Rock and Roll is one of America’s favorite genres of music. From Elvis Presley to The Beatles, this genre of music has won the hearts of people everywhere. From teenagers in the start of its rise, to our parents today, Rock and Roll is highly appealing to people everywhere. Where did it all begin? That is a simple answer. R&B, a style very similar to Rock and Roll, is one of the most influential “parents” of Rock and Roll there ever was (ESSENTIAL QUESTION).
Ever since Rock and Roll was born in the 1950s, it has shown a strong resemblance to R&B. As R&B came right before Rock and Roll, it was thought that the style of Rock and Roll was a rip off, and was stolen from the R&B. The two styles of music are hardly distinguishable from each other, and can only be told apart by the symbols that represent each one (Gregory). Rock and Roll is more about materialistic things such as cars, sex, alcohol, and money, while R&B is more about expressing feelings and emotions, and it is harder to identify the exact symbols related to it (Gregory). Rock and Roll shares a lot with R&B, and is mainly a byproduct of it, but while it shares traits with R&B it also shares a few traits with other genres such as country, pop, and even western music (Ewen). A few of the traits of Rock and Roll are very easy to tell they did not come from R&B, but it is easy to tell they are from another genre such as country or pop.
R&B and Rock and Roll both use similar instruments. Both genres rely heavily on the drive of drums, as well as the vocals to a song. R&B uses instruments such as bass, drums, a vocalist, piano, electric guitar, and occasionally other instruments (Sadie). Rock and Roll uses keyboard/piano, electric guitar, bass, and vocals (Ewen). Rock and Roll hardly ever strays from the traditional instruments that it uses, while R&B varies instruments often. When the electric guitar was invented, the sound of R&B changed greatly, making it sound more like Rock and Roll versus its traditional sound, which might have helped to create the style of Rock and Roll in general(ESSENTIAL QUESTION).
While the instruments the two genres uses are the same, Rock and Roll and R&B each have different tones. Rock and Roll is very energetic and upbeat with a steady momentum, whereas R&B is sometimes slow and very thoughtful (Alfred Music Percussion). Rock and Roll has a 4/4 meter most of the time, mostly eighth-note beats, nine-measure phrases and has the first and fourth beats accented (Ewen). The eighth notes help to move the beat along, and the nine measure phrases help to make all of their thoughts fluid. R&B is slightly different in the style it uses. R&B is sometimes slow, with half note beats and short phrases. Other times it could be almost the same as Rock and Roll in style. Rock and Roll and R&B both rely heavily on who is singing the song in order to find the tone in the song.
Rock and Roll is a genre more attractive and appealing to whites, while R&B is more appealing to African Americans. It was said that R&B was not “safe” for whites, and that they could not handle it (Gaar). Rock, as it was later renamed, developed into a music for all races. When Rock began to make its big break with artists like Elvis Presley and Bill Haley, white people could not help but be drawn towards this new music. While black music listeners were glad that they could have something to themselves, they discovered that they were being ripped off by this new genre of music, and found that Rock was R&B renamed for whites (Ewen).
While Rock is a genre for white people, it is more of a genre for white teenagers but not adults. Teenagers fell in love with Rock right after they heard it. Elvis was a teenage heart throb, and parents were starting to question what was really going on when this genre was created. Rock was said to have fueled the rebellion of teenagers across the country against parents and society (Ewen). Parents started to believe that this genre of music was perfect for hiding “satanic messages” and other things that could harm their children. Parents began to ban Rock and other similar styles of music in their households, and started being more careful than ever with their children. But that did not stop teenagers. Teenagers continued to listen to the music, and without them, Rock would have never reached where it is today. R&B, on the other hand, is a music created for adults. With as much adult content as it holds, it is almost worse than Rock itself, and it is a surprise teens are not as drawn to it as they are to Rock.
R&B is a major influence as well as a crucial parent to Rock and Roll. Rock and R&B share many of the same characteristics such as instruments, mood, and purpose. Rock shows many of the same characteristics as R&B, and the two are hardly distinguishable, which leads America to believe that Rock and Roll was derived mainly from R&B. Rock is R&B because of all of the similar characteristics that it shares with R&B. Therefore, R&B is one of the most crucial parents to Rock and Roll
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