Accordions are a family of box-shaped musical instruments of the bellows-driven free-reed aerophone type, colloquially referred to as a squeezebox. A person who plays the accordion is called an accordionist; the concertina and bandoneón are related. The instrument is played by compressing or expanding the bellows while pressing buttons or keys, causing pallets to open, which allow air to flow across strips of brass or steel, called reeds; these vibrate to produce sound inside the body. Valves on opposing reeds of each note are used to make the instrument's reeds sound louder without air leaking from each reed block; the performer plays the melody on buttons or keys on the right-hand manual, the accompaniment, consisting of bass and pre-set chord buttons, on the left-hand manual. The accordion is spread across the world. In some countries it is used in popular music, whereas in other regions it tends to be more used for dance-pop and folk music and is used in folk music in Europe, North America and South America.
In Europe and North America, some popular music acts make use of the instrument. Additionally, the accordion is used in cajun, jazz music and in both solo and orchestral performances of classical music; the piano accordion is the official city instrument of California. Many conservatories in Europe have classical accordion departments; the oldest name for this group of instruments is harmonika, from the Greek harmonikos, meaning "harmonic, musical". Today, native versions of the name accordion are more common; these names refer to the type of accordion patented by Cyrill Demian, which concerned "automatically coupled chords on the bass side". Accordions have many types. What may be technically possible to do with one accordion could be impossible with another: Some accordions are bisonoric, producing different pitches depending on the direction of bellows movement Others are unisonoric and produce the same pitch in both directions; the pitch depends on its size. Some use a chromatic buttonboard for the right-hand manual Others use a diatonic buttonboard for the right-hand manual Yet others use a piano-style musical keyboard for the right-hand manual Some can play in different registers Craftsmen and technicians may tune the same registers differently, "personalizing" the end result, such as an organ technician might voice a particular instrument The bellows is the most recognizable part of the instrument, the primary means of articulation.
Similar to a violin's bow, the production of sound in an accordion is in direct proportion to the motion of the player. The bellows is located between the right- and left-hand manuals, is made from pleated layers of cloth and cardboard, with added leather and metal, it is used to create pressure and vacuum, driving air across the internal reeds and producing sound by their vibrations, applied pressure increases the volume. The keyboard touch is not expressive and does not affect dynamics: all expression is effected through the bellows. Bellows effects include: Volume control and fade Repeated change of direction, popularized by musicians such as Renato Borghete and Luiz Gonzaga, extensively used in Forró, called resfulengo in Brazil Constant bellows motion while applying pressure at intervals Constant bellows motion to produce clear tones with no resonance Using the bellows with the silent air button gives the sound of air moving, sometimes used in contemporary compositions for this instrument The accordion's body consists of two wooden boxes joined together by the bellows.
These boxes house reed chambers for the right- and left-hand manuals. Each side has grilles in order to facilitate the transmission of air in and out of the instrument, to allow the sound to project better; the grille for the right-hand manual is larger and is shaped for decorative purposes. The right-hand manual is used for playing the melody and the left-hand manual for playing the accompaniment; the size and weight of an accordion varies depending on its type and playing range, which can be as small as to have only one or two rows of basses and a single octave on the right-hand manual, to the standard 120-bass accordion and through to large and heavy 160-bass free-bass converter models. The accordion is an aerophone; the manual mechanism of the instrument either enables the air flow, or disables it: The term accordion covers a wide range of instruments, with varying components. All instruments have reed ranks of some format. Not all have switches; the most typical accordion is the piano accordion, used for many musical genres.
