This is default featured slide 2 title
This is default featured slide 3 title
This is default featured slide 4 title
This is default featured slide 5 title

Tutorial on Reggae Chords on a Keyboard

The keyboard can play an important part in a reggae band. Like the rhythm guitar, the keyboard provides chords with occasional melodies, and it can help give reggae its distinctive sound. Likewise, if a rhythm guitar player is not available, the keyboard can fill in to provide that distinctive sound. Depending on the band’s needs and desired sound, the keyboard will often be played with an organ sound, such as a wave organ, or something simulating a wah-wah pedal.

  • Set the keyboard to an organ sound or a sound similar to a wah-wah pedal. Other sounds can be used if desired, based on the band or song’s needs, but it’s best to play a sound that does not sustain at all after you let go of the keys. Likewise, you don’t want a sound that fades in.
  • Play bass notes with the left hand, which should fit in with the key of the song and the chord being played with the right hand. Keep the notes choppy and short. These bass notes should provide a little melody and movement, especially if the reggae band doesn’t have a bass guitar player.
  • Press down on the chord, but quickly let go of the keys. These chords should be played on the offbeat, which helps create the distinctive reggae sound. The chords will normally be played around middle C or above, but usually not too high on the keyboard. The chords will depend on the progression of the song. Reggae chords usually contain major and minor chords, such as Am, Em, D, and F, and feature the 1st, 3rd, and 5th note of the chord being played.
  • Move to a different chord based on the progression of song. Keep the chords short, choppy and on the offbeats. Often, each chord will be played twice with the right hand before moving onto the next chord, but this can vary based on the song’s structure.

Reggae Costume Ideas

Dressing as a reggae artist or fan takes little effort but makes a big statement. Reggae may have originated in Jamaican culture, but today anyone can dress in this style. Originating in the 1960s, reggae combines rhythm and blues sounds with Caribbean style, resulting in music that is relaxed and soulful but set to a beat. Reggae musicians like Bob Marley dressed in a colorful and unique style that other fans emulated.


  • The first thing to consider when you’re planning a reggae costume is color. There are a few shades that are most commonly associated with this style, so choosing items in these shades is essential when you’re trying to show off some reggae flavor. Pick pieces that are yellow, green and black. These colors came to prominence in the reggae community because they’re the color of the Jamaican flag. When combined with red, they are also the colors used by the Rastafarians, a religious movement that has close ties to reggae, so try to use all four of these colors in your costume.


  • If you don’t already own reggae-type clothing, you’ll be able to find some pieces at a thrift shop or make them yourself fairly easily. This style is all about color and casualness. Tie-dye is a staple in reggae clothing. Dye an old, oversized t-shirt of your own using the colors of the Jamaican flag. A concert t-shirt advertising a reggae artist such as Bob Marley will also suit your purpose. For the bottom of your costume, jeans are all you need. Leave your trendy, dark-wash jeans at home and choose light-wash, loose-fitting jeans. Tear holes in the knees and affix patches to random spots.


  • Many people wear reggae colors and tie-dyed clothing as part of their everyday style, so choosing some accessories is essential in order to make it clear that you’re wearing a costume. If you’re willing to go all out, buy a wig with dreadlocks to mimic the hairstyle of many Rastafarians. A type of knit hat called a tam fits the reggae style; this hat sits flat against the front of the head and droops down at back of the head, and it’s suitable for a man or woman. Add a pair of dark sunglasses to your face and a few strings of wooden beads around your neck.


  • Since the reggae lifestyle is largely about music, some musical props will complete your look. Reggae music relies heavily on guitars; attach a red, black, yellow and green strap to an acoustic guitar to wear around your shoulder, or affix reggae stickers to an empty guitar case to carry with you. Drums are also important in reggae music. If you can find a set of bongo drums to accentuate your costume, you’ll also be able to delight your friends with impromptu drumming performances.

The Main Types of Reggae Music

Reggae music originated in Jamaica and became popular worldwide in the 1960s. Indelibly tied to Jamaica’s independence movement, reggae artists branched off into different musical directions, and styles of reggae reflected everything from cultural changes to new production techniques.


  • The first form of reggae was called ska. Jamaican musicians listened to New Orleans radio stations on transistors, and because Jamaica has such a hot climate, the artists naturally slowed the New Orleans pace. The resulting bouncy, jazz-influenced rhythm was ska.


  • Rocksteady slowed the ska rhythms even further, adding horns to the mix. Rocksteady helped to further expand reggae’s audience, with popular groups like the Heptones.


  • Bob Marley and the Wailers added social consciousness to reggae lyrics. Music historian Bob Steffens explains that in the late 1960s Marley wanted to become famous in America as a soul singer. Instead, the Wailers and fellow reggae artists like Toots & the Maytals fashioned reggae as a modern 1970s rhythm and blues.


  • The spooky, echoed production style of dub is another major reggae style. Dub was mainly a producer’s style, though many bands adopted the style as their own. The most famous dub producer is Lee “Scratch” Perry.


  • Dancehall is a popular form of reggae today. Stars like Shabba Ranks and Sean Paul have used Jamaican patois in combination with rap to propel reggae to new levels of worldwide attention and sales.

History of Reggae Dance

Reggae dance music is a genre of music that was introduced in the 1960s in Jamaica. Reggae music evolved from two other types of Jamaican music: ska and rock steady. This type of music and dance deals with a variety of subjects, including peace, love, religion, sexuality and other types of social and cultural issues.


  • The music later known as “reggae dance” began making its appearance in the 1960s in Jamaica. This type of music was primarily influenced by rhythm and blues music in New Orleans. The song “Long Shot,” which was produced by Lee Perry and recorded by the Pioneers, is labeled as the first recorded reggae song, although at the time it was released, that type of music didn’t actually have a name yet.
    Music producers played a major role in the history of reggae dance. Chris Blackwell founded Island Records in 1960, and then moved to England where he promoted reggae in the United Kingdom. Island Records joined with Trojan Records in 1968, and they continued to produce and promote reggae until 1974 when the label was bought out.


  • The most recognizable names in reggae dance music are Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston, who formed the group The Wailers in 1963. The Wailers began singing ska, and continued to evolve with the music into rock steady and ultimately, reggae. Bob Marley is the best-known name from The Wailers, which later was renamed Bob Marley and the Wailers. Marley is most popular for songs such as “No Woman, No Cry,” “One Love,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” and many others.

Tempo and Sounds

  • Reggae can be identified by its tempo, which is slower than ska and rock steady, and based on rhythms that utilize offbeat accents, typically on the second and fourth beat. Reggae generally is played in 4/4 time, and is harmonically simple with sometimes as few as one or two chords in the whole song. Primarily, reggae utilizes drums and other types of percussion, bass and guitars, keyboards, horns, and vocals to create the island beat for which it is known.


  • The 1972 movie “The Harder They Come,” about a young man trying to make it big as a reggae singer, had a strong reggae soundtrack. It starred reggae star and pioneer Jimmy Cliff and helped make reggae music known and respected worldwide.

Popular Songs

  • The 1967 song “Red Red Wine” by Neil Diamond was the first reggae song sung by a popular musician. In 1968, the chart-topping song “Hold Me Tight” by Johnny Nash is considered to be the first song to bring reggae music into the mainstream. Slowly, reggae music began to be incorporated into rock music, and a prime example of this is “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” by The Beatles, which was released in 1968. Eric Clapton’s cover of Bob Marley’s song “I Shot the Sheriff” in 1974 was another major influence on bringing reggae into the mainstream.

The Characteristics of Reggae Music

Reggae is most identifiable by its off-beat accents. Reggae is commonly misconstrued to refer to all Jamaican music, but reggae refers to a specific type of Jamaican music. Reggae gathers its influences from African music, jazz, rhythm and blues and, more directly, ska and rocksteady. Ska during the 1960s was popularized in Britain by the mod culture and in Jamaica by the rude-boy culture. Neither group liked the speed of ska, so they would “dance half-speed to certain ska records,” according to reggae historian Steve Barrow. This led to the creation of rocksteady and then reggae.


  • Reggae is played most commonly in 4/4 or swing time. 4/4 is the most common time signature, with four quarter beats in a bar. Swing time takes a simple time signature, such as 4/4, but plays notes or chords at untypical times, such as four sets of three notes in two bars of 4/4.


  • Reggae drums are divided into three categories. “One drop” emphasizes the third beat, with no drum on the first beat. “Rockers” emphasizes the third beat as well, though it features a drum (usually a bass drum) on the first beat as well. “Steppers” has a bass drum for each beat; in other music genres, this is know as “four on the floor.”


  • Bass is one of the most prominent aspects of reggae music. It is played with no high-frequency range, and low frequencies are turned up to emphasize the bass sound. Sound frequencies are measured in terms of the vibrations a sound will produce. High-frequency instruments include the flute, piccolo and violin. Low-frequency instruments include the bass, bassoon and tuba. An amplifier or sound-mixing desk can alter the frequencies amplified from instruments. Bass lines are often simple riffs repeated throughout in reggae music. A riff is a sequence of notes in a small number of bars that can be repeated.


  • Reggae guitar usually incorporates chords on the second and fourth beats of a bar. Guitar-playing is short, meaning the strings are plucked quickly and sharply. Reggae guitar is also often played in upstrokes–the guitarist strums chords in an upward direction from the highest-pitched string to the lowest, producing high-pitched or high-frequency sounds.


  • Piano in reggae is played in staccato–marked by short, clear-cut playing–in time with the guitar to match and double the rhythm section. Piano is seldom featured on its own and as an accompaniment only to the guitar. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, pianos and keyboards were replaced by synthesizers.


  • Saxophone, trombone and trumpet are the most common horn instruments in reggae music. Usually the first horn plays a simple melody, with the second horn playing the melody an octave higher and the third horn a fifth higher than the second. Horn sections in reggae are often used to introduce a song, or during a break. It is uncommon for a horn section to play throughout the entire song.

Facts About Soul Music

Soul music emerged in the late 1950s and remained popular through the 1970s, when it was eventually eclipsed by styles like funk and disco. Soul was a major force in pop music history thanks to labels like Stax and Motown and exhibited many different variations in different parts of the country. Soul music’s popularity among African Americans made it a prominent part of the civil rights movement.

Ray Charles

  • Ray Charles is often credited with inventing soul music in the late 1950s. Charles took the call-and-response format, chord changes, song structures and vocal style of gospel music and infused it with the secular lyrics of rhythm and blues. This combined the sacred music of gospel with the profane, sexual innunendo-filled lyrics of the blues. Charles had a hit in 1955 with “I’ve Got A Woman,” which is credited as the first soul song.


  • Soul music grew in popularity during the 1960s and topped the black music charts throughout the decade. Soul songs often crossed over into the pop music charts as well. Songs like “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell are some examples of the many soul hits that topped the pop charts. Long-running TV show “Soul Train,” introduced and hosted by Don Cornelius for two decades, got its start in 1971.


  • Motown Records, based in Detroit, Michigan, released a bulk of the popular soul records in the 1970s. Owner Berry Gordy organized a team of top songwriters who met up each week and pitched the most radio-ready songs to the group. The Supremes and the Temptations were among the heaviest hitters. Songs had to match those of the top five on the pop charts at the time. Motown also dressed all of its artists up nicely, used exacting choreography and taught its performers good manners so as to properly represent the wholesome and professional image of the label.


  • With Motown, Detroit was known as the center of a pop-oriented brand of soul. Soul music popped up in urban centers around the eastern United States. In the 1970s, Philly Soul gave soul a smoother and slicker sound, adding lush and sweeping string arrangements. Soul music down south was more concerned with a grittier sound, emphasizing “syncopated rhyhtms, blaring horns and raw vocals,” according to All Music.

Civil Rights Movement

  • Like rock ‘n’ roll, soul music embodied the spirit of political and social change in the 1960s and 1970s. According to Soul Patrol, soul music paralleled the Civil Rights movement. With funk, an offshoot of soul, James Brown echoed the sentiments of the black pride movement in songs like “Say It Loud-I’m Black and I’m Proud.” Marvin Gaye commented on police brutality, war and other social issues in his 1971 song, “What’s Going On.”

Where to Listen to Rap Music for Free

Rap music evolved through the mixing of various cultural traditions in several eras and countries. Although it shares many roots with the oral traditions and ancient culture of Africa, rap has been shaped through the years by popular culture of today and recent decades past. Online radio stations and streaming websites are a fast, free, convenient way to listen to all types and styles of rap music.

Online Radio Broadcasts

  • Many radio stations offer free rap music online, sometimes as a live broadcast and others as a recording. Check to see if local radio stations in the area offer this service by logging onto their website.There are also websites that offer access to hundreds or even thousands of radio stations online. offers more than 6,000 radio stations that are run by people, not generated by computers or focus groups. Listeners can search for stations by genre, such as R&B, talk or rap. There are also daily Live365 station recommendations and a search feature to find a station that plays a specific song or artist.

