Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Evolution of Western Dance Music?

Here is a nifty graphic that purports to show the evolution of dance music.

So what do you think? Anything missing? It seems to have everything except, well, except the Western part. I think that this should instead be called "how non-Western musical traditions influenced popular music." Have another look. In the beginning everything came from Africa, right? Well, no, of course not. If you run the graphic and stop it around 1900, all you see is African music spreading through the Caribbean into the US. Notice how "Christian hymns" and "gospel" and "spirituals" and "American marching band" are just hanging there in space? That's because the people that made this graphic have no idea of their history. For them all the Western European dance traditions such as the jigs and reels and schottische and polkas and flamenco and others based on them such as the tango and habanera just don't exist. The beginning of dance music in Europe is "synth pop"! That would certainly be news to ballet fans.

How do you get to be this abysmally ignorant? Oh, right, just grow up in the late 20th century. What troubles me is that, probably at this very moment, some teacher somewhere is assigning this graphic to their class as a source of information. Excuse me, I think I need a strong drink...

Must put up an antidote first, though.

Oh sure, it looks a bit silly. But twerking isn't silly? How about this instead:

Or how about some Russians:


Rickard Dahl said...

Yeah, it's an incredibly ridiculous and ignorant graph. People generally lack a decent music education.
Cool dances. The Russian one was amazing.

Bryan Townsend said...

Russians have an astounding musical and dance culture.