• Stepping Stones Kottla

The Evolution of Music

By Agnes Urbansdotter.



The modern era has been a period of a big change of musical style and taste. Many modern music composers have explored non-traditional sounds and have based their music on rhythm, texture and tone, rather than the more traditional aspects of melody and harmony. The dramatic social changes, living changes, wars, and technology developments, have a huge impact on the music that is produced. This reportage is going to be about the 1950’s music and 2000s’ music, their styles, and a comparison of the two styles. In addition to this, I am going to include my own thoughts about these decades of music.

1950s’ was the decade when television became a hit. Many of the musicians of the fifties focused on gaining mainstream recognition, and to do so they needed to appeal to all audiences. The musicians versed in a number of genres and nearly all music from the fifties influences from R&B, rock, traditional, and country. People listened to music on the radio, television, and on record players. Television had just been introduced to households. Music programs and shows were very popular. Shows like “The Ed Sullivan Show”, “American Bandstand”, and “The Lawrence Welk Show”, were another way for people to listen to music and watch music. The record player has also just been introduced to households.


Rock ‘n’ Roll became a very popular music style during this period. Rock ‘n’ Roll was a combination of R&B, Jump blues, country, gospel, and boogie woogie music, with rock influences. The beat was essentially a dance rhythm. They used instruments like piano, saxophone, lead instruments, and electric guitars. The electric guitars are what made the music unique. Some rock ‘n’ roll artists during this decade were Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Gene Vincent. Many african-american artists who created rock ‘n’ roll were pushed out and did not receive the opportunity to even record their music. Some of these artists were Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Chubby Checker. Traditional music was also popular during this time. Traditional music was a combination of jazz, sing, and big band. The music can be described as simple and melodic, but with catchy lyrics. The musicians used many original songs but even songs that were released many years before. Many musicians used old songs and put their individual style to it. Some Traditional music artists during this decade were Perry Como, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Patti page, and Dean Martin. Also Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, and Doris Day. Country music was also popular in the 1950s’, but was the most popular in the 1960s’. Country music was a combination of western swing, county boogie, and honky tonk. They used instruments like guitar, steel guitar, bass, and also later drums. Many artists were not only country music artists. Most artists did one or two singles with country influence, but would remain in the other genres. Some Country music artists during this decade were Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Conway Twitty, Coonie Francis, and Frankie Laine.


1950s’ music and 2000s’ music are very different from each other. This explains why it is difficult to choose which music decade I like more. The music decades and unique in their own way. My favorite part about 1950s’ music is that it brings me into a good mood. The 1950s’ jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, and R&B, is very upbeat and fast. The songs are also very catchy and they make me want to sing along and dance along to the beat. My favorite 1950s’ songs are “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” by Rickey Nelson; “Wild One (Real Wild Child)” by Fatboy; and “Only You - and You Only” by The Platters.


2000s’ was the decade where new genres were made. It has remained many popular genres, like rock, metal, pop, hip-hop, R&B, EDM, Country, and indie. As technology, computers, and the internet developed, producers and music interests began experimenting. Many genres were fused together and new genres were emerging. Expressions like “contemporary” , “alternative”, and “post”, were added in titles to differ from the old styles. People listened to music on the radio, television, and on new electronic devices. Compact disks or CDs were very popular. People listened to CDs in cars, radios, and on small CD players. In 2001 the first ipod came out, which changed the way we listen to music forever. This was a device, where you could upload songs digitally and it stored hundreds of songs. In 2007 the touch ipod was released. When you connect this device to wi-fi, you use iTunes store, to download any song, and listen to it straight away. Now people listen to music day in and day out.

