Throughout its history, the United Kingdom has been a major producer and source of musical creation, drawing its artistic basis from the history of the United Kingdom, from church music, Western culture and the ancient and traditional folk music and instrumentation of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
The Act of Union 1800 added the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Church music is music written for performance in church, or any musical setting of ecclesiastical liturgy, or music set to words expressing propositions of a sacred nature, such as a hymn.
In parts the 20th century, influences from the music of the United States became dominant in popular music. Following this was the explosion of the British Invasion, while subsequent notable movements in British music include the new wave of British heavy metal and Britpop. The United Kingdom has one of the world's largest music industries today, with many British musicians having influenced modern music.
The music of the United States reflects the country's pluri-ethnic population through a diverse array of styles. It is a mixture of music influenced by West African, Irish, Scottish and mainland European cultures among others. The country's most internationally renowned genres are jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, rock, rhythm and blues, soul, ragtime, hip hop, barbershop, pop, experimental, techno, house, dance, Boogaloo, and salsa. American music is heard around the world. Since the beginning of the 20th century, some forms of American popular music have gained a near global audience.
The British Invasion was a cultural phenomenon of the mid-1960s, when rock and pop music acts from the United Kingdom and other aspects of British culture, became popular in the United States and significant to the rising "counterculture" on both sides of the Atlantic. Pop and rock groups such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Kinks, the Dave Clark Five, Herman's Hermits, the Zombies, the Yardbirds, the Hollies, and the Animals were at the forefront of the "Invasion."
The new wave of British heavy metal was a nationwide musical movement that started in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s and achieved international attention by the early 1980s. Journalist Geoff Barton coined the term in a May 1979 issue of the British music newspaper Sounds to describe the emergence of new heavy metal bands in the mid to late 1970s, during the period of punk rock's decline and the dominance of new wave music.
Music in the British Isles, from the earliest recorded times until the Baroque and the rise of recognisably modern classical music, was a diverse and rich culture, including sacred and secular music and ranging from the popular to the elite.Each of the major nations of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales retained unique forms of music and of instrumentation, but British music was highly influenced by continental developments, while British composers made an important contribution to many of the major movements in early music in Europe, including the polyphony of the Ars Nova and laid some of the foundations of later national and international classical music. Musicians from the British Isles also developed some distinctive forms of music, including Celtic chant, the Contenance Angloise, the rota, polyphonic votive antiphons and the carol in the medieval era.
The Baroque is a highly ornate and often extravagant style of architecture, music, dance, painting, sculpture and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th until the mid-18th century. It followed Renaissance art and Mannerism and preceded the Rococo and Neoclassical styles. It was encouraged by the Catholic Church as a means to counter the simplicity and austerity of Protestant architecture, art and music, though Lutheran Baroque art developed in parts of Europe as well.
Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. While a more precise term is also used to refer to the period from 1750 to 1820, this article is about the broad span of time from before the 6th century AD to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods. The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common-practice period.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
Church music and religious music were profoundly affected by the Protestant Reformation which affected Britain from the 16th century, which curtailed events associated with British music and forced the development of distinctive national music, worship and belief. English madrigals, lute ayres and masques in the Renaissance era led particularly to English language opera developed in the early Baroque period of the later seventeenth century.In contrast, court music of the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, although having unique elements remained much more integrated into wider European culture.
A lute is any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back enclosing a hollow cavity, usually with a sound hole or opening in the body. More specifically, the term "lute" can refer to an instrument from the family of European lutes. The term also refers generally to any string instrument having the strings running in a plane parallel to the sound table. The strings are attached to pegs or posts at the end of the neck, which have some type of turning mechanism to enable the player to tighten the tension on the string or loosen the tension before playing, so that each string is tuned to a specific pitch. The lute is plucked or strummed with one hand while the other hand "frets" the strings on the neck's fingerboard. By pressing the strings on different places of the fingerboard, the player can shorten or lengthen the part of the string that is vibrating, thus producing higher or lower pitches (notes).
An air is a song-like vocal or instrumental composition. The term can also be applied to the interchangeable melodies of folk songs and ballads. It is a variant of the musical song form often referred to as aria.
Renaissance music is vocal and instrumental music written and performed in Europe during the Renaissance era. Consensus among music historians has been to start the era around 1400, with the end of the medieval era, and to close it around 1600, with the beginning of the Baroque period, therefore commencing the musical Renaissance about a hundred years after the beginning of the Renaissance as it is understood in other disciplines. As in the other arts, the music of the period was significantly influenced by the developments which define the Early Modern period: the rise of humanistic thought; the recovery of the literary and artistic heritage of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome; increased innovation and discovery; the growth of commercial enterprises; the rise of a bourgeois class; and the Protestant Reformation. From this changing society emerged a common, unifying musical language, in particular, the polyphonic style of the Franco-Flemish school, whose greatest master was Josquin des Prez.
