Ambient music is a genre of music that emphasizes tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm. A form of slow instrumental music, it uses repetitive, but gentle, soothing sound patterns that can be described as sonic wallpaper to complement or alter one’s space and to generate a sense of calmness; the genre is said to evoke an "unobtrusive" quality. Ambient music focuses on creating a mood or atmosphere through synthesizers and timbral qualities lacking the presence of any net composition, beat, or structured melody, it uses textural layers of sound without prevalent musical tropes, rewarding both passive and active listening. Nature soundscapes are included, the sounds of acoustic instruments such as the piano and flute, among others, may be emulated through a synthesizer. According to Brian Eno, one of its pioneers, "Ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular. Eno popularized ambient music in 1978 with his album Ambient 1: Music for Airports.
It saw a revival towards the late 1980s with the prominence of house and techno music, growing a cult following by the 1990s. Ambient music may have elements of new-age music and drone music, as some works may use sustained or repeated notes. Ambient music did not achieve large commercial success, being criticized as having a "boring" and "over-intellectual" sound, it has attained a certain degree of acclaim throughout the years in the Internet age. Due to its open style, ambient music takes influences from many other genres, ranging from classical, avant-garde music, folk and world music, among several others; as an early 20th-century French composer, Erik Satie used such Dadaist-inspired explorations to create an early form of ambient/background music that he labeled "furniture music". This he described as being the sort of music that could be played during a dinner to create a background atmosphere for that activity, rather than serving as the focus of attention. In his own words, Satie sought to create "a music...which will be part of the noises of the environment, will take them into consideration.
I think of it as melodious, softening the noises of the knives and forks at dinner, not dominating them, not imposing itself. It would fill up those heavy silences, it would spare them the trouble of paying attention to their own banal remarks. And at the same time it would neutralize the street noises which so indiscreetly enter into the play of conversation. To make such music would be to respond to a need." In the 1960s, many music groups experimented with unusual methods, with some of them creating what would be called ambient music. In 1969, the group Coum Transmissions were performing sonic experiments in British art schools. Many pieces of ambient music were released in England and the United States of America between the late 1960s and the 1990s; some 1960s music with ambient elements include Music for Zen Meditation by Tony Scott, Soothing Sounds for Baby by Raymond Scott, Music for Yoga Meditation and Other Joys by Tony Scott. Developing in the 1970s, ambient stemmed from the experimental and synthesizer-oriented styles of the period.
Although Jamaican dub musicians such as King Tubby, Japanese electronic music composers such as Isao Tomita, as well as the psychoacoustic soundscapes of Irv Teibel's Environments series, German bands such as Popol Vuh, Ash Ra Tempel and Tangerine Dream, predate him in the creation of ambient music and/or were contemporaneous with him, Brian Eno played a key role in its development and popularization. The concept of background or furniture music had existed some time before, but only in the 70s was ambient music first created, which incorporated New Age ideals with the newly invented modular synthesizer. Eno went on to record 1975's Discreet Music with this in mind, suggesting that it be listened to at "comparatively low levels to the extent that it falls below the threshold of audibility", referring to Satie's quote about his musique d'ameublement; the impact the rise of the synthesizer in modern music had on ambient as a genre cannot be overstated. The only limit is with the composer"; the Yellow Magic Orchestra developed a distinct style of ambient electronic music that would be developed into ambient house music.
The English producer Brian Eno is credited with coining the term "ambient music" in the mid-1970s. He said that "I just gave it a name. Which is what it needed... By naming something you create a difference. You say. Names are important." He used the term to describe music that can be "actively listened to with attention or as ignored, depending on the choice of the listener", which exists on the "cusp between melody and texture". In the liner notes for his 1978 album Ambient 1: Music for Airports, Eno wrote:Whereas the extant canned music companies proceed from the basis of regularizing environments by blanketing their acoustic and atmospheric idiosyncrasies, Ambient Music is intended to enhance these. Whereas conventional background music is produced by stripping away all sense of doubt and uncertainty from the music, Ambient Music retain
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 particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew on the genres of blues and blues, from country music. Rock music drew on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, incorporated influences from jazz and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar as part of a rock group with electric bass and one or more singers. Rock is song-based music with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become diverse. Like pop music, lyrics stress romantic love but address a wide variety of other themes that are social or political. By the late 1960s "classic rock" period, a number of distinct rock music subgenres had emerged, including hybrids like blues rock, folk rock, country rock, southern rock, raga rock, jazz-rock, many of which contributed to the development of psychedelic rock, influenced by the countercultural psychedelic and hippie scene.
