Questions tagged [history]

For questions about the past or present events of Musical History.

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49
votes
8answers
2k views

Why is the length of a song in much modern music between 3 and 4 minutes?

One of our definition questions. This intrigued me because there are a lot of possible answers and I don't know if it's been investigated. Is it simply convention? Is there some sort of ...
28
votes
9answers
12k views

Why doesn't anyone write great symphonies any more?

Most of the "great" symphonies stem from the 18th and 19th centuries. Shostakovich was the last great symphonic composer and he died in 1975. I'm not aware of anyone writing great symphonies since him....
27
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the historical roots of auto-tune?

Auto-Tune is a technique to hide bad vocals in a track. Good or bad, it seems that it's here to stay in popular music. Many people credit Cher's Believe as the first use of auto-tune in popular music. ...
27
votes
4answers
15k views

What is considered to be the first music video?

Just as the title says. Who was the artist, what is the track called? Bonus points if the video is available online! I would say that silent film has the focus on the movie enhanced by the music. ...
24
votes
3answers
10k views

Why did Elvis Presley never tour overseas?

Elvis Presley was immensely popular around the world. Surely he could have drawn huge audiences and made a ton of money if he toured overseas. But he never performed anywhere overseas. What was the ...
22
votes
6answers
35k views

Who influenced The Beatles?

A lot of bands and musicians say one of their biggest influence musically was The Beatles and contribute the founding of rock and roll to them. Who musically influenced The Beatles though?
21
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3answers
10k views

Where did the “rock on” hand sign come from?

A lot of rock musicians use a hand sign to symbolize the concept of "rock on" typically during a performance. The hand symbol is shown below. Where did this hand symbol come from and who created it?
18
votes
2answers
2k views

When did the “standard drumkit” become popular in music

When did the standard drum kit become popular in music. My definition of standard drum kit being: snare drum bass drum hi-hat cymbal(s) tom-tom(s)
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Is the music played in silent films considered to be a soundtrack? Why or why not?

A soundtrack, also written sound track, can be recorded music accompanying and synchronized to the images of a motion picture, book, television program or video game; a commercially released ...
18
votes
3answers
531 views

In simple layman terms, what is the Loudness War?

Metallica's Death Magnetic is known for having compromised sound quality in order to sound louder, we hear that it is thanks to the Loudness War. What is it? What impact does it have on music fans? ...
17
votes
8answers
576 views

Has any instrumental music ever been used to carry information?

Music is often dubbed 'the universal language', but language usually carries some information. I know that music has many different notes, with letters and pitches assigned to each. Was there ever ...
17
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do music genres exist?

For instance, every band/artist is unique to what they call themselves (performer/stage name.) It would seem easier to describe a taste in music by specific bands you enjoy versus a particular genre. ...
17
votes
2answers
326 views

What is the largest concert performed?

What is the largest concert performed in terms of paying attendees?
17
votes
1answer
257 views

What was the first music recording reproduced for sale in any format?

What was the first music recording that people could go to the shop and buy a copy of? Was it even a gramophone record, or was it some kind of wax cylinder recording?
17
votes
1answer
453 views

Did “I Got Rhythm” invent or merely popularise rhythm changes?

The "rhythm changes" chord progression, used in compositions as wide ranging as Parker’s Anthropology and the Flintstones Theme, is named after George Gershwin’s 1930 song I Got Rhythm. Was this ...
15
votes
2answers
834 views

How did music propagate before recordings?

In today's world one can listen to any piece of music from anywhere pretty much at the click of a button and we have radio and other methods to hear music we are not familiar with. However this was ...
15
votes
4answers
448 views

Is there In English a music genre characterised by long songs? Similar to Tarab

I'm a Lebanese, in the Arab world, we had singers who sang extremely long songs, ranging from 30 to 130 min, the genre is called Tarab, طرب. It's no longer popular nowadays because today's generation ...
15
votes
1answer
4k views

Was Freddie Mercury's voice range over 4 octaves?

I was going through some articles which listed Freddie's voice under the Over 4 octaves list. But, haven't found an expert-backed opinion on the same. So, is Freddie's range really over 4 octaves?
15
votes
1answer
467 views

What did Chopin think of the saxophone?

Adolphe Sax arrived in Paris in 1842, when Chopin had been living in Paris for some years. Both Chopin and Sax lived in Paris until 1849, when Chopin died. It seems highly likely that Chopin heard ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is the Stratocaster guitar so prevalent?

If you look back to the 1960s and above, you'll find out there are so many famous guitar players like Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and others, playing a Fender ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Who are considered the most important salsa composers/performers?

Like the title says, I would like to know who are the most important salsa composers and/or performers. If possible I'd like some brief background as to why they are so important.
13
votes
4answers
889 views

Was Pete Townshend the first musician to destroy his instrument as part of a performance?

Pete Townshend of the Who regularly would smash his guitar on stage as part of his performance. Was he the first musician to destroy his instrument as part of a performance?
13
votes
2answers
403 views

What was the last live concert the Beatles played together?

What was the last concert/show John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr played together as the Beatles?
13
votes
1answer
834 views

Why is Axl Rose the only original member left in Guns N' Roses?

It's pretty common to see a band break up or have a member or two leave, but in Guns N' Roses the only original member left is Axl Rose and most of the other band members still play together in bands ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

What was the first vinyl record ever pressed?

I am wondering about, what was the first vinyl record ever pressed. I am not interested in the first record ever (for example shellac), only the first vinyl record.
12
votes
3answers
877 views

Are there other “psychedelic” genres than rock?

