John Michael Stipe is an American singer-songwriter and the lead singer of the alternative rock band R. E. M. from their formation in 1980 until their dissolution in 2011. Possessing a distinctive voice, Stipe has been noted for the "mumbling" style of his early career, he was in charge of R. E. M.'s visual aspect selecting album artwork and directing many of the band's music videos. Outside the music industry, he owns and runs two film production studios, C-00 and Single Cell Pictures; as a member of R. E. M. Stipe was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007; as a singer-songwriter, Stipe influenced a wide range of artists, including Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Thom Yorke of Radiohead. Bono of U2 described his voice as "extraordinary". John Michael Stipe was born on January 1960, in Decatur, Georgia. Stipe was a military brat, his younger sister, Lynda Stipe, was born in 1962 and became the vocalist of her own band Hetch Hetchy. Stipe and his family moved to various locales during his childhood, including West Germany, Illinois, Alabama.
Stipe graduated from high school in Collinsville, Illinois, in 1978. Stipe's senior photo is pictured in the album art work of Eponymous. Stipe worked at the local Waffle House, he was raised in and came from "a place of faith", as previous generations of his family were Methodist ministers. While attending college at the University of Georgia in Athens, Stipe frequented the Wuxtry record shop, where he met store clerk Peter Buck in 1980. "He was a striking-looking guy and he bought weird records, which not everyone in the store did," Buck recalled. The two became friends and decided to form a band. Buck and Stipe started writing music together; the pair were soon joined by Bill Berry and Mike Mills and named themselves R. E. M. A name Stipe selected at random from a dictionary. All four members of R. E. M. dropped out of school in 1980 to focus on the band. Stipe was the last to do so; the band issued its debut single, "Radio Free Europe", on Hib-Tone, a college radio success. The band signed to I. R. S.
Records for the release of the Chronic Town EP one year later. R. E. M. Released its debut album Murmur in 1983, acclaimed by critics. Stipe's vocals and lyrics received particular attention from listeners. Murmur went on to win the Rolling Stone Critics Poll Album of the Year over Michael Jackson's Thriller, their second album, followed in 1984. In 1985, R. E. M. Traveled to England to record their third album Fables of the Reconstruction, a difficult process that brought the band to the verge of a break up. After the album was released, relationships in the band remained tense. Gaining weight and acting eccentrically, Stipe said of the period, "I was well on my way to losing my mind", they toured throughout Europe that year. In September 1983, a few months after the release of the R. E. M.'s debut album, Stipe participated in a low-budget, forty-five-minute Super-8 film called Just Like a Movie, shot in Athens by New York Rocker magazine photographer Laura Levine, a friend of the band. Those with acting roles in the film included Levine, Lynda Stipe, Matthew Sweet, R.
E. M.'s Bill Berry. The film remains unreleased. Stipe had planned a collaboration with friend Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana, in 1994 in an attempt to lure Cobain away from his home and his drug addiction. However, they did not manage to record anything before Cobain's death. Stipe was chosen as Courtney Love's daughter, Frances Bean Cobain. R. E. M. recorded the song "Let Me In" from the 1994 album Monster in tribute to Cobain. Stipe was once close to fellow alternative rock singer Natalie Merchant and has recorded a few songs with her, including one titled "Photograph" which appeared on a pro-choice benefit album titled Born to Choose, they appeared live with Peter Gabriel singing Gabriel's single "Red Rain" at the 1996 VH1 Honors and a few other times. Stipe and Tori Amos became friends in the mid-1990s and recorded a duet in 1994 called "It Might Hurt a Bit" for the Don Juan DeMarco motion picture soundtrack. Both Stipe and Amos decided not to release it. In 1998, Stipe published. In 2006, Stipe released an EP that comprised six different cover versions of Joseph Arthur's "In The Sun" for the Hurricane Katrina disaster relief fund.