New genres that emerged included progressive rock. In the second half of the 1970s, punk rock reacted by producing stripped-down, energetic social and political critiques. Punk was an influence in the 1980s on new wave, post-punk and alternative rock. From the 1990s alternative rock began to dominate rock music and break into the mainstream in the form of grunge and indie rock. Further fusion subgenres have since emerged, including pop punk, electronic rock, rap rock, rap metal, as well as conscious attempts to revisit rock's history, including the garage rock/post-punk and techno-pop revivals at the beginning of the 2000s. Rock music has embodied and served as the vehicle for cultural and social movements, leading to major subcultures including mods and rockers in the UK and the hippie counterculture that spread out from San Francisco in the US in the 1960s. 1970s punk culture spawned the goth and emo subcultures. Inheriting the folk tradition of the protest song, rock music has been associated with political activism as well as changes in social attitudes to race and drug use, is seen as an expression of youth revolt against adult consumerism and conformity.
The sound of rock is traditionally centered on the amplified electric guitar, which emerged in its modern form in the 1950s with the popularity of rock and roll. It was influenced by the sounds of electric blues guitarists; the sound of an electric guitar in rock music is supported by an electric bass guitar, which pioneered in jazz music in the same era, percussion produced from a drum kit that combines drums and cymbals. This trio of instruments has been complemented by the inclusion of other instruments keyboards such as the piano, the Hammond organ, the synthesizer; the basic rock instrumentation was derived from the basic blues band instrumentation. A group of musicians performing rock music is termed as a rock group. Furthermore, it consists of between three and five members. Classically, a rock band takes the form of a quartet whose members cover one or more roles, including vocalist, lead guitarist, rhythm guitarist, bass guitarist and keyboard player or other instrumentalist. Rock music is traditionally built on a foundation of simple unsyncopated rhythms in a 4/4 meter, with a repetitive snare drum back beat on beats two and four.
Melodies originate from older musical modes such as the Dorian and Mixolydian, as well as major and minor modes. Harmonies range from the common triad to parallel perfect fourths and fifths and dissonant harmonic progressions. Since the late 1950s and from the mid 1960s onwards, rock music used the verse-chorus structure derived from blues and folk music, but there has been considerable variation from this model. Critics have stressed the eclecticism and stylistic diversity of rock; because of its complex history and its tendency to borrow from other musical and cultural forms, it has been argued that "it is impossible to bind rock music to a rigidly delineated musical definition." Unlike many earlier styles of popular music, rock lyrics have dealt with a wide range of themes, including romantic love, rebellion against "The Establishment", social concerns, life styles. These themes were inherited from a variety of sources such as the Tin Pan Alley pop tradition, folk music, rhythm and blues.
Music journalist Robert Christgau characterizes rock lyrics as a "cool medium" with simple diction and repeated refrains, asserts that rock's primary "function" "pertains to music, or, more noise." The predominance of white and middle class musicians in rock music has been noted, rock has been seen as an appropriation of black musical forms for a young and male audience. As a result, it has been seen to articulate the concerns of this group in both style and lyrics. Christgau, writing in 1972, said in spite of some exceptions, "rock and roll implies an identification of male sexuality and aggression". Since the term "rock" started being used in preference to "rock and roll" from the late-1960s, it has been contrasted with pop music, with which it has shared many characteristics, but from wh
Folk music includes traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted orally, music with unknown composers, or music performed by custom over a long period of time, it has been contrasted with classical styles. The term originated in the 19th century. Starting in the mid-20th century, a new form of popular folk music evolved from traditional folk music; this process and period is reached a zenith in the 1960s. This form of music is sometimes called contemporary folk music or folk revival music to distinguish it from earlier folk forms. Smaller, similar revivals have occurred elsewhere in the world at other times, but the term folk music has not been applied to the new music created during those revivals; this type of folk music includes fusion genres such as folk rock, folk metal, others. While contemporary folk music is a genre distinct from traditional folk music, in U.
