Genre History

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Genre History

Post by Decibel on December 5th 2007, 3:04 am

Alternative rock (also called alternative music or simply alternative; known primarily in the UK as indie) is a genre of rock music that emerged in the 1980s and became widely popular in the 1990s. The term "alternative" was coined in the 1980s to describe punk rock-inspired bands on independent record labels that did not fit into the mainstream genres of the time.[1] As a musical genre, alternative rock consists of various subgenres that have emerged from the independent music scene since the 1980s, such as grunge, Britpop, gothic rock, and indie pop. These genres are unified by their collective debt to the style and/or ethos of punk, which laid the groundwork for alternative music in the 1970s.[2]
Though the genre is considered to be rock, some of its subgenres are influenced by folk music, reggae, electronic music and jazz among other genres. At times alternative rock has been used as a catch-all phrase for rock music from underground artists in the 1980s, all music descended from punk rock (including punk itself, New Wave, and post-punk), and, ironically, for rock music in general in the 1990s and 2000s.
While a few artists like R.E.M. and The Cure achieved commercial success and mainstream critical recognition, many alternative rock artists during the 1980s were cult acts that recorded on independent labels and received their exposure through college radio airplay and word-of-mouth. With the breakthrough of Nirvana and the popularity of the grunge and Britpop movements in the early 1990s, alternative rock entered the musical mainstream and many alternative bands became commercially successful.

Rock music is a form of popular music with a prominent vocal melody accompanied by guitar, drums, and bass. Many styles of rock music also use keyboard instruments such as organ, piano, synthesizers,or simply electric Keyboard. Other instruments sometimes utilized in rock include harmonica, violin, flute,and banjo. Also, less common stringed instruments such as mandolin and sitar are used. Rock music usually has a strong back beat, and often revolves around guitar, either electric or acoustic.
Rock music has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll and rockabilly, which evolved from blues, country music and other influences. According to the All Music Guide, "In its purest form, Rock & Roll has three chords, a strong, insistent back beat, and a catchy melody. Early rock & roll drew from a variety of sources, primarily blues, R&B, and country, but also gospel, traditional pop, jazz, and folk. All of these influences combined in a simple, blues-based song structure that was fast, danceable, and catchy."[1]
In the late 1960s, rock music was blended with folk music to create folk rock, blues to create blues-rock and with jazz, to create jazz-rock fusion, and without a time signature to create psychedelic rock. In the 1970s, rock incorporated influences from soul, funk, and latin music. Also in the 1970s, rock developed a number of subgenres, such as soft rock, heavy metal, hard rock, progressive rock, and punk rock. Rock subgenres that emerged in the 1980s included synth-rock, hardcore punk and alternative rock. In the 1990s, rock subgenres included grunge, Britpop, indie rock, and nu metal.

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