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Funk Music Elements Essay

624 words - 3 pages

Funk was a revolutionary African-American movement in 1960’s pop music for its
danceable rhythms, soul and it’s new attitude to American social problems of the era. Funk
music provided creativity, originality, new stylistic clothing trends and sex apeal that
intigued audiences around the country. We hear attributes of funk music on our radios
today, sampling and techniques are taken to add that special foot tapping sensation to
modern music. But what is it that makes Funk so special?

Funk Music is musical genre that originated in the mid 1960s when African- American
musicians mixed elements of Soul, Blues, Pyschadelic Rock and Jazz to create a new
sound. Funk doesn’t focus on melody or harmony like genres before them, instead its
intent is the rhythmic quality within syncopated value on various instruments. Funk
traditionally has no harmonic pace, this divides it from Rnb and Soul. It instead uses an
improvisational ...view middle of the document...

Rhythm
The Rhythm for funk dates back to Saharan African music tradition, where they played with
on and off beat structure to which we call syncopation. This style had a revival in new
orleans in 1940s before James Brown’s and his rhythm section introduced it country-wide
with great effect.
Funk Creates intense Groove by using Strong Guitar riffs and Bass Lines. A big Funk
charateristic is to have the bass line as the centerpiece for the entirety of the song. It may
sequence, may remain using the same notation or change the interval relation entirely but
keep the same rhythm.
Guitarist typically played heavily rhythmic and percussive accompanyment using
electrically modified effects like ‘Wah-‘Wah’ or ‘Phasers’.

Harmony
As mentioned earlier, Funk uses the same extended chords found in bebop jazz,
such as chords with added sevenths and elevenths, or dominant seventh chords
with altered ninths. However, unlike bebop jazz, with challenging harmonic pace
modulation, funk virtually abandoned chord changes, creating static single chord
accompanyment over a complex, driving rhythmic feel. More skillful funk players
adapt these influences effectively to demonstrate spacious advance solo
techniques to add to the experimental essence of Funk .

The chords used in funk songs typically belong to a dorian or mixolydian mode, as
opposed to the major or natural minor tonalities of most popular music. Melodic
content was derived by mixing these modes with the blues scale. In the 1970s, jazz
music drew upon funk to create a new subgenre of jazz-funk, which can be heard in
recordings by huge artists like Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock.
Funk truely was a groundbreaking wave of new music, by taking out elements of
past popular and traditional forms of music and reinventing an addicting sound that
lead a counter-culture of youth across America. Funk was a new way for musicians
to express themselves easily, as well as gathering large amounts of popularity from
the use of catchy danceable rhythms. The importance of rhythm and simplistic
melody has influenced music to this date, realising that music can be popular and
rememberable just as its free and expressive.

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