S. English it shares the same name, it shares the same performers and venues as traditional folk music; the terms folk music, folk song, folk dance are comparatively recent expressions. They are extensions of the term folklore, coined in 1846 by the English antiquarian William Thoms to describe "the traditions and superstitions of the uncultured classes"; the term further derives from the German expression volk, in the sense of "the people as a whole" as applied to popular and national music by Johann Gottfried Herder and the German Romantics over half a century earlier. Though it is understood that folk music is music of the people, observers find a more precise definition to be elusive; some do not agree that the term folk music should be used. Folk music may tend to have certain characteristics but it cannot be differentiated in purely musical terms. One meaning given is that of "old songs, with no known composers", another is that of music, submitted to an evolutionary "process of oral transmission....
The fashioning and re-fashioning of the music by the community that give it its folk character". Such definitions depend upon " processes rather than abstract musical types...", upon "continuity and oral transmission...seen as characterizing one side of a cultural dichotomy, the other side of, found not only in the lower layers of feudal and some oriental societies but in'primitive' societies and in parts of'popular cultures'". One used definition is "Folk music is what the people sing". For Scholes, as well as for Cecil Sharp and Béla Bartók, there was a sense of the music of the country as distinct from that of the town. Folk music was "...seen as the authentic expression of a way of life now past or about to disappear" in "a community uninfluenced by art music" and by commercial and printed song. Lloyd rejected this in favour of a simple distinction of economic class yet for him true folk music was, in Charles Seeger's words, "associated with a lower class" in culturally and stratified societies.
In these terms folk music may be seen as part of a "schema comprising four musical types:'primitive' or'tribal'. Music in this genre is often called traditional music. Although the term is only descriptive, in some cases people use it as the name of a genre. For example, the Grammy Award used the terms "traditional music" and "traditional folk" for folk music, not contemporary folk music. Folk music may include most indigenous music. From a historical perspective, traditional folk music had these characteristics: It was transmitted through an oral tradition. Before the 20th century, ordinary people were illiterate; this was not mediated by books or recorded or transmitted media. Singers may extend their repertoire using broadsheets or song books, but these secondary enhancements are of the same character as the primary songs experienced in the flesh; the music was related to national culture. It was culturally particular. In the context of an immigrant group, folk music acquires an extra dimension for social cohesion.
It is conspicuous in immigrant societies, where Greek Australians, Somali Americans, Punjabi Canadians, others strive to emphasize their differences from the mainstream. They learn songs and dances that originate in the countries their grandparents came from, they commemorate personal events. On certain days of the year, such as Easter, May Day, Christmas, particular songs celebrate the yearly cycle. Weddings and funerals may be noted with songs and special costumes. Religious festivals have a folk music component. Choral music at these events brings children and non-professional singers to participate in a public arena, giving an emotional bonding, unrelated to the aesthetic qualities of the music; the songs have been performed, by custom, over a long period of time several generations. As a side-effect, the following characteristics are sometimes present: There is no copyright on the songs. Hundreds of folk songs from the 19th century have known authors but have continued in oral tradition to the point where they are considered traditional for purposes of music publishing.
This has become much less frequent since the 1940s. Today every folk song, recorded is credited with an arranger. Fusion of cultures: Because cultures interact and change over time
Tango is a popular partner dance and social dance that originated in the 1880s along the River Plate, the natural border between Argentina and Uruguay. It was born in the impoverished port areas of these countries, where natives mixed with slave and European immigrant populations; the tango is the result of a combination of the German Waltz, Czech Polka, Polish Mazurka, Bohemian Schottische with the Spanish-Cuban Habanera, African Candombe, Argentinian Milonga. The tango was practiced in the brothels and bars of ports, where business owners employed bands to entertain their patrons with music; the tango spread to the rest of the world. Many variations of this dance exist around the world. On August 31, 2009, UNESCO approved a joint proposal by Argentina and Uruguay to include the tango in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. Tango is a dance that has influences from Native American and European culture. Dances from the candombe ceremonies of former slave peoples helped shape the modern day tango.