One version, recorded in a collaboration with Coldplay's Chris Martin, reached number one on the Canadian Singles Chart. In 2006, Stipe appeared on the song "Broken Promise" on the Placebo release Meds. Continuing his non-R. E. M. Work in 2006, Stipe sang the song "L'Hôtel" on the tribute album to Serge Gainsbourg titled Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited and appeared on the song "Dancing on the Lip of a Volcano" on the New York Dolls album One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This, he recorded a song with Miguel Bose on the album Papito "Lo que ves es lo que hay". Stipe collaborated with Lacoste in 2008 to release his own "holiday collector edition" brand of polo shirt; the design depicts a concert audience from the view of the performer on stage. He appeared with Chris Martin of Coldplay live at Madison Square Garden and online to perform "Losing My Religion", in the 12-12-12 concert raising money for relief from Hurricane Sandy. A new recording from Stipe was revealed in 2013; the song, "Rio Grande", is tak
A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from musical form and musical style, although in practice these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Academics have argued that categorizing music by genre is inaccurate and outdated. Music can be divided into different genres in many different ways; the artistic nature of music means that these classifications are subjective and controversial, some genres may overlap. There are varying academic definitions of the term genre itself. In his book Form in Tonal Music, Douglass M. Green distinguishes between form, he lists madrigal, canzona and dance as examples of genres from the Renaissance period. To further clarify the meaning of genre, Green writes, "Beethoven's Op. 61 and Mendelssohn's Op. 64 are identical in genre – both are violin concertos – but different in form. However, Mozart's Rondo for Piano, K. 511, the Agnus Dei from his Mass, K. 317 are quite different in genre but happen to be similar in form."
Some, like Peter van der Merwe, treat the terms genre and style as the same, saying that genre should be defined as pieces of music that share a certain style or "basic musical language." Others, such as Allan F. Moore, state that genre and style are two separate terms, that secondary characteristics such as subject matter can differentiate between genres. A music genre or subgenre may be defined by the musical techniques, the style, the cultural context, the content and spirit of the themes. Geographical origin is sometimes used to identify a music genre, though a single geographical category will include a wide variety of subgenres. Timothy Laurie argues that since the early 1980s, "genre has graduated from being a subset of popular music studies to being an ubiquitous framework for constituting and evaluating musical research objects". Among the criteria used to classify musical genres are the trichotomy of art and traditional musics. Alternatively, music can be divided on three variables: arousal and depth.
Arousal reflects the energy level of the music. These three variables help explain why many people like similar songs from different traditionally segregated genres. Musicologists have sometimes classified music according to a trichotomic distinction such as Philip Tagg's "axiomatic triangle consisting of'folk','art' and'popular' musics", he explains that each of these three is distinguishable from the others according to certain criteria. The term art music refers to classical traditions, including both contemporary and historical classical music forms. Art music exists in many parts of the world, it emphasizes formal styles that invite technical and detailed deconstruction and criticism, demand focused attention from the listener. In Western practice, art music is considered a written musical tradition, preserved in some form of music notation rather than being transmitted orally, by rote, or in recordings, as popular and traditional music are. Most western art music has been written down using the standard forms of music notation that evolved in Europe, beginning well before the Renaissance and reaching its maturity in the Romantic period.
The identity of a "work" or "piece" of art music is defined by the notated version rather than by a particular performance, is associated with the composer rather than the performer. This is so in the case of western classical music. Art music may include certain forms of jazz, though some feel that jazz is a form of popular music. Sacred Christian music forms an important part of the classical music tradition and repertoire, but can be considered to have an identity of its own; the term popular music refers to any musical style accessible to the general public and disseminated by the mass media. Musicologist and popular music specialist Philip Tagg defined the notion in the light of sociocultural and economical aspects: Popular music, unlike art music, is conceived for mass distribution to large and socioculturally heterogeneous groups of listeners and distributed in non-written form, only possible in an industrial monetary economy where it becomes a commodity and in capitalist societies, subject to the laws of'free' enterprise... it should ideally sell as much as possible.
Popular music is found on most commercial and public service radio stations, in most commercial music retailers and department stores, in movie and television soundtracks. It is noted on the Billboard charts and, in addition to singer-songwriters and composers, it involves music producers more than other genres do; the distinction between classical and popular music has sometimes been blurred in marginal areas such as minimalist music and light classics. Background music for films/movies draws on both traditions. In this respect, music is like fiction, which draws a distinction between literary fiction and popular fiction, not always precise. Country music known as country and western, hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s; the polka is a Czech dance and genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and particular
Murmur is the debut studio album by the American alternative rock band R. E. M. Released on April 12, 1983 by I. R. S. Records. Murmur drew critical acclaim upon its release for its unusual sound, defined by lead singer Michael Stipe's cryptic lyrics, guitarist Peter Buck's jangly guitar style, bass guitarist Mike Mills' melodic basslines. R. E. M. started recording their debut album in December 1982. I. R. S. Paired R. E. M. with producer Stephen Hague, who had a higher profile than the band's previous producer Mitch Easter. Hague's emphasis on technical perfection did not suit the band. Hague took the completed track to Synchro Sound studios in Boston and added keyboard parts to the track without the band's permission and to their dismay. Unsatisfied, the band members asked the label to let them record with Easter. I. R. S. agreed to a "tryout" session, allowing the band to travel to North Carolina and record the song "Pilgrimage" with Easter and producing partner Don Dixon. After hearing the track, I. R. S.
