blind wandering preacher Rev. Gary Davis (1896–1972); Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915–73), whose performances took gospel into nightclubs and theatres in the 1930s; and Mahalia Jackson. Gospel music was a significant influence on rhythm and blues and soul music, which have in turn strongly influenced contemporary gospel music.
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Music held to be typical of a nation or ethnic group, known to all segments of its society, and preserved usually by oral tradition. Knowledge of the history and development of folk music is largely conjectural. Musical notation of folk songs and descriptions of folk music culture are occasionally encountered in historical records, but these tend to reflect primarily the literate classes' indifference or even hostility. As Christianity expanded in medieval Europe, attempts were made to suppress folk music because of its association with heathen rites and customs, and uncultivated singing styles were denigrated. During the Renaissance, new humanistic attitudes encouraged acceptance of folk music as a genre of rustic antique song, and composers made extensive use of the music; folk tunes were often used as raw material for motets and masses, and Protestant hymns borrowed from folk music. In the 17th century folk music gradually receded from the consciousness of the literate classes, but in the late 18th century it again became important to art music. In the 19th century, folk songs came to be considered a “national treasure,” on a par with cultivated poetry and song. National and regional collections were published, and the music became a means of promoting nationalistic ideologies. Since the 1890s, folk music has been collected and preserved by mechanical recordings. Publications and recordings have promoted wide interest, making possible the revival of folk music where traditional folk life and folklore are moribund. After World War II, archives of field recordings were developed throughout the world. While research has usually dealt with “authentic” (i.e., older) material not heavily influenced by urban popular music and the mass media, the influence of singer-songwriters such as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan expanded the genre to include original music that largely retains the form and simplicity of traditional compositions.
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Any music involving electronic processing (e.g., recording and editing on tape) and whose reproduction involves the use of loudspeakers. In the late 1940s, magnetic tape began to be used, especially in France, to modify natural sounds (playing them backward, at different speeds, etc.), creating the genre known as musique concrète. By the early 1950s, composers in Germany and the U.S. were employing assembled conglomerations of oscillators, filters, and other equipment to produce entirely new sounds. The development of voltage-controlled oscillators and filters led, in the 1950s, to the first synthesizers, which effectively standardized the assemblages and made them more flexible. No longer relying on tape editing, electronic music could now be created in real time. Since their advent in the late 1970s, personal computers have been used to control the synthesizers. Digital sampling—composing with music and sounds electronically extracted from other recordings—has largely replaced the use of oscillators as a sound source.
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(from Latin, alea: “dice game”) Any 20th-century music, particularly that of the 1950s and '60s, the composition or performance of which incorporates elements of chance. In aleatory music aspects such as the ordering of a piece's sections, its rhythms, and even its pitches are decided at the moment of performance. When not purely improvising, players follow lists of arbitrary rules or interpreted “graphic” notation that merely suggest the sounds. Charles Ives and Henry Cowell had used such techniques, but John Cage became the principal figure in aleatory; other aleatory composers include Earle Brown (1926–2002), Morton Feldman (1926–87), and Pierre Boulez.
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Music composed for small instrumental ensembles and performed without a conductor. Traditionally intended for performance in a room or reception hall, often solely for the performers' own pleasure, chamber music is now often heard in concert halls. It began with the 16th-century instrumental consort, and long continued to be associated with aristocratic households. The duo sonata (usually for violin and continuo) and trio sonata appeared in early 17th-century Italy. The string quartet arose in the 1750s and remains the best-known chamber genre and ensemble. The serenade, nocturne, and divertimento were Classical genres for varying instrumental forces, often intended to accompany meals and other activities. Standard ensembles include the string trio (violin, viola, cello), string quintet (two violins, two violas, cello), and piano trio (piano, violin, cello). The chamber orchestra, usually with fewer than 25 musicians, is often used for 18th-century music and usually requires a conductor. Seealso sonata.
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In music, the absence of functional harmony as a primary structural element. Probably originally a pejorative term applied to music of extreme chromaticism, it has become the most widely used descriptive term for 20th-century music whose connection with tonality is difficult to hear. Arnold Schoenberg and his students Alban Berg and Anton Webern are regarded as the seminal atonal composers; the serialism of their later work is often distinguished from their earlier “free atonality.”
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Conservatory of music in Philadelphia, Pa., U.S. It was founded in 1924 by Mary Louise Curtis Bok (1876–1970), wife of the editor Edward Bok, and named for her father, the inventor Charles Gordon Curtis. Her endowment was adequate to assure scholarships for gifted students throughout the world. Many eminent musicians have served on its faculty, including Wanda Landowska, Bohuslav Martinů, and Rudolf Serkin. Graduates include Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, and Gian Carlo Menotti.
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