Monday, October 29, 2012

Musical Styles in the 21st Century

Musical Styles in the 21st Century

Whenever one of my students shares the contents of their Ipod with me I am always amazed at the sheer number of different styles I find. Pop and Rap alongside Jazz and Blues, classic rock next to Baroque, Funk and Punk next to Classical and Ragtime. Adele and Ben Folds Five meets Duke Ellington and Beethoven. Scott Joplin meets U2. Technology has young people access to every conceiveable kind of music at the touch of a button, and I believe it is profoundly changing what music is becoming in the 21st century.

Beginning in the 1400's, in the Renaissance Era, and going right through the 20th century various periods of history have been dominated by one or more styles of music. Eras like the Classical and Romantic Periods lasted around 150 years, give or take. Things began to speed up in the 20th century, and in the first half alone there were three dominant musical styles. The century began with Ragtime being very popular right through to the 1920's when it gave way to the Jazz Era. Jazz (although not extinct by any stretch of the imagination today) relinquished its title of dominance in music in the 1950's to the King -- Rock and Roll. And of course since the 1950's various types of pop and rock have had periods of dominance: the Beatles in the 1960's, Singer-Songwriters in the early 70's, Disco and Punk in the late 70's and New Wave in the 1980s. The 1990's saw the rise of Rap and Grunge music.

But have you notice that, in the 21st century, there hasn't been a dominant form of musical style? That's because we are now in an era of style blending. Technology has given us access to centuries of the most diverse musical styles and we are now merging it all together.

I have created a wiki called Musical Eras. Much like your Ipod, it will house audio, video, and information about as many styles of music as we can possibly fit in it.

My Latest Tutorial: Playing in C Position

Playing in C Position -- My Latest Tutorial

My latest tutorial on You Tube shows how to find Middle C on the piano, and how to play in C position as well as the proper way to hold curved fingers on the keys. Here it is:

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