The Baroque era in music, between the early music of the Medieval and Renaissance periods and the development of fully fledged and formalised orchestral classical music in the second half of the eighteenth century, was characterised by more elaborate musical ornamentation, changes in musical notation, new instrumental playing techniques and the rise of new genres such as opera. Although the term Baroque is conventionally used for European music from about 1600, its full effects were not felt in Britain until after 1660, delayed by native trends and developments in music, religious and cultural differences from many European countries and the disruption to court music caused by the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and Interregnum.Under the restored Stuart monarchy the court became once again a centre of musical patronage, but royal interest in music tended to be less significant as the seventeenth century progressed, to be revived again under the House of Hanover.
Early music generally comprises Medieval music (500–1400) and Renaissance music (1400–1600), but can also include Baroque music (1600–1750). Early music is a broad musical era in the history of Western art music.
Medieval music consists of songs, instrumental pieces, and liturgical music from about 500 A.D. to 1400. Medieval music was an era of Western music, including liturgical music used for the church, and secular music, non-religious music. Medieval music includes solely vocal music, such as Gregorian chant and choral music, solely instrumental music, and music that uses both voices and instruments. Gregorian chant was sung by monks during Catholic Mass. The Mass is a reenactment of Christ's Last Supper, intended to provide a spiritual connection between man and God. Part of this connection was established through music. This era begins with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century and ends sometime in the early fifteenth century. Establishing the end of the medieval era and the beginning of the Renaissance music era is difficult, since the trends started at different times in different regions. The date range in this article is the one usually adopted by musicologists.
Music notation or musical notation is any system used to visually represent aurally perceived music played with instruments or sung by the human voice through the use of written, printed, or otherwise-produced symbols.
British chamber and orchestral music drew inspiration from continental Europe as it developed into modern classical music. The Baroque era in British music can be seen as one of an interaction of national and international trends, sometimes absorbing continental fashions and practices and sometimes attempting, as in the creation of ballad opera, to produce an indigenous tradition.However, arguably the most significant British composer of the era, George Frideric Handel, was a naturalised German, who helped integrate British and continental music and define the future of the classical music of the United Kingdom that would be officially formed in 1801.
Chamber music is a form of classical music that is composed for a small group of instruments—traditionally a group that could fit in a palace chamber or a large room. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers, with one performer to a part. However, by convention, it usually does not include solo instrument performances.
The ballad opera is a genre of English stage entertainment that originated in the early 18th century, and continued to develop over the following century and later. Like the earlier comédie en vaudeville and the later Singspiel, its distinguishing characteristic is the use of tunes in a popular style with spoken dialogue. These English plays were 'operas' mainly insofar as they satirized the conventions of the imported opera seria. Music critic Peter Gammond describes the ballad opera as "an important step in the emancipation of both the musical stage and the popular song."
George FridericHandel was a German, later British, Baroque composer who spent the bulk of his career in London, becoming well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, and organ concertos. Handel received important training in Halle-upon-Saale and worked as a composer in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712; he became a naturalised British subject in 1727. He was strongly influenced both by the great composers of the Italian Baroque and by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition.
Musical composition, performance and training in the United Kingdom inherited European classical traditions of the eighteenth century (above all, in Britain, from the example of Handel) and saw a great expansion during the nineteenth century.Romantic nationalism encouraged clear national identities and sensibilities within the countries of the United Kingdom towards the end of the nineteenth century, producing many composers and musicians of note and drawing on the folk tradition. These traditions, including the cultural strands drawn from the United Kingdom's constituent nations and provinces, continued to evolve in distinctive ways through the work of such composers as Arthur Sullivan, Gustav Holst, Edward Elgar, Hubert Parry, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten. Notable living English classical composers include Harrison Birtwistle, Michael Nyman, James MacMillan, Peter Maxwell Davies, Jeremy Peyton Jones, Gavin Bryars, and Andrew Poppy.
Each of the four countries of the United Kingdom has its own diverse and distinctive folk music forms. Folk music flourished until the era of industrialisation when it began to be replaced by new forms of popular music, including music hall and brass bands. Realisation of this led to three folk revivals, one in the late-19th century, one in the mid-20th century and one at the start of the 21st century which keeps folk music as an important sub-culture within society.
