An overview of the musical evolution in the 60s and 70s

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An overview of the musical evolution in the 60s and 70s

Instrument amp history It is essential to have an historical perspective of live music amplification including the trends that shaped how amplified music is heard if we wish to be in command of how we manage it. The following essay is an abridged overview using selected points from within a large complex history.

When listening to a symphony orchestra in a concert hall, we experience hearing real musical instruments.

Popular Music Genres of the 1970's

But the majority of live music is amplified through speakers. We often forget that it is not the instruments and voices we are hearing, but a vibrating piece of paper, with an attached coil of wire in a magnetic field.

Instruments and voices are shaped by the sound of the speaker. The speaker becomes the instrument. The Hawaiian guitar was possibly the first instrument uniquely created by amplification. The fusion jazz guitar style of Django Reinhardt inspired many, including Les Paul the father of the solid body guitar and over-dub recording.

After the 2nd world war, manufacturers of musical instrument amps and electric guitars flourished. When performing to large audiences, extra mics were placed in front of the small guitar amps. The breakthrough that transformed rock music was when Dave Davies purchased a little green Elpico amp from a radio spares shop.

He sliced the speaker cone with a razor blade, then slaved his Epico into a Vox AC The Kinks were not the first band to drive guitar amps into overdrive, but the song "You Really Got Me" dominated the air waves and caused an extreme reaction.

The older generation that represented the incumbent Victorian values of the past, which included parental, educational, management and political establishment, plus the elite class of the electronic engineering fraternity that included the radio, TV and HiFi establishment, were outraged to say the least.

It was not the words in the song, but the distorted sound generated by the guitar amps driven into overdrive, that caused this reaction. To the ears of the conservative establishment, this distorted overdriven amp sound was a depraved abomination. Many guitar and bass amps that were made in the 50s and 60s were so badly made that the distorted sound they create became identified with how rock music sounds.

Striking a single string on an acoustic guitar sounds thin and lifeless, but when a steel string guitar is amplified by a distorted amplifier the characteristic sound becomes a thick rich mixture of discordant harmonics creating a unique spectrum of sound no acoustical instrument can match.

Non of this was conceived or designed, it came through a circumstantial spinoff, of the history, of how amplified sound evolved. This resultant effect has neither been properly investigated nor expanded upon. It has now become entrapped by image and conformity that neither evolves nor dies.

Overdrive sound is ideally suited for recording where the resultant production is being heard through small speakers in radios and radiograms, giving the experience that the guitar is louder than it actually is.

Taking to the Air: Radio

Similar to the screeching sound generated by fingernails on an old school chalk blackboard. The youth of the world now had a voice, as a sound, an identity, that represented sexual liberation and freedom from consecutive repression.

What happened next was a comical farce. Most amp manufacturers were from the pre 2nd world war generation with a high sense of morality, identified with country and religious music.

They were horrified by the anti-religious, anti-war, sex crazed, drug driven, rock musos of the 60s diving their amps at full power into hard over-drive. Many manufacturers reacted by making warranties void if their amps were driven at full power. Others threatened to cut off retailers who sold their amps to musos that played "Music of the Devil".

This historical contradiction has been rewritten by marketing spin doctors to fit mythical beliefs that brilliant designers created these amps for exactly what 'rock musos' wanted. Most musos of the s and 60s were poor, guitar amps were made to a budget.

Not all technical principles of amp designs were well thought out. Early valve guitar amps were cheaply made, had limited power, limited bandwidth and limited fidelity. These combined limitations enabled guitar amps to be easily driven into overdrive, creating a sustained distortion that gives an aggressive fatness to the sound, enabling the guitar to dominate as the main instrument of modern music.

This outcome was a result of circumstance, not design. No guitar amp designer preconceived this outcome. The small guitar amps designed in the s, US, Fender and UK, Vox AC including an infinite number of copied clones, were and are still used in the opposite manor to how amp manufacturers originally intended their amps to be used, and remains in place to this day.

An overview of the musical evolution in the 60s and 70s

The sound of electric guitar driving small valve amps into overdrive, closely resembles the character of the human voice. For the first time in musical history, instrument and voice became unified.Watch video · The s were a tumultuous decade defined by counterculture protests and the civil rights movement, as well as s fashion, music and hairstyles.

Learn more on In particular, West Berlin played an important role in the development of alternative intentional communities in the 60s, 70s and 80s. It had a special status as a western enclave inside the German Democratic Republic. The 's was not a unique decade in terms of creating innovations in musical styles and genres, but it was unique in that it was a musical bridge connecting the hippie lifestyle of the s with the characteristic yuppie lifestyle that was about to occur in the s.

The success of rock music and bands in the Japan started a new generation, known as Group Sounds, which was popular in the latter half of the decade. In South America, genres such as bossa nova, Nueva canción and Nueva ola started to rise.

Rock music began . The 's was not a unique decade in terms of creating innovations in musical styles and genres, but it was unique in that it was a musical bridge connecting the hippie lifestyle of the s with the characteristic yuppie lifestyle that was about to occur in the s.

Watch video · The s was a decade marked by the Watergate scandal, the growing women's rights, gay rights and environmental movements, and s fashion and music. Learn more on

70s Culture - Changes and Events in Seventies Culture