Popular Music: The Effect of Cultural Clash Essay

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Popular music today is said to be caused by culture clashes. But there are also evidences that show that other popular music are caused by culture coalitions. There are some evident examples of culture clashes and coalitions in the popular music. But the question is that in the futures of popular music, which mode would continue to yield the most influence? Will it be culture clash or coalition? Our world today has experienced so much events since begin of time. Evolution came through time. Eventually, man came forth and dominated the kingdom of creation.

Man shaped history with its control. Culture, language, art and science developed through time. The power given to man was unstoppable. We created societies with different ideals and moral. Cultures were cultivated. Eventually societies were classified to nations. Our culture was divided and was separated through these different divisions of man. The population of the dominating man grew and the need for more resources and land was needed. Man explored through the depths of the kingdom of creation, seeking every corner of the world for new lands to be controlled.

Europe was the realm that dominated most of the undiscovered land. Because of this, culture of different societies has been mixed into diverse outcomes. One of the culture, that a certain society shares, is their music. Music became varied caused by these clashes of cultures. Music is a spice life. Music can be heard everywhere. It makes our life lively and vivid. It was a result of the combination and rhythms, rhymes and musical notes that, when gather up together, creates this artistic wave of culture and meaning.

Music is around us, in the streets, in radio and the television. MTV, one popular music channel today, is one example of the great influence music in our lives. Music can be created, a well tuned song and a back up instrumentals would make music. Even simple singing and tapping could be called music. If there wasn’t any music in the world, then life would be dull. Imagine a movie without any music. That movie would not be a hit nor be considered a movie because it lacks life. Music gives us the power to contemplate and express ourselves.

Music was developed in the early ages of man. It cultivated until it developed to the music that we have today. Now, we use different instruments and dynamic rhythms to express ourselves. Music is truly a part of our culture. They say that popular music is an effect of the different cultures clashing with each other. It has caused us to divide ourselves through music. It made its own classification in our society. For example, rock is conflicting with rap. There are many examples like that in our world today.

Through out the course of history, music always had a conflict between the stands of man. The Cuban music, which was influenced by the European conquerors, is contrasting to the Spiritual music of the Africans. Music came from different societies and therefore created different attributes. One example of popular music is the Cuban music. Cuban music is something of a musical mystery in Latin America. Cuba is the largest of the islands of the Antilles and was settled in much the same way as the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

The first Spanish settlers arrived to find an indigenous population that could not stand up to the demands of forced plantation labor, which the full exploitation of the land required. (Zaldivar) This population was all killed either by being used brutally as forced labor or through the introduction of new diseases. (Zaldivar) Because of this, some of the culture of the indigenous inhabitants of Cuba died which included their musical culture. (Zaldivar) As the indigenous population was replaced by Africans brought in through the slave trade, Cuba, like Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, developed an Afro-Hispanic culture. Zaldivar) But from Cuba, a particularly unique and powerful creative energy flowed for many years. Cuban music has been very popular and is a culture that developed through time. With the exception of the Argentine tango and the Brazilian samba and bossa nova, almost all other popular Latin American dance forms have come from Cuba. (Grenet)

These hispanic-American Baseline Music dances have exerted a powerful influence on the music of other Latin American countries and even the United States and Europe. Grenet) From the famous habanera in Bizet’s opera Carmen and Ravel’s habaneras in L’Heure Espagnole and other compositions, to the contemporary salsa in the United States, it has been Cuban rhythms and dance patterns that have dominated and—until the United States blockade of Cuba in 1958—generated new dance crazes that swept the world. (Grenet) In the history of global popular music, there has never been anything to duplicate the massive creative force and influence Cuba has represented, and there seems no adequate way to explain it other than through the excellence of the music itself.

The Spanish settlers who came to Cuba came largely from Andalucia in southern Spain. (Zaldivar) While it appears evident that the Africans who were brought to Cuba as slave labor were from many different regions of Africa, it is also clear that it was the Yoruba among them who quickly became organized and found a means of continuing the performance of their rituals, as they did in Haiti and Brazil. (Zaldivar) It is also important to realize that the slave policy in Latin countries was very different from that in the United States.

These cultures—the French, Portuguese, and Spanish—came out of a common background of old Roman law that recognized that slaves had certain minimal rights and were human beings. (Zaldivar) These cultures had a big influence in the Cuban music. Because of this, Cuban culture conflicted with the African culture because the European conqueror’s culture, which believed differently with the African culture. Thus, it can be inferred that the Cuban music clashes with African slave songs because of the culture that was developed by the Cuban conquerors.

This is clearly evident to their musical styles; the African slave songs are more spiritual while the Cuban music has more energy to it. (Carpentier) This culture clash between Cuban music, or Spanish influenced music, and the African slave songs created later a new genre, rhythm and blues, and will be discussed later. The Latin America music is also an interesting musical culture to examine. The Latin American music is one example of a culture enhancement because of its diversity in the United States. The old idea of America as a cultural melting pot is not something Americans believe in its existence any more.

