All About The Funk

By Nelly Ruach

Funk music has been one of my favorite to learn about. This form of music allowed for the creative ability of a musician to be loose and free and create music that was fun and hip. This type of music had people up out of their chairs and on the dance floor to get their groove on!


This style of Music derived from the R&B era and had feels of soul and jazz that was a hit to the public between the 70’s and 80’s. 

Five States Of Funk Music

  • The First Stream: 1940s through 1950s
  • The Second Stream: mid 1950s through mid 1960s
  • Third Stream: 1960s through mid 1970s
  • Fourth Stream: 1970s through 1980s
  • Fifth Stream: 1990s into the new millennium

Famous Funk Artist Through The Times

James Brown


Stevie Wonder




Earth Wind & Fire


Curtis Mayfield


Sly & The Family Stone

Chaka Khan


Betty Davis


Aretha Franklin




Mavis Staples


Brides of Funkerstein





Four Characteristics Of Funk Music



This was the piece of funk that allowed for dance. It relied heavily on the use of the guitar and bass lines and generated hit songs such as Sex Machine and Super Freak.

Strong Downbeats Followed by 16th Note Grooves


A 16 note is always the length of a whole note. When a whole note consists of four beats, then the 16th note lasts for one quarter of a beat. Funk pioneer James Brown was famous for directing his band to play “on the one,” which meant he wanted strong downbeat accents. 

Seventh Chord Variants


Funk music relies on densely voiced chords, particularly 7th chords and variants such as major and minor 9th chords and 13th chords. Often these chords are sustained for multiple measures as a player locks into a groove.

Grooves Driven By Bass Guitar 


Some of the most influential funk musicians are bassists, including Bootsy Collins of Parliament-Funkadelic, and Larry Graham of Sly and the Family Stone.

Funk Music Influence On Other Genres

Funk music still has a hold as one of the most popular and prevalent music genres even now in the 21st century.


Funk music has found its popularity leaving it to be combined and mixed with other styles of music such as Disco, Soul, Hip Hop and much more.


Funk specifically has ties with the Hip Hop industry as artist were able to put their artistic abilities into combining the two and making many hits. Famous Producer Dr. Dre pioneered the G-Funk style that combines gangster rap with funk groves and masterfully merged the two together.

Works Cited

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