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MUSIC AND POPULAR

CULTURE IN
AMERICA
BDICI VERONICA
DINCULESCU CRISTINA
NEA ANDREEA
POROJNICU ALINA
IULESCU TEFANIA

WHAT IS IT?
Pop culture is entertainment, music and sports.
Popular culture is distributed across many forms of mass communication
including newspapers, magazines, radio, television, movies, music, books and
cheap novels, comics and cartoons, and advertising. It contrasts with high
cultural art forms, such as opera, classical music and artworks, traditional
theater and literature.
In mass communication, the term popular culture refers to messages that make
limited intellectual and aesthetic demands through content that is designed to
amuse and entertain audiences.
aesthetic refers to the appreciation of beauty and good taste.

WHERE DID IT COME FROM?


AFTER

THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, PEOPLE HAD INCREASED LEISURE TIME. THIS LED TO
DEMAND FOR AMUSEMENT AND ENTERTAINMENT, WHICH PROMPTED GROWTH OF MASS MEDIA.

ALSO

AFTER THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, THE INCREASED SUPPLY OF GOODS NECESSITATED


ADVERTISING TO ATTRACT CONSUMERS.

MASS

MEDIA WANTED TO REACH THE LARGEST AUDIENCE POSSIBLE. THAT INFLUENCED THE
CONTENT OF MASS MEDIA.

WHY DO WE CARE?
WE'RE CONCERNED WITH POPULAR CULTURE BECAUSE:
IT REACHES ALMOST ALL THE PUBLIC
IT INFLUENCES HOW WE THINK, DRESS AND ACT
IT HAS AN ECONOMIC IMPACT ON MEDIA
IT INFLUENCES CONTENT OF MEDIA
WE STUDY POPULAR MEDIA ARTIFACTS AND IMAGES

TO LEARN ABOUT A CULTURE FOR


INSTANCE, HOW WOMEN AND ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE PORTRAYED ON TV OR IN FILM

ALMOST ALL POPULAR CULTURE HAS AN ENTERTAINMENT FUNCTION. TV AND FILM ARE AMONG
THE MEDIA MOST CONCERNED WITH ENTERTAINMENT.

POPULAR CULTURE INCLUDES MUSIC, SPORTS AND MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF GOODS AND
SERVICES WORKS SOLD FOR PROFIT THAT ARE INTEGRAL TO THE ECONOMICS OF MEDIA.

WHAT DID WE HAVE BEFORE


POP CULTURE?
PRIOR TO MASS MEDIA THERE WERE TWO KINDS OF ART:
FOLK ART UNSOPHISTICATED, LOCALIZED, NATURAL WORKS BY UNKNOWN ARTISTS.
ELITE ART MORE COMPLEX WORKS DELIBERATELY PRODUCED SO ARTISTS GAINED RECOGNITION.
IN ANCIENT TIMES PRIOR TO WRITING, ORAL PERFORMANCE WAS ACCESSIBLE TO THE WHOLE
COMMUNITY. THEN, AFTER THE ADOPTION OF WRITING AND AS LAYERS, OR CLASSES, OF SOCIETY
EVOLVED OVER CENTURIES, AN ELITE LITERATURE BEGAN TO BE DISTINGUISHABLE FROM THE FOLK
LITERATURE OF THE PEOPLE.

SIMILARLY, OTHER FORMS OF BOTH UNSOPHISTICATED AND COMPLEX ART GENRES DEVELOPED
OVER TIME.

THE EVENTUAL DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH OF MASS MEDIA BROUGHT A NEW KIND OF POPULAR
ART CALLED KITSCH.

