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On the History of Rock Music

Yvetta Kajanová

On the History of Rock Music follows the development of rock music from its origins up to the present time. It focuses on the relationship between the sound, improvisations and rhythms in particular styles, and gives specific attention to the development of rhythm. The beat-offbeat principle, polyrhythms and polymetrics are fundamental to rock rhythm patterns, which serve as archetypes for specific rhythms. An archetype is a prototype, a model, or an innate experience of a species. Using more than 250 score examples, the author identifies the characteristic rhythmic patterns in rock styles, ranging from rock and roll, hard rock and punk rock to alternative rock, indie rock and grind core.
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Thorough research and analyses on the theory and history of rock music have not been published until recently. The reason for this stems from the relatively short history of rock music as a genre, which does not allow an adequate analytical perspective on the historical and artistic values of rock. Furthermore, the existing methodologies used in other areas of musicology cannot be directly applied to rock music, since rock has its own specific characteristics that differentiate it from other genres of music. The issue is further complicated because much previous research has coupled its analysis with non-musical disciplines such as sociology and other social sciences, business management, economics and aesthetics. With those aspects being perhaps the most commonly researched, rock encyclopaedias and dictionaries have mainly focused on the most successful bands and their songs, financial earnings, the songs’ highest rating in British and American charts and how many weeks they stayed there. Aesthetic and sociological works on rock music have tried to illuminate the importance of rock personalities, and their appeal to the listener, by examining both the musical subcultures and the social milieu of the listener. For example, Dieter Baacke, one of the first rock theoreticians, in Beat – die sprachlose Opposition1 identifies “criminals, and counter-cultural and rebellious group movements” as being associated with 1960s beat music. They organised protests without a clear purpose. Amongst the “criminals”, Baacke saw groups of “politically radical” students who based their ideas on theory and organized collective protests. The “beatniks” included bands, along with...

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