The dance originated in lower-class districts of Buenos Montevideo. The music derived from the fusion of various forms of music from Europe; the words "tango" and "tambo" around the River Plate basin were used to refer to musical gatherings of slaves, with written records of colonial authorities attempting to ban such gatherings as early as 1789. It was just one of the many dances, but it soon became popular throughout society, as theatres and street barrel organs spread it from the suburbs to the working-class slums, which were packed with hundreds of thousands of European immigrants. Many Buenos Aires city neighbourhoods have their particular tango history like for example La Boca, San Telmo or Boedo. At Boedo Avenue Cátulo Castillo, Homero Manzi and other singers and composers used to meet at the Japanese Cafe with the Boedo Group. In the early years of the 20th century and orchestras from Buenos Aires travelled to Europe, the first European tango craze took place in Paris, soon followed by London and other capitals.
Towards the end of 1913, it hit New York City in the U. S. and Finland. In the U. S. around 1911, the word "tango" was applied to dances in a 24 or 44 rhythm such as the one-step. The term was fashionable and did not indicate that tango steps would be used in the dance, although they might be. Tango music was sometimes played but at a rather fast tempo. Instructors of the period would sometimes refer to this as a "North American tango", versus the so-called "Argentine Tango"; the Tango was controversial because of its perceived sexual overtones and, by the end of 1913, the dance teachers who had introduced the dance to Paris were banished from the city. By 1914, more authentic tango stylings were soon developed, along with some variations like Albert Newman's "Minuet" tango. In Argentina, the onset in 1929 of the Great Depression, restrictions introduced after the overthrow of the Hipólito Yrigoyen government in 1930, caused tango to decline, its fortunes were reversed as tango became fashionable and a matter of national pride under the government of Juan Perón.
Taquito Militar, by Mariano Mores played a monumental part in the rise of the tango and a major effect on Argentinian culture as a whole. This song was premiered in 1952 during a governmental speech of President Juan D. Perón, which generated a strong political and cultural controversy between different views of the concepts of "cultured" music and "popular" music, as well as the links between both "cultures". Tango declined again in the 1950s, as a result of economic depression and the banning of public gatherings by the military dictatorships. That, boosted the popularity of rock and roll because, unlike tango, it did not require such gatherings. In 2009, the tango was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. There are two predominant theories regarding the origin of the word "tango." The African culture is credited by some scholars as the creator of this word. It is theorized that the word evolved from the Yoruba word, "shangó," which refers to the Nigerian God of Thunder; this theory suggests that the word “shangó” was morphed through the dilution of the Nigerian language once it reached South America via slave trade.
This theory is paralleled by another theory which believes that “tango” is derived from the Spanish word for drum, “tambor." This word was mispronounced by Buenos Aires’ impoverished and uneducated inhabitants to become "tambo," ultimately resulting in the common "tango." It is theorized that the word "'tango" is derived from the Portuguese word "tanger," which means "to play a musical instrument." Another Portuguese word, "tangomão," is a possible predecessor of the word "tango." The word is the combination of the verb "tanger" with the noun "mão", resulted in the verb "to play a musical instrument with one's hands.2" The tango consists of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and eras of Argentina as well as in other locations around the world. The dance developed in response to many cultural elements, such as the crowding of the venue and the fashions in clothing; the styles are danced in either open embrace, where lead and follow have space between their bodies, or close embrace, where the lead and follow connect either chest-to-chest or in the upper thigh, hip area.
Different styles of tango are: Tango vals Tango argentino Tango canyengue Tango Oriental Uruguayan tango Tango liso Tango salon Tango orillero Tango camacupense Tango milonguero Tango nuevo Contact tango Tango Valparaísino (from Valparaíso
In music, sampling is the reuse of a portion or sample of a sound recording in another recording. Samples may comprise rhythm, speech, or other sounds, they are integrated using hardware or software such as digital audio workstations. A process similar to sampling originated in the 1940s with musique concrète, experimental music created by splicing and looping tape; the term sampling was coined by in the late 1970s by the creators of the Fairlight CMI, an influential early sampler that became a staple of 1980s pop music. The 1988 release of the first Akai MPC, an affordable sampler with an intuitive interface, made sampling accessible to a wider audience. Sampling is a foundation of hip hop music, with producers sampling funk and soul records drum breaks, which could be rapped over. Musicians have created albums assembled from samples, such as DJ Shadow's 1996 album Endtroducing; the practice has influenced all genres of music and is important to electronic music, hip hop and pop. Sampling without permission can infringe copyright.
