AQA GCSE Music - Popular Music Of The 20th & 21st Centuries

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Popular Music of the 20th & 21st Centuries
Blues
The blues is a style that was developed by the rural African-American population in
the southern states of America during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The
songs were often about hardship and deprivation.
As the popularity of the blues grow, musicians moved away from the rural south to
the cities and the music became more dance orientated.
Blues has influenced other styles of popular music, including rock and roll, R 'n' B and
soul.
Key Features
Rhythm & Metre Usually in 4/4
Syncopation is common in the melody
Swung rhythms and triplets in the accompaniment
Harmony & Tonality 12 bar blues pattern ­ I I I I, IV IV I I, V IV I I
Usually extended into 7th chords
Texture &Melody Melody can sound improvisatory in style
Limited range of notes and sounds quite repetitive
Four bar phrases are common
Call and response sometimes used
Melodies are based on the blues scale, a hexatonic scale that
include notes ­ flattened third, fifth and seventh
C, Eb, F, Gb, G, Bb
Texture is usually melody and accompaniment
Timbre A rough, growling style of singing
Sometimes imitated by the brass section
Instruments ­ voice, guitar, piano, double bass, drum kit,
saxophone, trumpet, trombone and harmonica
Structure & Form 12 bar blues pattern repeated throughout
Each statement of the 12 bar sequence forms a verse
A song may contain three or more verses with an
instrumental solo replacing a verse
Common for the lyrics of each verse to consist of three
phrases (each lasting four bars) in AAB form

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Popular Music of the 20th & 21st Centuries
Popular Music of the 1960s
The late 1950s were dominated by rock and roll and although popularity declined in
the 1960s, it had a massive influence on British bands such as The Beatles, The Who
and The Rolling Stones.
Towards the end of the 1960s more experimental styles such as psychedelic rock
were created which were influenced by the latest technological developments.…read more

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Popular Music of the 20th & 21st Centuries
An intro (instrumental)
Different verses
A repeated chorus
A bridge (contrasting)
An outro
Rock Music
Rock music developed in the 1960s out of rock and roll and rhythm and blues. Groups
such as The Who started using more powerful amplifiers and a distorted guitar tone,
coupled with a macho style of singing and over the top stage performances.…read more

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Popular Music of the 20th & 21st Centuries
Timbre & Dynamics Much rock music is dominated by heavy electric guitar sound,
which is often distorted
Singers are almost always male
In live concerts rock music is played at a very loud dynamic
Structure & Form A verse-chorus structure is common, with a guitar solo in the
bridge
R `n' B
This is a contemporary form of African-American popular music that mixes
elements of hip hop and funk with a soul influenced style of singing.…read more

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Popular Music of the 20th & 21st Centuries
Timbre & Dynamics The instrument backing is usually made up from synthesised
and sampled sounds
Singers are often female and have a smooth style of singing
influenced by soul
Rapping will sometimes appear
Structure & Form Songs usually have a verse-chorus structure
Hip Hop
Hip hop is a style of black popular music that has its origins in the street culture of
1970s New York. Its main feature is rapping.…read more

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Popular Music of the 20th & 21st Centuries
Complex but repetitive rhythmic patterns are produced by
layers of sampled and looped sounds
Harmony & Tonality As the music is often based on just a rhythmic rap over a
drum loop, there may be little use of harmony in some
songs, the emphasis being on the rhythm
When harmony appears, it will probably be a simple, looped
chord pattern
Texture & Melody Layered textures are built from loops
The chorus of a hip-hop song is often…read more

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Popular Music of the 20th & 21st Centuries
Key Features
Musicals usually consist of alternating sections of spoken dialogue and songs
They tend to contain a variety of different types of song, such as ballads (slow and
emotional), patter songs (fast and comic) and production numbers (involving most
of the cast)
Songs are often sung in a theatrical way.…read more

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Popular Music of the 20th & 21st Centuries
As film has developed, so have many different approaches to writing soundtracks.
Today you can find soundtracks in all sorts of jazz, popular and classical music styles.…read more

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