THERE IS A THEORY OF
POPULAR CULTURE
There is a theory of popular culture
Elements of the theory:
Privately owned media want profits
They need to attract large numbers of people
Most people are attracted by entertainment that requires limited intellectual demand
Media produces and delivers the content they want kitsch
Constant production and consumption of kitsch drives out other kinds of art, which
results in:
Destruction of folk and elite art
Economic exploitation of the public
Diminishing of real-life heroes

HOW DID HEROES


CHANGE?
Since the growth of mass media, our heroes have changed.
Before, we had heroes of deed real people who made a contribution. Examples
might be George Washington, Daniel Boone, Susan B. Anthony, Sacagawea,
Charles Lindbergh, Neil Armstrong, Martin Luther King.
In the time of big and influential mass media, we've adopted for our heroes
famous media-created characters from the entertainment and sports industries,
even cartoon figures.
Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Ellen Ripley, Superman, Batman, Dirty
Harry, Nancy Drew, Capt. James T. Kirk. Mad Max, Tarzan, Spider-Man, Robin
Hood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Han Solo etc.

We display little interest in people that affect society through real deeds for
instance scientific heroes who discover new things that affect the well-being of
millions of people and medical heroes who create new processes that affect the
health of millions. Can you even name one such person without the assistance of
Google?
Many people have argued it is a waste of money to go to the Moon or have a space
station. Yet those advances have benefited mankind. On the other hand, nobody
talks about playing and televising the Superbowl as a waste of money.
What should we make of Gregory Peck's "Atticus Finch" in the film of Harper Lee's
novel To Kill a Mockingbird?

PHONOGRAPHS, VICTROLAS
AND GRAMOPHONES.
Popular music has grown as audio recording technology has advanced.
The technological development of the recording industry can be traced at least back to
1877 when Thomas Edison conceived of the phonograph as a way to record the human
voice and developed a crude phonograph record machine.
Several problems had to be overcome:
The first system's sound reproduction quality was poor.
It only had two minutes of recording time.
There was no way to make multiple copies of the master recording.
By the 1900s, these technical problems were solved:
Multiple records could be molded from a master.
That brought down the price per recording.
A reliable spring motor kept the turntable speed constant at 78 rpm (revolutions per
minute).

NEW TECHNOLOGIES KEEP


THINGS INTERESTING.
Electric record players were developed in the 1920s to replace the wind-up machines
leading to a spectacular growth in the sale of records.
Radio broadcasting began in 1920 when Pittsburgh station KDKA went on the air with a
regular schedule of programs.
Invented in the 1930s and developed during World War II in the first half of the 1940s,
magnetic recording tape was used by German intelligence gatherers to capture and store
radio broadcasts. Later, magnetic tape would be edited by physically cutting and splicing.
Reel-to-reel tapes could play an hour or more of program content.

MUSIC IS, WELL, THE MUSIC


OF OUR LIVES.
Music is life's backdrop wherever we go in our homes, cars, stores, offices, factories, elevators,
everywhere.
People of every age enjoy music everyday everywhere.
Music brings out our emotions.
Music makes us feel nostalgic and brings good memories to mind. Listening to songs, we remember
where we were and what we were doing in better times.
Music is therapeutic. In sick rooms it soothes and helps heal.
Music helps us cope with life.
Music during memorial services helps us grieve.
Music is embedded in Earth's natural rhythms.
Babies in the womb hear music. Later, mothers put them to sleep with lullabies.
Music helps children understand mathematics.
Music is the main content of radio broadcasts.
Films use music for background and to set mood.

SPIRITUAL SONGS OF THE


SLAVES

SPIRITUALS WERE RELIGIOUS SONGS CREATED BY AFRICAN SLAVES IN 19TH CENTURY AMERICA.

INDIGENOUS TO AFRICANS IN THE UNITED STATES, SPIRITUAL SONGS WERE A BLEND OF RELIGIOUS MUSIC FROM AFRICA WITH
RELIGIOUS MUSIC FROM EUROPE. WHILE SPIRITUAL MUSIC DEVELOPED IN THE U.S., THE SPIRITUAL FORM OF MUSIC DIDN'T EVOLVE
AMONG CHRISTIAN AFRICANS ELSEWHERE FOR INSTANCE IN THE CARIBBEAN AND LATIN AMERICA.

THE NAME COMES FROM THE KING JAMES BIBLE EPHESIANS 5:19, "SPEAKING TO YOURSELVES IN PSALMS AND HYMNS AND SPIRITUAL
SONGS, SINGING AND MAKING MELODY IN YOUR HEART TO THE LORD."