England has a long and diverse history of folk music dating back at least to the medieval period and including many forms of music, song and dance. Through three periods of revival from the late nineteenth century much of the tradition has been preserved and continues to be practiced.It led to the creation of a number of fusions with other forms of music that produced subgenres such as British folk rock, folk punk and folk metal and continues to thrive nationally and in regional scenes, particularly in areas such as Northumbria and Cornwall.
Ireland, including Northern Ireland, has vibrant folk traditions. The popularity of traditional instruments such as fiddles has remained throughout the centuries even as analogues in Great Britain died out. Perhaps the most famous modern musician from Northern Ireland influenced by folk tradition is Van Morrison.
Scottish folk music includes many kinds of songs, including ballads and laments, sung by a single singer with accompaniment by bagpipes, fiddles or harps. Traditional dances include waltzes, reels, strathspeys and jigs. Alongside the other areas of the United Kingdom, Scotland underwent a roots revival in the 1960s. Cathy-Ann McPhee and Jeannie Robertson were the heroes of this revival, which inspired some revolutions in band formats by groups like The Clutha, The Whistlebinkies, The Boys of the Lough and the Incredible String Band.
Wales is a Celtic country that features folk music played at twmpathau (communal dances) and gwyl werin (music festivals). Welsh music also includes male voice choirs and songs accompanied by a harp. Having long been subordinate to English culture, Welsh musicians in the late 20th century had to reconstruct traditional music when a roots revival began. This revival began in the late 1970s and achieved some mainstream success in the UK in the 80s with performers like Robin Huw Bowen, Moniars and Gwerinos.
In the sense of commercial music enjoyed by the people, British popular music can be seen to originate in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with the arrival of the broadside ballad, which were sold cheaply and in great numbers until the nineteenth century.Further technological, economic and social changes led to new forms of music in the 20th century, including the brass band, which produced a popular and communal form of classical music. Similarly, the music hall sprang up to cater for the entertainment of new urban societies, adapting existing forms of music to produce popular songs and acts. In the 1930s the influence of American Jazz led to the creation of British dance bands, who provided a social and popular music that began to dominate social occasions and the radio airwaves.
Forms of popular music, including folk music, jazz, rapping/hip hop, pop and rock music, have particularly flourished in Britain since the twentieth century. Britain has influenced popular music disproportionately to its size, due to its linguistic and cultural links with many countries, particularly the United States and many of its former colonies like Australia, South Africa, and Canada, and its capacity for invention, innovation and fusion, which has led to the development of, or participation in, many of the major trends in popular music.In the early-20th century, influences from the United States became most dominant in popular music, with young performers producing their own versions of American music, including rock n' roll from the late 1950s and developing a parallel music scene. This is particularly true since the early 1960s when the British Invasion, led by The Beatles, helped to secure British performers a major place in development of pop and rock music. Since then, rock music and popular music contributed to a British-American collaboration, with trans-Atlantic genres being exchanged and exported to one another, where they tended to be adapted and turned into new movements, only to be exported back again. Genres originating in or radically developed by British musicians include blues rock, heavy metal, progressive rock, ska, hard rock, punk rock, Bhangra, British folk rock, folk punk, acid jazz, trip hop, shoegaze, drum and bass, goth rock, grime, Britpop, Industrial and dubstep.
Folk music includes traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted orally, music with unknown composers, or music performed by custom over a long period of time. It has been contrasted with commercial and classical styles. The term originated in the 19th century, but folk music extends beyond that.
Folk rock is a hybrid music genre combining elements of folk music and rock music, which arose in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. In the U.S., folk rock emerged from the folk music revival and the influence that the Beatles and other British Invasion bands had on members of that movement. Performers such as Bob Dylan and the Byrds—several of whose members had earlier played in folk ensembles—attempted to blend the sounds of rock with their preexisting folk repertoire, adopting the use of electric instrumentation and drums in a way previously discouraged in the U.S. folk community. The term "folk rock" was initially used in the U.S. music press in June 1965 to describe the Byrds' music.
Germany claims some of the most renowned composers, singers, producers and performers of the world. Germany is the largest music market in Europe, and third largest in the world.
The term American folk music encompasses numerous music genres, variously known as traditional music, traditional folk music, contemporary folk music, or roots music. Many traditional songs have been sung within the same family or folk group for generations, and sometimes trace back to such origins as Great Britain, Europe, or Africa. Musician Mike Seeger once famously commented that the definition of American folk music is "...all the music that fits between the cracks."