Permitted the group to record the album with Dixon and Easter. R. E. M. Entered Reflection Studios in Charlotte, North Carolina in January 1983 to begin recording sessions with Easter and Dixon. Much of the band's material for the album had been tested on preceding tours; because of its bad experience with Hague, the band recorded the album via a process of negation, refusing to incorporate rock music clichés such as guitar solos or then-popular synthesizers, to give its music a timeless feel. Berry was resistant to "odd" musical suggestions, insisting that his drums be recorded in a drummer's booth, a practice, antiquated at the time. Dixon and Easter took a hands-off approach to much of the recording process; the pair would only fix up a vocal track or ask lead singer Michael Stipe to re-record a vocal if it was substandard. Murmur's sound characterized the quieter, introverted side of the first wave of alternative rock in the United States; the sound was new at the time. The guitars have a bright, ring-like chime that brought on comparisons to the Byrds, the bass guitar has the bright punchy sound of the Rickenbacker favored by Mike Mills.
Mills carries much of the melodic element of the music on the bass, contributing to the moody sound of early R. E. M. Albums. Contributing to this sound is the distant singing of Michael Stipe whose obscure lyrics, sung indistinctly, lend to the mystery and depth of the music. In a rare instance of R. E. M. Co-writing, Stipe asked friend Neil Bogan to contribute lyrics to "West of the Fields"; the front cover features an image of a large quantity of the noxious weed kudzu, which grows so that it overtakes the landscape and kills other plants by shading them. The trestle featured on the back cover of the original vinyl LP release part of the Georgia Railroad line into downtown Athens, has become something of a local landmark. Plans to demolish the trestle, now referred to as the "Murmur Trestle," met with public outcry. On October 2, 2000, the Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission voted to save the trestle. In 2012, the local government said it can't afford to keep it and declared in 2016 that it would come down.
That year, the Athens-Clarke County Commission suggested that a trail tax could fund its existence. Copies of the initial tape edition—catalogue number CS 70604—list The Velvet Underground cover "There She Goes Again" as the final track, but it is not present; the track was intended for Murmur, but removed so that all the tracks would be original and the group would not have to take a royalty cut. It was however, included as a b-side to the IRS issue of "Radio Free Europe" instead; this mistake was fixed with subsequent printings. Murmur was released in April 1983; the record reached number 36 on the Billboard album chart. A re-recorded version of "Radio Free Europe" was the album's lead single and reached number 78 on the Billboard singles chart that year. Despite the acclaim awarded the album, by the end of 1983 Murmur had only sold about 200,000 copies, which I. R. S.'s Jay Boberg felt. Murmur was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1991; the album drew substantial critical acclaim.
Rolling Stone gave the album four out of five stars. Reviewer Steve Pond felt, he wrote, "Murmur is the record on which trade that potential for results: an intelligent, enigmatic involving album, it reveals a depth and cohesiveness to R. E. M. that the EP could only suggest." He concluded, "R. E. M. is the important Athens band." Jonathan Gregg of Record described Murmur as "a splendid little film noir of an album, austere but rich in implication." He praised the band's distinctive "twitchy, restless dance beat" and the incomprehensibility of the album's meaning, noting that Stipe's enigmatic lyrics are hard to make out due to being sung with a deliberate slur, lost in a muddy mix, and/or drowned out by the instrumental work, resulting in an impressive sense of meaning as the meaning itself is not understood. It was Rolling Stone's Best Album of 1983, beating Michael Jackson's Thriller, The Police's Synchronicity and U2's War. Buck noted in 2002 that I. R. S. was "mind-boggled" by the album's positive reviews in the British press, since R.
E. M. had not yet toured that country. Since its release, Murmur has featured in various "must have" lists compiled by the music media. In 1989, it was rated number eight on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s
Drive (R.E.M. song)
"Drive" is a song by American alternative rock band R. E. M, it was the first track on and the lead single from their eighth studio album Automatic for the People in 1992, it was the first song lead singer Michael Stipe wrote on a computer. Although not as commercially successful as previous lead singles "Losing My Religion," "Stand," or "The One I Love" in the United States, it managed to peak at number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100, number one on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, number two on the Album Rock Tracks chart. Internationally, "Drive" became R. E. M.'s second-biggest hit on the UK Singles Charts, peaking at number 11, their biggest hit in Norway until "Supernatural Superserious" in 2008, reaching number three. Elsewhere, the song reached the top 10 in Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland. Despite the success and popularity of the song, it was left out of the band's Warner Bros. Records "best of" compilation In Time: The Best of R. E. M. 1988–2003. However, a live version of the song was included in the special edition two-disc set of In Time that included rarities, live versions, B-sides.
