Experimental Music describes the blending of two or more genres of the music that have existed throughout the history of the music industry. It comprises both the production and the sound characteristics of the music. The phrase “Experimental music” was mentioned in the mid-20th Century to identify a “range of ultramodernist compositional techniques as a form of quasi-scientific experimentation.” Today, Experimental music is seen as something that appears radically unusual “as if to experiment with the construction buildings of musical beauty.”
During the time of recorded music, the origin of experimental music is often seen as being early experimentation with Classical Music from the 20th Century. John Cage, Luigi Russolo and Pierre Schaeffer were amongst the early composers and producers of experimental music. Outside of the academic world, radical jazz artists such as Chick Corea, Sun Ra etc. have contributed a lot to Experimental music, playing with tempo, playing style and improvisation to create ‘Free Jazz’.
Non-traditional production methods can be applied with traditional instruments like cellos, guitars and saxophones etc. Examples of the method using the sound of objects that are not considered as musical instruments are Musique concrete and Radical Industrial.
Boundaries are extended when non-traditional methods are used during production. The structure can be lost in the music with the usage of traditional instruments when used outside the academic setting such as Free Improvisation. Regardless of whether any production technique is used, the absence of rhythm or tempos of any apparent musical notes are then quite common.
At the end of the 20th Century, instruments such as synthesizers, which fall under electronic instruments, became popular. More artists/composers with the use of numerical tools for programming and stratagem sound were able to experiment with music effortlessly. One of the first exponants of electronic music were Kraftwerk, a German band. The quartet from Düsseldorf has changed the world of electronic music by dimissing live instruments i.e. guitars and drums and ignoring the Angle-American rock ‘n’ roll model.
They are known in live performance for wearing suit and ties and looking like bank clarks, while they play their own customised Moog synthieisers in a almost robotic way. When they are on stage, the lyrics that Ralf Hütter provided was played through the vocoders that sounded like a robot. Kraftwerk were labled as a “Teutonic novelty act” by some people who didn’t seem keen on their experimental electronic sound. However, others disagree as they see the Düsseldorf quartet as “the sound of the future.”
Their sound was very up ahead of its time, even though it didn’t had a name to begin with. They suggested a number of names for thei sound such as “techno pop” and “robot pop.” Hütter along side with his long time colleague Florian Scneider described their style of sound as “Elektronische Volksmusik” (Electronic People’s Music). It means “an electrified type of German folk music fit for the late 20th and 21st Centuries.”
Hütter and Schneider wanted a brighter future of leaving the past behind to seek a cultural idenity to be not associated with Fascism or American pop culture. Their idenity would be dominated by technology. Kraftwerk are still touring to this day and they are still making experimental music. However, since their early years of their experimetal electronic music they created, this has proved to be dramatic and caused wide ranging changes in the way of music is made. The growth of music software packages such as Pro Tools, Logic Pro, GarageBand and Reason etc. have grown from the pioneering work of Ralf Hütter and Kraftwerk.
In my view of experimental music, it’s very common we experiment with a genre or two to try something new and fresh. It may be weird listening to unusual experimental songs like some people may never heard of it before but it always goes for show that anyone can experiment and crossover genres however they want.
I found experimental House and Afro song and mix as an example how does it sound if the two genres are mixed into one experimental piece. Even though it may never sound like a House genre merging with the Afro nor the other way round but it works in many different levels depending how the genres incorporated as a whole.
That’s how Experimental music really made me realise that the song I produced ‘Fall in Love’ is an experimental piece of House and Afrobeats merged together as I called it an ‘Afro-House’ song. Though I didn’t make up the name when I produced it, I named it as a describing genre of the first two words popped into my mind.
Dance music is composed particularly for dancing. The definition of Dance music comes in various forms and produced its own genres like for example, disco, hip-hop, house, techno, afrobeat, dancehall, rock, drum & bass and grime etc.
It is unclear where dancing started but you can dance to any rhythmic sounds and nature is full of rhythmic sounds. So dancing is used in celebrations, festivals and just an expressions of emotions.
