Rock music is one of the most popular genre music that initially originated in the USA as ‘rock and roll’ in the ‘50s, and later developed into a wide range of styles in the ‘60s, particularly in the UK and the US. It actually has its roots in ‘40s and ‘50s rock and roll. Rock and roll itself was to a great deal, influenced by country music, rhythm and blues. Rock music drew strongly from other genres like folk and electric blues and at the same time incorporating influences from classical and jazz. Rock I believe is most prominent through our lifetime, as much as it fills most of the space in my music collection as well as radio records. The biggest collection that can be seen in my music player is in the Rock genre.
Musically, rock centers on musicians favorite gadgets and instruments like the electric guitar, usually with electric bass guitar part, drums, and other electric musical gears. Rock is typically song-based music with a 4/4 signature and usually using a verse-chorus form. But then, the genre is becoming extremely diverse. Like the lyrics in pop music, rock music often stresses on romantic love but it also addresses a variety of themes, frequently political or social in emphasis. The dominance by white male musicians in rock has been considered as one of the key factors determining the themes explored in the genre. Rock places higher emphasis on the ideology of genuineness or authenticity than other genres like pop music. And unlike other genres, rock places a far more emphasis on musicianship and live performances.
By the late ‘60s, referred to as the “classic rock” or “golden age” period, a range of distinct rock music or rather subgenres had started emerging. Rock music had sealed its prominent place in radio top hits broadcast by this time. The variety of subgenres includes hybrids like country rock, folk rock, blue rock, jazz-rock fusion and raga rock.
New genres that later emerged included progressive rock, glam rock etc. Progressive rock extended most of the the artistic elements that we now know. Glam rock highlighted visual style and showmanship. The most enduring and diverse subgenre was of course, the heavy metal which emphasized speed, volume and power.
By the 2nd half of the ‘70s, punk rock emerged strong reacting against rather inauthentic and overblown perception in the genres. Punk was a significant influence into the ‘80s on the other subgenres that subsequently developed such as post punk, new wave and the alternative rock movement. From the ‘90s alternative rock started dominating rock music. It later made its break-through into the mainstream in the form of Britpop, Grunge, & indie rock. Since then, fusion subgenres like rap rock, rap metal and pop punk. There were conscious attempts to revisit the history of rock in further subgenres like garage rock or post punk and yes synthpop revivals with the beginning of the millennium.
This grand genre of music has also served as a vehicle for social and cultural movements, its embodiments led to major sub-cultures like rockets and mods in the United Kingdom in the ‘60s. And in the US, it was the hippie counterculture spread from San Francisco. Similarly, the 1970s punk culture generated the visually distinctive emo and goth sub-cultures. Inheriting the so called protest songs and its folk tradition, rock music has come to be associated with changes in social attitudes to race, sex and drug use, as well as political activism. Rock music is often seen also as an expression of the modern youth’s revolt against adult conformity and consumerism.