British popular music and popular music in general, can be defined in a number of ways, but is used here to describe music which is not part of the art/classical music or Church music traditions, including folk music, jazz, pop and rock music. These forms of music have particularly flourished in Britain, which, it has been argued, has influenced popular music disproportionately to its size, partly due to its linguistic and cultural links with many countries, particularly the former areas of British control such as United States, Canada, and Australia, but also a capacity for invention, innovation and fusion, which has led to the development of, or participation in, many of the major trends in popular music. This is particularly true since the early 1960s when the British Invasion led by The Beatles, helped to secure British performers a major place in development of pop and rock music, which has been revisited at various times, with genres originating in or being radically developed by British musicians, including: blues rock, heavy metal music, progressive rock, punk rock, British folk rock, folk punk, acid jazz, drum and bass, grime, dubstep and Britpop.
The folk music of England is tradition-based music, which has existed since the later medieval period. It is often contrasted with courtly, classical and later commercial music. Folk music has been preserved and transmitted orally, through print and later through recordings. The term is used to refer to English traditional music and music composed, or delivered, in a traditional style. English folk music has produced or contributed to several important musical genres, including sea shanties, jigs, hornpipes and dance music, such as that used for Morris dancing. It can be seen as having distinct regional and local variations in content and style, particularly in areas more removed from the cultural and political centres of the English state, as in Northumbria, or the West Country. Cultural interchange and processes of migration mean that English folk music, although in many ways distinctive, has particularly interacted with the music of Scotland. It has also interacted with other musical traditions, particularly classical and rock music, influencing musical styles and producing musical fusions, such as British folk rock, folk punk and folk metal. There remains a flourishing sub-culture of English folk music, which continues to influence other genres and occasionally gains mainstream attention.
Scotland is internationally known for its traditional music, which remained vibrant throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, when many traditional forms worldwide lost popularity to pop music. In spite of emigration and a well-developed connection to music imported from the rest of Europe and the United States, the music of Scotland has kept many of its traditional aspects; indeed, it has itself influenced many forms of music.
Scottish folk music is music that uses forms that are identified as part of the Scottish musical tradition. There is evidence that there was a flourishing culture of popular music in Scotland during the late Middle Ages, but the only song with a melody to survive from this period is the "Pleugh Song". After the Reformation, the secular popular tradition of music continued, despite attempts by the Kirk, particularly in the Lowlands, to suppress dancing and events like penny weddings. The first clear reference to the use of the Highland bagpipes mentions their use at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547. The Highlands in the early seventeenth century saw the development of piping families including the MacCrimmons, MacArthurs, MacGregors and the Mackays of Gairloch. There is also evidence of adoption of the fiddle in the Highlands. Well-known musicians included the fiddler Pattie Birnie and the piper Habbie Simpson. This tradition continued into the nineteenth century, with major figures such as the fiddlers Neil and his son Nathaniel Gow. There is evidence of ballads from this period. Some may date back to the late Medieval era and deal with events and people that can be traced back as far as the thirteenth century. They remained an oral tradition until they were collected as folk songs in the eighteenth century.
Celtic rock is a genre of folk rock, as well as a form of Celtic fusion which incorporates Celtic music, instrumentation and themes into a rock music context. It has been extremely prolific since the early 1970s and can be seen as a key foundation of the development of highly successful mainstream Celtic bands and popular musical performers, as well as creating important derivatives through further fusions. It has played a major role in the maintenance and definition of regional and national identities and in fostering a pan-Celtic culture. It has also helped to communicate those cultures to external audiences.
Classical music of the United Kingdom is taken in this article to mean classical music in the sense elsewhere defined, of formally composed and written music of chamber, concert and church type as distinct from popular, traditional, or folk music. The term in this sense emerged in the early 19th century, not long after the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland came into existence in 1801. Composed music in these islands can be traced in musical notation back to the 13th century, with earlier origins. It has never existed in isolation from European music, but has often developed in distinctively insular ways within an international framework. Inheriting the European classical forms of the 18th century, patronage and the academy and university establishment of musical performance and training in the United Kingdom during the 19th century saw a great expansion. Similar developments occurred in the other expanding states of Europe and their empires. Within this international growth the traditions of composition and performance centred in the United Kingdom, including the various cultural strands drawn from its different provinces, have continued to evolve in distinctive ways through the work of many famous composers.
