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Rock Music

blues music, western music, gospel music, regional centers, electronic music

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Rock Music, group of related music styles that have dominated popular music in the West since about 1955. Rock music began in the United States, but it has influenced and in turn been shaped by a broad field of cultures and musical traditions, including gospel music, the blues, country-and-western music, classical music, folk music, electronic music, and the popular music of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In addition to its use as a broad designation, the term rock music commonly refers to music styles after 1959 predominantly influenced by white musicians. Other major rock-music styles include rock and roll (also known as rock 'n' roll), the first genre of the music; and rhythm-and-blues music (R&B), influenced mainly by black American musicians. Each of these major genres encompasses a variety of substyles, such as heavy metal, punk, alternative, and grunge. While innovations in rock music have often occurred in regional centers—such as New York City; Kingston, Jamaica; and Liverpool, England—the influence of rock music is now felt worldwide.


Waterman, Chris, B.Mus., M.A., Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of World Arts and Cultures, University of California, Los Angeles. Author of "Juju: A Social History and Ethnography of an African Popular Music" and other publications.

Article key phrases:

blues music, western music, gospel music, regional centers, electronic music, folk music, grunge, New York City, classical music, heavy metal, Liverpool, Kingston, Jamaica, England, Africa, rhythm, United States, punk, Latin America, innovations, turn, country, alternative, roll, addition, use

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