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U.S Music Genres Discussion

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Music didn’t get here by itself.” – Bob Dylan

The music you listen to today evolved from the music that came before. Simple idea, but how do we hear this influence? How does music connect to previous eras? 

Music is shaped by society and innovation, and understanding both will help you pinpoint what era a song was composed, as well as see how that influences today’s music.


Click on discussion board Topic from class, then click “Start a New Thread” to post your content and embed video/mp4. Standard formatting & MLA not necessary on this discussion board, but include links to any audio clips or other sources used to compile your information. Please proofread content so that you don’t lose points or detract from your brilliant thoughts. Consult Discussion Board – Guidelines for more details (250-300 word count, etc.). See Grading Rubric.


 Include a title for your post that relates to the focus of your information, include your last name in parenthesis:

     “Thunderstruck” by 2Cellos (Gernhart)



Paragraph 1:


 Briefly summarize the highlights of the era(s) (what’s happening in society), and the music elements or innovations of that era (as covered in the assigned unit). 

Paragraph 2:

 Make Connections 

 Consider how the influence of music elements & innovations of past eras can be heard in more recent music (since 1950-Present; See chart for ideas for each era). 

  • Choose a song that incorporates an innovation of that era and describe what music elements we should listen for that connect the popular song to that past era. See Eras chart.
    • Use music you are familiar with or search the internet for ideas. You are the guide and ‘expert’ for why this music connects to a previous era. It is acceptable to look up information about this song to deepen your content information.
    • Why did you choose that song for this topic? What music elements, innovations or theme connect it to the past era? Is there a backstory to the song that enhances the content? 

Part 3:

 Add Music 

 Embed a video or upload mp3 of the song you’ve referenced. 

  • Include identifying information (like a caption) below video listing the title, artist/composer, genre, approximate year released (not everyone may be familiar with your song)
    • If song is not in English, please provide a brief synopsis (translation) of what the song is about.
    • Focus the content: Either edit your video so we know specifically what to listen for, or include a time cue (i.e. list where specifically we can hear what you are talking about; this example should help you make your point about why the song connects to music elements of the past). 

Part 4:


  •  Read other student’s posts & respond thoughtfully to 2 by the end date. Post and respond on different days, and follow-up on your thread if someone asks a question.


Following the forum guidelines above,

  • ¶1: Briefly summarize the 20th Century era and music genres born in the United States, interpreting what was happening in society and music during each.
  • ¶2: Analyzing the techniques & innovations from each unit, consider more recent music (written in the 50 years) and how the influence of the previous era’s innovation/music elements can be found in modern music (techniques still used today). Examples should include one song connecting to the 20th Century era innovations/elements, and one song from a U.S. genre (jazz, musicals, rock) that YOU identify with, or is an anthem for you and your life right now? See chart below.
  • Music sample: Embed your music sample so your audience can listen to it while we read your analysis.
    • Do NOT paste a link; Do NOT attach a file! EMBED your files!
    • Include a cue/time stamp so the listener knows exactly where to hear what you are talking about in the music. 
    • To avoid ads or videos that suddenly vanish, download video clip ( FREE!) to your computer, then embed in the discussion post.

In the subject line, include the connecting song title or artist/composer name & your name in parenthesis:

  • “Hair Pie: Bake 1″ – Captain Beefheart/”If You Want to Sing Out” – Cat Stevens


  • “Hair Pie: Bake 1” by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band is avant garde, very experimental and relies on electronic instruments.
  • “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out,” by Cat Stevens is a simple guitar-vocal that supports the concept of diversity and that there are many ways we can be and choose to live our lives, encouraging the listener to be him/herself. Contrary to most “verse-chorus” songs, it’s AABA form, which was more common when the song was written in the late 1960s. The tempo is a relaxed walking tempo (Allegretto-124 bpm), and the absence of other instruments puts the focus on the singer and the message.


 Thorough summary of the era; you don’t need to post music from the era unless it specifically relates to the current song  Be sure to focus on how the music elements (melody, harmony, rhythm, tone color) back up the emotion of the song (go a little more in-depth). For instance, what instruments (tone color) do you hear? Does the melody move in steps or leaps? Does the rhythm drive the song or is it a relaxed feel? 

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