How Were Social And Economic Circumstances Catalytic In The Growth Of Subcultures?

1116 words - 4 pages

How were social and economic circumstances catalytic in the growth of subcultures? Discuss.
From the beginning of human civilisation cultural distinctions and ideals have been formed by social and economic influences, for example wealth has always dictated the circle a person moves and interacts within, and likewise the opposite is also true, lack of wealth determines their sphere. Reactions to these parameters are also a catalyst in developing cultures or subcultures by means of revolt or necessity. Generic social change and naturally occurring developments; either in technology or industry are other factors that impact upon cultural ideals. These create new economies and demands and so alter cultural formations, or disintegrations of previously established cultures. Music as well as other art forms are inextricably linked, impacted and formed by social and economic circumstances. Social influences, music, youth and politics are so interwoven that many changes to culture or creations of subcultures have been deemed as youth movements (Robinson, Buck, Cuthbert 1991). Early jazz was created and developed from the melting pot of cultures and musical influences that were prevalent in New Orleans of the early 1900s, every neighbourhood contained a brass band the streets were overflowing with Blues, Ragtime and local Brass band fanfare (Scaruffi 2007). In this instance jazz could be viewed as the beginning of a subculture and a revolt against the mainstream musical, social and economic climate, very much influenced and dictated by Europe at the time. United States of America had just previously defeated Spain, annexing Puerto Rico and liberating Cuba. Brass instruments were in ready supply (by the returning troops), and sold cheaply on the black market (Scaruffi 20017). Soon after this period jazz became the popular music in America and many New Orleans jazz musicians moved northwards supplying the clubs and dance halls of post 1st World War America, which was experiencing an economic and industrial boom in the north. New Orleans jazz became known simply as jazz. Commercialisation then took hold, and jazz musicians were forced to play certain standardised forms of jazz, which for many compromised the very essence of what jazz was meant to be. This along with the decline in demand for jazz musicians as the market became saturated left many out of work creating the social and economic environment for the bebop movement. Modern jazz as bebop is known did not just burst onto the scene as a revolution it evolved over time. Rather than being a reaction against swing style modern jazz developed smoothly from the swing styles. However it was the social and economic environment that contributed to its early development (DeVeaux 1997). Bebop very much became the precursor to the rock -‘n’- roll. According to Negus rock-‘n’-roll began in the middle of the 1950s and progressed through the whole rock era which ended with punk rock in the 1970s (Negus 1996) This...

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