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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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Experimental Rock

← 42 | 43 → Experimental Rock


is a term used for rock music from the second half of the 1960s, especially for the compositions of the Velvet Underground (1965) and Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention (1965). Both deviated from the established conventions and practices in rhythm, sound, improvisation, harmony and musical forms (for example in abandoning the simple song form and their experiments in rondo, fantasy and suite forms). These constructions were most obvious in the second era of hard rock (1967 – 1979) when elements such as irony, parody, recycling of motifs and motif insertion into new contexts began to appear in rock music. Musical theatre was a distinctive part of the experimental rock groups’ compositions, particularly those of Frank Zappa26.

Frank Zappa and the Velvet Underground introduced a new element in their compositions by disregarding the principle of contrast and replacing it with a flow and expansion principle through which they approached the aesthetic of minimal music. The principle of contrast had hitherto been a natural component of rock music.27

In working with rhythm, rock musicians first introduce the principal pattern whose structure can indicate a change of style in rock music. After the introduction the principal pattern is repeated and restructured in various combinations with accent and structure shifts to create new musical features. The musicians and the audiences focus their attention on those features rather than the form of the whole composition. Such repetitions and combinations of rhythmic patterns together with the accents and structure shifts are the principles...

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