Another type of accordion is the button accordion, used in several musical traditions, including Cajun and Tejano music and Austro-German Alpine music, Argentinian tango music. Different systems exist for the right-hand manual of an accordion, used for playing the melody; some use a button layout arranged in another, while others use a piano-style keyboard. Each system has different claimed benefits by those, they are used to define one accordion or another as a different "type": Chromatic button accordions and the bayan, a Russian variant, use a buttonboard where notes are arranged chromatically. Two major systems exist, referred to as the B-
An electric piano is an electric musical instrument which produces sounds when a performer presses the keys of the piano-style musical keyboard. Pressing keys causes mechanical hammers to strike metal strings, metal reeds or wire tines, leading to vibrations which are converted into electrical signals by magnetic pickups, which are connected to an instrument amplifier and loudspeaker to make a sound loud enough for the performer and audience to hear. Unlike a synthesizer, the electric piano is not an electronic instrument. Instead, it is an electro-mechanical instrument; some early electric pianos used lengths of wire to produce the tone, like a traditional piano. Smaller electric pianos used short slivers of steel to produce the tone; the earliest electric pianos were invented in the late 1920s. The earliest stringless model was Lloyd Loar's Vivi-Tone Clavier. A few other noteworthy producers of electric pianos include Baldwin Piano and Organ Company and the Wurlitzer Company. Early electric piano recordings include Duke Ellington's in 1955 and Sun Ra's India as well as other tracks from the 1956 sessions included on his second album Super Sonic Jazz.
The popularity of the electric piano began to grow in the late 1950s after Ray Charles's 1959 hit record "What'd I Say", reaching its height during the 1970s, after which they were progressively displaced by more lightweight electronic pianos capable of piano-like sounds without the disadvantages of electric pianos' heavy weight and moving mechanical parts. Another factor driving their development and acceptance was the progressive electrification of popular music and the need for a portable keyboard instrument capable of high-volume amplification. Musicians adopted a number of types of domestic electric pianos for pop use; this encouraged their manufacturers to modify them for stage use and develop models intended for stage use. Digital pianos that provide an emulated electric piano sound have supplanted the actual electro-mechanical instruments in the 2010s, due to the small size, low weight and versatility of digital instruments, which can produce a huge range of tones besides piano tones.
However, some performers still record with vintage electric pianos. In 2009, Rhodes produced a new line of electro-mechanical pianos, known as the Rhodes Mark 7, followed by an offering from Vintage Vibe; the Neo-Bechstein electric piano was built in 1929. The Vierlang-Forster electric piano was introduced in 1937; the RCA Storytone electric piano was built in 1939 in a joint venture between Story & Clark and RCA. The case was designed by the American industrial designer, it debuted at the 1939 World's Fair. The piano hammer action but no soundboard; the sound is amplified through electromagnetic pickups, circuitry and a speaker system, making it the world's first commercially available electric piano. Many types were designed as a less-expensive alternative to an acoustic piano for home or school use; some electric pianos were designed with multiple keyboards for use in school or college piano labs, so that teachers could instruct a group of students using headphones. "Electric piano" is a heterogeneous category encompassing several different instruments which vary in their sound-producing mechanisms and consequent timbral characters.
Yamaha, Baldwin and Kawai's electric pianos are actual grand or upright pianos with strings and hammers. The Helpinstill models have a traditional soundboard. On Yamaha and Kawai's pianos, the vibration of the strings is converted to an electrical signal by piezoelectric pickups under the bridge. Helpinstill's instruments use a set of electromagnetic pickups attached to the instrument's frame. All these instruments have a tonal character similar to that of an acoustic piano. Wurlitzer electric pianos use; the reeds fit within a comb-like metal plate, the reeds and plate together form an electrostatic or capacitive pickup system, using a DC voltage of 170v. This system produces a distinctive tone – sweet and vibraphone-like when played and developing a hollow resonance as the keys are played harder; the reeds are tuned by removing mass from a lump of solder at the free end of the reed. Replacement reeds are furnished with a slight excess of solder, thus tuned "flat"; the Columbia Elepian, the Brazilian-made Suette, the Hohner Electra-Piano use a reed system similar to the Wurlitzer but with electromagnetic pickups similar to the Rhodes piano.
