America is known for its diversity in many ways, including music. The “melting pot” that is the United States has been filled with many different cultures, religions, and ethnicities that have influenced music. Three very distinctive genres of music are jazz, country, and rap. Each has its own style, beat, and feeling, and each of them has a very different origin.
Rap, which is also called hip-hop, originated in New York City in the 1970’s. Some of the original rappers in that period were Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa. Hip-hop’s synthesized beat and rhythmically spoken lyrics are very unique to the style. When it was first created, it was mainly targeted and listened to by the African-American community, but today it has become more mainstream. Some contemporary rappers are Eminem, Drake, and Jay-Z.
Country music is often thought of as “America’s music”. It originated from the Western folk music and bluegrass of the 1920’s. It uses a variety of instruments such as banjos, guitars, violins, fiddles, harmonicas, and even jugs. Since the classics like Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Willie Nelson, country music has stayed consistent in popularity and has brought new stars such as Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, and Blake Shelton. It has and will remain to be a strong, patriotic symbol of our country.
Perhaps one of the most unique sounding styles of music is jazz. It is an often improvised and random compilation of notes and sounds from all sorts of instruments. It started in New Orleans, the “Home of Jazz”, in the early twentieth century. The “Jazz Age” was a time when the classic jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Glenn Miller emerged. Today, jazz music has remained a part of American culture and has continued through musicians like Wynton Marsalis, Herby Hancock, and Dave Brubeck who have stayed akin to the traditional sounds of jazz.
The diversity of...