How Rock Music Was CreatedPosted by Mike Schuck
When people say that rock music was created in America, they mean it’s what gave birth to many of today’s popular genres — like punk or hip-hop. But beyond those two, there are several other subgenres that have emerged from American rock music.
One such genre is called alternative music. Alternative songs use simple chord structures and often feature melodies that seem unrelated until you understand them.
Another type is folk music. These types of songs focus more heavily on lyrics than alternative music does, but their catchy melodies make them very popular.
And then there’s hard rock, which features loud, heavy bass lines and guitars with lots of notes. People sometimes describe this style as “sexy.”
All these styles originated in America! Therefore, when people talk about how rock music was invented in America, they mean it was the source material for all these different types of music.
Thomas Edison invented the first recording device
In 1880, American inventor Thomas Edison designed what would become one of the most important inventions in history-the phonograph. He built his first model out of glass and metal, which he later improved upon with a plastic casing.
Edison called his new invention the “Talking Machine” because it could both record and playback conversations. It was very expensive at that time (about 5,000 dollars), but people loved it.
Many musicians have credited the talking machine with creating the genre we know as rock music.
Thomas Edison also coined the term “record”
In the late 1800s, inventor Thomas Edison invented an instrument that would change music forever-the gramophone!
Edison called his new device a disc recorder. He built several models of this device and eventually sold them to other musicians and companies for use in recording their songs. These devices are still used today to create recordings we listen to.
After Edison perfected the technology, he focused on developing another piece of equipment – the microphone. With a microphone, you can make a voice sound much bigger than it actually is, which means you can hear what individual parts of your song sound like more clearly.
Music producers have been using microphones since early radio days, but Edison made improving the quality of microphones a life goal. He conducted experiments with different materials and shapes, trying to find one that was very sensitive and did not break down when exposed to air or water.
His final design, which is now considered standard, was a large cone shaped box with open sides. This shape allowed air to flow into the mic while limiting how well moisture could penetrate the material. Because of these features, this type of mic is referred to as an electret condenser.
The gramophone was also invented
While not as well known, the gramophone is just as important to understand music creation as the microphone or guitar. In fact, it’s even more significant than the microphone because it allowed for mass production of sound recordings.
The gramophone was an early form of technology that we now know as record players. It consisted of a horn attached to a cylinder with magnets and a needle that stuck onto the surface of the recording. When you pressed play, the needle would stick into the groove of the recording, lifting out little pieces of magnet along the way. These bits were then amplified by the speaker, creating the effect we recognize today as a song!
This doesn’t mean the gramophone was inferior to other equipment at the time, though. Quite the opposite – it was incredibly efficient and cost-effective way to produce and distribute songs and media. Even better, once you got one, you could make as many copies of the song as you wanted!
That means there are lots of resources available for us to explore and learn about music making using the gramophone. You can use it to make your own songs, or you can find and listen to old ones.
Thomas Edison also invented the light bulb
In 1879, Thomas Edison was working on various projects at his laboratory in Menlo Park when he conceived of an idea for what would become one of America’s most well-known brands. While experimenting with different materials, Edison discovered that copper reacted to low frequency sounds and vibrations much more readily than it did higher frequencies.
He then experimented with using copper wire as a loudspeaker by rubbing two pieces of copper together and listening for changes in tone. When he did this, he noticed that some tones remained audible even after the connection had been broken many times. He called these special tones “static sparks.”
Edison thought that static electricity might be the cause of the effect, so he connected a microphone to a battery and earbuds while simultaneously rubbing the wires of his speaker together. To his surprise, the sound disappeared completely until he unplugged the headphones.
This inspired him to investigate whether or not electrical currents could be used to produce other types of music. So, he began conducting experiments related to recording and amplifying electric current. These experiments eventually led to the creation of the first practical gramophone — an instrument that is still in use today!
You may have heard of the term ‘recordist’ before. This is someone who records things (like conversations or songs) using a gramophone.
The phonograph was also invented
Recording sounds is an art form that has been around for quite some time! Artists have recorded things such as stories, songs, and lectures since the early days of humanity.
In 1877, American inventor Thomas Edison patented what would become one of the most important recording devices we use today-the gramophone or phonograph. He called his new invention “an apparatus for recording and replaying sound” but it became more popularly known as the gramaphone or simply the record.
Edison did not create records exclusively, though. He also created the cylinder microphone, which still finds uses in many audio production settings to this day.
Records were made out of thin sheets of plastic or glass with adhesive used to bind them together into a roll. These rolls could be played back quickly using a device attached to the gramophone.
The first person to make money off of recordings was Vladimir Ovechkin, a Russian musician who sold recordings of religious music he made himself. This didn't go over well with local clergy, however, so he had to find another way to make income from his craft.
Ovetchin began selling recordings of other people's work, including musical pieces and speeches. These recordings are now considered classics and earn him plenty of respect.
Thomas Edison also invented the microphone
In 1877, Thomas Edison was working on an early form of tape recorder when he realized that what people needed was someone to tell them how to record things. So, he designed and built his first device: the phonograph.
Edison called this new invention “The Talking Machine” because it could both listen to and speak words. It took him two years to develop the machine, but once he did, he marketed it aggressively.
Phonographs were expensive ($50-100 in 1920s dollars), however, so they weren’t very popular at first. But as time went on, more companies began making talking machines and thus creating the genre of music we know today.
Songs could now be recorded and listened to again and again due to the reusability of the medium. Also, since people no longer had to use a voice to put songs onto a recording, musicians found other ways to express themselves through song.
The radio was also invented
Before there were music studios, there were people singing songs out of rooms or using voice boxes to publish your own song lyrics. It’s possible to connect a microphone to a computer so that you can listen to yourself and make changes, but it is very difficult to do well!
In fact, most professional singers use a technique called recording with a producer. A producer gets a hold of a recording device (like a mic or earbud) and helps the artist get their performance into their own voice. They may suggest editing, re-recording lines, or creating new ones as needed.
Improvising lyrics is another way artists hone their talent. When musicians play together, they usually have a set list that includes some familiar tunes. By adding different lyrics for those songs, an artist can show off his or her ability to write their own material.
The tape recorder was also invented
Even before there were music companies, people gathered around radio stations to listen to what songs they played. Some even brought their own equipment so that they could play whatever song they wanted!
As we know, radios were broadcasted using electricity which is expensive. People would have to pay large bills every month to keep listening. It was difficult to share headphones too, as someone might need them for work or school later.
So many people began recording what songs they listened to via an instrument called a cassette recorder. These can be carried around and do not require much power to use, making it more affordable to enjoy music.
These cassettes are still used today in places like iPods and other digital recorders. Technically speaking, these gadgets do not create music themselves, but instead “record” it. A pre-recorded piece of music is inserted into a slot on the device, and then you can manipulate it and mix together new ones to make your own music!
I hope you enjoyed learning about how rock music was created by reading this article! If you had fun doing so, consider sharing it with your friends on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You can also leave a comment below.
The Jam Addict team is a revolving door of writers who care about music, its effects on culture, and giving aspiring artists tools and knowledge to be inspired and keep on creating.
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