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Music History Essay, Research Paper

You re standing on stage playing a song you wrote, jamming with your buddies, or just sitting in your room, playing out your emotions and you feel it, a feeling that is so harmonious, relaxing, exciting, and purifying that it can only begin to be explained by the word awesome. This is music, and its history is just as amazing. From Classical to Blues to Metal, music styles have continued to evolve throughout human history. These changes in music styles nationally have affected music here at Gardiner Area High School.

At the time our school was built, the rock revolution was spreading across the country. Within a few years, musicians like The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, and The Beatles would change popular music across the country and around the world. Teenagers all over were joining in as a way to rebel, escape, or just listen for the love of it. Some consider the change brought by Rock and Roll to be the major advancement in music of our time. If it wasn t for Rock and Roll, music today would be very different. Rock and Roll lead to Metal, Hardcore, Nu-Metal, and many other sub-genres that are very popular today.

Before the school was built, many types of music spread around the world. Early in history, most tribes had their own style of music using very primitive instruments. Then there was Classical, which dominated for hundreds of years. Many musicians from that time period are still very popular today. Mozart and Beethoven were two of the greatest classical musicians, and today their music is listened to and played regularly.

In the 1920 s, the Jazz era mirrored the prosperity and happiness of the time. This could be considered the beginning of the change to rock, because Jazz began a move towards more upbeat music. It used guitar, bass, and drums (rock instruments) more than Classical had.

As the 1930 s came, and the Depression began, music started becoming less happy and more gloomy. This was the Blues era, when Blues music became mainstreamed, just as Jazz had been a decade ago. The music very much related to the condition of the world. The Blues era helped to lessen racism in music. Blues was played almost exclusively by African-Americans. White people began to realize that African-Americans were actual human beings who appreciated and made great music. As the world came out of the Depression, Blues music did not go away. Blues is still a very popular musical style today, with artists like Eric Clapton and B.B. King putting out CD s that compete with Hardcore bands for sales.

1940 s music was mostly Blues, Jazz, and Classical being mixed and replayed. The combinations created some new styles like Be-Bop and swing. Some famous musicians of this time were Charlie Parker, Enrico Caruso, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller.

The 1950 s brought with it the very beginning of Rock, with Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, and others doing the radical and unbelievable, such as gyrating hips and distorting guitars. Many adults found this completely unacceptable and banned their children from listening to it, while teenagers and younger adults absolutely loved it. Suddenly there was different music for each generation. The adults had the music they grew up with, and their children had their own.

The beginnings of rock from the 1950 s led right into the 1960 s, when some people wanted to escape the war in Vietnam and others just wanted to defy the normal, the establishment. The 1960 s produced a very emotional version of Rock that was heavily influenced by drugs. The upbeat type gave the illusion that the world was at peace. The 1960 s produced The Beatles, arguably the most successful and popular band ever. Led Zeppelin and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, two very large influences in Rock and Roll history, became popular in the 1960 s. Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Paige of Led Zeppelin contributed immensely to Rock and Roll guitar playing and made very deep connections with the Blues. On August 15, 1969, Woodstock began and continued for three days. It is probably the most famous concert of all time, because of the musicians who performed, and the fact that it was made free on the second day. It also demonstrated the massive cultural change Americans had produced during the 1960 s.

The 1970 s continued the success of Rock bands, but it replaced drugged out bands with less radical musicians like The Eagles and John Denver. The 1970 s marked the break up of The Beatles and the growing popularity of Led Zeppelin. It also began Dance music with Disco and some branching of Rock to Metal music.

Hair bands, electronic Pop, and down and dirty Metal groups controlled the 1980 s. The Dance music evolution continued from the 1970 s to produce pop in basic and very electronic forms. Rock and Metal created two major styles in the 1980 s, a Glamour Hair band style consisting of bands like White Snake, Megadeth, Def Leppard, and Aerosmith, that many die hard Rock fans consider to be very fake, and a back to basics style consisting of bands like Metallica, Ozzy, AC/DC, and Guns N Roses.

The 1990 s is considered by many to be the most diversified decade of music. Metal, pure Rock and Roll, Pop, Ska, Country, and many other styles were all very popular. Even styles like Blues, Jazz, and Classical made massive comebacks in the 90 s. Nirvana made Grunge music popular and took it into mainstream music venues. Korn began the wave of Nu-Metal and Hardcore bands that would flow out like water pouring from a waterfall. The Backstreet Boys and N Sync brought us Boy Bands, and Destiny s Child and The Spice Girls produced Girl Bands. Bands like Creed, Pearl Jam, and Incubus brought back Rock strong and continued to add their own personal touch to it. Metallica and other metal bands from the 1980 s continued with massive success throughout the world. The newest form of Dance music, Techno, became extremely popular as had previous styles in the Dance category. Hip-Hop and Rap took hold, popularized, and then joined Rock to form yet another new style called Rap-Rock. Many bands like Rage Against the Machine renewed the anti-government force that began in the 1960 s and took it to new levels in the style of Rap-Rock. The new anti-government activists targeted many of the same cultural aspects that were attacked in the 1960 s, but also found many new targets.

One of the best things about music s history is the vastness of it. While there were certain categories that were the most popular in the United States, there were also countless styles in other countries and in the United States that were very popular with different people. Throughout history there has been such a variety in music types in most of the world that few people have found it hard to pick a style or styles they like and enjoy. Today, uncategorizable music is put out on CD s.

In Gardiner, music styles followed the national trends closely. Music here at Gardiner Area High School was, and still is, a part of everyday life for virtually every student. Pop, Dance, and other similar styles appeal to many, less musically involved students, while the many bands that are formed play Metal, Rock, Grunge, and Hardcore music.

Gardiner High has produced a number of extremely talented musicians, who rival some of the most popular professional musicians in history. A student who graduated from Gardiner a few years back, Patrick Sheppard, is the most amazing guitarist I have ever met, and can play almost anything I ve heard on a CD. He has gone on to work at a local music store and run sound systems for professional bands playing in Maine, getting to do what he loves. Currently there are multiple, truly amazing musicians going to our school, ranging from guitarists and drummers, to bassists, and more. A group of soon to be, and previous graduates, have gotten together to form a band named Hugo. Many people believe they could go professional.

Walking through the halls in Gardiner you will commonly hear a guitar or other instrument coming from a classroom. Sometimes this is a band getting in a quick practice, a group playing music for a project, or just someone sitting in a corner, enjoying the relaxation and purity of music. Feelings among most of the bands are very positive. Bands help each other out anyway they can. Fellow bands such as Hugo, Romp, Crooked Eddie and the Bowling Alley Gremlins, and Kids in the Hall will lend equipment, organize shows for each other, or just get together to jam. Group shows are very popular in Gardiner. Someone will find a location and bands will pour in with equipment to provide a sound system to cover the venue. If a guitar string breaks in the middle of a song, someone is behind the guitarist before the song is over, offering him another guitar to continue with.

At the end of every year, there is a feeling of sadness throughout the band community as bands break up. Seniors go off to college, or another stage in their lives. There is a thought that the best have left, and no one will be able to replace them. But the next year new bands form from the remaining musicians, and they take over the lead in Gardiner s music. The love for music is so great at Gardiner that I believe nothing will be able to silence the musicians.


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