AT THE TIME OF THE CIVIL WAR IN THE 1860S, SPIRITUAL SONGS WERE DESCRIBED AS USED BY SLAVES WHILE SITTING OR STANDING IN
PLACE WITH SPIRITUAL SHOUTS USED FOR DANCE MUSIC.

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY POPULAR


MUSIC?
Popular music had its beginnings independent of other mass media. After all, at the
time there were no other audio media, radio stations or record labels.
We have a definition for popular music:
Popular music is composed of musical compositions written or performed as
commercial services and products that can be sold for profit to the largest possible
segment of the public.
That's a shade different from the definition of pop music:
Pop music is commercially recorded music, marketed to youth, consisting of short,
simple love songs using technological innovations to produce new musical sounds.
The commercial aspect sets popular music apart from folk songs, work songs and
religious music historically related to a need for social gathering or to express the trials
and joy of everyday life.

BILLBOARD COVERS THE


HITS

Billboard is a weekly American magazine founded in 1894 and devoted to the music
industry.
As one of the oldest trade magazines in the world, it publishes music popularity charts
that track songs and albums in several categories on a weekly basis.
Two of the magazine's best-known charts are the "Billboard Hot 100," which ranks by
sales and radio airplay the top 100 songs of all types, and the "Billboard 200" chart for
album sales.
Other charts survey the rock, country, adult pop, R&B, hip-hop, jazz, dance, Latin and
Christian music genres. There also are international charts covering Canada, Europe,
Brazil, Turkey and Japan.
Would you believe in the second decade of the 21st century there's a "Social 50" chart,
which ranks the artists who are most active on the social networking sites Facebook,
Twitter, Myspace and YouTube? There's even a chart called "Uncharted," which lists
upcoming artists, who have yet to appear on a Billboard chart.

RAGTIME WAS THE FIRST


POPULAR MUSIC
In the 1870s the piano was finding its way into more and more homes. This created a
demand for sheet music.
At the end of the 19th century, there were many goods being carried by steamboat up
and down the Mississippi River. Cities along the river like New Orleans and St. Louis
became centers of commerce.
Sporting houses gambling houses, saloons, brothels became popular for recreation
and relaxation. These establishments had pianos and mainly African-American musicians
as piano players to entertain the crowds.
The kind of music they played in the red-light districts incorporated the folk music and
work songs and rhythms from Africa and from the southern plantations. It came from the
jigs and march music played by black bands and black folk dances called rag dances.
The music became known as ragtime and was the first form of what we now call popular
music. It was popular from around 1897 to the time of World War I around 1918.

SINGING THE BLUES


During the period of ragtime at the end of the 19th century, African-Americans in
the Deep South also were singing the blues to express their feelings about the
difficult experiences of everyday life.
Their simple rhyming narrative ballads melded work songs, field hollers, shouts
and chants with spirituals.
Alabama blues composer and musician William C. Handy made the Blues
accessible to white society. While he wasn't the first to publish blues music,
Handy is remembered as the "father of the blues" for having propelled it to a
dominant force in American music. In 1912, Handy published The Memphis
Blues and then in 1914 the Saint Louis Blues, which inspired the Foxtrot dance
step.

The blues grew in popularity during the 1920s and evolved over the decades until
today it is a permanent fixture on the American music landscape. It's at the root
of jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll. Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington,
Miles Davis and Bob Dylan are among hundreds of jazz, folk and rock performers
who have delivered significant blues recordings.

TIN PAN ALLEY


Meanwhile, in the early 1900s, a group of music publishers in New York started
copyrighting songs, printing the scores as sheet music and selling the sheets
wholesale to distributors who then would sell them to retailers.
Tin Pan Alley may have started about 1885 in New York City when some music
publishers and songwriters set up shop on West 28th Street between Fifth and
Sixth Avenue. The block is better known today as Manhattan's Flatiron District.
The offices of those publishers and songwriters together became known as Tin Pan
Alley.
It's not clear where the name came from. One myth says it was the tinny sound
made by cheap upright pianos in music publishers' offices playing different tunes
at the same time, producing noise that sounded like the banging of tin pans.

