Music

A vast land inhabited by settlers from all over the world, the United States has earned the nick name “melting pot” because so many different cultures, languages, styles and people have melted together to form a hybrid nation. People take music in their hearts and minds wherever they go and they brought it with them to America. You can find any kind of music in the U.S.. from popular to classical and anything in between. People tend to associate certain kinds of music with specific regions in the U.S., but you can find them all without having to search far. Radio stations, recordings, concerts and tours all spread the sounds of music throughout the country.

Popular music
For many groups and individuals around the world, the U.S. sets the standard for popular music. You’ll hear what we consider popular music on the stereos at many stores and restaurants, in cars, on buses and in the background at parties and events. The term encompasses many styles of music in their more watered down versions. At this stage in American music, we consider rock and country as popular music so long as they don’t cross the line into the more extreme versions of their genre.

Musicians sell recordings based on the public hearing their songs played, so popular music really refers to how much a song gets played or requested around the country, as well as how many albums sell. Bands book tours across the U.S. and around the world to release new albums and generate enthusiasm for their music, thereby popularizing their sound. Magazines and websites bring recognition and fame to musicians whose songs and faces have captured the fancy of the American public. To track their popularity, pop music charts and billboards rank songs according to their popularity on the American airwaves.

You may purchase music in store. You may also download and purchase music online! Itunes is a popular music APP. Please see ITunes for more details to download, listen online, and purchase.


Inspirational music
Inspirational music includes any music written specifically to encourage or inspire those who listen. That category generally includes gospel and Christian music specifically. People who choose inspirational music usually want more than just background music, a rhythm or catchy tune—they want to fill their hearts and minds with something that will help them keep a positive or healthy frame of mind.


Country music

Country music gets its roots from several musical styles including Celtic, blues, folk and gospel. Although it originated in the Southern United States, country music currently ranks as the most popular radio format in the nation. It incorporates a wide range of rhythms and chord structures that fall into several sub-categories, including bluegrass, pop, swing, honky-tonk and Western music.

Centered in Nashville, Tennessee, this multi-million dollar music industry has revived its sound and attracted a whole new audience since the mid to late 1900s. The themes of proud independence and real life seem to resonate with a wide range of Americans. Line dancing has also played a role in popularizing this style of music and social interaction.


Cowboy music
Lovers of cowboy music will quickly correct you if you make the assumption that cowboy music equals country music. Cowboy music originated in the Old West, written by, for and about real cowboys—they claim no association with the Nashville brand of country music. Generally accompanied by a guitar without amplification, these songs and ballads bring to mind campfires and roundups, saddles and rattlesnakes.


Instrumental music

Instrumental music relies solely on instruments to make music, with no vocal input or lyrics. Many other forms of music use this format predominantly, including classical, jazz and easy listening genres. It provides excellent background music and atmosphere in classy or romantic restaurants since it does not distract listeners with words but simply creates an inviting and intimate atmosphere. Even songs originally written and recorded with words have subsequently been recorded and sold separately as instrumental tracks.


Music videos
Music videos became popular in the 1980s when MTV built their entire 24-hour-a-day television format around the playing of popular songs accompanied by live action or animated videos. Musicians generally use music videos to market and promote the sale of their recordings. They often use special effects, lighting and provocative imagery to stand out and get the attention of the particularly attractive demographic of young people most likely to purchase their albums. With the advent of the Internet, music lovers can now download and play these videos on their computers and iPods as well.


Important musicians
The American music industry makes millions of dollars producing, promoting and selling recordings in numerous genres of music. The United States has contributed countless important musicians who will go down in history for their images, songs, creativity and/or originality. While no one article could list the names of every important American musician, the following list provides a small sampling from a broad range of music styles: The Beach Boys, Garth Brooks, James Brown, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, The Grateful Dead, Josh Groban, Jimi Hendrix, Madonna, Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, Carly Simon, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Hank Williams, and many others.


Important composers
While a list of important American composers would take several pages, a sampling of some who definitely qualify would include: Amy Marcy Beach, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, John Corigliano, Henry Cowell, Duke Ellington,  Stephen Collins Foster, George and Ira Gershwin, Philip Glass, Charles Ives, Henry Mancini, Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Bernard Rands, Joseph Schwantner, JohnTesh, and many others.