The process of acquiring permission for a sample is known as clearance, which can be a complex and costly process. Landmark legal cases, such as Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records Inc in 1991, changed how samples are used; as the court ruled that unlicensed sampling constitutes copyright infringement, samples from well known sources are now prohibitively expensive. In the 1940s, Pierre Schaeffer developed musique concrète, an experimental form of music created by recording sounds to tape, splicing them, manipulating them to create sound collages, he created pieces using recordings of sounds including the human body and kitchen utensils. The method involved the creation of tape loops, splicing lengths of tape end to end, by which a sound could be played indefinitely. Schaeffer developed a tape recorder, the Phonogene, which played loops at twelve different pitches triggered by a keyboard. Composers including John Cage, Edgar Varèse, Karheinz Stockhausen and Iannis Xenakis experimented with musique concrète, Bebe and Louis Barron used it to create the first electronic film soundtrack, for the 1956 science fiction film Forbidden Planet.
It was brought to a mainstream audience by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which used these early sampling techniques to produce soundtracks for shows including Doctor Who. In the 1960s, Jamaican dub reggae producers such as King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry began using pre-recorded samples of reggae rhythms to produce riddim tracks, which were deejayed over. Jamaican immigrants introduced dub sampling techniques to American hip hop music in the 1970s; the term sampling was coined by in the late 1970s by Kim Ryrie and Peter Vogel to describe a feature of their Fairlight CMI synthesizer. Designers of early samplers used the term to describe the technical process of the instruments, rather than to describe how users would use the feature. While developing the Fairlight, Vogel sampled around a second of a piano piece from a radio broadcast, discovered that he could imitate a real piano by playing the sample back at different pitches, he recalled in 2005: It sounded remarkably like a piano, a real piano.
This had never been done before... By today's standards it was a pretty awful piano sound, but at the time it was a million times more like a piano than anything any synthesiser had churned out. So I realised that we didn't have to bother with all the synthesis stuff. Just take the sounds, whack them in the memory and away you go. Compared to samplers, the Fairlight offered limited control over samples, it allowed control over pitch and envelope, could only record a few seconds of sound. However, its ability to sample and play back acoustic sounds became its most popular feature. Though the concept of reusing recordings in larger recordings was not new, the Fairlight's built-in sequencer and design made the process simple. According to the Guardian, the Fairlight was the "first world-changing sampler". Though it was it was unaffordable for most hobbyists, early users included Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Thomas Dolby, Duran Duran, Herbie Hancock, Todd Rundgren and Ebn Ozn. An early pulse-code modulation digital sampler was Toshiba's LMD-649, created in 1981 by engineer Kenji Murata for Japanese electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra, who used it for extensive sampling and looping in their 1981 album Technodelic.
The LMD-649 played and recorded PCM samples at 12-bit audio depth and 50 kHz sampling rate, stored in 128 KB of dynamic RAM. The success of the Fairlight inspired competitors, improving the technology and driving down prices dramatically. Early competitors included the E-mu Emulator and the Akai S950. Drum machines such as the Oberheim DMX and Linn LM-1 began incorporating samples of drum kits rather than generating sounds from circuits; the designers of early samplers anticipated that users would sample short sounds, such as drum hits or individual notes, to use as "building blocks" for compositions. However and producers began sampling longer passages of music. In the words of Greg Milner, author of Perfecting Sound Forever, "They didn't just want the sound of John Bonham's kick drum, they wanted to loop and repeat the whole of'When the Levee Breaks'." Roger Linn, designer of the LM-1 and MPC, said: "It was a pleasant surprise. After sixty years of recording, there are so many. Why reinvent the wheel?"In response to demand, samplers such as E-mu's SP-1200 were developed to allow users to store longer samples.
