Characteristics & Origin

Funk can carry different means for different people. Some might describe this genre as a “form of expression…a good feeling…life…love”. It originated in the 1960s but became extremely popular in the 1970s. It is characterized as having borrowed elements from many genres including R&B styled horn arrangements, jazz-orientated solos, rock-oriented solos and guitar timbres, and vocal styling associated with soul music. Funk is upbeat, groovy, and highly syncopated. Its strong rhythmic accents and bass lines make it impossible to sit still to. A key characteristic of Funk is that it utilized the rhythm of “one.” There was always a musical emphasis on the first beat, which was coined and made popular by James Brown. 

Important Funk Artists


James Brown’s “Say It Loud, I’m Black and Proud”

  • Great for the Black Power Movement which overlapped with the Civil Rights Movement

  • Encouraged the sense of Black pride


Kool and The Gang’s Jungle Boogie

  • Known as the “happy music” and “party music”

  • Described as “form of escapism from social problems

Social Implications & Commodification

The genre funk was perfect for the time period 1960s-1970s. In this time period there was a transition from segregation to a post-civil rights society. The feelings of Black pride, optimism, ambivalence, disillusionment and despair was apparent in the music and as well as in the real world. Funk reveals the resilience and creativity of African Americans under changing social and economic conditions.

Because of the popularity funk music was gaining internationally, Black musicians were given the opportunity to travel and make money off of their talents.

Conclusory Opinions

 Funk is a way of life. Funk represents the bad and good times. Funk provides an escape. Because of this, funk has become my favorite genre. In this genre, the topics that were covered was good times, relationships, police brutality,Black pride, voting, etc. If I could describe funk I would say it is a Black thing.

James Brown

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All About The Funk

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That Funky Funk

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Perseverence: Chaka Khan

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The Versatility of Funk

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Let’s Go to Funky Town!

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Funk is…By: Brooke and Di

Funk is a music genre that originated in the mid-1960s when African American musicians created a rhythmic, danceable new form of music through a mixture of soul music, jazz, and rhythm and blues (R&B). Funk de-emphasizes melody and chord progressions used in other related genres and brings a strong rhythmic groove of a bass line played by an electric bassist and a drum part played by a drummer to the foreground. Like much of African-inspired music, funk typically consists of a complex groove with rhythm instruments playing interlocking grooves. Funk uses the same richly-colored extended chords found in bebop jazz, such as minor chords with added sevenths and elevenths, or dominant seventh chords with altered ninths.


Funky Sounds

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