Free Online Music Sites

  • There are several websites that offer continuous, free music that can be catered to the musical tastes of the listener. For example, allows the user to create unique “stations” by specifying the artists, songs or genre(s) desired, and then automatically matches these to songs that have similar characteristics and adds them to the listener’s stations. The listener is able to continuously modify the stations and add or remove songs at offers listeners free streaming for rap music, and also boasts free downloads, online radio, news about the top music and rap artists, gig guides, and more. Users may also filter songs by most downloaded or most played, to keep up with the most popular music. Rap music charts are displayed on the site to show how well different songs are doing across the country. offers online radio, MP3 and play list capabilities, blogs, videos, photos and other features as well for a variety of music genres. On top of this, there is a great selection for the type of rap music a listener has access to, from Christian rap to indie, novelty and Southern rap.

Internet-Only Radio Stations

  • Internet-only stations are broadcast through the Internet only and are not available on the radio. allows access to many such stations that are based all over the world. The user can search for stations based on genre, country of origin, or both to find a station to suit his listening preferences.

Facts About Jazz Music

As a distinctively American form of music, jazz nevertheless owes a debt to several different cultures. Part of the music’s strength is its elasticity — jazz has multiple identities. It makes room for new ideas and for individual genius. The story of jazz in the United States is a story of inclusion and innovation.

The Origins of Jazz

  • Jazz began at the end of the 19th century with the advent of ragtime, a musical style made well known by piano player and composer Scott Joplin. Around this time people from different cultures were immigrating to American cities — especially New York — in search of fortune and a better life. With these immigrants came a variety of musical traditions that included Irish jigs, German waltzes and French quadrilles. Joplin and others combined these newly introduced European compositional styles with the rhythmic and melodic music of the black community and ragtime — the written precursor to improvised jazz — was born.

Early Jazz

  • Jazz emerged in New Orleans in the early 20th century as a meeting of blues music — often considered working class — with the more classically trained tradition of that city’s mixed race population. Blues singers, such as Bessie Smith, are also credited as early jazz innovators, as the line between blues and early jazz was still blurry. The sound traveled to New York and Chicago to usher in the era now often referred to as the Jazz Age.

Basic Principles

  • Jazz music is characterized by improvisation, syncopation — unexpected rhythms — and melodic freedom. Brass and woodwind instruments along with pianos are particularly associated with jazz, although guitar and occasionally violin are also used. Jazz vocals are distinctly recognizable and include what’s know as scat singing — a form of vocal improvisation that often includes nonsense syllables, sounds or wordless singing — and using the voice to mimic instrumentation.

Types of Jazz

  • Jazz encompasses a countless number of styles including Dixieland, which dates from the 1910s, the gypsy jazz of guitarist Django Reinhardt from the ’30s, big band swing from the ’30s and ’40s, bebop, also from the ’40s and Latin jazz fusions such as Afro-Cuban and Brazilian or Bossa Nova jazz from the ’50s and ’60s. The musical genre also has an abundance of contemporary sub-genres such as free jazz, acid jazz and soul jazz.

Jazz Greats

  • Jazz’s influence has reached around the world. British singer-songwriter Jamie Callum, in an article in the Guardian, lists the ten most influential jazz artists as composer and pianist Thelonius Monk, bass player and composer Charles Mingus, saxophone virtuoso John Coltrane, Miles Davis, pianist Keith Jarrett, singer Nat King Cole, pianist Mary Lou Williams, singer Kurt Elling, Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis. But American critics would argue that pianist Art Tatum, drummer Art Blakey, trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie, drummer Max Roach, singer Billie Holiday, bandleader Count Basie, tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins and bandleader Benny Goodman — and too many other well-loved artists to name — also belong on that list.

’60s Music Facts

The 1960s still stand for many as a decade of epochal change, from the optimism and hope of a “Beach Party” movie to the despair of assassinations and the Vietnam War. Rock music became the soundtrack behind the events as the baby-boom generation moved into their teens. With all that action in the flower power decade, there are a multitude of stories, anecdotes, trivia and facts covering the music scene.

The First British Invasion

  • The Beatles generally get the credit for starting the British Invasion in 1964. However, two British records scored the top spot on Billboard’s Top 100 in 1962. Acker Bilk’s “Stranger on the Shore” and The Tornadoes’ “Telstar” were both one-hit wonders in the U.S. However, orchestra leader Annunzio Paolo Mantovani was a resident of the U.K. from the age of 7. Between 1955 and 1972, more than 40 albums by his orchestra made the charts in the U.S., providing a wealth of easy-listening music for the rock audience to disdain.

The Motown Record Corporation

  • Based in Detroit and started by former car factory worker Berry Gordy, Motown had much in common with the assembly lines that fed car-crazy America. Songwriters such as Smoky Robinson and the team of Holland, Dozier, Holland provided the fuel for artists that included the Miracles, the Temptations and Martha and the Vandellas. Under the hood, though, were the high-horsepower Funk Brothers, a collection of studio musicians who likely played on more hits than the combined totals of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys and Elvis Presley.

The Festival Explosion

  • Communing with nature to a rock back beat may seem to be the quintessential 1960s music experience, and with good reason. The Monterey International Pop Festival of 1967 started three years of classic outdoor rock festivals — although Bob Dylan did play his first rock set at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. Festivals followed in Miami, various locations under the Newport Pop label, Atlanta and Atlantic City, New Jersey. The yin and the yang of the ’60s festivals were Woodstock and Altamont, in August and December 1969, respectively

The Guitars

  • The big four electric guitars were Telecasters and Stratocasters made by Fender, and Les Pauls and SGs, both Gibson models. The Telecaster’s design had mass production in mind, not aesthetics or tone. Those features were built into the Stratocaster in spades, and it may well be the most influential electric guitar. Les Pauls were named for the guitarist and inventor. When sales went soft, Gibson introduced the SG but called these models Les Pauls until the stock of “Les Paul” truss rod cover plates was exhausted.

Funny Music Facts

The music industry is bursting with strange and funny facts about some of the most successful and well-known musicians in the world. For example, the name of the only member of ZZ Top without a beard is Frank Beard. And the harmonica is the world’s best-selling musical instrument. There are many other facts like these waiting to be discovered.

Rock band ZZ Top pose in front of hot rod

Longest Song TitleThe longest song title in the world belongs to Swedish group Rednex. It is a 305 characters long, including spaces: “The Sad But True Story Of Ray Mingus, The Lumberjack Of Bulk Rock City, And His Never Slacking Stribe In Exploiting The So Far Undiscovered Areas Of The Intention To Bodily Intercourse From The Opposite Species Of His Kind, During Intake Of All The Mental Condition That Could Be Derived From Fermentation.” However, the title alone wasn’t enough to earn the track similar success to Rednex’s 1994 song “Cotton Eye Joe.”

Holding a NoteUsher may be famous for his chart-topping R&B, but he has another musical talent: the artist holds the Star Search record for the longest note held by a child at 12.1 seconds. Usher was 13 at the time.

Usher performing on stage
“I Write the Songs”In 1976 American singer and songwriter Barry Manilow released a chart-topping song titled “I Write the Songs.” Ironically, he didn’t write the song himself.

Barry Manilow sings on stage in London, 1982.
“Umbrella”Britney Spear was offered Rihanna’s chart topper “Umbrella,” but her label turned it down. Rihanna went on to take the song to the top spots in Australia, Canada, Germany, France, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. It also reached the top 10 in many other countries.

Rihanna performing at the Staples Center, 2013.
Hit SinglesDianna Ross appeared on at least one hit single every year from 1964 to 1996, spanning 33 years.

Dianna Ross on stage at Radio City Music Hall, NYC.
Dancing ShoesIn 1979 the world’s largest disco was held at the Buffalo Convention Center in New York. Thirteen thousand people danced there way into the Guinness Book of World Records.

7000 people disco dance at the Buffalo Convention Center in 2002 trying to beat the worlds largest disco event.
Longest Recorded SongThe longest recorded piece of music is by a band called Bull of Heaven. The play time of the song, “The Chosen Priest and Apostle of Infinite Space,” is in excess of two months. A current project called “Longplayer” is attempting to create the world’s longest song. The song is set to last almost 1,000 years; plans are that it will come to its conclusion just before the year 3000.

Differences Between Ragtime Music & Jazz Music

Trying to pin down the key differences between ragtime and jazz music can be a confusing process. The two genres are very similar, and many scholars trace the roots of jazz back to ragtime music. A few key differences do exist between these two genres, however, and these were outlined by Ortiz Walton in 1972 as part of his text, “Music: Black, White and Blue.”

Solo vs. Ensemble

  • Traditionally, ragtime music is played by a single piano. Although many ragtime players do use other instruments, most notably the banjo or the guitar, the music is generally thought of as being played by the piano. Jazz, on the other hand, is almost always played by a group of musicians on instruments like the piano, trumpet and trombone. It’s possible to find pieces that stray from this instrumentation, but they generally hold true as a difference between the two genres.

Replication vs. Improvisation

  • Jazz depends heavily on improvisation. The only fixed version of many jazz songs is the particular version that has been recorded. Finding transcriptions of jazz records can be difficult, and many musicians have to learn new songs by listening to other musicians perform them. With the improvisational spirit prevalent in jazz, learning each individual note played by the original performer isn’t that important. Ragtime music, on the other hand, is often written down, and the songs are more musically structured than jazz.

Homophony vs. Polyphony

  • Jazz music is heavily textured musically. The multiple instruments often play their own section and this provides an overall richness and depth to the sound. This is one way in which jazz can be similar to ragtime, because both use syncopation, but ragtime music is strictly homophonic. This means there is one musical voice, while polyphonic means there are multiple. Syncopation, a common factor in ragtime and jazz, means that the music changes so that the previously weaker beat is accentuated.

Saloons vs. Weddings

  • The setting in which ragtime and jazz are played is the final key difference between the two genres. Ragtime music is more dance-oriented and was generally used as background music in locations such as saloons or homes. Jazz music wasn’t limited to such informal scenarios, and was often played at functions such as weddings, balls, funerals and parades.

The Difference Between Classical and Jazz Music

There are multiple differences that set jazz apart from classical music, including the choice of instruments, the style of music, and how the music is played. Even though the two genres share some of the same instruments, the way the instruments are played and presented reveals the distinct nature of the two forms of music.


  • One basic element that sets jazz apart from classical music is improvisation. This element is a creative process that enables the jazz musician to be spontaneous by making up music while it is being performed. Classical musicians usually perform musical notes exactly as written out on the page by a composer although in past times major figures such as Mozart and Beethoven were known for their improvisational abilities.


  • The way that rhythms are performed is another basic element that separates the two styles of music. Even though both genres are based on a regular beat, the beats that are emphasized are different. Whereas classical music generally emphasizes the first beat of each measure, jazz music emphasizes the second beat of each measure and handles rhythm more flexibly, creating what is known as a “swing” effect. This tension created among the beats in jazz is called syncopation, a trait that can be traced back to one of the major precursors of jazz, ragtime. Ragtime itself, though, is sometimes categorized as a form of classical music since it it usually performed as written by composers such as Scott Joplin. Extremely complex rhythmic effects in classical music have been achieved by innovators such as Stravinsky and Messiaen.


  • Jazz music often features a combination of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. Jazz big bands rely heavily on brass instruments, particularly saxophones, which are rarely used by classical composers, and the upright bass in jazz is usually plucked rather than bowed as it typically is in classical music. Classical orchestras feature woodwinds, brass, and percussion but also include bowed string instruments such as the violin, viola, and cello, which are rarely used in jazz. There are typically anywhere from 50 to 100 musicians that make up a classical orchestra. As another example of the differences in instrumentation, a piano trio in jazz typically consists of a piano, upright bass, and drums whereas in classical music it typically consists of a piano, violin, and cello. The piano is a central instrument of both classical and jazz.Jazz musicians also play their instruments differently than classical musicians do, sometimes using slurs and “dirty” sounds that create tone colors distinct from what one usually hears in classical music. The composer George Gershwin, who was influenced by early jazz, wrote a famous clarinet glissando at the beginning of his Rhapsody in Blue that imitates the “dirty” sound of jazz.


  • Historically, jazz musicians have usually performed in more casual venues such as nightclubs or hotels or specialized jazz clubs. Classical players usually perform in more formal settings, such as a concert hall or amphitheater. Over time, though, jazz has increasingly moved into concert halls and other more formal settings as well. The famous jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman played Carnegie Hall back in 1938. Today, jazz, like classical music, is taught in universities and conservatories and considered by many to be “serious music.”


