Origin of the Genre

Also called “party” musc, funk originated in the late 1960’s and became popular in the 1970’s. The creators of funk were rhythym and blues and jazz musicians. The elements of funk music comes from R&B and blues-styled horn arrangements, and vocal styling that goes hand and hand with soul music.

Characteristics

Funk music is characterized by strong bass lines, played by low pitched instruments with a heavy syncopated beat. Some common instruments involved in funk music are the bass guitar, electric guitar, drums, drum machine, and a hammond organ.

 

Social Implications

Funk was the transition period between segregation and post-civil rights society. During this period there was a lot of contradictory feelings of optimism and disillusionment, funk music was said to embody all of these emotions.

Important Performers

Some major influencers for the Funk genre were James Brown, and the group Sly and the Family Stone. Both James Brown, and the group broke barriers and redefined what it meant to be popular music for African Americans. Some major funk songs for James Brown was “Cold Sweat”, “There Was a Time”, and “I Got the Feeling”. Sly and the Family Stone incorporated technology that was common to rock music, such as the wah-wah pedal, fuzz box, echo chamber, and the vocal distorter. Sly also used his music to relay a message, this was heard in songs like “Dont Call Me Nigger, Whitey”, and “Thank You for Talkin’ to me Africa”.

Influences of Future Genres

Funk has a major influence on genres like Hip Hop and R&B. Hip Hop DJs and computer programmers brought life back to funk in the late 1980’s. They did this by sampling funk beats, funky bass lines, guitar, keyboard, and horn riffs. By doing this they created a new sound of music by uniting the past with the present.

 

Personaly, I believe funk music is a very fun genre compared to the genres that we’ve learned about previously. It seems funk music was the start of a laid back generation.