The expression Italian popular music refers to the musical output which is not usually considered academic or Classical music but rather have its roots in the popular traditions, and it may be defined in two ways: it can either be defined in terms of the current geographical location of the Italian Republic with the exceptions of the Germanic South Tyrol and the eastern portion of Friuli Venezia Giulia; alternatively it can be defined as the music produced by all those people who consider themselves as Italians and openly or implicitly refer to this belief. Both these two definitions are very loose: due to the complex political history of the Italian Peninsula and the different independent political states, cultural and linguistic traditions which sprang within them, it is rather difficult to define what may be considered to be truly Italian. Since before the formation of a unified educational system and the spread of information through the radio and the press during the twenties, all the different cultural and linguistic groups within the country were independent from one another, and a unified Italian Country was still only a political or ideological concept far from the daily life.
Progressive folk was originally a type of American folk music that pursued a progressive political agenda, but in the United Kingdom the term became attached to a musical subgenre. The latter describes a substyle of contemporary folk that draws from post-Bob Dylan folk music and adds new layers of musical and lyrical complexity, often incorporating various ethnic influences.
Early music of the British Isles, from the earliest recorded times until the beginnings of the Baroque in the 17th century, was a diverse and rich culture, including sacred and secular music and ranging from the popular to the elite. Each of the major nations of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales retained unique forms of music and of instrumentation, but British music was highly influenced by continental developments, while British composers made an important contribution to many of the major movements in early music in Europe, including the polyphony of the Ars Nova and laid some of the foundations of later national and international classical music. Musicians from the British Isles also developed some distinctive forms of music, including Celtic chant, the Contenance Angloise, the rota, polyphonic votive antiphons and the carol in the medieval era and English madrigals, lute ayres and masques in the Renaissance era, which would lead to the development of English language opera at the height of the Baroque in the 18th century.
The British folk revival incorporates a number of movements for the collection, preservation and performance of folk music in the United Kingdom and related territories and countries, which had origins as early as the 18th century. It is particularly associated with two movements, usually referred to as the first and second revivals, respectively in the late 19th to early 20th centuries and the mid-20th century. The first included increased interest in and study of traditional folk music, the second was a part of the birth of contemporary folk music. These had a profound impact on the development of British classical music and in the creation of a "national" or "pastoral school" and led to the creation of a sub-culture of folk clubs and folk festivals as well as influential subgenres including progressive folk music and British folk rock.
Baroque music of the British Isles bridged the gap between the early music of the Medieval and Renaissance periods and the development of fully fledged and formalised orchestral classical music in the second half of the eighteenth century. It was characterised by more elaborate musical ornamentation, changes in musical notation, new instrumental playing techniques and the rise of new genres such as opera. Although the term Baroque is conventionally used for European music from about 1600, its full effects were not felt in Britain until after 1660, delayed by native trends and developments in music, religious and cultural differences from many European countries and the disruption to court music caused by the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and Interregnum. Under the restored Stuart monarchy the court became once again a centre of musical patronage, but royal interest in music tended to be less significant as the seventeenth century progressed, to be revived again under the House of Hanover. The Baroque era in British music can be seen as one of an interaction of national and international trends, sometimes absorbing continental fashions and practices and sometimes attempting, as in the creation of ballad opera, to produce an indigenous tradition. However, arguably the most significant British composer of the era, George Frideric Handel, was a naturalised German, who helped integrate British and continental music and define the future of the classical music of the United Kingdom that would be officially formed in 1801.
Music of the United Kingdom began to develop in the 1950s; from largely insular and derivative forms to become one of the leading centres of popular music in the modern world. By 1950 indigenous forms of British popular music, including folk music, brass and silver bands, music hall and dance bands, were already giving way to the influence of American forms of music including jazz, swing and traditional pop, mediated through film and records.
Music of the United Kingdom developed in the 1960s into one of the leading forms of popular music in the modern world. By the early 1960s the British had developed a viable national music industry and began to produce adapted forms of American music in Beat music and British blues which would be re-exported to America by bands such as The Beatles, The Animals and Rolling Stones. This helped to make the dominant forms of popular music something of a shared Anglo-American creation, and led to the growing distinction between pop and rock music, which began to develop into diverse and creative subgenres that would characterise the form throughout the rest of the twentieth century.
Music of Scotland in the eighteenth century includes all forms of music made in Scotland, by Scottish people, or in forms associated with Scotland, in the eighteenth century. Growing divisions in the Scottish kirk between the Evangelicals and the Moderate Partyresulted in attempt to expand psalmondy to include hymns the singing of other scriptural paraphrases.
Music in Medieval England, from the end of Roman rule in the fifth century until the Reformation in the sixteenth century, was a diverse and rich culture, including sacred and secular music and ranging from the popular to the elite.