JAZZ VS. MORAL DECENCY


In 1916 Americans entered the Jazz Age.

Jazz was blended from West African and European music in the African American
communities in the South &ndash mainly around New Orleans. After World War I, ragtime
lost its novelty and its appeal to the public was replaced by jazz.
The word jazz came from jass, a West Coast slang term for intercourse. The spelling
change came about after Nick LaRocca's band playing in Chicago got one listener so
excited he cried out, "Jass it up boys." The next day, the band started calling itself the
Dixieland Jass Band. When the band traveled to New York City, its posters were defaced
with the J crossed out, creating "ass." The band memebrs changed the ss to zz and their
name to Dixieland Jazz Band.After World War I, America entered the 1920s with society
changed by industrialization, urbanization, and modernization. The decade of the '20s
offered new ways to deliver jazz into the home via phonograph records and radio
broadcasts. Among the best-known jazz performers of the 1920s were Louis Armstrong,
Jelly Roll Morton, Joe "King" Oliver, Fletcher Henderson.

COWBOY SONGS WERE


WESTERN MUSIC
There also were cowboy songs, professionally referred to as western music.

Popular 1930s cowboy characters in white hats like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers
sang as they vanquished the bad guys in black hats.
Of course, there were white hat cowboy movie stars who didn't sing much, like
Red Ryder, Tom Mix and The Lone Ranger.
Western was a folk music composed by pioneers who settled the western United
States and Canada. It came from older English, Irish and Scottish ballads and
Mexican music from the Southwest. Mostly it celebrated the hard life of the
working cowboy on the open ranges and prairies of western North America.
Country and western music were lumped together in a Billboard magazine
popularity chart. The two genres don't really go together as their roots are
different.

GOSPEL MUSIC WAS AESTHETIC


PRAISE
Gospel music grew out of the blues and the Great Depression.
It's a form of music written to express communal spiritual
beliefs about Christian life. A common theme is praise,
worship or thanks to God, Christ or the Holy Spirit.
Gospel music is composed and sung for religious ceremonial
purposes, aesthetic pleasure and entertainment. It is quite
marketable as a sectarian alternative to secular music.

SWING AND THE BIG BANDS


Swing music and the sound of big bands replaced Jazz as America's favorite in the 1930s.
Big bands played a form of jazz music in the 1920s and moved on to swing music as it
developed out of jazz in 1935. Danceable swing was the dominant form of American
popular music from 1935 to 1945.
A big band had 12 to 25 instruments in a musical ensemble of saxophones, trumpets,
trombones, rhythm section, and singers known as vocalists. Big bands sometimes were
referred to as dance bands, society bands, stage bands, jazz bands, jazz orchestras or jazz
ensembles. However, rather than being improvised spontaneously like jazz, big band
music was arranged in advance on sheet music.
Most everyone enjoyed the live performances of orchestra leaders like Glenn Miller,
Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey and Count Basie. Radio only served to increase their
popularity.

BOOGIE-WOOGIE WAS FOR


DANCING
Boogie-woogie was a piano style of blues popular from the late 1930s into the
1940s. It brought into play the sounds of multiple pianos and guitars, and the
big band, country, western and even gospel forms of music. While the blues
depicted emotions, boogie-woogie was about dancing. It may have been the
first uptempo popular music.
Again, as with popular music and dancing before, the boogie-woogie was
criticized as immoral and a threat to the standards of decency. Listening and
dancing to it was bad.

JITTERBUG
During World War II, the jitterbug was an immensely popular form of dancing
to big band swing music. This fast-paced style of dance also known as the
Lindy Hop, Jive, and East Coast Swing swept the nation. Cab Calloway was a
popular entertainer associated with the jitterbug.
The word jitterbug had been a slang term for an alcoholic who might have
suffered the "jitters" or delirium tremens while withdrawing. The jitterbug
image of frenzied movements became associated with swing dancers.
In 1944, the U.S. government levied a 30% federal excise tax on dancing night
clubs. Club owners couldn't afford the tax so "No Dancing Allowed" signs
were seen across the country. Later, the jitterbug was adapted to rock music
in the 1950s.