In the 1950’s for example, Bill Haley & His Comets played rock ‘n’ roll dance music that was frowned on by the authorities, the media, parents and older people. Dancers always played this role of being radical and subversive. The legacy of rock ‘n’ roll was first identified by the masses in the 50’s, it divided family, friends and associates. It had a massive impact on parents, media and it “helped erode some of the prejudices felt towards African-Americans.”
In the middle of 1960’s, American soul singer James Brown progressed a new style of music called ‘funk’. The rhythmic groove central-based genre was developed from soul music, within which the melody and lyrics are central. The main tightness in a funk rhythm structure where the first beat of the bar is often identified as “the one” with the continuous pattern of the drum beats and bass lines that starts on “the one” generates a groove. Also in funk, the riffs can play on any guitar, along with the horn sections that are added with the rhythmic vocals and rap in the groove. A funk groove can go on for a long time without any changes on the chords and some funk songs in the 60’s could last for ten plus minutes.
James Brown wanted African-Americans to embrace their origins by writing songs like ‘Say it Loud’ – I’m Black and I’m Proud.’ This was part of the civil-rights movement.
In the early 1970’s, nightclubs were called discos. They employed DJs to play the dance music as it was a lot cheaper than hiring bands. They played funk and up-tempo songs but they started playing new tracks with a new rhythm that people founded easier to dance to. The new rhythm had a four-on-the-floor bass drum beat with hi-hat on the offbeats. These songs were playing in various disco venues all over the world that created a new genre called disco music. Artists in the disco scene raised up from being unknown to being among the famous icons of the 70’s that were Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Kraftwerk, Georgio Moroder, Sylvester, the Bee Gees and Chic.
Most disco artists released their singles in two versions, one is a radio edit and the other is a club extended remix. Twelve-inch singles in the middle has a breakdown with extra percussion with no vocals most remixes are still having breakdowns today.
In early 1980’s, the evolution of disco was developed in some gay clubs of New York and Chicago officially known as House music. House is similar to disco in terms of catchy melodies with the lyrics and the four-to-the-floor rhythms. However, House often uses drum machines like the 808 and 909 and the synthesizers instead of other live instruments except for the piano that is still the main key of House today.
In New York, House DJs like Royal House and Larry Levan were popular with their respective classic hits including ‘Can You Party?’ (Royal House) and ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’ (Larry Levan). While in Chicago, the rise of Marshall Jefferson and DJ Freddy Knuckles produced their respective classic hits including: ‘Move Your Body’ (Marshall Jefferson) and the inspired Kraftwerk track ‘Your Love’ (Freddy Knuckles).
House music didn’t come into the UK until the late 1980’s, when Steve”Silk” Hurley was responsible for his number one hit ‘Jack Your Body.’ Since then, UK artists like M|A|R|R|S and Coldcut, started making house tracks including ‘Pump Up The Volume’ (M|A|R|R|S) and ‘Doctorin’ the House’ (Coldcut) were massive hits during the late 80’s. Not only UK artists produced House tracks in the late 80’s, European artists like Techtronic and Black Box also produced big hits like ‘Pump Up The Jam’ and ‘Ride On Time.’ Back in the UK, Basement Jaxx began the second wave of UK House in the late 90’s with their hits like ‘Red Alert’ from their album ‘Remedy.’
After House, other genres have developed and evolved during the 80’s and 90’s including Techno, Trance, Drum & Bass, Grime, Jungle, Breakbeat and Dubstep etc. These continued the legacy of Dance Music, with people of each generation evolving with new styles of Dance that anyone can dance to depending on their taste in the music they enjoy the most. In my opinion of Dance Music, it’s very interesting to learn from the past how people weren’t allowed to dance in the 50’s when Rock ‘n’ Roll was popular, but they chose to ignore it and carry on without any consequences. That puts people who were against it to shame and acted like it was the Victorian times era of the 20th Century due to the lyrical content and the type of dance that everyone in the 50’s thought was not appropriate. Since the evolution of Dance Music that changed the society of the world, dancing evolved with different styles depending on the genre people dance to particularly everytime or every now and again.
