A Brief History Of Music
Music is the oldest form of artistic expression, there having been voices and rocks to bang together, long before there were paintbrushes, and strange people who claim their epileptic fits are abstract dance. But the greatest developments have all taken place within the last two centuries.
The classical era ended around 1830 as Beethoven developed the new, more energetic and passionate, style, differing wildly from the Mozartian music which the audience of the time were used to. Mozart and Haydn wrote music that you could play in the background at a party, or pray to. Beethoven wrote music for music’s sake. Throughout the Romantic era, when you could learn everything by gazing at daisies and listening to babbling brooks, the colonisation and christian conversion of far off countries and spread of trade routes meant that foreign influences started to affect the prim English sound, typically the Latin-American syncopated rhythms and “Negro,” soul and gospel, including the blue notes that quickly caught on in the 20th century to produce jazz and swing.
The Big Band. Glen Miller. The invention of the saxophone, thought to be the new thing in military bands, but soon synonymous with smoky back alley jazz clubs and booze. Jazz took a dark turn, mixing with soul to produce beautiful, lyrical melodic lines.
At the same time the twelve bar blues emerged, appealing to a young boy called Elvis with rather flexible hips, who took it and created Rock and Roll.
Rock and Roll and satan spawned the unholy lovechild Pop, the pandora’s box from which emerged Madonna, Justin Bieber, One Direction, Britney Spears and the gyrating form of Michael Jackson. Not that I have an objection to any of the above.
Into the swinging sixties and Rock and Roll, high hair and the jive became all the rage, the dance scene embracing salsa and rumba as their musical rhythms were already well incorporated into the music, the mildly provocative moves being deemed too racy for the British.
In the seventies things started to get interesting, Pink Floyd emerged, Yes, The Rolling Stones, hard rock and blue rock emerged and punk began to rear it’s Mohican head, and basically everything was great until Abba showed up.
I don’t have anything against Abba, far from it, but after winning Eurovision in 1974 they topped the charts continuously until 1982, using the same feel good chord progressions and overdramatic lyrics. Every. Single. Time. They aren’t bad musicians, far from it, maybe it’s the flares that I despise, sneaking into my subconscious and convincing me of my hatred for the band, or perhaps it’s the fact my mother inflicted them upon me from a perilously early age, and this may be the results of Post Traumatic Stress disorder. Nevertheless, I dislike them intensely.
The classic rock band sound continued and thrived up until 2001 when the first purely electronic sound centre was built, giving birth to House and Dubstep. After the millennium very little music was created that had ever been near, in the proximity of, or remotely related to an acoustic instrument. This decade, here and now we are either going with that: resulting in the nightclub beats of House, or rebelling, going back to our roots with the classic rock band.
Whatever we do, it’s got to be better than Abba.