  • Classical music traces its roots back to the 11th century, to Gregorian chants and plainsong developed from monodic (written as one musical line) to organum (two or three lines moving simultaneously but independently, bringing out harmony). By the fifteenth century, composers began writing choral music and adding instrument compositions to the lines of music. Since the Renaissance, the history of classical music is usually divided into baroque, classical, Romantic, modern, and post-modern eras. New Orleans is where jazz originated in the late nineteenth century, created principally by the descendants of freed African slaves. Jazz evolved from dixieland, ragtime, blues, marches, and other influences, including classical music. Its major historical periods include swing, bebop, and post-bop.

Positive Effects of Hip Hop Music

Hip hop music has evolved and changed since the 1970s and has encountered controversy along the way. Many people object to what they believe is the promotion of violence and misogyny in hip hop; however, that is only a small part of hip hop, and there are many positive effects hip hop provides to its listeners.

Promote Critical ThinkingThe lyrics in hip hop music are as diverse as those in pop, country, blues and rock. Think of the Guns ‘n Roses song “I Used to Love Her, but I Had to Kill Her” or the Toby Keith video for “A Little Too Late” where he keeps a woman prisoner in his basement. The media has sensationalized some of the more misogynistic and violent lyrics or scenes in music videos, but these images and sentiments are popular in the culture at large. Hip hop music that does use lyrics about violence or send misogynistic messages is an excellent opportunity for the listener to examine what he feels is objectionable and ask questions such as: Why does this sell? What do people like about these lyrics? Do I agree with these lyrics? Why or why not?

Political AwarenessNumerous examples of hip hop lyrics exist that promote political awareness about topics from racial inequality, gender inequality, police abuse, voting, education, family and more. Listen to the lyrics in Lupe Fiaso’s song “Baba Says Cool for Thought,” which discusses the fallout from Hurricane Katrina and is a plea to stop the type of violence that happened at Virginia Tech and Columbine.

Other hip hop artists are know for positive and political messages, such as Common, De La Soul, Digable Planets, Dead Prez, Mos Def and Talib Kwali.

Role ModelsHip hop artists serve as role models to youth from a diverse array of backgrounds. Many hip hop artists did not come from privileged backgrounds but showcase to youth that they can achieve their goals. There are many successful artists who are creative wordsmiths, but hip hop also creates a venue for musicians, fashion designers, publicists, club owners and producers.

Folk MusicFolk music is often billed as “the voice of the people,” a label that can also apply to hip hop. Folk music defines generations, fuels protest and calls attention to injustice while celebrating ordinary life; hip hop does this as well. Hip hop creates and sustains community in the larger popular culture particularly for youth of color who are still marginalized in American culture, neighborhoods and the public school system.

HistoryHip hop history begins in the early 1970s in New York City. This means that today’s children have parents and even grandparents that grew up on hip hop. Hip hop evolves like any other art form, and this changing art form connects modern hip hop to older roots, which establishes a sense of community and artistic history. This is a positive effect for today’s youth who can turn to older hip hop to see what issues previous generations have dealt with and then think about what has change, what has not and their own role in social change.

How to Become a Hip-Hop Manager

Hip hop has experienced many transformations since its humble New York beginnings in the 1970s. As it grew from inner-city self-expression to mainstream popularity, the need for savvy hip hop managers became paramount to help lyricists, producers and other artists of the genre capitalize on its popularity. Some hip hop managers build their own management companies while others assimilate into existing organizations. While there is no one way to make it into the industry, an aspiring hip hop manager must embrace new trends and possess keen business savvy in order to be successful.

Learn the Music Business

  • Hip hop is a multi-billion dollar industry and managers of hip-hop artists must be extremely business savvy in order to protect the interests of their clients, as well as their own. One way to learn the ins and outs of the music industry is to seek professional education in the field. Georgia State University, Berklee College of Music and New York University are among the growing number of renowned institutions with accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees in music business. These programs offer courses on music distribution, contracts and regulations regarding music publishing. Read magazines and books on the industry, such as, “The Game of Hip Hop Management,” by Walt F.J. Goodridge.


  • Interning with a hip hop music studio, radio station or production company can be an important step to becoming a successful hip hop manager. These opportunities provide an avenue for aspiring hip hop managers to work with current industry professionals, who will help mentor and develop the interns’ strategic business acumen. An intern can help seasoned managers develop marketing plans for artists and promotional campaigns for new hip hop music releases. This can be anything from leveraging social media to generate a cult following, or being a member of the street team that delivers copies of an artist’s mix tapes at key locations. Interning can also provide a wealth of industry contacts.

Build a Network

  • In a 2012 interview with, manager David Leeks said, “A manager has to be charismatic, open to criticism, and have the network.” Leeks is the manager for the rapper 2 Chainz and hip hop group Travis Porter. These popular hip hop artists have benefited from the strength of Leeks’ network of colleagues, producers and industry professionals. Building a solid network takes time. They must attend hip hop showcases and underground shows. Producer and rap battles at local clubs are also a great way to meet other producers, writers and other industry professionals who may be able to help your artist in crafting a unique sound.

Artist Relationships

  • Many hip hop managers have a personal connection with their artists, having worked with them in the earlier days of their careers. These managers take the time to understand their clients on a personal and creative level, which establishes a higher level of trust and credibility between them. This foundation of trust can pay off if the artist and the manager become a truly united team as they navigate the complex world of the hip hop industry.

Generate Buzz

  • Securing a major record deal for their artist is a common goal of aspiring hip hop managers, but doing so often requires generating acclaim without the backing of a major label. Hip Hop artists such as Drake, whose work has earned him a coveted Grammy Award, gained his first major acclaim with the release of his mix tape, “So Far Gone.” The mix tape became a social media sensation and helped him eventually find major-label success. A creative hip hop manager will leverage street buzz and social media to help build a strong following for the artists, much like Drake’s management team did.

How to Find a Hip-Hop Promoter

Live music depends on having people at the show to buy tickets. If you are trying to put on a hip-hop show you will need a promoter who specializes in hip-hop concerts. These promoters know the audience needed to put on a good show. Finding a hip-hop promoter is not difficult. There are a lot of agencies in most metropolitan areas that can help you put on a show with people at the club.

  • Buy a few books that explain the basics of promotion. Read the books and take notes on how to promote a show. These books will explain how to create flyers and distribute them around your area. These books will also give you a little bit of knowledge on what to expect when you do hire a promoter. Most promoters will also for an upfront payment before they begin. Other promoters will work from commission.
  • Call different public relations or talent agencies in your area and ask if they have anybody who specializes in hip-hop promotions. Most talent agencies will have a scout that is looking for new talent. They may be able to get you in touch with a promoter.
  • Talk to club owners. Clubs do not just open with lines around the block. Clubs have promoters that they use to get people in the door. Club owners know who the best promoters are in your city. Since clubs play hip-hop music, they should know who to talk to.
  • Set meetings with different promoters to find out what they think they can offer you. Different promoters have different connections, different rates and different methods of promotion. Meet with a couple to verify what you think would be the best style for your show.
  • Get everything written in a contract. Verbal agreements are not enough when using a promoter. Professional promoters will draw up a contract before they are paid. If your promoter doesn’t want to draw up a contract, find another one.

Types of Rap Music

Rap is the nihilistic assault of N.W.A.’s “F*ck da Police” and Run DMC covering The Monkees. It is Chuck D’s conscience and Snoop Dogg’s gin and juice. Rap encompasses a variety of philosophies and styles. Part of the larger hip-hop culture, rap was developed by African-Americans on the streets of New York City in the 1970s. A style of music focusing on beat and rhyme, it quickly spread to other cities, sparked by the popularity of early singles like the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.” As rap music evolved, new styles popped up all over the country, and eventually the world. Alternative rap artists have broken new sonic ground, while subgenres like crunk have stripped the music down.

Gangsta Rap

  • As rap had developed on the poor, crime-ridden streets of the inner city, it only made sense that its creators would reference this reality in their lyrics. Emerging out of hardcore rap in the 1980s, gangsta rap reflected the crime and violence in the inner city. It became the most successful form of hip hop in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Seminal gangsta rap releases include N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton” and Ice T’s “OG: Original Gangster.” An East Coast/West Coast rivalry broke out in the 1990s, leading to the deaths of the influential Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G., sparking even further interest in the genre.

Political Rap

  • The release of the first sociopolitical rap song, “The Message,” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five in 1982 inspired other rap artists to address social issues. Public Enemy, lead by Chuck D and Flava Flav, became the first overtly political rap group, spouting political and strong black nationalist statements in albums like the popular and critically acclaimed “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back.” Other political rappers like KRS-One and Arrested Development followed. The non-conformist nature of these artists was eventually eclipsed by the rise of gangsta rap.

Alternative Rap

  • The non-constrictive nature of rap has lead some artists to break free of the confines of what has been considered in vogue. Spearheaded by groups like De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and Jurassic Five, alternative rap artists introduced innovative wordplay and lyrics, as well unusual samples of other genres like rock, into their music. Artists like Outkast and Kanye West have blurred musical genres and taken the innovation of alternative rap to a mainstream audience.


  • The earliest rap was party music for people to dance to. After decades of progression in lyrics and beats, crunk stripped rap of pretense and brought the party back. An amalgamation of “crazy” and “drunk,” crunk developed in the southern United States in the 1990s under the wider Dirty South umbrella. Crunk is characterized by heavy looped drum machine, shouted call-and-response vocals and simple party lyrics. Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz popularized crunk in the early 2000s with releases like “Put Yo Hood Up.”

Facts About Rap Music

The musical genre of rap has been in existence since the 1970s, but has evolved into one of the world’s most likable styles of music. Some rap artists have turned their poetic lyrics into careers and often live a millionaire lifestyle. Beginning on the East Coast, the genre disseminated to the West Coast and developed another type of genre called gangsta rap.


  • Rap music is poetry accompanied by groovy beats and attractive tones from the bass guitar and keyboards/synthesizers. Often referred to as “hip-hop,” rap music originated during the 1970s in New York City among black and Hispanic performers.


  • The genre may have begun on the East Coast (in New York City’s Bronx borough, specifically) in the 1970s, but the roots of gangsta rap (a subset of rap music) originated on the West Coast in the 1990s. Gangsta rap began when well-known rapper Ice Cube and his former group N.W.A (Niggaz With Attitude) used rap music to attack each other lyrically. As other rap groups fed off of the genre and started battling with other artists through their lyrics, the genre “gangsta rap” began growing.

Artists Associated with Gangsta Rap

  • This movement of gangsta rap spread, with West Coast artists lyrically attacking East Coast artists, and vice versa. The rap groups that were heavily involved with gangsta rap were Tupac (2Pac) Shakur from the West Coast and Biggie Smalls from the East Coast. 2Pac and Biggie were shot and killed in 1996 and 1997, respectively, and some say the East Coast-West Coast rivalry was responsible. Other, less-violent battles have included Dr. Dre vs. Easy-E and Jay-Z vs. 50 Cent. These artists and other new artists began representing their hometowns rather than their coast. Some examples are: 50 Cent and Eminem represented Detroit while Kanye West, Twista and R. Kelly represented Chicago.

Facts about Famous Rappers

  • Snoop Dogg’s mother gave him his nickname because his eyes reminded her of the cartoon dog Snoopy from Charlie Brown. The first rapper to popularize tattoos in the rap community was 2Pac. Prior to Biggie Smalls becoming famous, he and 2Pac were close friends. 2Pac would allow Biggie to rap with him on stage to help him get his career started.

Lyrical meaning

  • The lyrically-inclined rappers are the ones who are likable and succeed in the business. The genre itself can become boring if the lyrics are not cutting it because rap music can generally sound the same and use the same beats. Some people have expressed hatred toward the genre because they believe in the stereotype that only blacks can produce rap music and that it always expresses how they want to shoot cops and live for money, drugs and sex. However, rap artists will argue that their music has a deeper meaning to it and is used to express their thoughts on their culture.

Negative Effects of Rap Music on Teens

Whether you love it or hate it, a discussion of rap music often elicits strong opinions. As one of the more controversial forms of modern music, many parents and professionals believe that rap has a negative impact on teens. Lyrics that glamorize violence, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, overt sexuality and the objectification of women are just some of the negatives critics cite when discussing rap music.

Substance Abuse

  • A study by Denise Herd of Berkeley’s School of Public Health showed that 77 percent of the rap music studied made references to drug and alcohol abuse. Country music followed in second place with only 36 percent. According to a WebMD article, African American girls between the ages of 14 and 18 who watched these types of music videos for 14 hours per week or more were 1.5 times more likely to drink and use drugs than other girls.


  • Frequent references to guns, shootings, violence, robbery and revenge pepper the lyrics of rap music. Songs promoting violence against men and women are common. The WebMD articles outlines how black teen girls who are frequent viewers of videos are “three times more likely to hit a teacher” or “2.5 times more likely to get arrested.” The gratuitous violence of rap songs and videos present violence as a viable or even preferable course of action during conflict.


