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The man that has no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils. . . Let no such man be trusted.
(William Shakespeare - The Merchant of Venice, 5. 1. 83-88)
The first few pages outline the roots of the earliest known British music and begin to explain where the UK's musical traditions came from. Wales and Northern Ireland. In the 1960s. the idea of music pre-dates written history and many tunes have had to be 'carried on' by what is known as 'oral tradition' or singing from memory songs which you have heard sung by another person. Since then. of one kind or another. travellers and even returning Crusaders all played their part in our rich and exciting cultural evolution. has been around for almost as long as people. . • Music from the United Kingdom has always enjoyed great popularity. as well as undergoing a renaissance in the ancient forms of folk music indigenous to England. Troubadors. Scotland. The United Kingdom has had an influence on modern music worldwide which is disproportionate to its population. a wave of musicians helped to popularise rock and roll. • The composition of art song in England and English-speaking countries has a long history.Music .the British tradition • Music. the United Kingdom has produced numerous popular in far-ranging fields from heavy metal to folk rock and drum and bass. beginning with lute song in the late 16th century and continuing today. In fact.
1Medieval music • Early church music was monophonic. Its simplicity does not mean that it is lacking in interest. solemn and ritualistic. unadorned melody. Music in England • 2.2. where the tune follows the rhythm of the words. it was simple. That is. As its name implies. It is also known as Gregorian chant. and many of the more famous plainsong chants have been used by composers as material for more complex works. . the whole choir sang the same melody in the form known as plainchant. the smoothly modulating lines of melody at times achieve a remarkable beauty.
but most frequently three to six. • A madrigal is a type of secular vocal music composition. . delightful and moving. with the number of voices varying from two to eight. capable of communicating many moods. Throughout most of its history it was polyphonic and unaccompanied by instruments.2 Elizabethan music: the madrigal • From popular ballads to solemn church music and the sophisticated music of the court. By Shakespeare's time the music of the Church. comedies and tragedies. and the stage had become sophisticated and varied. • If the medieval "Agincourt Carol" announced smugly that God was on the side of the English. the Elizabethan poets and musicians were more subtle. Elizabethan music was varied and inventive. written during the Renaissance and early Baroque eras. the Court.• 2. Virtually all plays. used music to heighten the drama. They merely suggested in allegory that Elizabeth was herself a goddess. The part song had reached a superb peak in the madrigal.
in Westminster Abbey or St. The comedies are full of song and the gentle twanging of the lute. . • On the stage. sometimes the music was played on the stage itself. the love songs. the ballads. and there were even occasions when it was played under the stage to achieve an eerie effect.3 Shakespeare and music • Shakespeare would have heard in the Court and in the houses of the educated the sophisticated madrigals and instrumental music of Thomas Morley. those that do illustrate the variety and melodic inventiveness of the music of the period. and around the streets of London he would have heard ageless folk music: the street cries. while the tragedies and histories echo with the ceremonial sound of trumpets and drums.• 2. There was a special musicians gallery above the stage. music played an important role. • Only a few of the original settings of songs Shakespeare wrote have survived. Paul's he would have heard the masses of William Byrd.
.• 2. anthems. Many church composers also wrote music for the Court. and motets from composers who continued to write. despite upheavals in the official religion of England.4 English church musicians • The strong (and continuing) tradition of English church choral music produced masses.
from the bass violist to the player of the tabor and pipe. the cries of all those who had wares to sell. .• 2. drinking songs.6 Still dancing • Street musicians. There were many broadside ballads and songs published in the period. frequented markets and busy areas. • The markets were alive with music of a different kind. and there were of course traditional folk songs. and dances. much as street buskers do today.
Like lutes and guitar. .• 2. the fiddle. the viol was fitted with frets (another word that gave rise to punning). The ancestor of the modern guitar was the cittern. • As is the case today. string instruments were either plucked or bowed.7 Some of the instrumentsMartial and stirring. or suave and courtly: there were instruments for every mood and occasion. The viol was considered more refined than the precursor of the modern violin. was favoured by street performers while the lute was more courtly. or gittern. • Bowed instruments were also subject to class distinctions. folksy and entertaining. "da gamba" in the viol picured in the graphi means that it was large enough to be held between the legs.
