Monday, September 29, 2014

Genre Research Project 69/1361: Reggae

Reggae is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that was strongly influenced by traditional mento and calypso music, as well as American jazz and rhythm and blues, and the evolved out of the earlier genres ska and rocksteady.

Stylistically, reggae incorporates some of the musical elements of rhythm and blues, jazz, mento, calypso , African, and Latin American music, as well as other genres. One of the most easily recognizable elements is offbeat rhythms; staccato chords played by a guitar or piano (or both) on the offbeats of the measure. The tempo of reggae is usually slower than ska and rocksteady. The concept of "call and response" can be found throughout reggae music.

The bass guitar often plays the dominant role in reggae. The bass sound in reggae is thick and heavy, and equalized so the upper frequencies are removed and the lower frequencies emphasized. The guitar in reggae usually plays on the off beat of the rhythm. It is common for reggae to be sung in Jamaican Patois, Jamaican English, and Iyaric dialects. Reggae is noted for its tradition of social criticism in its lyrics, although many reggae songs discuss lighter, more personal subjects, such as love and socializing.


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