  • Frequent graphic references to sexual acts between men and women are another hallmark of rap music, and promiscuity is promoted in songs. A view of women as sexual objects pervade the music, and influences the youths who listen to it. The same girls referenced in the WebMD article were “twice as likely to have multiple sex partners” and “1.5 times more likely to get to get a sexually transmitted disease.”

Language and Profanity

  • Rap music presents an entirely new vocabulary your teen won’t pick up in English class. Expletives, explicit language and profanity appear to be a requisite part of many rap song’s lyrical composition. Parents do have a fighting chance in this battle, however. Parental guidance ratings now appear on controversial music to alert them to CDs whose content includes inappropriate or offensive language. Some argue, however, that the stickers only serve to attract young consumers, rather than deter them.

The Difference Between Blues and Jazz

The Difference Between Blues and Jazz

The focus on most discussions of blues and jazz has to do with the similarities — the common points of origin and the way both genres of music spread up the banks of the Mississippi, both culturally and geographically. The differences between them are both obvious and subtle, with tremendous crossover.

A group of jazz musicians playing in street.
The Delta OriginsThe most pronounced difference between blues and jazz is rural versus urban. Although it is difficult to provide precise origins, the spirituals, field hollers and juke joint songs integral to sharecropper culture served as the foundation of the blues, which simplified rhythm, structure and harmony into the musical shorthand of the 12-bar blues form before the end of the 19th century. Jazz, on the other hand, wasn’t coined as a term describing music until 1913 in Chicago, although the jazz tradition centered around New Orleans during the same time period.

Contrasting Musical CharacteristicsJazz with its urban origins incorporated elements of European music in both orchestration and theme. Proto-jazz styles of ragtime and Dixieland strayed from both the 12-bar structure and call-and-response lyrics of the blues, giving a more complex and sophisticated cachet to the music. Blues remained a music of the people, with its simple form allowing players of modest ability to participate. Many of the early instruments of blues music were homemade and improvised, while jazz used conventional band instruments.

Instruments and BandsJazz bands are larger and soloists more integrated, while blues bands more often feature an artist supported by a rhythm section — although quartets and big bands exist in both styles. While many instruments are common to both styles, the approach of the players may vary tremendously. For example, jazz drums incorporate sophisticated syncopated rhythms while blues drumming tends toward building a straightforward groove with the bass. Perhaps revealing the rural/urban split, blues favors simple, inexpensive instruments such as the harmonica, while jazz commonly incorporates brass and woodwind instruments such as the trumpet and saxophone.

Melody and ImprovisationBlues melodies and solos generally are built around five-note, pentatonic scales, with bent or slurred blue notes used to invoke emotion. While these are quoted in jazz playing, the pentatonic scale serves only as a starting point for improvisation, free of the restrictive nature of blues form. Traditional Dixieland bands were comprised mostly of single-note instruments such as the trombone and clarinet, leading to the distinctive jazz notion of simultaneous improvisation. Blues bands were built on rhythm sections of drums and bass, with single-note instruments usually improvising alone.

Singing the MessageWhile both jazz and blues may incorporate singers, blues preserves more of its origins as music of the cotton fields. The stories of hardship and joy in blues songs are integral to the compositions, with the singer bringing emotion and life experience. Jazz vocal styles often highlight the virtuosity of the singer through improvised scat singing, focusing on musicianship more than message.

How to Sing Pop Music

A beautiful pop voice is a thing of awe. When a vocalist like Beyonce takes the stage, she doesn’t need intricate props or dances, her voice carries her show. You may wonder how you can develop that richness and strength in your voice. There are some easy things you can start today to get your voice on its way to stardom!

  • Start by drinking half a gallon of water a day (yes, that’s right). Singers have to be super-hydrated. The water thins the mucus that is on your vocal chords. Once you start drinking this much water, you will feel more vocally agile. It’s hard to drink this much all at once so when you first start out, keep a water bottle with you and take a sip every time you think about it.
  • Prepare to practice: Loosen up your neck and shoulders by rolling your head in a circle a few times. Loosen your jaw and lips by pretending to chew gum and exaggerate your lip movements while saying “look” and “loud” repeating them quickly (look, loud, look, loud) until you feel loosened up.
  • Find some vocal exercises online. There are many free resources on, search for “vocal warm up” or “vocal exercises.” You want to focus on the warm ups targeting tone, vibrato and belting. (Do not belt until you have practiced it enough and can do it without feeling any strain.) You can also find singing books with vocal warm up cd’s for under 15 dollars.
  • Practice these exercises a few times. They will sound very funny and you may laugh until you get used to them. These exercises do sound funny and you may not believe that great singers have to make all of these funny sounds, but they do. (Note: You may want to do this when no one is home of practice in your car until you get used to people hearing you practice.) Try to practice these for at least 15 minutes a day (30 is optimal.)
  • After you are done your daily warm-ups, take out your sheet music or lyric sheet. Lyric sheets can be found by searching for “Song title” + “Lyrics” in a search engine. Print the sheet out.
  • Practice singing the song. You can sing a long with the recording or without music. Never sing while listening to the music in earphones, you will not be able to hear yourself. After practicing a few times, record yourself singing.
  • Listen to the recording. You may be mortified. Do you really sound like that? Yes and no, it does not matter how bad it sounds right now, what you want to do is mark on your paper at what parts you sound bad or had problems singing. Practice the song again, focusing on the parts you do not sound good singing.
  • Repeat step 7 until you have smoothed over most of your trouble areas.
  • Sing sing sing, the more you practice, the better you will be. If you practice for 15 minutes each day, your voice will grow stronger and your tone will be brighter. Remember, your vocal chords are muscles, you have to work them out for them to grow stronger.

What Stereotypes Are Associated With Hip Hop?

While many genres of music have stereotypes associated with them, hip hop may have the most. Not to be confused with prejudices, a stereotype is simply the consensus belief about a topic based on what people commonly assume. Whether correct or incorrect, the stereotypes associated with hip hop include violence, drugs, money and misogyny. The lyrics of many hip hop songs perpetuate some of these stereotypes.


  • Many hip hop artists reference violence in their songs, which leads to violence being a stereotype commonly associated with this genre of music. Over time, hip hop artists such as Ice-T, Tupac Shakur and Eminem have come under fire from community groups and government agencies for the use of violence lyrics in their music.


  • There’s no proof that hip hop artists use more drugs than those in any other music genre, but drugs are likely mentioned more in hip hop music. Many lyrics in this style of music refer to selling drugs as a way to make a living and using drugs such as marijuana. Dr. Dre’s notable hip hop album “The Chronic” referenced marijuana in its title, and 50 Cent’s semi-autobiographical movie “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” talked about his rise from a drug dealer to a rapper.


  • While musicians in virtually every genre can achieve enormous commercial success and enjoy the wealth that comes with it, hip hop performers are known for vigorously celebrating their money and even exaggerating how much they have. Rap videos frequently show rappers holding stacks of money, wearing expensive jewelry and driving fancy cars. Additionally, many hip hop lyrics reference being rich and spending large quantities of money.


  • Women’s groups have often criticized hip hop music for the use of misogynistic lyrics and images. Women are commonly referred to in derogatory terms in some rap music, while scantily clad women are also common fixtures in hip hop videos.

Projects for Teens About Rap Music

Love it or hate it, rap music has been an integral part of the U.S. music scene for decades and continues to have a major influence on teens and young adults. Although some people associate rap music with negative aspects of society, it doesn’t define the entire genre. Many rap artists have used rap music to give hope to kids and even educate them. Find common ground with your rap-loving teen by helping him work on rap-focused projects that will educate the both of you on this multi-faceted music style.

Roots of Rap

  • Your teen can work on a history project detailing the origins of the rap music genre in the U.S. Rap can be traced to West Africa, where elderly storytellers would tell oral histories and folk stories over drum beats. Early blues jazz and funk music have also been attributed to the beginnings of rap music, and early spoken-word poetry. Have your teen research those music genres and how they link to rap. If he is working on this project for a school assignment, he can enhance his presentation by including recordings of music and famous spoken word recordings that were the basis of the rap genre.

Rap City

  • Nearly every major city has a distinct story of the rap and hip-hop culture and how it came to be in that city. Your teen can research the history of the rap scene in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta and use the Internet to find pictures and background information on the pioneers of rap in those cities, and current local rappers. He can do a comparison to see how the style of rapping in those cities have changed over time.

The Positive Side of Rap

  • Have your teen profile rap artists who use their talents to promote positive actions. Rap is sometimes used by teachers in school to get kids interested in a particular school subject or as a memorization tool. Have your teen come up with his own positive rap, perhaps about the history of rap that he has been learning, or as a study tool for an important test he has coming up.

Rap Around the World

  • The U.S. rap scene has had a major influence on global music. From Japan to the Middle East, you can find a significant rap music scene. Have your teen research the rap scene in a few countries, learning how the culture and traditional music in those countries influences their version of rap music. He should also focus on how rap is being used in some of these countries to challenge the establishment, much in the same way as it was in the U.S.

How to Write a Reggae Song

Reggae music originated in Jamaica in the 1960s and can be quickly identified by its characteristic “off beat” rhythmic structure. Reggae music can be associated with ska or rocksteady, two other Jamaican music styles, though reggae’s tempo moves slower than ska and slightly faster than rocksteady. Writing a reggae song doesn’t require a Jamaican background. If you understand the rhythmic structure and the lyrical content, you can write a reggae song that will bring home the spirit of Jamaica.

  • Develop a strong lyric first. Your lyrics can be about anything you want them to be, but many reggae songs focus on lyrics that are heavy with social criticism. Religion and political awareness are also good subjects for reggae songs. “I Shot the Sheriff” sung by Eric Clapton is an example of strong reggae lyrics. The song was written by Bob Marley and was originally reggae. Write your lyrics in a verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus format, with the ending chorus repeating until fade out. The verses should tell the story of the song and each should be different, where the chorus is usually the same words and the part of a song typically sung several times.
  • Write in a simple 4/4 time. Three or four chords will do. The chords can be major, minor, or any combination. Add seventh chords for a more complex sound, but the main focus of the reggae song will be the way the chords are played, typically by putting emphasis on the second and fourth beats of each bar of music. These accented beats should be written as short musical “stabs.” A good way to write the chord pattern is by alternating quarter and eighth notes with the eighth notes cut short. This creates the characteristic backbeat associated with reggae.
  • Write a bass line that repeats itself throughout the song. Consider writing the bass line so it accents alternating beats with the rhythm guitar. Don’t write a lot of movement in your reggae song. The solid groove (the off-beat rhythm) is the feel you want to carry your song through to the end.
  • Keep the vocal melody simple. The rhythm of the music and the content of the lyrics is more important than singing technique. Write with a melody that people can sing along with. A simple melody will not contain many high notes or screaming. Avoid complex groups of notes sung together or big vocal jumps from low to high or vice versa. Reggae is participation music. The classic “I Shot the Sheriff” exemplifies a simple melody containing word repetitions characteristic of a reggae vocal. The song should engage and inspire listeners to sing along, and the notes you choose for the vocal melody should make it easy for them to do so.

Positive Influences of Rap & Hip Hop Music

Although it is easy to see why reports of troubled artists or concerts grab media attention, the positive aspects of rap and hip-hop should never be underestimated. The “old school” rap scene’s emergence during the late 1970s enabled African-American artists to control their artistic destiny, literally from the ground up. From clothing, to concerts, merchandising and beyond, today’s artists position themselves as multi-media moguls whose drawing power enables them to give back to their communities.


  • Rap’s emergence in New York City during the 1970s enabled African-Americans to carve out their own presence in the music industry–one that owed nothing to current trends, nor the major labels that lacked the will to document it. Written off as a novelty, the runaway success of songs like the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” galvanized major labels accordingly. By the 1980s, the independent label became the dominant business model for artists, who weren’t shy about using success to leverage better terms from their major label patrons–often relegating them to pressing and distribution chores, while retaining total creative control.

Time Frame

  • By the mid-1980s, hip-hop’s faster, more aggressive and lyrically complex rhythms had essentially overtaken the old scene. Upstart artists like KRS-One, LL Cool J, Public Enemy and Run-DMC rallied fans where it mattered most–on the record charts. As scholar Ranford Reese notes, the teenagers who had grooved to Guns ‘N’ Roses now cranked out Jay-Z and Outkast–two of 1998’s top-selling albums–from their ghetto blasters. An early indication of the genre’s staying power came in the reception given to films like “Krush Groove,” which earned $17 million worldwide, while the soundtrack album went gold, Reese noted.

“Black America’s CNN”

  • Rap and hip-hop artists played a big role in redefining the medium as a vehicle for social commentary, or what Public Enemy’s frontman, Chuck D, has famously described as “Black America’s CNN.” The turning point came in 1982, when “The Message”–Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s scathing indictment of urban ills–scored on the pop and rhythm and blues charts, as well as leading rock critics. Since that time, artists like NWA, Public Enemy and Run-DMC have drawn fire for harsh takes on police brutality, social inequality, and race relations. Other times, the group can become the lightning rod, as 2 Live Crew’s First Amendment legal battles proved during the 1990s.

