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History of Rock & Roll Terms

Blues, The Blues

A form of music rooted in African-American folk traditions, spirituals, and work songs and characterized by call-and-response patterns. The blues have influenced a number of American music genres, including jazz, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and hip-hop.

Counterculture, Countercultural

A culture with a set of values and practices that run against the grain of mainstream culture.

Electric Guitar

A type of guitar in which a contact microphone under the strings picks up the acoustic vibrations and converts them into electrical current. That current is then amplified through a loudspeaker.


A form of music rooted in American soul, jazz, and rhythm and blues sounds, yet based more heavily in rhythm and percussion instruments. Funk gained popularity in the late 1960s through the work of magnetic performers such as James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, George Clinton and the P-Funk, and Prince.

A bad mood that lasts for a long time


A form of music rooted in African and European rhythms and developed in the American South in the late nineteenth century. Often improvised, spontaneous, and resisting rigid rhythmic structure, jazz was most popular in northern urban centers during the first half of the twentieth century.

Psychedelic Rock

Rooted in a variety of musical styles, including blues, folk rock, pop, and funk, psychedelic rock emerged in the 1960s as a form of music inspired by drug-induced experiences.

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