Commonly I've seen psychedelic rock starts with The Doors and others, but is there any other "psychedelic-something" (i.e. "psychedelic jazz") genre? What are the examples (of the psychedelic-...
12
votes
2answers
319 views

What was the first track to be sold through Internet?

I wonder what was the first track to be sold through Internet (and when / under what circumstances it took place).
12
votes
1answer
192 views

Is the old myth of reggae's creation true?

I've heard many times that reggae music what created by slowing down the ska beat by a too hot summer for the sake of dancers. I'm aware of the deep link between carribean musics and dance, so can it ...
11
votes
1answer
5k views

Is V in Morse code • • • − because the main theme of Beethoven's V Symphony is short-short-short-long?

I am reading Craig Wright's Listening to Music. On page 222, he states: No wonder that during World War II (1939-1945) both sides, Fascists as well as Allied, used the music of [Beethoven's fifth] ...
11
votes
1answer
648 views

Mods vs Rockers - who won?

I've heard a lot about Mods vs Rockers in the '60s. But can either side reasonably claim to have 'won', either overall or in any of the significant individual 'battles', e.g. the 'Battle of Brighton'?
11
votes
1answer
242 views

Has technology improvement caused film music to change?

When watching older films (by older, I mean before 1970), I always notice the lack of strings in the soundtracks, and when there are strings, they never play quietly. For example, in Mary Poppins, the ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Origin of the rimshot

This might be a bit too obscure, but you never know what other people know, so... Anyone know the origin of the rimshot, as used to emphasize a joke? You know, like the representation here:
10
votes
9answers
4k views

Has a B-side unexpectedly become more popular than A-side?

When released for the first time, a single usually suppose to have a hit on the A-side, and a secondary song not supposed to be a hit, on the B-side. That song was basically used to fill the B-side, ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

What was the first “supergroup”?

Wikipedia defines "supergroup" as -- A music group whose members are already successful as solo artists or as part of other groups or well known in other musical professions. It also states that ...
10
votes
4answers
774 views

Studies about stereotypes' accuracy of different genre listeners

We all have in mind when we think of a typical metal listener a person wearing black clothes, long haired, with big black boots and etc. For almost each genre, there exist stereotypes of the typical ...
10
votes
1answer
143 views

Historical “pop” music in Europe

Today, we have youtube, radio, TV, and background music in shopping malls -- all which proliferate our exposure to music. It's easy to measure weekly hit songs, based on listenership/requests of radio ...
10
votes
2answers
152 views

Non-stylistic reasons for whole-song fade out

I have noticed that a good chunk of songs, particularly older ones, use whole-song fade outs as outros to end the song. By "fade out" I am not talking about playing a final note and having that fade (...
10
votes
1answer
131 views

“Love Beach” by Emerson, Lake & Palmer: considered as serious release?

The album Love Beach by Emerson, Lake & Palmer was made with the intention of fulfilling a contract obligation. So, they could have released an experimental or an absolutely demotivated album, but ...
10
votes
1answer
151 views

Origins of the acoustic guitar in Portishead's “The Rip” from the album “Third”

The acoustic guitar in Portishead's The Rip always catches my attention. The guitar take they used is filled with execution mistakes. Beth Gibbons' beautiful voice distracts away from it, but if you ...
10
votes
1answer
317 views

What music styles were popular in pre-bossa nova Brazil?

I've been looking into the bossa nova style and from what I've researched, bossa nova seems to have taken Brazil by storm when it was introduced. But I'm not entirely sure what the dominant style in ...
10
votes
1answer
92 views

Johnny Dyani's “Musician's Musician”: who is the reference?

South African expatriate multi-instrumental jazz musician Johnny Dyani wrote a song called "Musician's Musician." It appears on at least two albums I know of. The title sounds as though it might be a ...
10
votes
1answer
149 views

“Corn Cob Blues” - real story?

There’s a song by John Hartford called "Corn Cob Blues", from a 1967 album. The song’s about a cowboy singer promoting the wedding of a member of his backing crew, and the thoughts of the groom ...
9
votes
8answers
6k views

Longest-running artist in music history?

If you google information about longest running bands, there seem to be conflicting accounts, like U2, ZZ Top, Rolling Stones, etc, which depend on the criteria used (no gaps, same members, etc). ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

How can the blues be linked to hip hop / rap music?

I've seen / read many things about black music, especially the Negro spiritual, blues, rhythm'n'blues, rock'n'roll, etc. And 99% of what I've heard or read says that the rap music descends from blues,...
9
votes
1answer
92 views

What were the first music awards given and when did music awards start to gain visibility?

I wonder what were the first music awards given, and around when music awards started to gain visibility?
8
votes
6answers
391 views

Greatest logevity in Rock bands, keeping all initial members

I'm looking for famous Rock bands that had the greatest longevity with keeping all initial members. Here are some restrictions: Initial members would be the ones who recorded the first album. Famous ...
8
votes
2answers
9k views

Where does this famous rhythm pattern come from (oftenly used to knock on a door)?

This rhythm pattern seems very famous and is oftenly used to knock on someone's door, sometimes as a code: Does it have an history? Where does it come from?
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Which artist has served front man in the most bands?

This question arrived after conversing about the spontaneous variety that is Les Claypool. I ask in terms of artists (whether they are, or have been, a singer, guitarist, or bassist, pianist, or any ...
8
votes
2answers
290 views

Affordable guitars that would have been available in the UK circa 1995

I’m a university student taking a creative writing module, and I am currently conducting research for a story that I intend to write about a musician. I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to find the ...
8
votes
3answers
375 views

What was the first band considered to be punk?

Punk is a very distinctive sub genre of rock with it's own very interesting sound, look, and persona. Which band was the first band that was classified as a punk band and start this trend?