Hip-hop music was very popular. Hip-hop has a very rhythmic and upbeat backdrop and the lyrics as well. Some years later, combining hip-hop and rap became very popular. Kanye West was a breakthrough artist of fused hip-hop and rap music. Other hip-hop artists during this decade were Jay-Z, OutKast, 50 Cent, and Eminem. Rock metal rap or metal rap, was a new music style, that came in the 2000s’. This style became popular, since there were many styles combined together.The style has catchy rythms that reminds of rock, a hardcore feeling of metal, and lyrics and style of rap. Some rock metal rap groups during this decade were Kid Rock, Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Linkin Park. Emo music, was also a new music style, that came in the 2000s’. This style also became popular. The name “emo” came from emotion. The melodies and lyrics were very emotional, sad, and often depressing.In the late 2000s’ the music became louder and faster, but still very sad. Some emo bands during this decade were My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, The Used, and Green Day.


My favorite part about 2000s’ music is that it is very nostalgic. I grew up listening to 2000s’ music. This means when I hear music, I think about when I was younger. It makes me think of when I was listening to the radio in the car, when I looked at youtube videos, and when we were playing “guess the song” at my friend's birthday parties. My favorite 2000s’ songs are “Electric Feel” by MGMT; “Suga Suga” by Baby Bash; and “Everything I Am” by Kanye West.


Until now, you have read about popular and new music styles, during the 1950s’ and 2000s’. Having said that, there is still a music style I haven’t mentioned, and that both decades had. This music style is Rhythm and Blues music or R&B music. R&B began in the 1950’s. It emerged from jazz in the 1940s’. It was a combination of jazz, blues, doo-wop, and gospel, and played more upbeat, it created a unique sound of the decade. The bands usually had a piano, guitars, bass guitars, drums, saxophones, and sometimes background vocalists. The lyrical themes were often african-american’s experience of pain and search for freedom and joy. The lyrical theme could also be about failure of relationships, economics, and aspirations. 1950s’ R&B also inspired the creation of genres like Rock ‘n’ Roll, soul, motown, and funk music. Some R&B artists during this decade were Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Sam Cooke, The Drifters, The Platters, Ray Charles, and Lloyd Price. During the 2000s’ R&B or contemporary R&B, it was very popular. It was a combination of old R&B, pop, soul, funk, hip-hop, and electronic music. The bands usually had piano, guitars, bass guitars, drums, and horns. In addition to this they used keyboard, drum machines, and talkboxes, which gave them the opportunity to create more unique sounds. The lyrical themes were often about love. Some R&B artists during this decade were Joe, Brian Mcknight, R Kelly, and Destiny's Child.


The 1950s’ and 2000s’ R&B music are still very different from each other. Society changes and technology changes over that time formed the music. An example is that the 1950s’ music was a combination of jazz, blues, doo-wop, and gospel, while the 2000s’ R&B was a combination of some sounds that came after. 2000s’ R&B was a combination of old R&B, pop, soul, funk, hip-hop, and electronic music. For instance, the funk music style originates in the 1960s’, a decade after the 1950s’. Another example is that 1950s’ did not have technological development that the 2000s’ had. The 2000s’ had drum machines, talkboxes, and computer programs, which could higher or lower the pitch of a sound or voice, to make it more unique. The 1950s’ and 2000s’ R&B music do though have similarities. An example is that the themes of the songs often were about love. It could be about a crush, a memory, or a heartbreak. Another example is that the majority of the artists are african-american or couloured people. This is because R&B partly came from blues music. Blues music originated from african slaves, who were shipped to work in America, to work on farmlands. Their singing culture has passed on for centuries until today.


The modern era has been a period of a big change of musical style and taste. The dramatic social changes, living changes, wars, and technology developments, have a huge impact on the music that is produced. 1950s’ was the time artists focused on gaining mainstream recognition, by playing in a versed number of music styles. Rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, traditional, and country music. 2000s’ was the time technology was used to edit music sounds and styles were fused. Hip-hop, R&B, rock, metal, and indie. These music times show differences and similarities. Their main similarity is that music is always a way of expressing emotions, socialising, and enjoying moments in life.