The History of Rock and Roll-Class Description
Maestro James Domine traces the development of Rock and Roll, a uniquely American style of popular music as it evolved beginning in the 1950's through its culmination and retrospective developmental episodes in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. For the purposes of this class, Rock and Roll is defined as the musical expression of adolescent rebellion.
Combining a myriad of elemental influences taken from earlier styles such as (but not limited to) rhythm and blues, jazz, gospel, folk, classical and other genres, Rock and Roll emerges from a tumultuous confluence of musical streams that is brought into focus through the lens of attention brought to bear by the listening habits of an audience of teenagers whose demographic constituent parts and musical tastes define the repertoire. As time goes on, the audience grows older but the emphasis on youthful predilections remains as an essential element at the aesthetic core of Rock and Roll.
Rock and Roll is a multi-cultural ethno-musicological style that can be described in terms of the formal structure of its song-forms, characteristic dance rhythms, melodic modes and harmonic sequences. Primarily a vocal genre of musical expression, the main roots of Rock and Roll singing can be found in the gospel harmonization and choral style ubiquitous in 19th century American musical culture, as well as solo singing from folk, blues and jazz singing styles. Along with an array of instrumental and improvisational techniques, Rock and Roll has an established standard repertoire of sounds that characterize the genre.
Rock and Roll music develops in an historical chronological episodic sequence through which the Rock Band gradually emerges as a standard instrumental ensemble used in the performance of rock music. consisting of two electric guitars, bass guitar, and drums. Sometimes keyboards are included with optional or occasional deployment of peripheral solo instruments, or instrumental groups. Rock music is characterized by a strong rhythm, or "beat" with an accent on the syncopated "off-beat" that is inherited from earlier jazz or "boogie-woogie" style.
A most important distinguishing aspect of Rock and Roll music that sets it apart from every other kind of music is youth-oriented lyrics. The central poetical concern with the problems and pleasures of youth is at the heart of Rock and Roll as an art form. Rock music manifests certain clearly identifiable modes of adolescent developmental psychology. The sociological significance of rock music in the youth subculture is relevant to the function music in a much more comprehensive social context. Rock and Roll becomes a totemistic identifier of affiliated communities that affect inter-personal relationships, sexual behavior, gender issues, anti-social demonstrative, ethnic, economic, political and other issues.
Using examples from the musical repertoire, this class will explore the chain of musical events and the contributions of significant artists that shape the history of Rock and Roll and tell a larger story of American cultural evolution in the late 20th and early 21st century.
1) Students will understand rock & roll music in its historical, social and cultural context as an expression of the human condition with a broader objective of understanding the relationship between context and human creative expression in the arts as humanities. This is accomplished through (1) listening assignments, (2) topical discussions, and (3) an essay or written report as evidentiary documentation of a live performance.
2) Aurally identify elements of musical style as represented in successive eras and genres of rock music as it develops chronologically. The student will acquire skills of critical thinking related to the structural analysis of the various forms of musical expression through (1) guided listening exercises and (2) directed class discussion with the objective of identifying specific characteristics of musical style that define genres and sub-genres of rock music.
3) Explain the basic song-forms and harmonic patterns that form the musical substructure of rock music and relate these to style periods within the pantheon of rock & roll music, also define and apply the rudiments of music theory as a conceptual framework for understanding elements of musical form through (1) student discussion, (2) written assignment posts in response specific examples from the repertoire, and (3) a prepared presentation on a piece of music.
4) Understand the relationship between the sociological, economic, political, demographic and ethnological contexts of rock music to its targeted audiences, and the central role that corporate marketing plays in the production and mass-media dissemination of rock music, and how economic factors enter into and affect the aesthetic and creative aspects of rock music as an art form.
Week 1: Early Period “Boogie-Woogie” (1953-55)
Week 2: Doo-Wop Vocal Style
Week 3: Rhythm and Blues – Li’l Richard & Chuck Berry
Week 4: White Rock - Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly & Bill Haley
Week 5: Surf Music
Week 6: The Beatles - British Invasion I
Week 7: British Invasion II
Week 8: Folk-Rock Revolution
Week 9: Psychedelic Music
Week 10: Monterey & Woodstock Festivals
Week 11: Midterm Exam
Week 12: Disco Music
Week 13: Funky Music
Week 14: Punk Rock – Garage Bands
Week 15: New Wave - MTV
Week 16: Pop and Hip Hop- EuroRave
Week 17: Grunge Music/Heavy Metal
Week 18: Rap Music – Gangsta
Week 19: Post-Rock Electric Eclectic
Week 20: Final Exam
Count Basie – One O’Clock Jump