The tuning fork here refers to the struck element having two vibrating parts – physically it bears little resemblance to a traditional type. In Fender Rhodes instruments, the struck portion of the "fork" is a tine of stiff steel wire; the other part of the fork and adjacent to the tine, is the tonebar, a sturdy steel bar which acts as a resonator and adds sustain to the sound. The tine is fitted with a spring which can be moved along its length to allow the pitch to be varied for fine-tuning; the tine is struck by the small neoprene tip of a hammer activated by a simplified piano action. Each tine has an electromagnetic pickup placed just beyond its tip; the Rhodes piano has a distinctive bell-like tone, fuller than the Wurlitzer
An electric guitar is a guitar that uses one or more pickups to convert the vibration of its strings into electrical signals. The vibration occurs when a guitar player strums, fingerpicks, slaps or taps the strings; the pickup uses electromagnetic induction to create this signal, which being weak is fed into a guitar amplifier before being sent to the speaker, which converts it into audible sound. The electric signal can be electronically altered to change the timbre of the sound; the signal is modified using effects such as reverb, distortion and "overdrive". Invented in 1931, the electric guitar was adopted by jazz guitar players, who wanted to play single-note guitar solos in large big band ensembles. Early proponents of the electric guitar on record include Les Paul, Lonnie Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, T-Bone Walker, Charlie Christian. During the 1950s and 1960s, the electric guitar became the most important instrument in popular music, it has evolved into an instrument, capable of a multitude of sounds and styles in genres ranging from pop and rock to country music and jazz.
It served as a major component in the development of electric blues and roll, rock music, heavy metal music and many other genres of music. Electric guitar design and construction varies in the shape of the body and the configuration of the neck and pickups. Guitars may have a fixed bridge or a spring-loaded hinged bridge, which lets players "bend" the pitch of notes or chords up or down, or perform vibrato effects; the sound of an electric guitar can be modified by new playing techniques such as string bending and hammering-on, using audio feedback, or slide guitar playing. There are several types of electric guitar, including: the solid-body guitar. In pop and rock music, the electric guitar is used in two roles: as a rhythm guitar, which plays the chord sequences or progressions, riffs, sets the beat. In a small group, such as a power trio, one guitarist switches between both roles. In large rock and metal bands, there is a rhythm guitarist and a lead guitarist. Many experiments at electrically amplifying the vibrations of a string instrument were made dating back to the early part of the 20th century.
Patents from the 1910s show telephone transmitters were adapted and placed inside violins and banjos to amplify the sound. Hobbyists in the 1920s used carbon button microphones attached to the bridge. With numerous people experimenting with electrical instruments in the 1920s and early 1930s, there are many claimants to have been the first to invent an electric guitar. Electric guitars were designed by acoustic guitar makers and instrument manufacturers; the demand for amplified guitars began during the big band era. The first electric guitars used in jazz were hollow archtop acoustic guitar bodies with electromagnetic transducers. Early electric guitar manufacturers include Rickenbacker in 1932; the first electrically amplified stringed instrument to be marketed commercially was designed in 1931 by George Beauchamp, the general manager of the National Guitar Corporation, with Paul Barth, vice president. The maple body prototype for the one-piece cast aluminium "frying pan" was built by Harry Watson, factory superintendent of the National Guitar Corporation.
Commercial production began in late summer of 1932 by the Ro-Pat-In Corporation, in Los Angeles, a partnership of Beauchamp, Adolph Rickenbacker, Paul Barth. In 1934, the company was renamed the Rickenbacker Electro Stringed Instrument Company. In that year Beauchamp applied for a United States patent for an Electrical Stringed Musical Instrument and the patent was issued in 1937. By early-mid 1935, Electro String Instrument Corporation had achieved mainstream success with the A-22 "Frying Pan" steel guitar, set out to capture a new audience through its release of the Electro-Spanish Model B and the Electro-Spanish Ken Roberts, the first full 25" scale electric guitar produced; the Electro-Spanish Ken Roberts was revolutionary for its time, providing players a full 25" scale, with easy access to 17 frets free of the body. Unlike other lap-steel electrified instruments produced during the time, the Electro-Spanish Ken Roberts was designed to play standing vertical, upright with a strap; the Electro-Spanish Ken Roberts was the first instrument to feature a hand-operated vibrato as a standard appointment, a device called the "Vibrola," invented by Doc Kauffman.