. Although the stress was on entertainment. the first music halls appeared in suburban London. The early 1800s brought "saloons" offering variety acts and booze. alcohol flowed. When the Theatre Act of 1843 declared that such establishments would only be licensed if run as theatres. to the delight of customers and the ongoing profit of proprietors. and outdoor musical "pleasure gardens" flourished in the 1700s.1 The place where it all happened • British taverns had provided musical entertainment since medieval times. with some going so far as to add theatres to their original structures.A Song and a Pint • 3.
rowdy time. Audiences were seated on benches surrounding huge plank tables. political debates. read. Mediocre acts were booed off the stage. But the atmosphere was far from prayerful. drink. • With women and children in the audience. as well as spoofs of the rich and famous. The temperance movement complained that the halls encouraged heavy drinking among both men and women. Every act had to deliver solid entertainment – or else! • The audience often joined in singing popular songs. with a fenced-in sanctuary for the performance area and pipe organs to accompany the singers. some of the earliest music halls looked like churches. • Instead of a proscenium stage. Performers were often ignored as business deals. Most music hall songs were sentimental and/or comic takes on everyday life.2 Atmosphere • While everyone went for the music and comedy. and settle in for hours.• 3. Those who were not tough enough to take such treatment soon sought other forms of employment. A few booze-free halls opened but soon faded. and cheered-on favorite performers. The British public went to the music halls to kick back and have a good. romantic assignations and a general hubbub filled the air. where they could eat. . there is no question that the availability of liquor was part of the music hall's appeal. not a subdued experience. the material was never more than mildly risqué. particularly among the lower classes. but these rejections were more spirited than vicious.
Her stage humor ranged from the wholesome to the risqué. Playwright and poet T.4 Popular Stars • Surviving recordings make it clear that few music hall stars had good voices.• 3. Like their vaudeville counterparts in the U. their primary qualifications were energy and personality. Marie Lloyd was one of the most beloved music hall stars. Eliot explained her appeal this way – .. Lloyd always adapted her act to the audience at hand. S. The best music hall performers had both in abundance. One of her songs was "She Sits Among Her Cabbages and Peas" – a title that sounds less innocent than it looks. winning almost universal affection.S.
and the best music hall songs are still sung in some London pubs. but no longer as the single dominant form of popular entertainment in Britain. Stage stars Vesta Tilley. They continued in the interwar period. and the cheapening of the gramophone damaged it enormously. Lupino Lane and Gracie Fields as well as film legends Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin got their start in the music halls.Some halls were still in operation after World War II. . Swing and Big Band dance music. The arrival of radio. as well as with cinema.• 3.5 Curtain • Music halls went into a gradual decline after the introduction of talking films. It now had to compete with Jazz. but the British never did let a good habit die easily. The music halls gave the British public a solid tradition of popular musical theatre.
a great wave of continental musicians emigrated to seek fame and fortune. one of the pleasure-gardens such as Vauxhall or Ranelagh to hear the latest concertos and songs. Amongst these of course was the great George Frederick Handel. This was chiefly the result of a comparatively stable democratic Government and a flourishing international trade with a growing number of colonies supported by trusted financial institutions. in London. • Consequently. many industrious and successful merchants. . 18th Century English Music • Britain in the Eighteenth Century witnessed a period of unprecedented prosperity. traders. not surprisingly.4. Thus England become the vibrant musical centre of Europe to which. craftsmen and professionals (the new 'middle' class) found they had the time and money to visit opera houses. music clubs or.
. Hendel • The leading figure in British music of the early 18th century was a naturalized Briton. the Messiah) virtually set the British taste in music for the next 200 years.F. • Although he was born in Germany. sacred drama and choral music (above all.2 G. George Frideric Handel. and the Music for the Royal Fireworks) and his opera. he played a defining role in the music of the UK.• 4. • His orchestral music (such as the Water Music.
. especially the blues. were adapting African American rock and roll for mainstream audiences. Indigenous styles of music production and performance dominated the United Kingdom until the late 1950s. In the aftermath of World War 2. American media was popular. a legion of American musical innovators. when imported American rock and roll. and the images on TV made it appear as though American teens were able to purchase much that the British could not. Many consumer goods were not available. the economy was still performing poorly. and the British youth grew infatuated with the apparent wealth of their American counterparts.5. The economy of the United States was booming. and American folk bands like The Weavers were fomenting a roots revival of old time music. found its own devoted fanbase. pop-folk and rockabilly gained fans among British youth. including Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. Late 20th century – Blues & Rock’n’Roll • 5. • At the same time.1 The aftermath of the World War 2 • The roots of British popular music for the rest of the 20th century and into the next were set during the 1950s. and there was little high-wage labor. while American roots music.
