Disco Music

Published: 2021-09-27 21:50:03
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Category: music, Sound

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Matt Crane 8-19-06 Music Back in the late 1960s, disco originated as a combination of many instruments played together. It was in 1969 when Jerry Butler released his latest song ‘Only the Strong Survive’ that we got our very first disco song. This was the birth of disco but then it was a form of music which hadn’t been named. Four years and many songs later on the 13th of September 1973, Vince Aletti wrote an article in the Rolling Stone Magazine which gave this music form its name “DISCO”.
This soulful music is based on a number of instruments blended together to get what is known as the disco sound. The vocals are played on a steady four on the floor beat or what is known as a quaver (eighth note) or a semi- quaver (sixteenth note). Many electronic musical gadgets are used to create the background score. This form of music has more of electric bass line and the guitar is seldom used as a lead instrument. Films like Saturday Night Fever and Thank God Its Friday made disco theque more popular than ever before.
It was the Bee Gees who came to represent real Disco theque. The group till then was famous for their ballads and pop songs challenging the supremacy of The Beatles. Their success numbers were released again on the Saturday Night Fever movie soundtrack. Disco was born much earlier in the late 60’s when Jerry Butleras haunting melody was the first case of a combination of music with dance. This particular song brought about the marriage between Philly and New York soul both being evolutions of Motown Sound. The Philly sound is lavish percussion. 972 Soul Makasso is said to be one of the first disco songs. Disco spread to Europe through the jivings of Abba from the mid 70’s. Boney-M was another group of four West Indian singers and dancers who guided by West German record producer Frank Farian, soon became a great hit in Canada and Japan. The latter half of the 70’s saw clubs reverberating with Disco music. The culture centered on discotheques, nightclubs, and private parties where DJ’s played disco hits through power sound systems. Long single records kept people dancing throughout the night.

Even some of the most prestigious clubs matched their lighting arrangements to swish to the beat of Disco theque. Dancing schools sprung up in some cities and candidates were taught how to touch dance hustle and cha-cha. Disco fashions then hit the market with Halston dresses for women, shiny Qiana shirts for men pointed collars and open at the chest worn with double knit jacket suits. Disco culture soon became a shelter for those on the fringes of society they found a way to express themselves. Disco managed to fulfill one of the objectives of the Civil Rights movement.
It brought the races closer together for the first time where Blacks & Whites "co-mingled" freely. Although "disco's" did in fact lead to the downfall of the "inner city Funk House" and while a few of them practiced "racist door policies". For the most part you could get in, dance and socialize across racial barriers. Disco was in fact one of the first forms of "voluntary integration" that American’s have seen. The music was the same & every ones attitude was the same. Different instruments and disco sounds made their way into the hearts of people in a big way.
Discos became a place where there would be loud disco music, a dance floor with disco lights and of course you disco lovers dressed in the latest disco outfits having a blast of a life time. Discos have a culture of their own. The music is loud enough to make you and your heart beat a little faster. The lights keep changing colors and also help in changing you moods and shedding any inhibition you have. The clothes too are tight fitting to show off your more of the body. Shirts with slightly long and pointy collars, the Qiana shirts for the gents and the Halston dresses for women were in fashion.
Discos brought in many other cultures too. One of the main addictions that disco brought in was drugs. Cocaine and Quaalude became the main drugs for all disco lovers. While cocaine gave them a high spirit, it helped many to enjoy the loud music better. Quaalude made them feel light like jelly and helped them to move to the groove. The dance lovers enjoyed the discotheques, as there was music, dance, alcohol and fun. Discos became very popular and some of them became as popular as tourist sites too. Manhattans Studio 54 is one such place.
You couldn’t miss this hangout, as you would see many celebrities and people who are both rich and famous there. In the 1970s and 80s disco and dance came together and were the craze of the time. Groups like The Jackson Five, ABBA and The BEE GEES are still bands which are famous for their great disco music. Disco, which was performed only by a few bands in the beginning spread like a forest fire. Soon disco became mainstream and all kinds of bands were performing disco numbers. Disco was the in thing and a lot of movies were made on the disco theme too.
Saturday night fever starring John Travolta and Thank God It’s Friday were two big hits with disco as its mainstream idea. ABBA was a group, which took Disco beyond the borders of America and right into Europe and Asia. The songs were such big chart busters that all over the world they created many new records. Boney M a group of four West Indian singers were another group, which broke the barriers of caste, color and creed to give pure and outstanding disco music. Dalida released their hit number “J’attendrai” which topped the charts in Japan, middle and south Asia and Canada These groups made disco very popular in the 70’s.
The growing craze for disco angered the fans of rock music. While some just threw out all disco records, a few took drastic steps. DJs of rock music held events like the Disco Demolition night. Many groups came together to stage anti-disco demonstrations. Slowly but steadily in the 1980s disco began to die down. Though disco kind of became obsolete but it was still very much a part of the night life in Europe. With newer forms of music and even newer groups emerging Disco was given a back seat. In 1990s and 2000 once again disco began gaining popularity again.
With major singers like Madonna, Kate Ryan and Suzanne Palmer performing Disco. Disco sound is mainly based on strings and horns accompanied by reverberating vocals mixing with electric pianos and chicken-scratch guitars. Dramatic minor and major seventh chords dominate disco music. The other instruments in used are bass guitar, piano, string synth with electrocoustic keyboards. There are drum kits and electronic drums together with harp, violin, viola, trumpet, saxophone, trombone, clarinet, flugelhorn, French horn, tuba, English horn, oboe, flute and piccolo.
The songs usually have a steady four-on-the floor beat. It has affinity with Dominican meringue, rumba, samba and cha-cha-cha rhythms. A synthesizer is sometimes used to replace the bass guitar. Disco branched off into regional styles during the mid70’s by many formal musicians. Keeping the same broad traits of disco the new types came to get an individual stamp of the singer and the orchestra. Notable among them were The Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and New York Philharmonic. Disco thus came to be arranged and composed by experienced arrangers and orchestrators. It required large number of instruments and a eam, which included the conductor, copyists, record producers and mixing engineer. Disco songs used as many as 64 tracks of vocals and instrumentals. Mixing engineers thus had a very important role. They created a distinctive sounding known as disco-mix. DJ’s were important for popularizing disco and consequently its sales. I would say that disco music expresses itself by its fast beats that you dance to. Its music gets people to be all about partying, loosing yourself to the songs, and feeling good. It lets people “groove” or “Boogie down”, just dance the night away.
It’s the art of arranging sounds in time so as to produce a continuous, unified, and evocative composition, as through melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. To me disco music means, music that consists of several different instruments that make all sorts of rhythms and melodies. It’s a type of music that has a fast beat and just makes you want to dance. With disco music all you want to do is get down on a dance floor with a lot of people and just feeling good. Disco music is a good style of music that puts different sounds in one through the melody and rhythm of the song.

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