It is estimated that fewer than 50 Electro-Spanish Ken Roberts were constructed between 1933 and 1937. The solid-body electric guitar is made without functionally resonating air spaces; the first solid-body Spanish standard guitar was offered by Vivi-Tone no than 1934. This model featured a guitar-shaped body of a single sheet
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
Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies
Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies is a music reference book by American music journalist and essayist Robert Christgau. It was first published in October 1981 by Fields; the book compiles 3,000 of Christgau's capsule album reviews, most of which were written for his "Consumer Guide" column in The Village Voice throughout the 1970s. The entries feature annotated details about each record's release and cover a variety of genres related to rock music. Many of the older reviews were rewritten for the guide to reflect his changed perspective and matured stylistic approach, informed by an interest in the aesthetic and political dimensions of popular music and a desire to communicate his ideas to readers in an entertaining, provocative way; the guide was critically well received, earning praise for its extensive discography, Christgau's judgment and colorful writing. Reviewers noted his opinionated tastes, analytical commentary, pithy language, critical quips; the book appeared on several expert lists of popular music literature.
A staple of rock-era reference works, Christgau's Record Guide became popular in libraries as a source for popular music studies and as an authoritative guide for fellow critics, record collectors, music shops. Christgau's Record Guide has been reprinted several times in book form and on Christgau's website in its entirety. Two more "Consumer Guide" collections have been published, compiling his capsule reviews from the 1980s and the 1990s, respectively. In 1969, Robert Christgau began reviewing contemporary album releases in his "Consumer Guide" column, published more-or-less monthly in The Village Voice, for brief periods in Newsday and Creem magazine during the 1970s, his method was to select about 20 albums to review in capsule format, averaging 50 words each, to assign each album a letter grade rating on a scale from A-plus to E-minus. The column was a product of The Village Voice's deal with Christgau—allotting him one 2,500-word piece per month—and his desire to provide prospective buyers with ratings of albums, including those that did not receive significant radio airplay.
Some of Christgau's early columns were reprinted in his first book, Any Old Way You Choose It, a 1973 anthology of essays published in the Voice and Newsday. Among the most revered and influential of the earliest rock critics, Christgau wrote the "Consumer Guide" with confidence in his tastes, conviction that popular music could be consumed intelligently, interest in finding new understandings of the aesthetic and political dimensions in popular culture's intersection with the avant-garde; as a journalist, he wanted to convey his findings in a way that would provoke readers. In the late 1970s, Christgau conceived of a book that would collect reviews from his columns through that decade, he began to pitch Christgau's Record Guide to publishers in early 1979 and received a publishing deal shortly thereafter. He soon realized that the proposed book would not adequately represent the decade unless he revised and expanded his existing columns, he believed his existing body of reviews overlooked important musical artists and would comprise less than two-thirds of the needed material for the book.
In July of that year, he took a vacation from The Village Voice and left New York City for Maine with his wife, fellow writer Carola Dibbell, to work on the book. They brought with them a stereo system and numerous LP records; as Christgau recalled in his memoir Going Into the City, "I had hundreds of records to find out about, hundreds to find, hundreds to re-review, hundreds to touch up." Christgau continued working on the book after his return to New York. He was aided by access to the record library of his neighbor, fellow journalist Vince Aletti, who owned all of James Brown's scarcely catalogued Polydor LPs from the 1970s. Beginning with Brown, Christgau re-examined the discographies of major artists in a chronological manner to curtail a sense of hindsight in the writing. "When possible", he said, "I piled on the changer artists I felt like hearing that day in a ploy intended to scare up the excited little feeling in the pit of my stomach without which I am loath to give any album an A."
The work intensified in 1980. Recounting in his memoir, he said he worked 14 hours daily while "in book mode", which "was so grueling that for most of 1980 I was aware of the music of the moment, the only such hiatus in what is now fifty years."Christgau's intense immersion into preparing the book put a strain on his marriage to Dibbell, as did their efforts to overcome infertility. In his words, the guide ruined his personal life: "We postponed further parenthood strategization. We hardly went out; the apartment sank to new depths of disarray as paper migrated into the dining room. And since I was home every minute with the stereo on, my life partner could never be alone, with herself or with her work." Dibbell's admission of an affair at the time led to a brief separation before she and Christgau reunited with a stronger commitment to each other, reflected in the book's dedication: "TO CAROLA – NEVER AGAIN." As they mended their relationship, Christgau slowed down his work pace in August 1980 while allowing Dibbell to "provide the tough edits I needed".
