Australian music contains an extensive history made of various music societies and genres. Australian music is indigenous and part of the unique heritage that is spread between 40,000-60,000 years history that involves the iconic didgeridoo. The music has experienced contemporary fusions of both indigenous and western styles and gave birth to numerous musical styles including the popular Australian Jazz, Australian Classical, and popular music. This summary will focus on the characteristics of the three genres and explain each in depth to ensure a clear understanding to the reader.
Australian Classical Music
The Australian classical music reflects on the culture of the country and its people ranging from their language, speech rhythms, and the different aspects of their way of life such as their environment. Each and every Australian ethnic group has a unique identity in the music, and it is an important dimension in distinguishing their identity. Classical music is defined by unique rhythmic patterns that are mainly derived from the environmental influence and the sense of place. Also, cultural diversity plays a significant role in determining the rhythmic patterns in the classical music. The music uses the surroundings to generate distinctive classical sounds and rhythms in the process of creating music. The Australian tradition poses a significant influence on the music as migrant populations bring about diverse cultures which in turn significantly contribute to the definition of classical music. Some Australian musical artists feel that their authentic music has been altered by the diversification of the music by migrants who bring external influences to their music. "I care about Australia, but I am mad about it. All my experience is based on the Australian culture; hence, my music must be Australian, (Peter Sculthorpe, pg.1).
Classical music is taught in schools, and this has helped to improve student's interests in the music thus contributing to maintaining the indigenous music. Often, students who come from homes with a rich musical history are riper to steer the musical culture as they polish their knowledge in Australian classical music. Classical music tends to be more popular in middle and upper-class Australian population than in wealthy and the people living in abject poverty. The Australian Universities mostly offer classical musical lessons to music students hence widening the knowledge in the genre.
Australian Jazz Music
The quality and variety of jazz music is quite diverse and is considered to be the greatest musical genre in Australia. Australian jazz is included in the list of the conserved cultural musical styles. Australian jazz is also widely taught in the Australian schools and helps to benefit the formal education curriculum. Most Australian jazz musical styles tend to combine the improvisation elements and the jazz swing feeling. The swing feeling is mainly a constant tempo in the music that maintains a constant rhythm throughout the music, (Smith, 2009). Jazz requires syncopation and a continuous rise and fall of tension to enhance the impact of the music, (Smith, 2009). This character has influenced the genre for many years since the introduction of Australian jazz in the early 1920s.
The indigenous Australian jazz centered on the swing feeling; however, the modern styles have created original jazz sounds by combining different jazz styles and defining Nu jazz. Initially, the Australian jazz was not recorded and became the most preferred musical genre in most wealthy backgrounds in the whole of Australia. Jazz was mainly played by big musical bands in the 1920s and went viral in not only Australia but in most parts of America and Asia. In the early 1940s, the genre attracted numerous dancers who came to be known as jazz dancers and joined the singers of jazz to entertain the vibrant audiences. Be-pop was the first jazz style and is the most technical and challenging type of Australian jazz. Australian jazz is regarded as dance music and is mostly played in ceremonies such as weddings, parties, and in high-end entertainment joints that are widely attended by the wealthy Australian population. However, the genre has often been associated with radical and political groups in Australia despite been a popular style. Jazz singers such as the famous Vince Jones use his jazz musical lyrics to express his political beliefs and insight his fans in a particular political direction. Australian jazz boosts of an excellent reputation for been the music of numerous artistic professionals such as poets and painters.
Australian Popular Music
Australian pop music can be traced back to the 1950s when people began to prefer the style of music to jazz and classical music. Popular music tends to be different from other genres specifically jazz and Australian classical music in various ways. Australian popular music contains simple melodies and uses harmonies and lyrics to create attractive songs. These songs are easy to remember and tend to have a wider fan base due to their simplicity. Often, Australian pop music is influenced by fashion trends hence; they are mostly short lived as compared to other genres of music, (Shuker, 2007).
Most pop artists are female singers, songwriters, and performers who entertain people in events and as well as other popular activities. They are categorized in the danceable genres of music in the Australian musical arena and have enabled some Australian artists such as the famous Bee Gee achieves international success in music thus building the Australian reputation across the world. Australian popular music also involves romance and dancing to digital sounds that blend nicely with rap overtones, (Flint, 2015).
To conclude, Australian classic music, Australian jazz music, and the Australian popular music are currently the most preferred music genres and the most selling songs. This is due to their simplicity and their ability to entertain people in various platforms since they are native Australian types of music. They have existed for an extended period and have become a cultural treasure in Australia. Many artists have benefited in the genres through the selling of their music records and entertaining people. Also, they are widely taught in learning institutions hence increasingly becoming popular.
Dunbar-Hall, P., Hodge, G. and Dunbar-Hall, P. (1991) A guide to jazz, folk, and Australian music. Australia: Science Press.
Flint, M. (2015) THREE DECADES OF AUSTRALIAN POPULAR MUSIC, Perfect Beat, 1(2), pp. 9599. doi: 10.1558/prbt.v1i2.28591.
Shuker, R. (2007) Understanding popular music culture. 2nd edn. London: Taylor & Francis Books.Smith, G. (2009) Public Multicultural music and the Australian state, Music and Politics, III(2). doi: 10.3998/mp.9460447.0003.202.
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