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Hard Rock

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    Throughout musical history, music has changed in order to keep up and try to stay relevant in an ever-changing fast paced world. It has been able to keep pace with society and the social and economical forces that often help to shape and be shaped by music. No form of music is immune from these changes. In the 1960’s we saw many different forms of music competing a vying for relevance. We had the emergence of rock and roll music in the 1950’s and the eventual horde of subgenres that developed from that. One subgenre was that of hard rock.

    The roots of hard rock music, like a lot of rock music, was heavily influenced by the blues. It was especially influenced by the key elements of electric blues. Electric blues provided all the fundamental elements of hard rock. It had the dramatic vocals and heavy guitar riffs with overdriven and distortion laden guitar solos. It had the rhythm of a bass or bass guitar. It even had the rhythmic drum beats. American and British blues artists expanded and began experimenting in the 1960’s, the 1950’s blues sound had changed. It soon took on a unique sound all to its own.
    What exactly is hard rock? There are many different definitions and ideas that float around trying to define this subgenre of rock music.

    One of the main issues with defining hard rock is that it is often very subjective. What one person believes is hard rock is another person’s heavy metal. Heavy metal and hard rock share much of the same features. The same goes for the artists and groups categorized as hard rock, they are also frequently categorized as heavy metal. In their early years I believe that they were one in the same. Eventually adding some shock value and a more distinctive look, to further distance heavy metal from hard rock. Hard rock can be defined as a subgenre of rock music that grew out of the mixture of blues, garage, and psychedelic rock in the mid 1960’s.

    Hard rock is typically a combination of an electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, and vocals. The electric guitar is often the dominant in hard rock. It is emphasized with various effects such as distortion and overdrive both as a rhythm instrument using repetitive riffs, solos, and fills with a varying degree of complexity. Hard rock lead guitarists also use techniques such as alternate picking, sweep picking, and tapping to maximize the speed of their solos and riffs.  The drums typically took on a life of their own with hard hitting rhythm. The bass guitar keeps the beat in concert with the drumming and provides the rhythm for the lead guitars.  Vocals are sometimes involve screaming or wailing, sometimes in a high range.

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