In his memoir, he paid tribute to her influence on his work: "Her aesthetic responsiveness was unending... no one affected my writing like Carola". Christgau finished the guide in mid-September, submitting the manuscript a few weeks late of his publisher's deadline. Christgau's Record Guide collects 3,000 "Consumer Guide
Fairport Convention are a British folk rock band, formed in 1967 by Richard Thompson, Simon Nicol, Ashley Hutchings, Shaun Frater, with Frater replaced by Martin Lamble after their first gig. They started out influenced by American folk rock and singer-songwriter material, with a setlist dominated by covers of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell songs and a sound that earned them the nickname “the British Jefferson Airplane.” Vocalists Judy Dyble and Iain Matthews joined them before the recording of their self-titled debut in 1968. Denny began steering the group towards traditional British music for their next two albums, What We Did on Our Holidays and Unhalfbricking the latter featured fiddler Dave "Swarb" Swarbrick, most notably on the song A Sailor's Life, which laid the groundwork for British folk rock by being the first time a traditional British song was combined with a rock beat. However, shortly before the album's release, a crash on the M1 killed Lamble and Thompson's then-girlfriend, Jeannie Franklyn.
For this album Swarb joined full-time alongside Dave Mattacks on drums. Both Denny and Hutchings left before the year's end; the 1970s saw numerous lineup changes around the core of Swarb and Pegg, with Nicol absent for the middle of the decade, declining fortunes as folk music fell out of mainstream favour. Denny, whose partner Trevor Lucas had been a guitarist in the group since 1972, returned for the pop-orientated Rising for the Moon in 1975 in a final bid to crack America, they played a farewell concert in the village of Cropredy, where they’d held small concerts since 1976, this marked the beginning of the Cropredy Festival which has become the largest folk festival in Britain, with annual attendance of 20,000. The band was reformed by Nicol and Mattacks in 1985, joined by Maartin Allcock and Ric Sanders and they have remained active since. Allcock was replaced by Chris Leslie in 1996, Gerry Conway replaced Mattacks in 1998, with this lineup remaining unchanged since and marking the longest-lasting of the group's history.
Their 28th studio album, 50:50@50, released to mark their 50th anniversary, was released in 2017, they continue to headline Cropredy each year. Despite little mainstream success – with their only top 40 single being Si Tu Dois Partir, a French-language cover of the Dylan song If You Gotta Go, Go Now from Unhalfbricking – Fairport Convention remain influential in British folk rock and British folk in general. Liege & Lief was named the "Most Influential Folk Album of All Time" at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2006, Pegg's playing style, which incorporates jigs and reels into his basslines, has been imitated by many in the folk rock and folk punk genres. Additionally, many former members went on to form other notable groups in the genre, including Fotheringay, Steeleye Span, the Albion Band. Hers ended with her death in 1978, though she is now regarded as Britain's finest female singer-songwriter, her song Who Knows Where the Time Goes? – recorded by Fairport on Unhalfbricking – has become a signature for herself and the band.
Bassist Ashley Hutchings met guitarist Simon Nicol in North London in 1966 when they both played in the Ethnic Shuffle Orchestra. They rehearsed on the floor above Nicol's father's medical practice in a house called "Fairport" on Fortis Green in Muswell Hill – the same street on which Ray and Dave Davies of the Kinks grew up; the house name lent its name to the group they formed together as Fairport Convention in 1967 with Richard Thompson on guitar and Shaun Frater on drums. After their initial performance at St Michael's Church Hall in Golders Green on 27 May 1967, they had their first of many line-up changes as one member of the audience, drummer Martin Lamble, convinced the band that he could do a better job than Frater and replaced him, they soon added a female singer, Judy Dyble, which gave them a distinctive sound among the many London bands of the period. Fairport Convention were soon playing at underground venues such as UFO and The Electric Garden, which became the Middle Earth club.
