Mar 13th 2014

Music's Big Bang: How American Roots Music Gave Birth to Rock 'n' Roll (Coursera)

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This course explores the factors — musical and cultural — that led to the birth of American rock 'n' roll in the early 1950s.

We will hear how the music of Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, Mexico and other areas evolved and blended in New Orleans, the Mississippi Delta, The Appalachian Mountains, Memphis, Chicago and other areas, eventually becoming the elaborate, delectable stew that is rock 'n' roll. Once the stage is set, we will explore rock's first half decade, 1955 to 1960. Along the way, we will consider cultural factors, too, including the advance of technology for recording, playback, radio, film, television, farming, manufacturing, and advertising, the migration of rural Americans, both black and white, from the South to the cities of the North, and the threats to mainstream American values presented by the Civil Rights movement and teenage rebellion.

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