Origin of the Genre
- Funk music was created in the 1960’s by black artists as a new danceable rhythmic mix of jazz, R & B, and Soul. The name “Funk” is used to describe the funky, groovy sounds heard over funk records that make listeners want to dance.
Characteristics of the Genre
- Funk music places an emphasis on the bassline with instruments like the bass guitar and the drums. Its sounds mesh together like interlocking grooves with multiple layers.
- This genre was gained its popularity after the Civil Rights Movements of the 1960’s. It incorporated both feelings of optimism and despair that was felt during this period. The sound of Funk was seen as revolutionary in its representation of urban black life.
- Bands and artists such as Earth, Wind, & Fire, Parliament, The Gap Band, and James Brown were notable funk artists. James is however, noted for the invention of the “groove” that characterizes funk music with an emphasis on the down beat. Their music broke barriers and gave people a new sound that was extremely addictive.
- The commodification of Funk music was wide spread with appearances of bands on the radio and television shows, especially Soul Train, which highlighted the black culture of the time.
Influences of Future Genres
- Funk gave way to the techno sounds of 80’s pop and hip-hop. It’s electric sounds can be heard in pop, R&B, and hip hop songs today.
- Funk, one of my favorite genres of black music, was the pioneer of so many of the sounds of music that we know and love today.
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