|Music of the United States|
Massachusetts is a U.S. state in New England. The music of Massachusetts has developed actively since it was first colonized by Britain. The city of Boston is an especially large part of the state's present music scene, which includes several genres of rock, as well as classical, folk, and hip hop music.
Perhaps the most influential early composer of the United States was Lowell Mason. A native of Boston, Mason campaigned against the use of shape-note notation, and for the education in standard notation. He worked with local institutions to release collections of hymns and maintain his stature. Opposed to the shape-note tradition, Mason pushed American music towards a European model.
The Bay Psalm Book (The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre) was published in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1640; it was the first book of any kind printed in the English colonies of North America. It became the standard used by New England churches for many years, though it contained no music itself, merely providing psalms and pointing readers to other prominent publications. The Bay Psalm Book was faithful to its source, but did not produce beautiful singing. In 1651, then, a third edition was created, and became known as the New England Psalm Book; this became the standard for many years. By this point, the evolution from the Ainsworth Psalter to the New England Psalm Book had steadily dwindled the number of tunes in use.
Massachusetts was later home to a number of the most prominent members of the First New England School of itinerant singing masters, including Daniel Read (later of New Haven, Connecticut) and Supply Belcher (later of Farmington, Maine). Massachusetts is home to several formal ensembles: Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera, and Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Formal institutions for the perpetuation of formal music exist in the state as well: Boston Conservatory, Longy School of Music, New England Conservatory, and Berklee College of Music.
Choral music has been a major part of concert life with two of the oldest choral organizations in the United States based in Massachusetts: Stoughton Musical Society, founded in 1786, and Handel and Haydn Society, founded in 1815.
As Massachusetts has long maintained a great maritime tradition from the early colonial fishermen to its importance in the whaling industry in the nineteenth century, songs of the sea have been prominent in the state's musical heritage. Traditional English sea shanties were brought to New England and preserved by colonial American seamen. A New England version of the sea shanty "Spanish Ladies" changes 'England' to 'New England' or, in some versions, 'Boston' or 'New Bedford', and 'British sailors' to 'Yankee Whalermen'.
Folklorists who have collected traditional music of Massachusetts include Eloise Hubbard Linscott, whose field recordings from 1938 and 1941 are in the Library of Congress American Folklife Center.
A number of musicians with ties to the American folk music revival have Massachusetts connections. While a teenager living in Belmont, Joan Baez gave her first concert at the Club 47 in Cambridge. James Taylor was born in Boston, but later moved to North Carolina before once again relocating to Martha's Vineyard. He now lives in the town of Lenox. Paul Clayton from New Bedford, best known for his song "Gotta Travel On", was a minor figure in the folk revival. Both Bill Staines, who grew up in Lexington, and Bonnie Raitt, who attended college in Cambridge, were influenced by the folk revival through the concerts at Club 47.
The diverse contemporary Massachusetts folk music scene includes musicians such as David Coffin, who specializes in early music and sea music; Lui Collins, a folk singer-songwriter; Vance Gilbert, a folk singer with a background in jazz; and Aoife Clancy, formerly of Cherish the Ladies, who sings traditional Irish and contemporary folk songs. It also includes Ellis Paul, a singer-songwriter who came onto the Boston music scene in the late 1980s after arriving at Boston College on a track scholarship. Since then he has been the recipient of 14 Boston Music Awards.
According to the New England Folk Network Web site, Massachusetts hosts more than a dozen annual folk music festivals. Of these, the Lowell Folk Festival claims to be the biggest free folk festival in the United States, while the New England Folk Festival, which began in 1944, may be the longest-running festival in the state. Festivals may include folk music from a wide diversity of cultures. For example, the 2007 New England Folk Festival included Bulgarian, Japanese, and Swedish music,and the 2007 Working Waterfront Festival included Portuguese fado music and Mexican norteño.
Jazz musicians born in Massachusetts include pianist and composer Irene Higginbotham, multi-instrumentalist Jaki Byard, multi-instrumentalist Bill Dixon, saxophonist and clarinetist Harry Carney, bassist Teddy Kotick, pianist Barbara Carroll, pianist Ralph Burns, keyboardist Chick Corea, trumpeter Max Kaminsky, tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves, alto saxophonists Johnny Hodges and Phil Woods, singer Nnenna Freelon, multi-instrumentalist Teddy Charles, drummer and vibraphonist Johnny Rae, pianist Ran Blake, soprano saxophonist and composer Jane Ira Bloom, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, and saxophonist Carol Sudhalter.
Pat Metheny, though originally from the midwest, has spent most of his career based in Massachusetts.
Doo-wop group The G-Clefs were from Roxbury. The Tune Weavers formed in Woburn.
Jonzun Crew was an electro and early funk–hip hop group that was active in the 1980s in Boston.
The R&B group New Edition is from the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Masspike Miles is also from Roxbury.
Massachusetts has produced a number of notable hip-hop artists since the birth of hip-hop, including:
The Remains and The Rockin' Ramrods formed in Boston. The Barbarians formed in Cape Cod and The Shames formed in Ipswich.
The Modern Lovers, featuring Jonathan Richman, David Robinson (later of The Cars), and (for a short time) Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads, came out of Boston, as did more mainstream acts like Aerosmith, The Cars, and Boston. The J. Geils Band formed at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, before adding Peter Wolf and Stephen Jo Bladd from Boston band The Hallucinations to the lineup.