The version featured was the "funk" version. The song is included on the 2003 live DVD Perfect Square, the 2007 live CD/DVD R. E. M. Live, the 2009 live CD Live at The Olympia; this song was sampled in the song "Space Bound" by Eminem on his 2010 album Recovery. B-side "Winged Mammal Theme" is a re-working of the "Batman Theme" intended to appear in Batman Returns; the title itself is derived from Stipe and R. E. M.'s support for what would become the "Motor Voter Bill" and the lyric "Hey, rock'n' roll" is an homage to the song "Stop It" by fellow Athens, Georgia group Pylon. "Pete and Mike are big Queen fans. Queen records, for all their bombast, sounded like each player had a personality."Mike Mills has said "'Drive' is just telling kids to take charge of their own lives. Among other things." To Peter Buck: “It’s a subtle, political thing. Michael mentions the term ‘bush-whacked’, but if you want to take it like ‘Stand’, that’s cool, too. You like to think. I have a lot of records. Like Ride records. I like Ride a lot.
And I have no idea. And I don’t care. I don’t worry about it. Lyrics are the last thing I listen to, unless someone is hitting me over the head with it.” The song's video, directed by Peter Care, was shot over two nights in late August 1992 at Sepulveda Dam in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles. "I remember Oliver Stone came," Michael Stipe said in 2001. "I was trying to get a film produced with him at the time. And River Phoenix came – we were friends, and Oliver had been drinking and they got into a fight in my trailer. It was fun to watch, and it kind of fuelled the energy that this video, from beginning to end, kind of carries through it." Actor Adam Scott appeared as an extra in the video. All songs written by Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Michael Stipe except as noted. US 7", Cassette and CD single "Drive" – 4:25 "Winged Mammal Theme" – 2:55UK "Collector's Edition" CD Single "Drive" – 4:25 "It's a Free World Baby" – 5:11 "Winged Mammal Theme" – 2:55 "First We Take Manhattan" – 6:06DE CD Maxi-Single "Drive" – 4:25 "World Leader Pretend" – 4:15 "Winged Mammal Theme" – 2:55'FR CD Maxi-Single" "Drive" – 4:25 "World Leader Pretend" – 4:15 "First We Take Manhattan" – 6:06UK and DE 7" and Cassette Single "Drive" – 4:25 "World Leader Pretend" – 4:15
Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north and the Czech Republic to the east and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the west. Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,386 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a decentralized country, its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport. Germany's largest urban area is the Ruhr, with its main centres of Essen; the country's other major cities are Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Bremen and Nuremberg. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity.
A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the German Confederation was formed in 1815; the German revolutions of 1848–49 resulted in the Frankfurt Parliament establishing major democratic rights. In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic; the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a dictatorship, the annexation of Austria, World War II, the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as an independent country and two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American and French occupation zones, East Germany, formed from the Soviet occupation zone.
Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990. Today, the sovereign state of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor, it is a great power with a strong economy. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods; as a developed country with a high standard of living, it upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection, a tuition-free university education. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993, it is part of the Schengen Area and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the G20, the OECD. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and successful artists, musicians, film people, entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors.
Germany has a large number of World Heritage sites and is among the top tourism destinations in the world. The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine; the German term Deutschland diutisciu land is derived from deutsch, descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular", derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- "people", from which the word Teutons originates; the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen between 1994 and 1998 where eight 380,000-year-old wooden javelins of 1.82 to 2.25 m length were unearthed. The Neander Valley was the location where the first non-modern human fossil was discovered.
The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans dated, has been found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm; the finds included 42,000-year-old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments found, the 40,000-year-old Ice Age Lion Man, the oldest uncontested figurative art discovered, the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest uncontested human figurative art discovered. The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artefact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, it is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme. The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well
A mandolin is a stringed musical instrument in the lute family and is plucked with a plectrum or "pick". It has four courses of doubled metal strings tuned in unison, although five and six course versions exist; the courses are tuned in a succession of perfect fifths. It is the soprano member of a family that includes the mandola, octave mandolin and mandobass. There are many styles of mandolin, but three are common, the Neapolitan or round-backed mandolin, the carved-top mandolin and the flat-backed mandolin; the round-back has a deep bottom, constructed of strips of wood, glued together into a bowl. The carved-top or arch-top mandolin has a much shallower, arched back, an arched top—both carved out of wood; the flat-backed mandolin uses thin sheets of wood for the body, braced on the inside for strength in a similar manner to a guitar. Each style of instrument is associated with particular forms of music. Neapolitan mandolins feature prominently in traditional music. Carved-top instruments are common in American folk music and bluegrass music.
