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How Classic Rock Changed Music

Page history last edited by Eric Kroepel 9 years, 8 months ago

How Classic Rock Changed Music


              During the music age in the 1960s and 1970s, popular bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd were touring across the nation, bringing in millions of dedicated fans of rock ‘n’ roll. The genre gave music a new name, “Classic Rock” meaning a creation of the highest excellence to the rock composition. When the genre hit the music industry, many talented musicians from across the world were playing their instruments in a classic rock band. Classic Rock was influenced from the blues as the musicians increased the tempo of the music and gave it an overall intense groove to the beat. The singer mostly sang about the hard situations in their days of growing up and the problems of the world at that time. Classic Rock can be seen as the origin and influence of most modern day music. Since then, technology has made producing music much easier while it draws away from the real definition of “music”. The Classic Rock era ended in the early 1980s, adding the hair metal genre trying to be considered as "Classic Rock." Classic rock has inspired many genres of music through the new unique sound, use of more virtuosic performers and the freedom of having no rules with the way people expressed themselves musically and physically.


            Classic Rock originated through the blues since the young people of the generation wanted music with more energy and songs they could call their own. The music was primarily focused on expressing oneself through lyrics in a song to share their message with everyone who will listen. As music has control over emotions, the mood produced in this music could range from rebellion to bad romances, but the genre mostly had a partying type of sound.  The term “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” comes from Classic Rock because of the musical sound. Performers would tour around their area (sometimes internationally), to play their music and party with their fans, literally leading to sex, drugs and rock and roll. “Do what you want” is the idea Classic Rock gave to people as marijuana and alcohol were being used more while partying or jamming out. People dressed and acted in a more peaceful manner by wearing tie-dye shirts and peace symbols, while others protested the war and fought for civil rights. The ultimate message of Classic Rock is to enjoy the music, experiment drugs and to respect one another. Woodstock was the number one concert of Classic Rock. The concert took place in a big country field in New York in 1969. “Three Days of Peace and Music” was the slogan used, and it offered everybody a free area to listen to legendary performers and party for three days. Watching one stage where various bands played day and night, through rain and lightning, doing drugs, having sex and having the time of their life is what a guest of Woodstock would claim. There were no fights, everybody got along, there was no need for buying water, food or blankets since everybody brought free goods for the next three days. This shows why Classic Rock has done its job.


            Technology in sound engineering has greatly increased since the Classic Rock era. Producing a song today is much easier due the technology of audio editing and newly developed methods on guitar. Digital audio editing today allows musicians to be corrected through a program. This program lets audio engineers adjust the pitch of the singer’s voice or any other sound to fit a certain musical note, therefore if a singer isn’t in key, adjustments can be made in the recording to fit the desired key. Forty or fifty years ago, musicians never heard the two words “digital editing” in the same sentence. Digital audio editing is just one of many ways technology has changed the way people play music. Instead of relying on technology, musicians relied on their creativity. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin played the guitar with a violin bow and produced a unique sound that is appealing to the ear. The Classic Rock legend Eddie Van Halen pioneered “tapping” which allows a guitarist to play a different sound that was never thought of as a guitar technique before. Musicians these days use technology to cover the flaws in their sound, which takes away the real meaning of music: effort and creativity. While the Classic Rock players didn’t have much to work with, the musicians would play more intensely during live performances and recordings, opposed to the digital audio editing done to music today such as the “Pop” music genre.


            The unique sound of Classic Rock became popular short after the “Rock N’ Roll/Blues” era. The fundamentals of a Classic Rock band includes one guitarist who uses pentatonic scales and blues chord progressions, a bassist using major scales or pentatonic scales, a drummer usually in 4/4 timing which is a common time speed used in music, and last but not least a singer who usually (male or female) uses their own sound to establish the message in the song which was about either hard times or partying. Many different families of various instruments were introduced in the music of Classic Rock. In the guitar family, the mandolin and sitar are used to give off a more Middle Eastern style of playing. Bongos and rotary are in the drum family, which introduced an African style of drumming and played with either the tip of the fingers joined together or drum sticks as a normal set would be played. Little instruments such as the cowbell and maracas were used by the singer to add to the beat or give a unique sound to the overall musical composition. These four piece bands have limited instruments and endless ideas to compose a song not only with a variety of emotions, but an alive, striking sound overall.


            More virtuosic performers came about and integrated their skill into Classic Rock. Virtuosic performers are very skilled musicians; they show their experience with their instrument through different technical displays, showing how fast they can play and how accurate and precise they can be. Solos show the technicality, flow and knowledge of the instrument performed by a talented guitar player, bassist, or drummer. Since everything wasn’t as advanced in the 60s and 70s as it is now, most of the musicians were poor or didn’t come from good neighborhoods. Lessons and schooling might have been available at the time, but sure not affordable. That did not stop the musicians, however, as they obtained any knowledge they could and kept playing their instrument everyday, practicing almost non-stop. This dedication is what brought a new unique style and many bands to their feet.


            Classic Rock concerts were more like giant parties and the band was the host. The bands would talk to the audience and the audience would reply back, as like most of the concerts today. However, the bands not only changed the style of music, but also the way people acted towards each other, experiments with drugs and the way people presented themselves. The music is based on hard times and how to rid of these hard times by letting loose. Peace came into the picture with people protesting against the war and treating one another the best they could. Woodstock came into the picture right in the middle of the era, producing “The Hippie Movement”, where massive amounts of people smoked marijuana anywhere they could, especially while listening to Jimi Hendrix or Aerosmith. Anyone who could be caught smoking a joint or listening to Classic Rock can be considered a “hippie”.


          Many different bands in the late 1970s and early 1980s are said to be the end of Classic Rock, such as Nirvana, as they produced a new genre called Alternative Rock. Classic Rock music was going out of style as technology grew and brought in many new methods and sounds of music. The environment and government changed as well with the music, a new generation of style was born as well as new laws and regulation by the government. The whole style of music changed in directions, different instruments were introduced, and more performers used more trends. However, the soul of the music has not died fully, as it still exists in many Classic Rock inspired bands of today who produce excellent music. Many genres of music have fallen off the real definition of music; it seems music is more about becoming famous or rich rather than taking the time and appreciating the real value of an instrument and its sound. Classic Rock showed the “go one more step” in music by the new unique sound produced, virtuosic performers with different musical displays and ability to move people through a strong, truthful, emotional sound. “Who is there that, in logical words, can express the effect music has on us? A kind of inarticulate, unfathomable speech, which leads us to the edge of the Infinite and lets us for moments gaze into that!” - Thomas Carlyle

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