Paul Pena was born in Hyannis and attended Clark University in Worcester. He played gigs at the Holden experiment with Bonnie Raitt and other Worcester folkies. He went on to play with T. Bone Walker and wrote the 1970s Steve Miller Band hit "Jet Airliner".
The Real Kids formed in 1972. From the North Shore were the Nervous Eaters who formed in 1977. They were managed by The Rathskeller in Kenmore Square and released two 45s on the club's RAT label.
The earliest alternative rock bands in Massachusetts hailed from Boston and included Salem 66, The Neighborhoods, The Neats, Uzi, Volcano Suns, Human Sexual Response, La Peste, and Mission of Burma. Later bands from eastern Massachusetts included Pixies, Morphine, Galaxie 500, Swirlies, and the Pernice Brothers. Farther west, in Amherst, the dissolution of the legendary hardcore punk band Deep Wound spurred the foundation of future legends Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr. from its ashes. Amherst and neighboring Northampton also spawned the Scud Mountain Boys, Buffalo Tom, and Lo Fine.
Other notable rock bands and musicians include:
Musicians from Massachusetts with a #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit include: Donna Summer (d.2012) 4 #1 disco hits from '78-'79 (like "Hot Stuff)"; New Kids on the Block 3 #1 hits (like "Step by Step"); Aerosmith ("I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"), Boston ("Amanda"), The J. Geils Band ("Centerfold"), Extreme (band) ("More Than Words"), Bobby Brown ("My Prerogative"), Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch ("Good Vibrations"), and Meghan Trainor ("All About That Bass" in 2014). Aerosmith co-lead guitarist Brad Whitford graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1971. 'Til Tuesday lead singer Aimee Mann also attended Berklee. Boston (band) guitarist and founder Tom Scholz graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The music of Michigan is composed of many different genres. The city of Detroit has been one of the most musically influential and innovative cities for the past 50 years, whether in Michigan or anywhere else in the United States. Impressively, for 48 straight years (1959-2007) a greater Michigan-area artist has produced a chart-topping recording. Michigan is perhaps best known for three developments: early punk rock, Motown, and techno.
Virginia's musical contribution to American culture has been diverse, and includes Piedmont blues, jazz, folk, brass, hip-hop, and rock and roll bands, as well as the founding origins of country music in the Bristol sessions by Appalachian Virginians.
Mississippi is best known as the home of the blues which developed among the freed African Americans in the latter half of the 19th century and beginning 20th century. The Delta blues is the style most closely associated with the state, and includes performers like Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Willie Brown, Tommy Johnson, Ishmon Bracey, Bo Carter, Sam Chatmon, Mississippi John Hurt, Furry Lewis, Son House, Skip James, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Pinetop Perkins, and B.B. King. The hip hop scene of Mississippi is rare but includes performers such as David Banner, Dear Silas, and more.
The Music of Kentucky is heavily centered on Appalachian folk music and its descendants, especially in eastern Kentucky. Bluegrass music is of particular regional importance; Bill Monroe, "the father of bluegrass music", was born in the Ohio County community of Rosine, and he named his band, the Blue Grass Boys, after the bluegrass state, i.e., Kentucky. Travis picking, the influential guitar style, is named after Merle Travis, born and raised in Muhlenberg County. Kentucky is home to the Country Music Highway, which extends from Portsmouth, Ohio, to the Virginia border in Pike County.
Georgia's musical history is diverse and substantial; the state's musicians include Southern rap groups such as Outkast and Goodie Mob, as well as a wide variety of rock, pop, blues, and country artists such as the late Ray Charles, Otis Redding, James Brown, and The Allman Brothers Band. The music of Athens, Georgia is especially well known for a kind of quirky college rock that has included such well-known bands as R.E.M., The B-52's, and Pylon.
Connecticut is a state of the United States in the New England region.
The state of Maine is located in the New England region of the northeastern United States. Its musical traditions extend back thousands of years to the music of the first peoples of Maine, the Penobscot Passamaquoddy, Wabanaki and other related Indigenous cultures.
The New England Folk Festival is an annual weekend festival of traditional dance and music. It takes place in the Boston, Massachusetts region each spring. It is conducted by the New England Folk Festival Association. Both the festival and the association are colloquially known by the abbreviation NEFFA. NEFFA is a participatory festival; attendees are encouraged to participate in dancing, singing, musical jam sessions, and other activities. It is run by volunteers and all the performers are volunteers as well.
The culture of Boston, Massachusetts, shares many roots with greater New England, including a dialect of the Eastern New England accent popularly known as Boston English. The city has its own unique slang, which has existed for many years. Boston was, and is still, a major destination of Irish immigrants. Irish Americans are a major influence on Boston's politics and religious institutions and consequently on the rest of Massachusetts.
David Fiuczynski is an American contemporary jazz guitarist, best known as the leader of the Screaming Headless Torsos and David Fiuczynski's KiF, and as a member of Hasidic New Wave. He has played on more than 95 albums as a session musician, band leader, or band member.
Jeff Bhasker, also known as Billy Kraven and U.G.L.Y., is an American record producer, songwriter, keyboardist, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist. He collaborated with rapper and producer Kanye West on the albums 808s & Heartbreak, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Watch the Throne. He has won Grammy Awards for the songs "Run This Town" by Jay-Z, "All of the Lights" by Kanye West, "We Are Young" by Fun., and "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson. Bhasker received the 2016 Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical for co-producing Mark Ronson's album Uptown Special and producing Nate Ruess's album Grand Romantic.
Charles Alexander, known professionally as Prince Charles Alexander, is an American record producer and audio engineer. He received a Grammy for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album in 2003.
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