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  • Chris Anderson

Music Revision - Vocal Music - Reggae

Okay I forgot one of the key vocal music genres! Here we look at Reggae…

Reggae originated in Jamaica during the late 1960s. It evolved from earlier Jamaican music styles such as ska and rocksteady and was influenced by various musical elements, including rhythm and blues, jazz, and African music. Reggae is characterised by its distinctive rhythmic pattern, syncopated beats, and emphasis on the offbeat.

  • Rhythmic pattern: Reggae music typically features a slow tempo with a prominent emphasis on the third beat of each bar, known as the "one-drop" rhythm. This creates a laid-back and relaxing feel to the music.

  • Instrumentation: The instrumentation in reggae often includes guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards, with some songs featuring brass instruments as well. The bass-line is particularly important and plays a central role in the music's groove.

  • Lyrics and themes: Reggae lyrics often touch on social and political issues, love, spirituality, and Rastafarian beliefs. Many reggae songs carry messages of peace, love, and unity, advocating for social justice and equality.

  • Rastafarian influence: Reggae music is closely associated with the Rastafari movement, a spiritual and cultural movement that originated in Jamaica. Rastafarian symbols, such as the lion of Judah and the colours red, gold, and green, are commonly found in reggae music and culture.

  • Pioneers of reggae: Some of the early pioneers of reggae music include Bob Marley and the Wailers, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer, who are internationally recognised for their contributions to the genre.

  • Global popularity: Reggae music gained international popularity in the 1970s, largely due to the success of Bob Marley and his band, the Wailers. Bob Marley's album "Exodus" (1977) and the song "One Love" are iconic examples of reggae's global impact.

  • Subgenres: Over time, reggae has diversified into various sub-genres, such as dancehall, dub, roots reggae, and reggaeton, each with its unique characteristics and influences.

Reggae's laid-back rhythms, heartfelt lyrics, and positive messages have made it a beloved and influential genre worldwide, and its impact continues to be felt in contemporary music and popular culture.

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