American Popular Music and the World
Andrew Killick [+]
University of Sheffield
Having covered all the main roots of the American music tree, we now turn to the trunk and branches. American popular music is discussed as a distinctive cultural phenomenon in itself, describing it from an outsider’s perspective (as we have done for other cultures discussed in this book) to show how things that insiders tend to take for granted are actually the product of a specific culture and history. For all its diversity of styles, in comparison with other musical cultures of the world the American popular music culture is shown to be founded on a relatively unified set of musical practices and principles. In summarizing what these are, we reinforce the knowledge of musical terms and concepts that has been built up through previous chapters and pave the way for exploring different musical principles in the rest of the book. We also examine how American popular music has come to be globalized as a shared musical “language” that is understood around the world and spoken with a fascinating variety of local “dialects,” some of which are discussed in later chapters.