Breaking Down Cultural Barriers

  • For most chroniclers, the hip-hop scene’s ability to transcend boundaries and language barriers is the most positive aspect of all. One-off collaborations–such as Aerosmith’s and Run-DMC’s teamup on the former band’s funky classic, “Walk This Way”–broke down the unspoken cultural barriers against mixing rap and hard rock. This marriage grew even more pronounced on “Bring The Noise,” featuring Anthrax and Public Enemy, or individual tracks like “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”–where Slayer’s guitarist, Kerry King, contributed a frantic, shredded-sounding solo. The licensing of these songs in major films like “Do The Right Thing” and “Judgment Night” became yet another marker in the genre’s popular acceptance.

Economic Impact

  • The explosion of interest in hip-hop culture–one that fueled a 150 percent increase in record sales by 2000, Reese notes–forced corporate America to reach out accordingly. Tellingly, while conservative commentators and politicians continued to shun the genre, businesses increasingly courted its multi-racial market through films, sitcoms and clothing lines. The Adidas endorsement deal that netted $1 million in 1986–which the group clinched by asking a concert audience to hold up their sneakers–is now a common feature of the hip-hop landscape. Not since rock ‘n’ roll’s birth during the 1950s have African-American audiences been exposed to as many voices like themselves on the big screen, and the airwaves, which is the old school scene’s most important legacy.

Positive Effects of Rap Music

Rap music, in spite of the controversy that often surrounds it, can have a positive influence and expand the consciousness and musical horizons of listeners.


  • Rap music was created in the 1970s in the Bronx. DJ Kool Herc is credited as the “godfather” of hip-hop and rap music–creating a new artistic form of expression in music.


  • Rap music’s influence is everywhere: fashion, dance, art, television and especially other forms of music. Rock or metal artists often collaborate with a rap artist and develop a new sound. This allows listeners, who might not have listened to rap or rock before, to get exposure to another genre.


  • Contrary to the stereotypical images often associated with rap music such as sex, drugs, violence and money, there are artists who contribute lyrically in a postive manner: Afrikabambata, Grandmaster Flash, Common, Nas and Mos-def are just a few whose lyrical content promotes pride and social-consciousness.


  • Rap music provided a generation with another means of artistic expression. It can be considered as urban story-telling and allows youth to tell stories in another way, so that they may be heard. When examining rap lyrics you can hear examples of simile, metaphor and rhyme scheme–which are poetic elements taught in most English classes. Rap lyrics can be used to teach and reach students.

Fun Fact

  • In September of 2009, Jay-Z headlined a concert to benefit the families of those lost in 9/11. Rap artists, through the performances of their music, can do a lot of good.

Instruments Used in Pop Music

Discover clues to the music formula that builds most successful pop groups and understand some of the basic instruments that persist in the sounds of pop music. Pop music is difficult to classify because it is always changing with the musical preferences of the radio-listening public, but it does have some similarities. Though the sound of pop music changes, at its basic levels it involves many of the same instruments.

GuitarsGuitars are common in pop music. Types of guitars used in this type of music include bass guitars, acoustic guitars and electric guitars. A guitar is a stringed instrument. Bass guitars generally have four strings. Electric and acoustic guitars usually have six or 12 strings. Electric guitars, including electric bass guitars, must be used with a guitar cable and powered amplifier to output an audible level of sound.

Throughout history, the guitar has been a dominant sound in pop recordings.
DrumsDrums in pop music can be played by a drummer on a drum kit or they can be produced electronically by a computer. Computer drums have a more digital sound that can feel robotic and less natural than drums played by a person. Drums are essential to establish the beat and keep the song moving forward.

A drum beat is an essential part of pop songs.
VocalsVocals are the leading force of pop music. Music is often structured to fit around the lyrics written by the vocalist. Types of vocals can include singing, screaming, rapping or spoken word. Pop music without vocals is called instrumental pop music. Notable pop vocalists include Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, Justin Bieber and Madonna.

The singer is often the central figure in pop music.
Wind InstrumentsWind instruments such as saxophones, trumpets and flutes help give pop music a realistic and full sound. Saxophones make their most prominent appearances in smooth, sexy 1970s-style songs in the vein of performers such as Barry White and Isaac Hayes.

The wind-driven saxophone adds a sultry sound.
Orchestral StringsOrchestral string instruments such as the violin, viola and cello are occasionally featured in pop music. Orchestral string instruments are often used to accompany solo vocalists in slow songs, but they occasionally make an appearance in pop rock and metal songs as well. Many songs from the band Queen feature strings, and so do many songs by the Beatles.

The tender violin has been known to lend its sound to pop songs.

How Did Reggae Music Begin?

Although reggae music began on the island of Jamaica in the late 1960s. Reggae derived from other genres such as jazz, ska and eventually rocksteady. Successful reggae musicians, such as Bob Marley, helped the genre spread around the world and influenced other genres to begin.

Before Reggae

  • Prior to reggae music becoming an international phenomenon from Jamaica, the genre started with jazz. While jazz music began to spread around the world via radio broadcasts in the 1940s, Jamaica picked up on the style and watched its own bands emerge. By the 1950s, Jamaica began a music label titled West Indian Record Limited (WIRL), which released recordings of local bands on the island.

Ska and Rock Steady

  • In the 1960s, Jamaican musicians grabbed their own identity in the music industry when they created an original genre known as ska. The people of Jamaica loved ska music because of its fast, catchy riffs and the fact that the lyrics fit the mood of current events in the country. At the time, Jamaica was receiving independence. Another genre derived from ska became known as rocksteady music. This was a slowed down version of ska which did not require so much energy on the dance floor.


  • After the introduction and acceptance of the style of rocksteady, reggae was formed. However, people did not like the name “rocksteady.” According to, “through a different version of an old song Fat Man, the artist Morgan changed the beat and he created a creep with an organ and rhythm guitar. The music sounded like reggae, and that’s how the name took off.” One of the first reggae bands called Maytals released the first reggae album “Do The Reggae” in 1968. The genre was more energetic than rocksteady, but more complex than ska.

Bob Marley

  • One of the most popular artists to ever come out of reggae music was Bob Marley and his band, The Wailers. In his music, he sang about love, social injustice, politics and Rastafarianism (the Afro-Caribbean spiritual movement that Marley religiously followed). Marley’s hit songs, including “Ge Up, Stand Up,” Buffalo Soldiers,” and “War,” stressed his political statements, as “Turn Your Lights Down” and “Is This Love” revealed the romantic style of his band. Marley’s music climbed the music charts and promoted reggae globally.

Reggae to Dub

  • By the 1970s, as reggae music was underway, producers including Lee Perry and King Tubby started to change the style of reggae music with the addition of electronic sound effects. DJ “toasting” (talking over the music) began and became a new genre known as dub music. This style of music is recognized as the root of rap and hip hop music in New York.

Types of Music, Other Than Jazz, That Use Improvisation

Improvisation in music is the act of spontaneously creating new melodies, harmonies or rhythms within the scope of an existing composition. Jazz music relies heavily on improvisation, but nearly every type of music makes use of improvisation by the performer. The importance of improvisation varies based on the particular type of music.

Indian Classical

  • The major traditions of Indian classical music, Carnatic and Hindustani, both rely on improvisation. Musicians improvise nearly all of the music when performing a raga, which is a series of notes used as a framework for a single performance. Raga performances must reflect the time of day, season and mood of the audience in their improvisation, and can therefore be different each time a musician performs.

Folk and Street

  • Many forms of folk music from around the world incorporate improvisation into their performances. Examples include Gypsy musicians in Europe and the Middle East and fiddle and banjo players in early American rural life. Street musicians often improvise the lyrics to music they perform, such as corridos in Mexico or freestyle raps in urban areas of the United States and Canada. Musicians perform many such songs differently each time because the songs move from performer to performer aurally, without a written version to rely on.

Western Classical

  • Improvisation once played a larger role in Western classical music than today. Composers included fewer details in their scores until the 19th century and expected performers to interpret their compositions more freely. Mozart, Beethoven and Bach all performed improvised music during their lifetimes. The cadenza, a specified portion of a classical composition that is not written out and thus must be improvised, is the only remaining vestige of this tradition.


  • Rock music incorporates improvisation in several ways. Psychedelic rock music in the 1960s and 1970s featured musicians who performed extended guitar solos that lasted more than 10 minutes at a time, while the typical rock song is three to five minutes long. The Grateful Dead incorporated longer improvisations into their live concerts, during which the entire band would improvise for up to an hour or longer. The “jam band” subgenre of rock music includes bands whose performances often include extended improvisations over a set rhythm or chord progression.

Description of Rap Music

Rap is an American musical style that emerged during the 1970s and took the music industry by storm in subsequent decades. Influenced by early African American styles such as blues, funk and R&B, rap music is the music of a larger culture and has acted as a forum for social commentary and a form of entertainment for people in urban centers and suburbia alike. Like the musical genres that inspired it, rap music has seen many variations since its inception.


  • Hip-hop emerged in the South Bronx in New York City during the 1970s. Hip-hop culture, which includes elements such as beatboxing, breakdancing, scratching and graffiti, spawned hip-hop music, of which rapping is an integral part. Pioneers such as DJ Kool Herc isolated the drumbeats in funk and soul records into what are called “breaks,” and MCs started shouting out call-and-response vocals over breaks to partygoers, in what was the beginning of rap music.


  • As rap music exists under the umbrella of a larger culture, it has seen many variations since its inception in the 1970s. Politically and socially conscious rappers such as Public Enemy and Arrested Development rhymed about black pride and nationalism and other social issues. Dr. Dre developed G-funk, a form of West Coast gangsta rap that sampled funk music and accentuated it with squealing synth and female backing vocals. Crunk music emerged in the late 1990s, a form of party music. Alternative hip-hop opened up rap music to live instrumentation and experimental song structures and lyrics.


  • Barring any specific genre conventions, rap music consists of a rhyming vocal style over looped beats, whether live or instrumental, and 4/4 time signatures. Like the blues before it, rap lyrics often reflect the personal plights of rap artists. Rap lyrics are a form of poetry in that they often contain both internal and external rhymes and accentuate different syllables in a line.


  • Rap music grew from an isolated cultural movement into an international industry. The Sugarhill Gang released the first major commercially successful rap single, “Rapper’s Delight,” in 1979. Kurtis Blow was one of the first rap artists to become a mainstream performer, along with Run DMC and LL Cool J. In the late 1980s, rap music’s focus turned to gangsta rap, which became incredibly successful. Artists such as Snoop Dogg and Notorious B.I.G. scored big hits on the pop charts. Rap music evolved into one of the most popular genres of music in the late 1990s and 2000s with the help of mainstream artists such as Emimen, Outkast, 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Kanye West.


  • Because many rap artists emerged from urban centers and grew up in neighborhoods rife with crime and drugs, the lyrics of many rap songs reflect these artists’ social conditions. Gangsta rap was the first rap genre to come right out and talk about subjects such as police brutality and drug abuse graphically in its lyrics and, because this genre proved commercially successful, the public started holding rap music as a whole under heavy scrutiny. Some believe rap music glorifies violence, misogyny and drug abuse, leading its listeners to commit illegal acts of their own. Others believe rap music is merely a product of the environment and a commentary on a life that many poor people lead in America’s ghettos.

How to Read Jazz Music

Jazz music is the sophisticated cousin to the blues. Jazz encompasses many elements of the blues while adding more complex chord structures and time signatures to the mix, making it a more difficult form of music than the blues. Learning to read jazz requires better understanding of advanced rhythm figures as well as advanced chord construction theory. Learn how to read jazz music and understand the many variations of this complex musical genre.

  • Familiarize yourself with more complex chord structures. Jazz hardly ever uses triads (chords built with three notes). Jazz chords typically feature chords of four notes or more, adding the diatonic seventh of a scale to the basic triad. Jazz also incorporates notes beyond the seventh. These are called upper extensions and create ninth and eleventh chords.
  • Refer to chord progression by position in the scale rather than by actual chord names. This makes it easy to memorize progressions in any key. Many jazz musicians improvise their parts rather than play written music. This means calling out a key and then indicating a progression within that key. An example of this would be Imaj7, IV7, and V7. Regardless of key, this tells you to play the major seventh built on the first note of the scale, the seventh built on the fourth note of the scale, and the seventh built on the fifth note of the scale. These positions use Roman numerals as indicators.
  • Learn how to read and count complex time signatures. Many jazz songs are written in odd time signatures such as 5/4, 7/8 and 11/4. Common time is 4/4, which means 4 beats to a bar. Reading music in odd time signatures means you will need to acclimate yourself to counting in rhythms that may feel unnatural to you at first because the main beats are placed at odd points throughout many jazz pieces.
  • Practice playing with jazz fake charts. Since jazz music is often improvised, learning to make up musical passages over a set of chords and lyrics is a good way to build your jazz playing and reading skills. It’s not uncommon to walk into a jazz rehearsal where you’re handed a set of chords and lyrics and told to play.

