American music can find it's start in the early 18th century, mainly centered around church psalms. Much of this music had been brought over from English churches and it symbolizes the start of Music in the United States. These religous songs dominated America in its earliest stages as a country.
The Beginning of Spirituals
African Americans adapt Old Testament stories into their chruch worship services as songs. This can be seen as a start of Negro spirituals in America which lead to a complete new genre of music, later in the 18th and early 19th century. These Negro spirituals can be viewed as the beginnings of Jazz music and many different other sounds we enjoy today.
Music of the War
As the Revolutionary War takes our nation by storm, multiple songs written during wartime also sweep the nation. These tunes are classics of American history and showed a new aspect in which music could be appreciated.
The Philharmonic of New York is founded and still runs today. As the nations oldest symphony orchestra, it was able to showcase music to Americans like never before. It still runs today as an example of the growth of American music.
The First American Symphony
"In Spring" is written and performed by John Knowles Paine and is the first American symphony punlished in our nation. This can mark the begining of American symphonies and their success.
Columbia Records is founded in 1888 as the first major record label in the country. Columbia found major success with the invention of vinyl records which helped revolutionize music in the United States.
The Ragtime Craze
The craze of the new genre of music called "Ragtime" sweeps across the southern portions of the country. Places like New Orleans develop Jazz music and this craze lasts until about 1918.
The Birth of Jazz
As a mixture of spirituals sung by slaves, Mississippi river boat music, and French/Spanish piano music, Jazz takes root in New Orleans and quickly develops and spreads throughout the country. It was often viewed as "Devil music".
William Christopher Handy helps start a new genre of music in the United States called "Blues" with his publishing of songs titled Memphis Blues. This helps start a new chapter in American music.
Musicians like Louis Armstrong help Jazz sweep the country and transforms the city of Chicago into a hub of Jazz music. Other musicians like Jelly Roll Morton help the growth of American Jazz.
The Julliard School
The Julliard Performing Arts School opens in New York City and becomes a prestigous academy of music that helps young Americans further their talents. The Julliard school remains open today.
Duke Ellington's multiple radio performances help him gain national recognition and following and helps to bring in the era of "swing music" with his multiple hits.
Elvis Presley becomes one of the first major "rockstars" of the United States. Presley revolutionized music and how musicians are treated as he found major success and fame. Many of his chart topping numbers are still held today and it is safe to say the Elvis changed his genre and music as whole.
The Beatles, formed in 1960, began touring in 1963 and proceeded to change music. "Beatlemania" as it was called, was the rise of The Beatles whiched helped them become one of, if not the most succesful music group ever. They embodied their generation and changed the way we view musicians today.
Woodstock was the culmination of the Rock n' Roll era and defined music for that generation. Artists like Jimi Hendrix, The Who and others played at the festival that is said to be the greatest of all time. Often regarded as one of the major turning points in music history this concert signafied a generation of counterculture music.
Saturday Night Fever
The movie Saturday Night Fever popularizes disco music and sets off an explosion of the disco movement. Disco goes on to play a major part of the late 70's and creates a new genre of music never seen before.
The Start of Hip-Hop
Hip-Hop, a blend of Jazz and soul, is born in New York and explodes. Often referred to as a type of poetry, hip-hop involves drums and rythmic beats that are very popular in the 70's and 80's.
Music Televison debuts and begins bringing music videos to every home in America. MTV would go on to help popularize artists and launch their careers. Today, MTV plays a vital role in how people recieve music. MTV also signafied a point in American music where presentation became as important as sound.
The King of Pop
Michael Jackson releases his greatest album "Thriller" which quickly rises to the greatest album of all time. Michael Jackson helped to poplarize Pop music and change that genre. He is often recognized as "The Greatest Entertainer of All-Time".
Compact Disc's or CD's begin to replace vinyl and change the way we listen to music. As vinyl is replace by compact discs, music is much more accesible and easy to play. This helps to spread music to all Americans.
East v. West
The East Coast and West Coast Hip Hop rivalry of the 90's helped define the Rap genre and shaped that generation. Centered around rappers "The Notorius B.I.G." and Tupac Shakur, this feud ended with the death of these rappers but also created some of the greatest rap music of all time. This rivalry changed the rap genre and its fans of the 90's and today.
The Internet and Free Music
Companies like Napster begin to use the interent and it's growing popularity to distribute music to Americans for free. After a court ruling stops them, Napster does begin to charge its customers, but this does mark the beginning of the internet music craze and how it changed music in America. This allowed every American, rich or poor, to have access to their favorite artists and also helped to launch many artists into stardom.
Apple announces the release of their new "iPod" which is a portable MP3 player that allows American's to take their favorite songs anywhere. This helps power the interent music craze that is still going strong today.