Now, if we are to survive, what we once thought was strength in unity must become strength in diversity. Recognition of the existence and scope of this diversity may be a significant first step. Many of the musical cultures of Latin America that have been described above have also found a home in the United States. Mexican music has spilled across the border and there are mariachis and norteno bands in small Mexican communities and communities with no Mexican elements. (Garfias) Cuban music among the large number of Cubans is not surprising, but the strength and impact of salsa can be noted in most major cities in the U. S. Puerto Ricans play an important role in the salsa scene, but in addition a number of bands play seises and aguinaldos in the jibaro style all over the eastern U. S. and even in Hawaii. (Garfias)

The large number of Latinos in this country’s urban labor force, numerous pockets of old traditions, and countless individual carriers of unique Latin American traditions together create a map of amazing diversity. A new, broader awareness of the old musical traditions of New Mexico and Colorado—and a renewed pride in them—exists. Roberts “The Latin Tinge: The Impact of Latin American Music on the United States”) There is a Paraguayan harpist living in Oregon and a Veracruz harpist in Southern California and there are little pockets of Spanish Canary Islanders living along the Mississippi Delta in Louisiana who still sing old Spanish decimas. (Roberts “The Latin Tinge: The Impact of Latin American Music on the United States”)

There are several groups of Spanish from the islands of Menorca and Mayorca in the Balearics living in Florida, as well as numerous Portuguese from the Azores living in California and Portuguese in Hawaii. Roberts “The Latin Tinge: The Impact of Latin American Music on the United States”) All in various ways retain something of their culture. The diversity of Latino music in the United States is immense and we would do well to understand, appreciate, and nurture it if we are to interact successfully with the people whose cultures it represents. The Latin American music is a great example of different genres of popular music concurs with each other. After the United States’ blockade of Cuba, Cuban music became less popular. These were the times that the World War II has just ended.

The emergence of new genres of music created rhythm and blues genre. Rhythm and blues came from the sociological, industrial, and technological changes in the United States. (Bowman “Rhythm-and-Blues Music”) Due to American demographic changes many of black Americans moved from the South part of the country to the west and northeast cities because they were attracted by high-paying wartime jobs. (Bowman “Rhythm-and-Blues Music”) In popular music, new styles were created to meet the changing tastes of this demographic group, leading to the development of the urban sounds of R;B. Bowman “Rhythm-and-Blues Music”)

The R;B genre influenced a great number of different genres. The rock and rap genre are two of those influenced genre. These two genres are dominating the music industry we have today. It is also notable that these two genres are clearly different from each other. Rap has been seen as the aesthetic form of African-American culture. Rap originated from the R;B influence combined with the Jamaican cutting style which originated from the Latin American music. (Bowman “Rap”) The combination of these R;B genres and the Latin American music created the early Rap.

Rap songs show resistance, contradiction, counter-cultural lyrics and sounds which come from the genuine use of technology and musical cipher and codes, such as scratching, sampling and mixing, that came from a long tradition of diasporic culture with different reflections on both the essentialist and anti-essentialist reason that shows both of it returning to and away from the slave ages of the European colonial period. (Negus) Most of the people criticizes that rap contains explicit and impolite lyrics. Some rappers call their obscure lyrics to be a freedom of speech.

But also, it can be seen in rap songs some of that it portrays about the past experiences of the African American. (Negus) One can say that rap is the result of the harsh and unfair living of the African American citizens in the United States. It is quite hard for a black person to live in a white person’s society. (Jones) It is no question why rap songs are full of anguish, rebellious and controversial messages. There had been a mentality that if you’re a rapper, most likely, you are black. (Roberts “Black Music in Two Worlds”) The rock genre is another genre that is influenced by the R;B genre.

Rock music came from the combination of several genres namely R;B style, called jump blues, the gospel music vocal style, doo wop, the piano-blues style, called boogie-woogie, and the country-music style, honky tonk. (Waterman)The rock genre is one concrete example of the product of the combination of the different cultures that migrated to the United States. Rock music also contains rebellious and explicit lyrics. It also expresses much sentiment in it. Rock songs can be traced back to the influences of the liberal music of the different cultures that resided in the United States.

Rock music makes use of mostly different electrical instruments such as electric guitars and keyboard and also makes of a percussion instrument. (Waterman) Combining these musical instruments with well detailed vocals, it creates thunderous sounds. Rock music first started during the 1950’s and was dominated by the white Americans. (Waterman) The difference between rock and rap songs is one source of culture clashes between popular music. Because of popular music, one would normally think that the music one listens to would be his culture.

When you like listening to rock music then you are fond of the white American culture. When you like listening to rap music then you are fond of the black American culture. This is evident to the people who make music popular. Black people are in favor of rap songs while white people are in favor in rock songs. Music has been a battle ground for race. This difference between rock and rap is caused by the color of the skin. It is an indirect cause of popular music, racism. Because of this, cultures conflict with each other through the use of music.

One thing that the listeners of these songs do not know is that both music genres express same presence of strong sentiments. The only difference between them would be the way the music is delivered and attuned. Rock music developed from the different influences that entered the United States while the rap music developed through the maturity of the African American culture through its different journeys in the course of time. The rock and rap music came from the different influences that their society has gone through to time. So making a barrier between these two genres of music would be up to the listener himself.

If popular music continue to conflict with cultures then there could be a new genre to be developed such as the R;B genre that was developed because of the culture clash of the Cuban culture and the African culture. Maybe in the near future, if the difference between rock and rap genres persists then there could be a new genre created. There are also coalition of different musical culture is now present in our music industry. Example of which would be the use of rap in rock songs such as the songs of the Beastie Boys. Rap now also combined with other musical cultures.

It is not exclusively for African Americans anymore. White Americans, such as the famous white American rapper Eminem, are now singing rap. In the future, if people still picture popular music as a battle ground of differences then culture clashes would continue to influence popular music. But if the coalition of the different genres would dominate the popular music business, then the production of new fresh music would be made. It is up to us on what will our reason be in listening music. Would it be because of differences and conflict or unity and coalition?

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