Rock Music

Few people might consider how today’s modern rock music evolved and where it began. By tracing rock music to its historical roots, we can discover that rock music evolved from an African American art form known as blues music.

Early blues music developed in the 19th century. It was very much an expression of sadness which had evolved from the songs sung by African slaves as a way of coping with the harsh working conditions in the cotton fields of the American Deep South. These songs in turn have their roots in traditional African music. The calls and responses that workers used to communicate with each other in the fields also formed a fundamental structure of early gospel music which also had a lyrical call and response structure.

Originally the music was purely vocal, but it evolved as time went by. After the abolition of slavery, guitars and other instruments were incorporated into the ensemble. Eventually, other forms of music began to diversify from the blues roots, such as gospel, ragtime, jazz and eventually rock and roll.

Many early rock and roll songs such as those by Elvis Presley relied heavily on the traditional “12 bar blues” chord structure. This musical form merged with European influences during the 1960s and 1970s to become modern rock music. Nowadays, rock music is constantly evolving and branching out into new genres.