The article I looked at was on Culture Trip by Kaycia Sailman on ‘The Rising Nigerian Afrobeat Artist You Should Know. The article states that Afrobeat was founded in Nigeria, it fuses a style of traditional West African rhythms, Jazz and Funk. This style of music increased in popularity in the 1970’s. The industry includes such as Wizkid, who is known for his style of ‘high energy’ music. Dibanji who is a songwriter, singer and musician. He has won multiple awards for his music from MTV Europe Award for the ‘Best African Act and the BET Award for the best ‘International Act’. He uses a style of electronic dance music blended into a style of Afrobeat music. Artists such as P Square uses a mix of Afrobeats and R&B, this genre uses comtempory rhythms and electronic dance music.
The difference between Afrobeat and Afrobeats is that the latter isn’t a genre. Afrobeat is a genre created by multi-instrumentalist and band leader Fela Kulti who name and invented when he was in Accra, Ghana in 1968. Afrobeat consists of traditional Nigerian and Ghanaian music, funk, highlife, jazz and chanted vocals fusion with percussion and vocal styles. This genre was popular in Africa when it acme out into the scene in the 1970’s. The genre Fela created was meant to distinguish himself from the American soul singer James Brown and didn’t want to be compared to his American funk and soul music. He used Afrobeat to change the musical structure as well as in Nigeria’s political context.
Fast foward to the 21st Century where Afrobeat was revolutionised with Western rap influences and contemporary Nigerian and Ghanaian pop music that became ‘Afrobeats’ (it’s a blend of ‘Afrobeat’ with the ‘s’.) The term of the latter was first coined in the UK by DJ Abrantee (see the research I looked the article about him below). The sound bears the uptempo of African vibe which is appealing to young energetic Afropolitan capabilities. To clarify, Afrobeat is a genre created by Fela Kulti while Afrobeats is a term not a genre that refers in the Western world as pop music.
One of the interviews I researched is from an DJ known as ‘DJ Abrantee’. DJ Abrantee says Afrobeats is “a new wave form of music.” He says he bought this style of music to the wider audience while giving himself exposure. He goes on to say “all I ever was part of was presenting it to Choice so that they can broadcast it to further audiences, at the end of the day, all I have done is move the movement forward.” DJ Abrantee says one of the negative things is that he should have been clearer in a message he was putting foward to the audiences. He wants to the audience to understand the message of Afrobeats and get more exposure to the genre. One of the positive things about the Afrobeats movement is that audiences are still promoting the growth of it through positive tweets to move the Afrobeats scene foward. DJ Abrantee sights The Guardian newspaper as promoting Afrobeats on a different level. He then says this allows DJs who play and perform Afrobeats “to break even bigger.”
Another interview I research was additional DJ known as ‘Duke Dumont’. Duke Dumont is from London and he is not only a DJ but is a live performer and a record producer. He originally DJ in UK Garage music but he moved over to House music and had a No.1 hit for two weeks with a song called ‘Need U (100%)’. Duke Dumont highlights a positive of being in the music industry is “that you can actually be quite bold with your music.” Although he started off with UK Garage and then moved over to House music and he is trying to be more free with his music he is currently making. He says he is able to judge the type of music that is “good or bad” and his profession has taught him “what a good record should sound like”; even how to make a good record. DJ Duke Dumont sights the negative thing being “I’m my harshest critic by far.”
In my project, my song consists of Afrobeats and House music, the two examples that people move their feet to, reacting to catchy, addictive melodies and beats. I wanted to see how dancers react, hear and feel the beat of the song with the precussion, chords and melodies in their routines. My song is a happy dance track because the music can change your mood depending on how everybody’s feeling, trying to convince me, you or them to be happy. Music is like a mood-o-meter that can change our view on what type of music we normally listen to. For example, Heavy or Metal Rock changes our mood to angry because of the loudness of guitars and drums peaks at the top decibel levels. Some genres like House, Disco, Techno and Eurodance etc. can change our mood to happy because the genres are so uptempo, progressive and addictive that we can’t stop dancing or nodding to any songs that are catchy.
