MUS 570D

Characteristics of Folk, Surf & Dance Music Styles

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FOLK MUSIC

  • lyric content dealt with serious matters of social and/or political concern

  • aimed at the 18-24-year-old group, v. rock, which was aimed at young teens
  • albums were the primary medium, v. single releases
  • return to acoustic instruments only; electric guitars and electronic studio effects seemed artificial to folk artists
  • more traditional use of the voice–no shouting, on pitch, controlled singing
  • lyrics were clear, easy to understand–they carried the all-important message!
  • melodic lines similar to pop–interesting contours
  • Artists:  The Kingston Trio; Peter, Paul & Mary; earlier folk artists include: Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, etc.

SURF MUSIC

  • lyric content dealt with "fun" things, such as cars, girls, beach parties; surfers seemed indifferent to the more serious social and political issues
  • single releases were plentiful
  • surf music groups had no prob’ with electric instruments
  • geographic center of surfer movement was southern California, which led to norms of dress, hair styles, etc. that spread around the country (tanned skin, bleached hair, cutoffs, sandals, etc.)
  • lyrics were generally clear, easy to understand
  • the movement inspired many movies with beach/surf themes, starring folks such as Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, etc.
  • Artists:  Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Dick Dale, etc.

DANCE CRAZE

  • the first, and probably premier, dance-craze tune was The Twist.
  • Checker and The Twist were popularized on American Bandstand.  In fact, Checker’s cover of this tune was supposedly suggested by Dick Clark (A.B. host)
  • dance songs typically relied on the 12-bar blues structure
  • many songs contained dance "instructions" in the lyrics of the song
  • many of the dances were individual dances, where partners did not touch
  • Artists:  Chubby Checker (real name Ernest Evans–C.C. was a play on Fats D.), Sam Cooke, Isley Brothers, Danny and the Juniors, etc.

 

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