In 1988, Akai released the first MPC sampler, which allowed artists to assign samples to separate pads and trigger them independently to playing a keyboard or drum kit. It h
A sea shanty, chantey, or chanty is a type of work song, once sung to accompany labor on board large merchant sailing vessels. The term shanty most refers to a specific style of work song belonging to this historical repertoire. However, in recent, popular usage, the scope of its definition is sometimes expanded to admit a wider range of repertoire and characteristics, or to refer to a "maritime work song" in general. Of uncertain etymological origin, the word shanty emerged in the mid-19th century in reference to an appreciably distinct genre of work song, developed in American-style merchant vessels that had come to prominence in the decades prior to the American Civil War. Shanty songs functioned to synchronize and thereby economize labor in what had become larger vessels having smaller crews and operating on stricter schedules; the practice of singing shanties became ubiquitous internationally and throughout the era of wind-driven packet and clipper ships. Shanties had antecedents in the working chants of British and other national maritime traditions such as those sung while manually loading vessels with cotton in ports of the southern United States.
Shanty repertoire borrowed from the contemporary popular music enjoyed by sailors, including minstrel music, popular marches, land-based folk songs, which were adapted to suit musical forms matching the various labor tasks required to operate a sailing ship. Such tasks, which required a coordinated group effort in either a pulling or pushing action, included weighing anchor and setting sail; the shanty genre was typified by flexible lyrical forms, which in practice provided for much improvisation and the ability to lengthen or shorten a song to match the circumstances. Its hallmark was call and response, performed between a soloist and the rest of the workers in chorus; the leader, called the shantyman, was appreciated for his piquant language, lyrical wit, strong voice. Shanties were sung without instrumental accompaniment and speaking, they were only sung in work-based rather than entertainment-oriented contexts. Although most prominent in English, shanties have been created in or translated into other European languages.
The switch to steam-powered ships and the use of machines for shipboard tasks, by the end of the 19th century, meant that shanties ceased to serve a practical function. Their use as work songs became negligible in the first half of the 20th century. Information about shanties was preserved by veteran sailors and by folklorist song-collectors, their written and audio-recorded work provided resources that would support a revival in singing shanties as a land-based leisure activity. Commercial musical recordings, popular literature, other media since the 1920s, have inspired interest in shanties among landlubbers; the modern performance contexts of these songs have affected their forms, their content, the way they are understood as cultural and historical artifacts. Recent performances range from the "traditional" style of practitioners within a revival-oriented, maritime music scene, to the adoption of shanty repertoire by musicians in a variety of popular styles; the origin of the word "shanty" is unknown, though several inconclusive theories have been put forth.
One of the earliest and most offered derivations is from the French chanter, "to sing."The phenomenon of using songs or chants, in some form, to accompany sea labor preceded the emergence of the term "shanty" in the historical record of the mid-19th century. One of the earliest published uses of this term for such a song came in G. E. Clark's Seven Years of a Sailor's Life, 1867. Narrating a voyage in a clipper ship from Bombay to New York City in the early 1860s, Clark wrote, "The anchor came to the bow with the chanty of'Oh, Riley, Oh,' and'Carry me Long,' and the tug walked us toward the wharf at Brooklyn." While telling of another voyage out of Provincetown, Mass. in 1865, he wrote: Every man sprang to duty. The cheerful chanty was roared out, heard above the howl of the gale; the cable held hard, when it surged over, the windlass sent the men flying about the deck, as if a galvanic battery had been applied to their hands. The vessel's head was buried in the solid seas, the men and sweating, yelled out hoarsely, "Paddy on the Railway," and "We're Homeward Bound," while they tugged at the brakes, wound the long, hard cable in, inch by inch.
Additionally, Clark referred to a lead singer as a "chanty man", he referred to stevedores unloading cargo from the vessels as "chanty men" and a "chanty gang". This reference to singing stevedores as "chanty men" connects the genre to a still earlier reference to chanty-man as the foreman of a work gang and the lead singer of their songs. Around the late 1840s, Charles Nordhoff observed work gangs engaged in a type of labor called "cotton-screwing" in Mobile Bay. Characterized by Nordhoff as one of the heaviest sorts of labor, cotton-screwing involved the use of large jack-screws to compress and force cotton bales into the holds of outbound ships. Work gangs consisted of four men, who timed their exertions in turning the jack-screw to songs called chants. Singing, or chanting as it is called, is an invariable accompaniment to working in cotton, many of the screw-gangs have an endless collection of songs and uncouth, both in words and melody, but answering well the purposes of making all pull together, enlivening the heavy toil.