Cultural Diversity is when we accept the different cultures and ethnic groups within our societies in today’s world.
People around the world may know that some people from different backgrounds are different to me and you, while other people who may look the same as us but they view it differently than we thought. Cultural Diversity can often be used interchangeably as a concept of multiculturalism. It is explained as “a system of beliefs and behaviors that recognises and respects the presence of all diverse groups in an organization or society, acknowledges and values their socio-cultural differences, and encourages and enables their continued contribution within an inclusive cultural context which empowers all within the organization or society.”
Everything people learned centuries ago actually came from different parts of the world that remained part of our society in present day. For example, Paper and printing was originally from China, long before Western civilisation. Another example is that Philosophy was from ancient Greece originally before it reached Western Europe, and we are still using it today.
So the question to yourself is, if you don’t know everything about Cultural Diversity, why is it a good thing?
The reason why it’s important is because our country, workplaces and schools are the main factors that brings many people from different cultures and backgrounds, racial and ethnic groups together. We need to understand the difference between myself and yourself by socialising with people outside of our comfort zone, trying not to ask insensitive questions, and accepting everyone’s ideas that are different to your own.
Before people accepted diversity, there were boundaries like white people who were against black people, countries hated each other, women didn’t have the rights to do anything like men do and children were mistreated in schools. After a time, we got used to the differences that made us, understanding that we are equal, and that everyone should be treated the same. Although, there are some countries who are against cultural diversity, some people want to convince them that they are wrong, but I don’t know whether everyone would agree or not, depending on the culture, religion and lifestyle they live in and how it is possible or impossible to make a change.
Despite not everywhere being multicultural in today’s world, there are three cities that are the example of present day multiculturalism.
- São Paulo
This city located in southeastern Brazil is one of the biggest multicultural cities in South America. São Paulo or as some locals know this city as Sampa or Cidade da Garoa (city of drizzle), it is very diverse, urban and very tropical. The city has many representations from countries such as Italy and Lebanon, and this is exhibited “in the city’s culinary scene, religious landscape, and neighbourhoods.”
São Paulo’s population in 2017 is now estimated at 21,519,000 with the Growth Rate percentage of 2.20%. This is higher than 1950’s population of 2,334,000 with no Growth Rate but over between 1950 to 1975, “São Paulo was one of the fastest growing urban areas of the world.” By 2030, the population will reach over 23 million people, which will be 10 million higher than Rio de Janeiro’s population.
There are some music festivals that thousands of people attend often every year like Tomorrowland, Holi Festival, MixMagLive Brasil, Dekmantal, Lollapalooza Brasil, Electric Zoo Brasil and Maximus Festival. Also there are musicians, both Brazilian and International, who are unknown to most people that produce equally thrilling music.
The biggest city in the UK is the home to one of the largest ethnic diverse societies in the world. The world is openly exemplified in the vibrant area. Approx. one-third of Londoners are born abroad, over 300 different languages are spoken in London with some of the top languages being Arabic, French and Urdu etc.
The music sound in London heavily reflects the history and cultural diversity. Different cultural groups fusing together means that it is easy for music to crossover, creating a new musical identity. An example for this comes from Jamaican immigrants who came to London with their sounds later creating a British Jamaican music scene.
London hosts many music festivals each year that attract a lot of people from around the world to attend the One Love Festival, South West Four, Citadel Festival, Lovebox, Wireless Festival, British Summer Time, Field Day Festival, We Are FSTVL and the Notting Hill Carnival.
