Pop Cultural Elements of Military Cadences Essay

Pop Cultural Elements of Military Cadences Essay

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Pop Cultural Elements of Military Cadences



"HUT, TWO, THREE, FOUR...HUT, TWO, THREE, FOUR...” What do a bunch of grunts calling out raunchy marching cadences have to do with pop culture? There’s more to the cadence then just keeping soldiers in step, there is a deep sense of pride, patriotism, unity, motivation, and nostalgia, which can be found within these songs. The Military cadence is used to motivate, inspire, and foster company cohesiveness while keeping soldiers steps in time and hands down the rich oral traditions of the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air force. The cadence is a song sung when marching or running and the songs require a caller, who normally sets the pace and leads the formation. Like robots, the soldiers echoed their leader's sing-song" Jody Call" in beat to their pounding footsteps. The way a unit sounds while running or marching tends to reflect on that unit's morale and leadership. This paper will illustrate the similarities that cadences share with pop culture music through lyrical examples. As you will see, the lyrics of these cadences are expressions of individual feelings, goals, and fears, and are quite similar to the themes of other popular culture musical genres. The theories of subculture, appropriation and improvisation that have been proposed in lecture will be reviewed and illustrated within cadences. The military cadence as a subcultures oral tradition will be examined, through analyzing the theories of popular music which can be applied to the genres’ history, structure, and socio-political influences.

History & Earlier Music

The cadence in America can be traced as far back as the American Revolution with Yankee Doodle. Historically it finds its roots in ancient armies marching to battles across foreign lands. The most significant song in this genra was created in May, 1944, by Pvt. Willie Duckworth, an African American soldier. This chant that we know today as the "Duckworth Chant" or "Sound Off”, 1-2 sound off 3-4 is the most recognizable to the average person from its usages in movies and P.E. classes. The cadence has historical links to the field holler and work songs. Slaves sang about their oppressive environment while working tirelessly in the cotton fields. Similarly, the majority of cadences are reflective to the environment and training, which soldiers endure. These cadences share the themes of phys...


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...re of music has many similarities with pop culture music such as Blues, Rock, and Hip-Hop through its historical influences, content, and tone. Cadences demonstrate social political views, sexist and homophonic slurs, elements of nostalgia, and subculture symbolism. The cultural theories of appropriation and improvising are essential to the creation of the military cadence, making this subculture’s music a dynamic and appreciated genre. What is critical to the livelihood of the cadence and other forms of pop cultural music is that it borrows form something that came before within a specific social and cultural context. The cadence is very unique compared to the popular music heard in class particularly because it is hidden within a subculture. The Military cadence’s place is not on mainstream radio waves or on MTV. The cadence is alive on the training grounds of military instillations and in the hearts and minds of soldiers as they run, march, and become future warriors, carrying the legacy and oral traditions of the US Military in to the 21st century.




All Cadence Examples Courtesy of US ARMY Marching and RUNING CADENCES http://cadence.armystudyguide.com/list/index.html

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