An Overview of Reggae Music

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Reggae is a genre of music that originated in Jamaica during the late 1960s. It is known for the heavy and strong emphasis on the bass within the background beat. Reggae was perceived as a kind of music used to express feelings about the social, political, and economic hardships in Jamaica during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was performed by musicians from black ghettos who used unhurried beats to make a style of music of their own. Reggae became an important part of the lifestyle of many Caribbean islanders; expressing a sense of pride of their Caribbean culture.

Reggae was developed from ska and rocky steady. Ska consisted of elements of Caribbean and mento, calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. It is characterized by a walking bass line accented with rhythms on the upbeat. Rocky steady used musical elements such as jazz, r&b, African and Latin drumming and other genres. It is noticeable by the counted offbeats with a slow tempo. A Reggae beat is most distinguishable by having a slow tempo, bass beat within the background with an uptempo beat over it. If you count 1 2 3 4 to the beats, the instruments accent is played on the offbeats; giving it a relaxed sound. Reggae music consists of a relatively small variety of instruments because of its distinct sound. Bass drums, drum symbols, and guitars are the most common instruments used to play reggae songs. Bongos are used to play broken patterns with the usage of African style rhythms.

An important factor to understanding Reggae music is having knowledge about the history of Jamaica. In 1962, Jamaica gained its independence from the British. Around that time, Reggae music began to become prominent within the music industry. The most important form of reggae...

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...lands. The music is an important aspect of the many cultures in and outside of the Caribbean. It instills different moods into people and comes in various styles. It has been used to express oppression and joy. No matter how people make or hear Reggae music; it will be a distinct sound to lure their feelings towards the culture.

Works Cited

Bays, Barry, P. Renee Foster, and Stephen King. Reggae, Rastafari, and the Rhetoric of Social Control. University Press of Mississippi. United States of America. 2002.

Chang, Kevin O' Brian, and Wayne Chen. Reggae Routes. Temple University Press. Philadelphia.1998

Jahn, Brian and Tom Weber. Reggae Island. Da Capo Press, Inc. New York. 1998

Latin Pulse Music, Inc. n.p. 2006-2011. Web. 2 April 2012.

Sarno, Alberto, Sarno, Marcello. Reggaeton in Cuba. 2007. Sprachcaffe Sprachreisen.Web. 10 March 2012.
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