American's Music Taste
James Fenimore Cooper, an early American writer, once said, "The All1eri-cans are almost ignorant of the art of music." If that was once true, you would never know it today. Most Americans -even those without a musical bone in their bodies -have a favorite style of music. Many people enjoy classical and folk music from around the world. But other popular music styles in America were "made in the U.S.A."
The 1950s saw the development of an explosive new music style: rock 'n' roll. Performers like Elvis Presley and songs like Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" made rock music widely popular. This powerful music style addresses issues like love, sex, drugs, politics and death. Often it rebels against the accepted values of society. Rock concerts, featuring loud music and sometimes weird stage acts, have become a major part of American youth culture. Music videos on television have spread the message of rock to the far comers of the globe.
And the beat goes on. Pop music represents popular styles- like the music of Karen Carpenter -that have wide appeal. "Golden oldies" from the past bring back pleasant memories for many. Rap music, which burst onto the music scene in the 1970s, is actually more like a rhyming chant. Rappers give a strong -sometimes vulgar -message about life in the streets.
Americans have always been a religious people, and music has long been a part of their religious experience, as well. From colonial days, hymns and praise songs have enhanced worship. Negro spiritual" such as "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," reflect hope in God in the midst of suffering. Today's Christian styles fit all musical tastes - from country to jazz to pop to rock to rap.
In America, music is a shared experience. People grow up with piano lessons, chorus classes and marching band practices. They can talk about their tastes in music when there isn't anything else to talk about. If James Fenimore Cooper were here today, he would surely have to change his tune.