Rock notes 11-1 to 11-17

Rock notes 11-1 to 11-17 - Rock notes 11.1.10 Back to...

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Rock notes – 11.1.10 Back to American music; specifically African American music Two types: 1) Motown (“motor town” = Detroit) 2) Soul (southern US - Memphis); Stax record label The difference between these two is somewhat exaggerated: • Musical distinctions between these two styles are generally closer than most people (including the book’s author) tend to think. • Also, the geographical distinctions are somewhat exaggerated. For example, Queen of Soul = Aretha Franklin = from Detroit (which is associated with Motown, not Soul) • Nonetheless, we can distinguish the two Motown • Development driven primarily by one company o driven primarily by African American song writers, producer o vocalists/groups were interchangeable (also African American) o Almost exactly the same as Brill Building that we talked about earlier, except that in Brill song writers/producers were white • Headed by Berry Gordy, Jr. o African American businessman o Started the first major African American record label • How did Motown become a gigantic commercial success? o Marketing their music to everyone, not only African Americans § Slogan: “the sound of young America” § People criticized Motown because they thought they were abandoning the African American community but that is not true; Motown was as popular with African Americans as whites. § Motown embodied the idea of people rising up to great success (aspirational); not political in the beginning, but later – the goals of Motown were linked to the civil rights movement • The artists: male/female, group/solo – again, a certain amount of interchangeability o Well-dressed, well-educated (some went to etiquette school) o The Temptations – all-male group § “My Girl” – choreographed dance; “call and response”; suits and skinny ties! (see “Motown Sound” below)
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§ Songs: moral teachers, in a way. “My Girl” is upbeat, wholesome, clean. § Put together their own harmonies; many of which are very complex/ elaborate The Motown Sound (more detail available in the book) – “My Girl” as example o Ultra heavy back beat – hand claps, part of the drum set, fingersnaps § It’s dance music, so the strong beat/back beat is important o Lots of instruments § Rhythm section (guitars, keyboards, bass, drums): • bass – short, repetitive melodic bit (riff); often very prominent in the mix § Every instrumental part is melodic, basically (except drums, obviously) The Supremes: the biggest female vocal group, maybe the biggest Motown group in general o Later became “Diana Ross and the Supremes”; then just Diana Ross, etc. o Vocal trio – so they can’t be as complex harmonically as the Temptations (which had 5 members) § “Stop in the Name of Love” – on the Hollywood Place (TV show) • Listen for “Motown Sound” characteristics • No vocal harmonies – sing in unison; simple arrangements o The look: contributed in its own way to the Civil rights movement § Unlike Bob Dylan who dressed down to look working class, The
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Rock notes 11-1 to 11-17 - Rock notes 11.1.10 Back to...

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