- New York
As with London and São Paulo, New York City is a very cosmopolitan, diverse and dynamic city with all the nationalities that attracts millions of visitors every year. New York is split up into five district boroughs, that demonstrate the pot of cultures by virtue of activities, museums, restaurants and stores where you mingle with different people from different countries. Where by, you can socialise and taste a variety of food from different cultures and listening to / watching international music and films. New York alone has almost 200 languages spoken from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds, with 40% of NYC residents born outside the United States.
New York hosts many festivals and celebrations including an international music event called World Music Institute (WMI). The Institute upholds and furthers the growth of both U.S. resident artists and international experts. Each group from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East, presents 60 concerts every year in theatres throughout New York City. WMI plays an significant role in promoting unknown dance and music traditions from ethnic minority backgrounds from over 100 countries all over the world, where they come together to expose and celebrate with New Yorkers, many immigrant communities bring their traditional music which includes Afro-Peruvian, American Gospel, New York Flamenco, Soul music from Mali and Indian dancers.
Although there are many celebrations of Cultural Diversity in some multicultural cities, sometimes it can be outside the cities. For instance, a recent article from Chichester Observer reported the project event called Rox Around The World which aims to bring about cultural diversity through music and arts. This year’s event in Bognor Regis ran on May 13th and was attended by 3,000 people throughout the day. Project manager Rowan Davies had commented about the objectives they wanted to meet, he said: “We are needing to promote the good work and continue the brand image of Rox through the execution of a strategic publicity campaign. And our theme is diversity. We are wanting to promote a message of love and unity. Bognor sometimes has negative publicity, and we just want to bring the whole community together.”
According to UK Music Diversity Survey Results 2017, the graphs below shows the percentages of Ethnicity, Gender and Education for UK population as a whole, the London popluation, the London workforce (for ethnicity survey) and the music industry survey.
On the overview survey, the percentages between White and Black Asian and Minority Enthic (BAME), male and females and graduates and non-graduates.
As you can see (inserted below) on the ethnicity percentages, it shows there are more white people than BAME in the UK and London populations, London Workforce and Music Industry Survey. However, there are more BAME people in the London population than the UK as a whole. On the other hand, there are more White people living in the UK as whole than in London.
On the gender side, there are more women living in the UK as a whole and in London but Men dominates more in the Music Industry.
Then we have Education that shows there are less people who graduated than non-graduates in the UK population as whole, on the other side of the coin in London, there are more people graduated but not as higher than non graduates. In the Music Industry, there are more graduates working in the industry than non-graduates.
Another part of the survey that shows White and BAME people in the age range, time at the company, time in the music industry and the career level is that White people dominates all of the areas than BAME.
These pictures (inserted below), shows more white people in all the areas of the survey than BAME.
Next we look at the genders of male and female in age range, time at the company, time in the music industry and the career level is that women works harder than men in all the graphs but not all it is true. In the age range graph (inserted below) it shows women works well better than men until in their late 30s, men takes over throughout until in their late 60s.
Another one is the time length in the company (inserted below) is that there are more women at the company than men for only one year, but there’s less women working than men in 1 to 3 years, 3 to 5 years, 5 to 10 years and over 10 years.
In contrast to the graph above is the time in the industry (inserted below). There are more females working in the industry longer than males for one year, 1 to 3 years, 3 to 5 years (expect it’s equal to males in this range) and 5 to 10 years. However by the time it’s over ten years, men are still working in the industry than women. Finally, it’s the career level. There are more women working in the areas of apprentice/internships, entry level business and entry level operation (except it’s tied with men in this area). However on the other hand, there are more men working in the areas of management, self-employed and senior executive and management.
Lastly in the career level graph (inserted below), this shows more women in the areas of Apprentice/Internships, Entry Level Business and Entry Level Operation (tied with men). On the other hand, there are more men in the areas of Management, Self Employed, Senior Executive and Senior Management.
This is why I chose to research cultural diversity because in my project, the purpose of making a dance music video with the experimental music track is to celebrate cultural diversity to fall in love with harmony and bring peace nor war. Cultural Diversity is not an existence to everyone but to accept where people are from, respect their personal space, understand their backgrounds and treat them the same like everyone else not differently.
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