Flat-backed instruments are used in Irish and Brazilian folk music. Some modern Brazilian instruments feature an extra fifth course tuned a fifth lower than the standard fourth course. Other mandolin varieties differ in the number of strings and include four-string models such as the Brescian and Cremonese, six-string types such as the Milanese and the Sicilian and 6 course instruments of 12 strings such as the Genoese. There has been a twelve-string type and an instrument with sixteen-strings. Much of mandolin development revolved around the soundboard. Pre-mandolin instruments were quiet instruments, strung with as many as six courses of gut strings, were plucked with the fingers or with a quill. However, modern instruments are louder—using four courses of metal strings, which exert more pressure than the gut strings; the modern soundboard is designed to withstand the pressure of metal strings that would break earlier instruments. The soundboard comes in many shapes—but round or teardrop-shaped, sometimes with scrolls or other projections.
There is one or more sound holes in the soundboard, either round, oval, or shaped like a calligraphic f. A round or oval sound hole may be bordered with decorative rosettes or purfling. Mandolins evolved from the lute family in Italy during the 17th and 18th centuries, the deep bowled mandolin, produced in Naples, became common in the 19th century. Dating to c. 13,000 BC, a cave painting in the Trois Frères cave in France depicts what some believe is a musical bow, a hunting bow used as a single-stringed musical instrument. From the musical bow, families of stringed instruments developed. In turn, this led to being able to play chords. Another innovation occurred when the bow harp was straightened out and a bridge used to lift the strings off the stick-neck, creating the lute; this picture of musical bow to harp bow has been contested. In 1965 Franz Jahnel wrote his criticism stating that the early ancestors of plucked instruments are not known, he felt that the harp bow was a long cry from the sophistication of the 4th-century BC civilization that took the primitive technology and created "technically and artistically well made harps, lyres and lutes."
Musicologists have put forth examples of that 4th-century BC technology, looking at engraved images that have survived. The earliest image showing a lute-like instrument came from Mesopotamia prior to 3000 BC. A cylinder seal from c. 3100 BC or earlier shows. From the surviving images, theororists have categorized the Mesopotamian lutes, showing that they developed into a long variety and a short; the line of long lutes may have developed into pandura. The line of short lutes was further developed to the east of Mesopotamia, in Bactria and Northwest India, shown in sculpture from the 2nd century BC through the 4th or 5th centuries AD. Bactria and Gandhara became part of the Sasanian Empire. Under the Sasanians, a short almond shaped lute from Bactria came to be called the barbat or barbud, developed into the Islamic world's oud or ud; when the Moors conquered Andalusia in 711 AD, they brought their ud along, into a country that had known a lute tradition under the Romans, the pandura. During the 8th and 9th centuries, many musicians and artists from across the Islamic world flocked to Iberia.
Among them was Abu l-Hasan ‘Ali Ibn Nafi‘, a prominent musician who had trained under Ishaq al-Mawsili in Baghdad and was exiled to Andalusia before 833 AD. He taught and has been credited with adding a fifth string to his oud and with establishing one of the first schools of music in Córdoba. By the 11th century, Muslim Iberia had become a center for the manufacture of instruments; these goods spread to Provence, influencing French troubadours and trouvères and reaching the rest of Europe. Beside the introduction of the lute to Spain by the Moors, another important point of transfer of the lute from Arabian to European culture was Sicily, where it was brought either by Byzantine or by Muslim musicians. There were singer-lutenists at the court in Palermo following the N
Scotland is a country, part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides; the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain; the union created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom.
The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland; the legal system within Scotland has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The continued existence of legal, educational and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union with England; the Scottish Parliament, a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs.
Scotland is a member of the British–Irish Council, sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. "Scotland" comes from the Latin name for the Gaels. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland; the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins. Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period, it is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.
At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, the main form of transport was by water. These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, the first villages around 6,000 years ago; the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation and ritual sites are common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE; the first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands. During the first millennium BCE, the society changed to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.
The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD. After the Roman victory, Roman forts were set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands; the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, they introduced Christianity to Scotland. Beginning in the sixth century, the area, now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland; these societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves through the ninth century. Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries. Operating in the sixth ce