Definitions

roll

roll

[rohl]
roll, in aviation: see airfoil.
or rock and roll

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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Steinway-Welte player piano, 1910; in the British Piano and Musical Museum, Brentford, Middlesex, elipsis

Piano that mechanically plays music encoded as perforations on a paper roll. An early version, patented in 1897 by the American engineer E.S. Votey, was a cabinet placed in front of an ordinary piano, with wooden “fingers” projecting over the keyboard. A paper roll with perforations corresponding to the notes passed over a tracker bar to activate the release of air by pneumatic devices that set the fingers in motion; the user could control tempo and loudness by levers and pedals. Soon this mechanism was built into the piano itself. The later “reproducing piano” could reproduce the nuances of tempo and dynamics in great performances, the roll having been produced by the performance itself. After the 1920s the phonograph led to the instrument's quick decline. Modern versions, such as the Yamaha Disklavier, are operated by digital memory on a computer disk.

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orig. Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe

(born Oct. 20, 1890, New Orleans, La., U.S.—died July 10, 1941, Los Angeles, Calif.) U.S. pianist and the first important composer in jazz. In his youth Morton was apparently active as a gambler, pool shark, and procurer. A pioneer ragtime piano player, he toured the country as a pianist from 1904, making his first recordings in Chicago in 1923 with his ensemble the Red Hot Peppers. An exponent of the New Orleans tradition, Morton achieved success integrating elements of ragtime with improvised and arranged ensemble passages, often on his own compositions such as “King Porter Stomp.” By the early 1930s Morton's fame had been overshadowed by that of Louis Armstrong and other emerging innovators.

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orig. Ferdinand Joseph La Menthe

(born Oct. 20, 1890, New Orleans, La., U.S.—died July 10, 1941, Los Angeles, Calif.) U.S. pianist and the first important composer in jazz. In his youth Morton was apparently active as a gambler, pool shark, and procurer. A pioneer ragtime piano player, he toured the country as a pianist from 1904, making his first recordings in Chicago in 1923 with his ensemble the Red Hot Peppers. An exponent of the New Orleans tradition, Morton achieved success integrating elements of ragtime with improvised and arranged ensemble passages, often on his own compositions such as “King Porter Stomp.” By the early 1930s Morton's fame had been overshadowed by that of Louis Armstrong and other emerging innovators.

Learn more about Morton, Jelly Roll with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Roll-your-own (RYO, often called rollies, roll-ups or hand-rolled cigarettes) refers to a cigarette made from loose tobacco and rolling papers. Roll-your-own products are sold as a pouch of tobacco for rolling hand-rolled cigarettes, sometimes with the rolling papers provided in the pouch.

Hand-rolled cigarettes also give smokers the ability to roll cigarettes of any size they choose. Like all tobacco products, use can cause various diseases. Roll-your-own cigarettes are also preferred by some smokers because they are cheaper than machine-made cigarettes.

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