Funk Music Analysis

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Funk music as an expression brought with it a newly packaged music that was capable of fully embracing both the performers’ and audiences energies. Funk emphasized dancing and how it further expressed implicit meanings not always explicitly understood through the lyrics. Funk music opened the door for a particular subculture, black youth, to take their form of dance expression and broadcast it across the United States through the culturally important program Soul Train. In particular, the importance of individual, creative dance broke the mold of many of the dancing trends in music that preceded it. This important aspect of musical expression transcended the era of funk and to this day dancing is still just as important in the world of music …show more content…
Doucleff at NPR reveals some interesting results from a study, done by Maria Witek of Aarhus University, regarding what type of music makes people want to dance the most. “[The musical patterns] that had a sort of a balance between predictability and complexity [offered the best opportunity to dance]” (Doucleff). Doucleff highlights that complex rhythms combined with the other, more predictable ones allow the listener to stay engaged with the music. At the same time, the gaps between the rhythm create breaks in the music that allow the listener to synchronize and dance with the music. African conceptual approaches to music making are no strangers to utilizing different layers of rhythms. Olly Wilson’s “heterogeneous sound ideal” uses a predictable fixed rhythmic group while other members of the group play much more complex rhythms that work together as one to, “[reinforce] a main meter for dancers’ feet” (Pond 36-38). Funk music is built around this “heterogeneous sound ideal” and the successful execution of this musical approach creates the perfect conditions for funk listeners to get down and …show more content…
Soul Train became “a cultural touchstone for the [young] African American artistic community” and provided this subculture with a platform where they could fully express themselves, often in forms of dance (Schnakenberg 632-633). Robert Schnakenberg highlights Todd Boyd’s, who is an assistant professor of critical studies at USC’s School of Cinema-Televison, quote: “Soul Train showed a generation what it meant to be cool” (632-633). And Soul Train truly did help in developing the growth of both funk and dance among the black youth that viewed the program regularly. In his article on Pitchfork, Stephen Deusner questions whether the music or the moves were more important in the success of Soul Train. Deusner goes on to assert that, “The well-known [funk artists]... were very often upstaged by the flamboyantly dressed dancers gyrating for the camera.” Deusner reminds the reader that the big name artists came and went while the dancers were on the show week after week (Deusner). This meant that the regular viewers would form a relationship with the Soul Train Gang, the name of the group of dancers who regularly appeared on the show, watching their novel dance moves as they premiered week in and week out. Perhaps the relationship was strengthened through the similarities the the viewers saw between themselves and the Soul Train Gang. The Soul

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