The foreman is the chanty-man, who sings the song, the gang only joining in the chorus, which comes in at the end of every line, at the end of which again comes the pull at the screw handles... The chants, as may be supposed, have more of rhyme than reason in them; the tunes are plaintive an
Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the early to mid-19th century and spread to the rest of the Caribbean Antilles and Venezuela by the mid-20th century. Its rhythms can be traced back to West African Kaiso and the arrival of French planters and their slaves from the French Antilles in the 18th century, it is characterized by rhythmic and harmonic vocals, is most sung in a French creole and led by a griot. As calypso developed, the role of the griot became known as a chantuelle and calypsonian; as English replaced "patois" as the dominant language, calypso migrated into English, in so doing it attracted more attention from the government. It allowed the masses to challenge the doings of the unelected Governor and Legislative Council, the elected town councils of Port of Spain and San Fernando. Calypso continued to play an important role in political expression, served to document the history of Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago. Calypso in the Caribbean includes a range of genres, including: the Benna in Barbuda.
It is thought that the name "calypso" was "kaiso", now believed to come from Efik "ka isu" and Ibibio "kaa iso", used in urging someone on or in backing a contestant. There is a Trinidadian term "cariso" that means "old-time" calypsos; the term "calypso" is recorded from the 1930s onwards. Alternatively, the insert for The Rough Guide to Calypso and Soca favours John Cowley's arguments in Carnival and Calypso: Traditions in the Making, that the word might be a corruption of the French carrouseaux and through the process of patois and Anglicization became caliso and finally "calypso". Calypso music was developed in Trinidad in the 17th century from the West African Kaiso and canboulay music brought by African slaves imported to that Caribbean island to work on sugar plantations; the slaves, brought to toil on sugar plantations, were stripped of all connections to their homeland and family and not allowed to talk to each other. They used calypso to communicate with each other. Many early calypsos were sung in French Creole by an individual called a griot.
As calypso developed, the role of the griot became known as a chantuelle and calypsonian. Modern calypso, began in the 19th century, a fusion of disparate elements ranging from the masquerade song lavway, French Creole belair and the calinda stick-fighting chantwell. Calypso's early rise was connected with the adoption of Carnival by Trinidadian slaves, including canboulay drumming and the music masquerade processions; the French brought Carnival to Trinidad, calypso competitions at Carnival grew in popularity after the abolition of slavery in 1834. The first identifiably calypso genre song was recorded in 1912, by Lovey's String Band while visiting New York City. In 1914, the second calypso song was recorded, this time in Trinidad, by chantwell Julian Whiterose, better known as the Iron Duke and famous calinda stick-fighter. Jules Sims would record vocal calypsos; the majority of these calypsos of the World War I era were instrumentals by Lovey and Lionel Belasco. Due to the constraints of the wartime economy, no recordings of note were produced until the late 1920s and early 1930s, when the "golden era" of calypso would cement the style and phrasing of the music.
Calypso evolved into a way of spreading news around Trinidad. Politicians and public figures debated the content of each song, many islanders considered these songs the most reliable news source. Calypsonians pushed the boundaries of free speech as their lyrics spread news of any topic relevant to island life, including speaking out against political corruption. British rule enforced censorship and police began to scan these songs for damaging content. With this censorship, calypsos continued to push boundaries, with a variety of ways to slip songs past the scrutinizing eyes of the editor. Double entendre, or double-speak, was one way, as was the practice of denouncing countries such as Hitler's Germany and its annexation of Poland, while making pointed references toward the UK's policies on Trinidad. Sex, gossip, politics, local news and insulting other calypsonians were the order of the day in classic calypso, just as it is today with classic hip-hop, and just as the hip-hop of today, the music sparked shock and outrage in moralistic sections of society.
Countless recordings were dumped at sea in the name of censorship, although in truth, rival US companies did this in the spirit of underhanded competition, claiming that the rivals' material was unfit for US consumption. Decca Records lost untold pressings in this manner, as did RCA's Bluebird label. An entrepreneur named Eduardo Sa Gomes played a significant role in spreading calypso in its early days. Sa Gomes, a Portuguese immigrant who owned a local music and phonograph equipment shop in Port of Spain, promoted the genre and gave financial support to the local artists. In March 1934, he sent Roaring Attila the Hun to New York City to record.