Essay by KnuteUniversity, Bachelor's February 2005

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Rock Music is essentially a group of related music styles that have conquered popular music in the West since about 1955. Rock music began in the United States, but it has influenced and in turn been fashioned by an extensive field of cultures and musical traditions, including gospel music, the blues, country-and-western music, classical music, folk music, electronic music, and the popular music of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In adding to its use as a broad term, the idiom rock music commonly refers to music styles after 1959 largely influenced by white musicians. Other major rock music styles include rock and roll, the first type of the music; and rhythm-and-blues music, influenced mainly by black American musicians. Each of these major genres encompasses a variety of subtypes, such as heavy metal, punk, alternative, and grunge. While innovations in rock music have often occurred in regional centers-such as New York City, Kingston, Jamaica, and Liverpool, England-the influence of rock music is now felt worldwide.

The central musical instrument in nearly all kinds of rock music is the electric guitar. One important figure in the history of this instrument includes jazz musician Charlie Christian, who in the late 1930s was one of the first important electric guitarist, Christian played his instrument with the fluidity, confidence, and swing of a saxophonist.

Elvis' five Sun singles pioneered the blend of R&B and C&W that would characterize rockabilly music. For many of his early fans and music critics alike, they remain not only Elvis' best singles, but the best rock & roll ever recorded. The claim that Elvis made blues acceptable for the white market is not the whole picture; the singles regularly teamed blues covers in the midst of country and pop ones, all made into rock & roll.

When couching tribute...