COUNTRY MUSIC
Country music was blended from traditional and popular musical forms in
Appalachia and other southeastern areas of the United States in the 1920s.
The term country music gained popularity in the 1940s when the earlier name
hillbilly music became politically incorrect. Today the label "country music" is used
to describe many styles.
Western music came to be associated with country music only because Billboard
lumped them together in a chart. In reality, western music was from the western
U.S. while country music originated in the southeast.
Two of the top selling solo artists of all time came out of country music Elvis
Presley and Garth Brooks.

RHYTHM AND BLUES


R&B emerged in the 1940s during World War II from African American roots as
an urbane music with a heavy, insistent beat.
After the war, when the term "race music" was seen as offensive, the name
rhythm and blues was used to describe recordings marketed predominantly to
urban African Americans. Again showing Billboard magazine's influence on the
music world, editor Jerry Wexler coined the term "rhythm and blues" in 1948.
Wexler went on to become a major record industry player from the 1950s-1980s
producing big names like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, the Allman Brothers, Chris
Connor, Dusty Springfield, Led Zeppelin, Wilson Pickett and Bob Dylan.
Then rhythm and blues played an important role in the development of rock and
roll. Later, the name included music styles that incorporated electric blues,
gospel music, soul music, funk music and contemporary R&B. In fact, rhythm and
blues has been a catchall, umbrella term over the years for any music made by
and for the African American market.

ROCK AND ROLL DELIVERED US


FROM THE DAYS OF OLD
Along with the new 45 rpm record technology, America discovered a new style of
music in the 1950s when rock and roll replaced jitterbug and boogie-woogie as
dance favorites. Rock and roll melded the blues, country music, jazz and gospel
music and sometimes blended in the sounds of folk and classical music.
One early form of rock and roll was rockabilly that combined country, gospel and
Appalachian folk music. From the 1960s, rock music grew to encompass pop, reggae,
soul and a blizzard of other popular forms including folk rock, blues-rock, jazz-rock
fusion, soft rock, glam rock, heavy metal, hard rock, progressive rock, and punk rock,
New Wave, hardcore punk, alternative rock, grunge, Britpop, indie rock, and nu
metal.

DISCO FROM THE PEAK TO


THE PITS
A middle-to-late 1970s popular counterculture form of dance music called disco
swept out of African American, Hispanic or Latino, gay and psychedelic clubs in
New York City and Philadelphia to capture the nation's fancy. Women,
heterosexuals and other social clusters came to embrace disco as musical styles
became more corporate, aiming at what would sell best. There was a new
emphasis on commercial success and profits.
Most disco music had strings, horns, electric pianos and electric guitars and
sometimes flutes forming a lush background sound.
Rolling Stone Magazine published the first article about disco in 1973. The next
year, New York City's station WPIX-FM aired the first disco radio show. The 1977
film Saturday Night Fever with John Travolta and the 1978 film Thank God It's
Friday with The Commodores and Donna Summer pushed the musical form to
mainstream popularity.

MTV PLAYS MUSIC VIDEOS AND


SPAWNS VJS
MTV was an acronym for Music Television when it was formed as an American
network in 1981. The cable channel played music videos introduced by on-air
hosts known as VJs video jockeys, named after the term disc jockey.
MTV had a deep impact on the music industry and popular culture. The slogan "I
want my MTV" was seen on other television channels. MTV was a place where
artists and fans alike found a home for their music, news and events. Similar
cable channels included VH1 and CMT. MTV's influence on young people was
debated for years. Its music videos were said to be immoral and a threat to the
standards of decency. Its social activism was denounced. MTV was critized for
censorship when it removed references to drugs, sex, violence, weapons, racism,
homophobia and advertising from the music videos it played.