Different Types of Jazz Music

Jazz music is a distinctly American music form. The genre was born when African music and rhythms, brought to America by enslaved Africans, mixed with European marching band music. Work songs, negro spirituals, and the tradition of call and response also contributed to the genre. Jazz is widely thought to have originated in the red light district of New Orleans, but after several evolutions, jazz has spread throughout the entire world.


  • Ragtime was established in the 1890s and was the result of an evolution of traditional marches. Ragtime consisted of syncopated piano rhythms, which were common to African dance music and new to American music. In ragtime piano music, usually the left hand plays the bass notes while the right hand plays the melody. Ragtime music was composed and published, rather than improvised. The first composer to publish a ragtime piece was Ben Harney.

New Orleans Style

  • New Orleans style jazz music evolved out of ragtime and became popular in the early 1900s. The bands consisted entirely of brass instrumentation. According to Vernick and Haydon, the earliest forms of New Orleans style jazz featured collective improvisation, wherein each player improvised at the same time. Jelly Roll Morton was a prominent player of this style.

Chicago Style

  • Chicago style jazz music became popular in the 1920s. This style is characterized by solo improvisation, prominent saxophone, a more frantic rhythmic style and a more swing-oriented drum style. Chicago style players relied on written arrangements and typically had a high technical ability. Benny Goodman made significant contributions to the genre.


  • Bebop music became popular in the 1940s. This style is characterized by complex melodies and harmonies, fast tempos, small groups and an air of sophistication. Players often wore suits and berets and considered themselves cool and hip. Charlie Parker is one of the innovators of this style.

Cool Jazz

  • Cool Jazz, also known as West Coast Jazz, was popularized in the 1950s. Cool evolved out of Bebop and is characterized by advanced harmonies, unusual instrument combinations, complex arrangements and little to no vibrato. Miles Davis’s album “Birth of the Cool” exemplifies the style.

Smooth Jazz

  • Smooth Jazz came into fashion in the 1980s. Synthesizers, electric keyboards, saxophones, bass guitar and programmed percussion are the predominant instrument choices, and they combine for a polished, downtempo sound. Smooth jazz has been the most commercially successful style of jazz. George Benson, Dave Koz and Najee have all been successful in the genre.

Differences Between R&B Music Vs. Hip-Hop Music

Much of American music has its roots in African-American culture. Many musical forms, from country to experimental music, evolved from or alongside the music of African-American communities. Two particularly influential African-American musical forms remain popular today: R&B and hip-hop. While both these forms share common musical ancestors, they differ in a number of specific ways. Understanding the differences between R&B and hip-hop can help illustrate the variety and complexity of African-American music and the influence it has had on world culture.


  • Largely secular musical forms, both R&B and hip-hop share roots in African-American religious musical traditions. The chord changes and vocal styles used in African-American churches served as the foundation for many R&B songs. While vocals in R&B tend to focus on clarity and musical virtuosity, hip-hop vocals rarely emphasize singing and stress complexity and fluidity or “flow.” Backing vocals in both R&B and hip-hop feature traditional singing styles, but backing vocals usually accompany R&B singers, while they punctuate the lyrics of the rappers in hip-hop.


  • R&B and hip-hop share a great deal in common in terms of instrumentation, as many hip-hop songs utilize samples from R&B and R&B-influenced recordings as their foundation. R&B bands usually consist of at least a drummer, bassist and guitarist, with supplementary instruments such as keyboards and horn sections. Hip-hop tends to utilize more synthesizers than R&B, as well as samples of vocals, dialogue and sound effects as components of the instrumentation. Even so, some R&B music does incorporate digital instrumentation, and some hip-hop features live bands.

Subject Matter

  • R&B music covers a wide array of subject matter, from the original blues songs of love and loss to more introspective, sophisticated songs of the contemporary period. Generally, R&B music focuses on tamer subject matter, compared with hip-hop, and it ranges from expressions of love to exclamations of sorrow. Hip-hop originated, in part, among rappers who would battle each other for supremacy in live, improvised performances. This tradition influenced much of the development of hip-hop, so that many of the lyrics concern the virtuosity of the vocalist or DJ supplying the music and beat. Hip-hop also arose, in part, from the experience of living amid extreme urban decay and reflects a harsher reality, expectations and values than R&B does.


  • The structure of R&B music shares more in common with jazz and traditional American popular music, compared with hip-hop. R&B songs generally have a recognizable chorus that repeats during verses, sometimes followed by a third movement or “bridge” that connects the verse to the final verses or chorus. Hip-hop tends to utilize a cyclical or repeating structure that reflects the use of a repeating sampled beat. Many hip-hop recordings have a chorus, often a sample, sung or chanted in unison live, which separates each set of lyrics.

How to Write a Pop Punk Song

Whether you’re into classic underground bands like Screeching Weasel or newer mainstream bands like Fall Out Boy, you can write a pop punk song similar to these bands. Writing a pop punk song isn’t too difficult; all you need is three chords, a good melody, and a fast tempo, and you’ll be ready to play a basement show (or an arena) in no time.

  • Write a verse. Write a simple three or four chord progression and palm mute power chords. One of the most popular pop punk progressions is the classic I-IV-V heard in songs like The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” and Green Day’s “Church On Sunday.”
  • Write a chorus. Write a simple chord progression and play open power chords on guitar. It can even be the same chords as the verse; just change the number of beats you play on a certain chord to change things up.
  • Write a bass line to the chords. The bass line can be as simple as the root notes to the song, or it can follow more of a melodic approach as Mike Dirnt of Green Day did on albums like “Dookie” and “Insomniac.”
  • Write lyrics about love, boredom, alienation, drugs, school, or stuff that bothers you in general. Your lyrics can be risque as in Buzzcocks’ “Orgasm Addict” or sweet as in MxPx’s “Two Whole Years.”
  • Write catchy vocal melodies. The word here is “pop” punk. Most pop punk songs are just pop songs sped up, so be sure your song is easy to sing along to.
  • Play it fast. Most pop punk songs are under three minutes. Write fast drum parts to keep the song moving along.

Characteristics of Rap Music

Rap music originated in the early 1970s, when electronic dance music and hip hop became popular in dance clubs throughout the country. According to EZ Tracks, the rise of the DJ and emcee corresponded with the beginnings of rap music. MCs introduced rappers and DJs, who worked together to create new and original tracks. The term “rapping” was originally a term for conversation, and was passed on to the music genre as it grew in popularity.

Pre-Recorded Tracks

  • In rap music, a pre-recorded track, usually composed of electronic instrumentation or drum beats, is played in the background, while the rapper recites the song lyrics. When rappers improvise, they must keep up with the beat in order to sound coherent. The DJ is responsible for choosing and playing the track, which he may manipulate to complement the rapper’s lines. According to an online article at the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, the use of a DJ originated in Jamaica, where DJs would call slogans such as “work it” or “move it up” over the pre-recorded track in order to encourage the crowds to dance.

Rhythmic Beat

  • Rap songs always have a rhythmic beat, usually in a 4/4 time signature. This steady, strong beat makes rap music popular in dance clubs. The beat is particularly strong on the bass line, which can sometimes dominate the other instrumentation.

Lyrically Based

  • Although a strong, steady beat is the anchor for a rap song, the true source of originality is the lyrics. Two rap songs can have virtually the same pre-recorded track, but with different lyrical interpretation. Rap lyrics tend to follow a set of themes, such as boasting raps, insult raps, nonsense raps and party raps. Of course, this is not to say that interesting lyrics are the only key to a good rap song. The way a rapper uses the beat to emphasize words and phrases, also known as a rapper’s “flow,” is what distinguishes a talented rapper from an amateur.

Facts About Rap Music

The musical genre of rap has been in existence since the 1970s, but has evolved into one of the world’s most likable styles of music. Some rap artists have turned their poetic lyrics into careers and often live a millionaire lifestyle. Beginning on the East Coast, the genre disseminated to the West Coast and developed another type of genre called gangsta rap.


  • Rap music is poetry accompanied by groovy beats and attractive tones from the bass guitar and keyboards/synthesizers. Often referred to as “hip-hop,” rap music originated during the 1970s in New York City among black and Hispanic performers.


  • The genre may have begun on the East Coast (in New York City’s Bronx borough, specifically) in the 1970s, but the roots of gangsta rap (a subset of rap music) originated on the West Coast in the 1990s. Gangsta rap began when well-known rapper Ice Cube and his former group N.W.A (Niggaz With Attitude) used rap music to attack each other lyrically. As other rap groups fed off of the genre and started battling with other artists through their lyrics, the genre “gangsta rap” began growing.

Artists Associated with Gangsta Rap

  • This movement of gangsta rap spread, with West Coast artists lyrically attacking East Coast artists, and vice versa. The rap groups that were heavily involved with gangsta rap were Tupac (2Pac) Shakur from the West Coast and Biggie Smalls from the East Coast. 2Pac and Biggie were shot and killed in 1996 and 1997, respectively, and some say the East Coast-West Coast rivalry was responsible. Other, less-violent battles have included Dr. Dre vs. Easy-E and Jay-Z vs. 50 Cent. These artists and other new artists began representing their hometowns rather than their coast. Some examples are: 50 Cent and Eminem represented Detroit while Kanye West, Twista and R. Kelly represented Chicago.

Facts about Famous Rappers

  • Snoop Dogg’s mother gave him his nickname because his eyes reminded her of the cartoon dog Snoopy from Charlie Brown. The first rapper to popularize tattoos in the rap community was 2Pac. Prior to Biggie Smalls becoming famous, he and 2Pac were close friends. 2Pac would allow Biggie to rap with him on stage to help him get his career started.

Lyrical meaning

  • The lyrically-inclined rappers are the ones who are likable and succeed in the business. The genre itself can become boring if the lyrics are not cutting it because rap music can generally sound the same and use the same beats. Some people have expressed hatred toward the genre because they believe in the stereotype that only blacks can produce rap music and that it always expresses how they want to shoot cops and live for money, drugs and sex. However, rap artists will argue that their music has a deeper meaning to it and is used to express their thoughts on their culture.

How to Compare Jazz to Classical Music

Jazz and classical music have many differences, but also several areas of similarity or at least crossover. Several classical composers have integrated influences from jazz into their compositions–Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Darius Milhaud, and Maurice Ravel.


  • A musical aspect common to a majority of both classical and jazz music is the use of regular rhythm or a musical beat. In jazz, often the drums play a regular rhythmic groove which is often in 4/4 and emphasizes the backbeat of the “2” and “4” of a 1-2-3-4 rhythmic count. In much classical music of the Baroque and Classical eras, steady rhythm was a key component in highlighting the musical motion and form of the piece. The rhythmic tendency in this kind of classical music is to emphasize the downbeat or the “1” of a rhythmic count.


  • Some musical instruments are common to both jazz and classical musical idioms. The saxophone, for example, was used in classical saxophone-quartet music from the 19th century onwards and also has a place in the modern symphony orchestra. The saxophone is also a prominent jazz instrument, played by famous jazz musicians such as Sidney Bechet and John Coltrane. Several other instruments have made the crossover from a traditionally classical music setting to the jazz realm, including flute, clarinet, double bass and trumpet. Conversely, several instruments which were initially most strongly associated with jazz now find a place in contemporary classical performing ensembles, such as rhythm instruments and vibraphone.


  • One way in which jazz and classical music remain relatively distinct is in their respective attitudes and approaches to musical improvisation. Improvisation is an integral part of jazz, whether this takes the form of small embellishments and variations to a melody or a fully-improvised free solo. It is relatively unusual for jazz musicians to play only the musical notation that is on the page. In classical music, however, the norm is for performers to play the musical score as it is written, with an ensemble conductor making musical decisions about interpretation and musical shape. Therefore, jazz places prestige on the individual performer and improviser, whereas in most classical music the performers are expected to give voice to the composer and conductor’s musical ideas without individual improvisation. In contemporary classical music, there is some use of improvisation or aleatoric (chance) elements.

How to Use Pop Music to Teach Poetry

To most English teachers, poetry is exciting, full of figurative language, imagery and emotion. To most students, it is boring and difficult to understand. However, most students do not realize that elements of poetry actually play a part in their daily lives. Teachers can use pop music to teach poetry to students and help them understand that poetry can be relevant, and possibly even cool.