Few countries. and glam rock arose with artists such as David Bowie. and sixties music. and in some cases reformed. American rock had spread across the globe. who soon made it their own. can still be found today performed by re-formed. towards an American folk form called the blues. yet passionate. The United Kingdom proved itself an exception. The Animals. developed heavy metal music. and other British artists played pop and rock with grit and swagger. By the mid-1950s. By the mid-1960s. In the late 1960s. • The Beatles. bands. leading to the term British Invasion. rockabilly. Surviving 60s musicians. however. Mott the Hoople and Slade The British rock scene veered into more experimental directions. the British soon looked past the dance stars and R&B performers into the roots of rock. Genesis and The Moody Blues.2The british invasion • American rock and roll caught on among British youth. were able to sustain their own rock traditions. foreign and exciting. Lyrically and instrumentally simple. The Kinks.• 5. Led Zeppelin and contemporaries such as Black Sabbath (as well as American bands such as Blue Cheer). The Who. such as in the Canterbury Scene and the further evolution and popularization of progressive rock bands such as King Crimson. and rock and roll. . Procol Harum. By the end of the 1960s. and British rock soon became more popular than American. In contrast to American listeners. The Rolling Stones. rhythm and blues and other forms of popular music mixed in the UK. however. the blues seemed exotic. The Yardbirds. British psychedelic rock was reaching its peak of influence. British blues soon became a distinct genre. British rock dominated charts over much of the world.
Their clothes. During their career. vocals).3Rock’n’Roll • 5.3.1The Beatles • The Beatles were a rock and pop band from Liverpool. ranging from Tin Pan Alley to psychedelic rock. . the group primarily consisted of John Lennon (rhythm guitar. vocals). After the band broke up in 1970. vocals) and Ringo Starr (drums. Although their initial musical style wasrooted in 1950s rock and roll and skiffle. England that formed in 1960. style and statements made the trend-setters. Paul McCartney (bass guitar. vocals). all four members embarked upon successful solo careers. George Harrison (lead guitar.5. the group worked with different musical genres. while their growing social awareness saw their influence extend into the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s.
In 2004. The Beatles released more than 40 different singles. The Beatles topped it. albums. The Beatles' innovative music and cultural impact helped define the 1960s. In the United Kingdom. and their influence on pop culture is still evident today. Billboard magazine released a list of top-selling Hot 100 artists to celebrate the chart's fiftieth anniversary. earning more number one albums than any other group in UK chart history. Rolling Stone magazine ranked The Beatles number one in its list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. selling over one billion records internationally. . In 2008. and EPs that reached number one.• The Beatles were one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands in the history of popular music. According to that same magazine.
films and video games.• The Beatles' influence on rock music and popular culture was—and remains—immense. a resonating glass bottle or a tape loaded the wrong way round so that it played backwards. • The Beatles redefined the album as something more than just a small number of hits padded out with "filler" tracks. urging experimentation and regularly demanding. treating the studio as an instrument in itself and working closely with recording engineers. and incorporated the resulting sounds into their music. The Beatles became the first entertainment act to stage a large stadium concert when they opened their 1965 North American tour at Shea Stadium. which along with their other experimentation created techniques which were widely adopted by others. are commonplace as a feature of TV shows. In the recording studio The Beatles took innovative approaches to the use of technology. They were also pioneers in the use of sampling. A large number of artists have acknowledged The Beatles as a musical influence or have had chart successes with covers of Beatles songs. . examples being accidental guitar feedback. and parodies involving them. and they were the originators in the United Kingdom of the now common practice of releasing video clips to accompany singles. They affected attitudes to fashion worldwide when in the 1960s there was widespread imitation of their haircuts and clothing. "Just try it […] it might just sound good". References to The Beatles. At the same time they constantly sought ways to put chance occurrences to creative use.
was removed from the official lineup in 1963 but continued to work with the band as road manager and keyboardist until his death in 1985. deemed unsuitable as a teen idol. .• The Rolling Stones • The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in 1962 in London when multi-instrumentalist Brian Jone and pianist Ian Stewart were joined by vocalist Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards. Stewart. Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early lineup.
and have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide. In 1989 The Rolling Stones were inclucted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. ultimately making the styles their very own. Sticky Fingers (1971) began a string of eight consecutive studio albums that charted at number one in the United States. and have never stopped playing live or recording cover songs. reggae. eight concert albums (nine in the US) and numerous compilations.• First popular in the UK and Europe. country. Their latest album. folk. as well as traditional English styles that use stringed instrumentation like harps. and in 2004 they were ranked number 4 in Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The band's career is marked by a continual reference and reliance on musical styles like American blues. A Bigger Bang. was released in 2005. world music exemplified by the Master Musicians of Jajouka. Their image of unkempt and surly youth is one that many musicians still emulate. The Rolling Stones have released 22 studio albums in the UK (24 in the US). The Rolling Stones came to the US during the early 1960s "British Invasion". The band cut their musical teeth by covering early rock and roll and blues songs. • The Rolling Stones are notable in modern popular music for assimilating various musical genres into their recording and performance. . dance.
Other Bands: The Who Iron maiden Led Zeppelin Black Sabbath The Cure Judas Priest Deep Purple Pink Floyd The Sex Pistols … .