After only a few months, they caught the attention of manager Joe Boyd who secured them a contract with Polydor Records. Boyd suggested they augment the line-up with another male vocalist. Singer Iain Matthews joined the band and their first album, Fairport Convention, was recorded in late 1967 and released in June 1968. At this early stage Fairport looked to North American folk and folk rock acts such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, The Byrds for material and inspiration; the name "Fairport Convention" and the use of two lead vocalists led many new listeners to believe that they were an American act, earning them the nickname'the British Jefferson Airplane' during this period. Fairport Convention played alongside Jefferson Airplane at the First Isle of Wight Festival, 1968. After disappointing album sales they signed a new contract with Island Records. Before their next recording Judy Dyble was replaced by the band with Sandy Denny, a
Singer-songwriters are musicians who write and perform their own musical material, including lyrics and melodies. The genre began with the folk-acoustic tradition. Singer-songwriters provide the sole accompaniment to an entire composition or song using a guitar or piano. "Singer-songwriter" is used to define popular music artists who write and perform their own material, self-accompanied on acoustic guitar or piano. Such an artist performs the roles of composer, vocalist, sometimes instrumentalist, self-manager. According to AllMusic, singer-songwriters' lyrics are personal but veiled by elaborate metaphors and vague imagery, their creative concern is to place emphasis on the song rather than their performance of it. Most records by such artists have a straightforward and spare sound that placed emphasis on the song itself; the term has been used to describe songwriters in the rock, folk and pop music genres including Henry Russell, Aristide Bruant, Hank Williams, Buddy Holly. It came into popular usage in the 1960s onwards to describe songwriters who followed particular stylistic and thematic conventions lyrical introspection, confessional songwriting, mild musical arrangements, an understated performing style.
According to writer Larry David Smith, because it merged the roles of composer and singer, the popularity of the singer-songwriter reintroduced the Medieval troubadour tradition of "songs with public personalities" after the Tin Pan Alley era in American popular music. Song topics include political protest, as in the case of the Almanac Singers, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie; the concept of a singer-songwriter can be traced to ancient bardic oral tradition, which has existed in various forms throughout the world. Poems would be performed as chant or song, sometimes accompanied by a harp or other similar instrument. After the invention of printing, songs would be performed by ballad sellers; these would be versions of existing tunes and lyrics, which were evolving. This developed into the singer-songwriting traditions of folk culture. Traveling performers existed throughout Europe. Thus, the folklorist Anatole Le Braz gives a detailed account of one ballad singer, Yann Ar Minouz, who wrote and performed songs traveling through Brittany in the late nineteenth century and selling printed versions.
In large towns it was possible to make a living performing in public venues, with the invention of phonographic recording, early singer-songwriters like Théodore Botrel, George M. Cohan and Hank Williams became celebrities. During the period from the 1940s through the 1960s, sparked by the American folk music revival, young performers inspired by traditional folk music and groups like the Almanac Singers and the Weavers began writing and performing their own original material and creating their own musical arrangements; the term "singer-songwriter" in North America can be traced back to singers who developed works in the blues and folk music style. Early to mid-20th century American singer-songwriters include Lead Belly, Jimmie Rodgers, Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker, Blind Willie McTell, Lightnin' Hopkins, Son House, Robert Johnson. In the 1940s and 1950s country singer-songwriters like Hank Williams became well known, as well as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, along with Ronnie Gilbert and Lee Hays and other members of the Weavers who performed their topical works to an ever-growing wider audience.
These proto-singer-songwriters were less concerned than today's singer-songwriters with the unadulterated originality of their music and lyrics, would lift parts from other songs and play covers without hesitation. The tradition of writing topical songs was established by this group of musicians. Singers like Seeger and Guthrie would attend rallies for labor unions, so wrote many songs concerning the life of the working classes, social protest; this focus on social issues has influenced the singer-songwriter genre. Additionally in the 1930s through the 1950s several jazz and blues singer-songwriters emerged like Hoagy Carmichael, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Harry Gibson, Nina Simone, as well as in the rock n' roll genre from which emerged influential singer-songwriters Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Roy Orbison, Sam Cooke, Ritchie Valens, Paul Anka. In the country music field, singer-songwriters like Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Roger Miller, Billy Edd Wheeler, others emerged from the 1940s through the 1960s writing compelling songs about love relationships and other subjects.
The first popular recognition of the singer-songwriter in English-speaking North America and the United Kingdom occurred in the 1960s and early 1970s when a series of blues and country-influenced musicians rose to prominence and popularity. These singer-songwriters included Bob Dylan, Neil Young, John Lennon, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell. Artists, songwriters, notably Carole King, Townes Van Zandt, Neil Diamond began releasing work as performers. In contrast to the storytelling approach of most prior country and folk music, these performers wrote songs from a personal, introspective point of