Figurative Language

  • Songs are full of figurative language. Play clips of songs containing examples of metaphors, similes, idioms and personification to help illustrate the concepts for students. Look for examples from classic artists, such as Stevie Wonder’s “You are the Sunshine of My Life” and more modern hits, such as Fun’s “We are Young.” With more advanced students, challenge them to find examples on their own and brings songs into class to share. You can also have a little fun with figurative language, having students summarize a song by taking all of the figurative language literally. For example, what if Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” really meant to set the rain on fire?


  • Part of what makes a song is the rhythm of the lines. Add or take out a word and suddenly it does not fit the instrumentals or loses its flow. The same is true of poetry. While listening to a song, point out the stressed and unstressed syllables. Write out the lyrics so students can see that most lines have a similar rhythm. Change popular songs to fit different rhythms, such as rewriting a Justin Timberlake song to contain iambic pentameter.

Rhyme Scheme

  • When listening to a pop song, it might not be immediately apparent that the songs rhymes, but the majority of pop songs do. Have students take the lyrics to a song and identify the rhyme scheme. Choose songs that have unique rhyme schemes too, such as those that contain rhymes in the middle of a line or those that contain off rhymes. Many of the songs by the Beatles, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston have easily identifiable rhyme schemes. Current artists such as Pitbull, who mix pop and rap, also make good examples.

Analyzing Poetry

  • Students often have trouble analyzing poetry or think figuring out what a poem means is impossible. Using pop music provides a way to ease them into poetry analysis. Chances are most students can tell you what all of the top songs mean because they deal with themes and issues they can relate to. Once students have analyzed the elements of some of their favorite songs, analyzing a poem will be much less daunting.

American Pop Music Facts

Pop music is also known as popular music and includes a large number of genres and styles. In America, pop music is an important aspect of U.S. culture, even though it is primarily a form of entertainment. The most popular pop songs are ranked on the Billboard list as Top 40 hits.


  • Pop music existed since America’s early years, primarily as parlor songs and minstrel show tunes. Tin Pan Alley, ragtime and Broadway music are the earliest forms of American pop, but the first recorded pop music in America came in the early 1900s on phonographs of barbershop quartets and vaudeville performances. Popular jazz and blues were the pop music of the American 1920s through the 1940s.

Black Music

  • What started as communal singing within black culture often became popular music. Both jazz and blues genres were forms of black music, originating in Southern areas such as New Orleans, but popularized in Northern cities such as Chicago and New York. Similarly, hip hop is a modern form of black music that developed within urban communities of poets and artists, eventually becoming commercialized through major record labels.


  • Folk music existed in America since the country’s inception, with patriotic songs and mountain music. It wasn’t until the 1920s that country music became a popular genre. Artists such as the Carter Family were prominent in this time, often receiving play on radio stations. This music inspired musicians such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and even Elvis Presley, all of whom are American pop music legends.


  • Through the combination of black music and country music came rock and roll. Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley popularized rock music, and the genre went on to evolve until the end of the century. Artists such as Bob Dylan and the Beach Boys led the ’60s, until even more diversified music became popular in the ’70s and ’80s with hard rock, disco, punk and contemporary Christian music (gospel). By the ’90s, alternative music ushered in a highly produced era of pop music.

21st Century

  • The pop music industry took a financial hit near the turn of the century because of the capability the Internet offered regarding music downloads. Indie music became increasingly prominent in pop music, with artists such as Arcade Fire and Death Cab for Cutie becoming top-sellers in both albums and concert sales.

How Has Digital Technology Affected Music?

The development of digital technology has drastically changed most types of pop music. Digital technology has made it easier and cheaper for people to record, to perform and to listen to music.


  • In the ’80s, synthesizers characterized pop music. Developments in digital technology meant that synthesizers were cheaper to manufacture and they became affordable for more musicians. The mass manufcature of synthesizers revolutionized the sound of dance and pop music.


  • As digital technology became more widespread, music makers were able to use tools that were previously only available in analog form, such as mixers and effects.


  • Improvements in home production devices and access to digital recording created a home recording revolution. People could record their music without paying to use a professional studio.

Compact Disc

  • The invention of the compact disc improved the quality of sound in recorded music. The recording industry benefited hugely as people replaced entire vinyl collections with compact disc.


  • Once only used as a tool to correct out-of-tune notes, this technology is now used creatively in many pop songs. The characteristic robotic sound is very easy to recognize.


  • MP3 technology has made it more convenient to own, distribute and access new music. Illegal downloads of MP3 tracks are costing the recording industry millions of dollars.

The Effects of Jazz Music on People

Jazz is a musical art form with African and Western European colonial roots, which dates back to the 19th century. The birth of jazz can also be traced back to the segregation laws of 1894. These laws brought together two polar populations and musical subcultures, creating a fusion of upper-class Creole classical influences and the cathartic “blues notes” sung and played by poor, uneducated black Americans who were enduring hardship in the south. While jazz is often known for its mixture of simple and complex rhythms and beats, it is most celebrated for its’ improvisational quality.

Tension and Repose

  • Jazz waxes and wanes between “tension” and repose, challenging the listener with unpredictability and then rewarding the listener with predictable rhythms, according to music expert Donald J. Funes in his acclaimed textbook, “Musical Involvement.” The jazz listener’s investment is greater than the pop listener’s, Funes argues, as pop music is characterized by more repetitive, predictable rhythms, while jazz contains both common blues patterns interspersed by unpredictable taunting around those notes, that increase the overall tension of the music. Pop music may be easier to listen to, but it is less gratifying, says Funes, who, incidentally, likes both pop and jazz. But if you take the effort to appreciate jazz that effort spawns greater satisfaction.

Music Therapy

  • Listening to jazz is not just a satisfying and rewarding experience, studies show that it is actually good for your health. A paper in the U.K. Journal of Advanced Nursing states that listening to jazz, classical or your favorite melodies can relieve chronic pain and migraines, reduce blood pressure, accelerate post-stroke recovery, improve memory, boost immunity and induce relaxation. The paper theorizes that music helps distract patients, gives them a sense of control and also releases endorphins into their bodies that alleviate pain.


  • The same U.K. study documented that listening to music, in general, can boost your spirits, energy level and increase productivity. If you’re tired, listening to upbeat music can alleviate fatigue. But too much pop, rap or hard rock can also make you more jittery, distracted and less productive. Classical and jazz were found to be beneficial, without the negative side effects.

Facts on Reggae Music

Reggae music is relatively young in the scope of world music having started in the 1950s. It grew out of political and social upheavals of the Caribbean in the 1950s, and became the “sound” of Jamaica by the 1970s. Some reggae stars, notably Bob Marley, became crossover standouts who influenced musicians of many other genres.

Jamaica is widely acknowledged as the birthplace of reggae music.
Reggae RootsAccording to, reggae derived from Jamaican musicans who mixed the calypso, rhythm and blues and ska they heard on American and Caribbean records and radio. The basic core of reggae is the tightly-synchronized bass and drum rhythms with staccato guitar strums with a “one drop” feel. The musicians avoid playing on beat one and instead emphasize beat three in a normal bar of 4/4 timing. A typical reggae song has a slow to medium tempo. Even dance songs tend to be driven by repetition of rhythms and thick bass lines instead of a fast drum beat like most rock and pop music.

Reggae derived from Jamaican musicans who mixed calypso, rhythm and blues and ska.


DevelopmentThe most significant event in the history of reggae may have been the founding of Island Records by Chris Blackwell in 1960. Blackwell gave the local artists a place to record this new style, and he promoted it more when the label relocated to London in 1962. It wasn’t until the next decade that reggae produced true crossover stars. The cult hit movie “The Harder They Come” from 1972 featured reggae star Jimmy Cliff in the lead role and four of his songs, including the title tune. It was the first major exposure most pop fans had to reggae and its culture. Bob Marley and the Wailers started in 1963 when Marley was in his teens. The band made it into the 70s as reggaes top act and a concert draw on par with most of the day’s top pop acts. Reggae hit its first peak of popularity in the mid 70s after Eric Clapton scored a big hit with Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff,” and “Rolling Stone” declared the Wailers its band of the year for 1976.

The most significant event in the history of reggae may have been the founding of Island Records by Chris Blackwell in 1960.


TypesAccording to reggae has splintered and developed into many sub-genres. “Dub” has vocals resembling rap. “Dancehall” is aimed at dance clubs. “Reggae fusion” combines elements of both reggae and jazz and “Reggaeton” is an upbeat variant that involves rapping and singing and is very popular for dancing.

"Reggaeton" is an upbeat variant that involves rapping and singing and is very popular for dancing.


PoliticsReggae has long been a vessel for its musicians to express political and social views. Most notably it’s been tied to the Rastafari movement. While it promotes peace and love, it also espouses the spiritual use of cannabis and some Afro-centric political believes. Marley became a symbol for both the music and Rastas (his 1976 album was called “Rasta Man Vibration’) and it may have made him a political target. He survived a shooting in 1976 just days before a concert intended to promote peace between rival factions in Jamaica.

Bob Marley became a symbol for both music and Rastas.


LegaciesMarley died of cancer in 1981, but as of 2010 he remains a cherished figure among reggae fans. His songs have been covered by many artists in many genres, and Jamaica’s tourism campaign of 2009 featured a version of Marley’s “One Love.” Marley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Cliff and Blackwell are the only other reggae notables in the hall as of 2010.

Pros & Cons of Rap Music

Since its explosion onto the music scene, rap music took the industry by storm and became a huge part of the hip hop culture. It continues to be one of the most popular genres of music, crossing over to different cultures and influencing different generations through its lyrical content and beats.

Rap music has become a large part of many cultures.


According to the Allmusic website, rap music was born in the mid-1970s in New York’s South Bronx and has showcased huge success since then, bringing forth many rappers who have climbed the musical charts. Public Enemy, Heavy D, MC Lyte, Run DMC, LL Cool Jay, Eminem and Jay-Z are just a few of the old school and new school rap artists who have contributed to the industry since rap’s creation.




Rap music has versatile styles depending on the lyrical content and the geographic location of the artist. The content can range from sex, drugs, race, religion, social issues, partying, crime, love and loss. Rap is often recognizable by the location, which plays a huge part in the beats and rhythm of the music, whether it’s East Coast, West Coast, Midwest or Southern hip hop. There is also Christian rap, gangsta rap and reggaeton (a mixture of reggae and rap).


Rap music is a freedom of expression. Its lyrical content flows like poetry and often tells a story. It gives people a chance to see life through the eyes of someone else.

Rap is very expressive.



Rap music is known for its explicit lyrical content and is often seen as derogatory toward women. Parents will find a parental advisory warning label on a majority of the albums. Some may find the lyrics to be shallow and meaningless.

Some rap music may have a negative impact.


MisconceptionsPeople may only see rap as part of the African American culture; however, white rappers have stepped onto the music scene and impacted the industry over time, thus crossing cultural barriers. These rappers include Cypress Hill, Beastie Boys, 3rd Bass, Asher Roth and Eminem.



Not all rap music is negative. For more positive messages, check out rap artists such as Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def and Talib Kweli. An increasing number of Christian rap artists, such as Cross Movement, are focused on delivering positive messages. Purchase your rap CDs from Wal-Mart, which only sells the clean, edited versions.

Mos Def

Instruments Used for Reggae Music

Reggae was developed by Jamaicans mixing ska and American soul in the late 1960s. The rhythmic style of reggae is off-beat, relaxed and slower than other music genres such as disco, soul, jazz and pop. Common instruments found in other genres are also used in reggae music. The way each instrument is played reinforces sound of reggae.

Bass Guitar

  • Played in tandem with the drums, the bass guitar provides the “riddim” (rhythm) of a reggae song. The bass in reggae is usually played as a simple riff, but it’s often thick and pronounced. Prominent reggae bass guitarists include Aston “Family Man” Barrett, who played for Bob Marley and the Wailers, and Robbie Shakespeare, one half of the prolific Jamaican production team Sly and Robbie.


  • Most reggae songs use a standard drum kit, but the pieces are played in a specific way. The snare drum is often tuned to a much higher pitch, which gives it a sound that resembles timbales. Most drummers utilize the cross-stick technique in which the rim and head are hit simultaneously. Reggae drum patterns usually place an emphasis on the third beat in a 4/4 time signature. Reggae also utilizes bongos, cowbells, clave and shakers.


  • An electric or acoustic guitar in reggae tends to stress chords over individual notes in a pattern. The guitar chords are usually emphasized on the second and fourth beat in a 4/4 time signature. The guitar is connected to a special amplifier that is often dampened so the sound is short and scratchy. The chord is often played as a double chop (a note or chord played twice in one beat). Like the other instruments, there’s a relaxed feel to the sound of a guitar in reggae.

Horn Sections

  • Horn sections play the introductions, instrumental breaks, solos or counter melodies. Uptempo songs will feature a bright and boisterous horn section. The typical reggae horn section will have a saxophone, trombone and trumpet. Each member will play the exact same pattern. One horn may be in a higher octave than the others, or play in another key that meshes melodically.

Negative Influences of Rap & Hip Hop Music

Despite its popularity, hip-hop music is often scrutinized as a negative influence on behavior. People of all races and age groups relish hip-hop and often imitate the most popular artists and memorize the lyrics. Song lyrics can become embedded in the mind and can unconsciously motivate a listener’s actions.


  • Hip hop began in the 1970s. The art form, which originated in New York, provided Black and Latino youth with an outlet to express themselves, often speaking out about the poor conditions that exist within their communities. The development of the hip-hop culture created a movement that influenced the way we dress, speak and socialize. The emergence of “gangsta rap” in the 1980s marked the beginning of some disintegration of the positive images in hip-hop culture.

Glorifying Violence

  • Gangsta rap is a hip-hop genre that focuses primarily on the negative aspects of inner city life. The lyrics often glorify criminal activity and degrade women. This genre of hip-hop has been a source of tremendous controversy and is often cited as the cause of the increase in violence. This is particularly true amongst black youth. According to federal statistics cited by the “Charlottesville Daily Progress,” homicide is the leading cause of death for black men between the ages of 15 and 34.Many gangsta hip-hop artists justify their music by claiming they are only retelling the experiences of their lives on the streets. However, close analysis of the song lyrics often reveals a plethora of curse words and no substance. According to commentators such as those found on Urban, many artists have been forced to create artificial ‘gangsta’ images for the sake of a lucrative career. Many young people idolize these artists and imitate their behavior.


  • The popularity of music videos has reinforced the overt sexuality found in hip-hop music. Women in these videos are often scantily clothed and use their bodies to get material things. Young women are surrounded by these negative images, and many have adapted their lifestyles to fit them. Black Entertainment Television (BET) broadcasts approximately 15 hours of music video each day. According to the research of Carolyn West (University of Washington), as reported in the “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,” many of the young women who watch these videos do not believe they can be successful without using their bodies.


  • Many people believe that all hip-hop has the gangsta appeal that has such a destructive effect on youth. This is simply not true. There are hip-hop artist that perpetuate positive messages, artists like Mos Def and Common are hip-hop artists of substance with uplifting messages.


  • Hindering the effects of negative hip-hop music on todays children requires drastic measures. Parents should take a firm stand against the production of this music by refusing to purchase it. A decrease in record sales may trigger an increase in responsibility on the part of the artists. This may mean also blocking the access of music download sites and music video channels to children. Parents may also have to closely monitor the purchases their children make with their allowances.

Interesting Facts About Latin American Music

The term ‘Latin America’ encompasses not only South and Central America but the Caribbean also. The many different ethnicities and cultures present in Latin American music make it diverse and hard to categorise.


  • Latin American music is extremely rich due to having native Indian, African and Western influences. The Spanish and Portuguese colonists introduced Western music to the South American continent. The arrival of slaves contributed African styles to the music.


  • Amongst the instruments the indigenous population used before the Europeans arrived were maracas, whistles, panpipes and trumpets made out of bamboo or bark. Westerners introduced guitars, violins and harps, which the natives incorporated into their music.

Types of Latin Music

  • There are several different styles, and while each country has a specific genre considered the ‘national’ style, there is much crossover between regions. Some of the most famous styles are the Argentinean tango, the Cuban son, the Mexican ranchera, the Brazilian samba and bossa nova and the salsa, among others.

Negative Influences of Rap & Hip Hop Music

Despite its popularity, hip-hop music is often scrutinized as a negative influence on behavior. People of all races and age groups relish hip-hop and often imitate the most popular artists and memorize the lyrics. Song lyrics can become embedded in the mind and can unconsciously motivate a listener’s actions.


  • Hip hop began in the 1970s. The art form, which originated in New York, provided Black and Latino youth with an outlet to express themselves, often speaking out about the poor conditions that exist within their communities. The development of the hip-hop culture created a movement that influenced the way we dress, speak and socialize. The emergence of “gangsta rap” in the 1980s marked the beginning of some disintegration of the positive images in hip-hop culture.

Glorifying Violence

  • Gangsta rap is a hip-hop genre that focuses primarily on the negative aspects of inner city life. The lyrics often glorify criminal activity and degrade women. This genre of hip-hop has been a source of tremendous controversy and is often cited as the cause of the increase in violence. This is particularly true amongst black youth. According to federal statistics cited by the “Charlottesville Daily Progress,” homicide is the leading cause of death for black men between the ages of 15 and 34.Many gangsta hip-hop artists justify their music by claiming they are only retelling the experiences of their lives on the streets. However, close analysis of the song lyrics often reveals a plethora of curse words and no substance. According to commentators such as those found on Urban, many artists have been forced to create artificial ‘gangsta’ images for the sake of a lucrative career. Many young people idolize these artists and imitate their behavior.


  • The popularity of music videos has reinforced the overt sexuality found in hip-hop music. Women in these videos are often scantily clothed and use their bodies to get material things. Young women are surrounded by these negative images, and many have adapted their lifestyles to fit them. Black Entertainment Television (BET) broadcasts approximately 15 hours of music video each day. According to the research of Carolyn West (University of Washington), as reported in the “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,” many of the young women who watch these videos do not believe they can be successful without using their bodies.


  • Many people believe that all hip-hop has the gangsta appeal that has such a destructive effect on youth. This is simply not true. There are hip-hop artist that perpetuate positive messages, artists like Mos Def and Common are hip-hop artists of substance with uplifting messages.


  • Hindering the effects of negative hip-hop music on todays children requires drastic measures. Parents should take a firm stand against the production of this music by refusing to purchase it. A decrease in record sales may trigger an increase in responsibility on the part of the artists. This may mean also blocking the access of music download sites and music video channels to children. Parents may also have to closely monitor the purchases their children make with their allowances.

Characteristics of Hip Hop Music

Hip hop music has gone through many changes since it was created in the late seventies. The hip hop playing on radio everywhere now is much different than the tracks Kurtis Blow and Fab Five Freddy were creating when hip hop was invented. Regardless of the music’s evolution, hip hop’s defining characteristics are syncopated drum rhythms (usually built with samples), the use of turntables and an MC rhyming spoken lyrics on top.

Drum Samples

  • When hip hop was created, soul and Motown records from the 1960’s and 70’s were used to provide the backbeat (drums) as well as melodic content. Now, professional and amateur producers are building drum beats for hip hop artists in their bedrooms but the drums are always syncopated, meaning the downbeats of ‘2’ and ‘4’ are sometimes emphasized and sometimes not. The drums being sampled now may be syncopated throughout, meaning beats “1” and “3” are sometimes shifted and chopped up as well.

Turntables in Hip Hop

  • Hip hop DJs used and continue to use the turntables as an instrument. By scratching and shifting the pitch and speed of the records, they can treat the turntables the way a jazz musician would, improvising over the track that’s playing on one table and switching back and forth at will, manipulating the grooves and melodic content. Done well, it’s like watching a jazz musician take a great solo over the melody of a tune.

A Good MC Rocks the Mic Right

  • Another characteristic of hip hop is the MC. He is the storyteller in the hip hop track. The lyrics could be about anything depending on the subgenre of hip hop you listen to, but the MC’s ability to rhyme well and tell a story is what gives him credibility. You’ll find an MC in almost every hip hop track (usually along with a vocalist driving in the hook or the chorus melodically).

Information on Reggae Music

Reggae music is a very popular style of music in Jamaica, and its roots can be traced back to the 1960s. Over time, many reggae artists received attention in the United States, which popularized reggae and slowly brought it to mainstream audiences. In order to understand this genre of music, you must be aware of its history and its significance to the people of Jamaica.

Reggae music.
HistoryThe term “reggae” was first used in Jamaica in 1960. The name reggae evolved from the word “ragged”, a term used to describe a style of dance music which had its roots in New Orleans-style rhythm and blues. It soon changed to the style we recognize today and its origin is not actually Jamaican, but a mix of sounds from the U.S. and Africa.

Boat in Jamaica.
FeaturesWhat sets reggae apart from other styles of music is its syncopation. Syncopation allows the emphasis of beats that would otherwise not be emphasized and rhythms that often deviate from their expected placement. In reggae, this usually means that the second and fourth beats are accented, and the third beat is emphasized. The bass drum is often played as if to mimic a heartbeat, and the bass guitar is in the forefront with a thick, treble-less sound. Guitars often take a back seat in reggae, unlike most styles of music including rock and jazz, where the guitar incorporates melody.

Reggae music.
RastaReggae is identified with the Rastafarians of Jamaica, who consider the former emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, to be the incarnation of God known as Jah. With lyrics which are often related with Marcus Garvey and his intent on emigration back to Africa, reggae became a voice of the people rather quickly in its short history. Reggae lyrics also incorporate themes involving love, sex and socialization along with social criticism and political consciousness. Lyrics such as “All around in my home town, they are trying to track me down, they say they want to bring me in guilty” in the song “I Shot the Sheriff” decry the political targeting going on in Jamaica at the time.

Rasta man.
DevelopmentThroughout the 1960s, reggae was distributed by then independent label Island Records and was associated with the violence of the Jamaican landscape of that time. As the decade came to a close, many reggae songs extolled the virtue of peace in the land and reggae soon adopted peaceful lyrics as well as more laid-back grooves. In 1967 Neil Diamond had America’s first reggae pop hit in “Red Red Wine,” which gave the style exposure in the United States.

Speakers set up for Reggae music.
Bob MarleyNo discussion about reggae would be complete without the mention of Bob Marley, who is unarguably the most recognized reggae artist of its history. Bob Marley was responsible for the first all-reggae album, and was an activist for the Jamaican people. He rose to fame in the 1960s with The Wailers, and became a star after releasing such classics as “I Shot the Sheriff” and “No Woman, No Cry” in the 1970s. Marley died of cancer in 1981.

Bob Marley tshirt.

How to Master Hip Hop in GarageBand

With the increasing availability and affordability of digital audio technology, aspiring music producers can create and refine their musical products without purchasing expensive hardware products. The hip-hop genre of music relies heavily on electronically synthesized and sampled sounds to create its signature style. Many of these sounds are produced in digital audio workstations such as Logic, Garage Band and ProTools. Using Garage Band, ambitious hip-hop artists can create quality results using the included mastering tools.


  • Open the hip-hop song you have created in Garage Band by selecting the “Open” tab in the “File” menu. In the menu that appears, locate the Garage Band file you have created.
  • Adjust the equalization of your hip-hop track by clicking on the designated waveform within Garage Band’s main display. Click the “Master Track” button on the right side of the screen. If you would prefer to use one of Garage Band’s mastering presets, click the “Browse” tab and select “Hip-Hop” from the menu. You can now choose one of the hip-hop mastering presets for your song. As many hip-hop songs feature heavy, thumping bass, consider selecting the “Deep Thump” preset.
  • Click the “Edit” button within the “Master Track” menu. You will now see a list of effects currently available for use on both the broader master level and the more specific track level. Click the “Manual” button under the designated effect name to manually adjust its customization parameters. Activate the effect by clicking once on the purple square. If the purple square glows, you have successfully activated the track. Press the square again to deactivate it.
  • Raise the treble within the equalization window’s frequency spectrum to add a sharp, biting quality to your hip-hop vocals. In similar fashion, slightly raise the middle area of the frequency spectrum to enhance instrumental lines and melodies within your hip-hop song.
  • Double-click the waveform image to open the wave’s adjustment parameter settings. These tools can adjust the timing and tuning of your track using beat detection and pitch adjustment. If your hip-hop vocals suffer from intonation problems, use the “Enhance Tuning” slider to reduce blatant discrepancies. If your hip-hop beats or rhythms rush or drag, move the “Enhance Timing” slider to quantize your track’s audio to the specified rhythmic parameter.


Who Invented Jazz Music?

Although there is no individual musician who can be directly linked to having created jazz music, a number of performers throughout the 1800s and early 1900s contributed to its ultimate creation. The majority of the influence for jazz came from the African-American culture in the United States during slavery and after Reconstruction.


  • African slaves in the United States adapted a number of European instruments, most notably the violin, to more traditional African music. European-Americans in turn popularized the music in minstrel shows.


  • One of the first major figures in the musical form was Louis Moreau Gottschalk. He adapted the African-American minstrel music into piano renditions. This became popular prior to the Civil War.


  • The rise of ragtime music popularized some of the African-American jazz performers themselves. In 1895, Ernest Hogan gained a major hit with “All Coons Look Alike To Me.” Scott Joplin joined him in 1899 with his international hit “Maple Leaf Rag.”

New Orleans

  • What ultimately became known as early jazz was developed in New Orleans. A number of African-American artists performed in brothels and bars using marching band instruments. They merged ragtime with funeral-procession music to create a new style.


  • The origin of the word “jazz” is unknown. According to the American Dialect Society, it appears to have been used as slang during the early part of the 1900s. It first appeared in print in the “San Francisco Bulletin” on March 3, 1913.