Friday, August 19, 2005

Play that Funky Music, White Boy!

What is Funk?

Funk is a distinct style of music originated by African-Americans. Funk best can be recognized by its syncopated rhythms; thick bass line (often based on an "on the one" beat); razor-sharp rhythm guitars; chanted or hollered vocals; strong, rhythm oriented horn sections; prominent percussion; an upbeat attitude; African tones; danceability; and strong jazz influences.

Compared to funk's predecessor, the soul music of 1960s, funk typically uses more complex rhythms, while song structures are usually simpler. Often, the structure of a funk song consists of just one or two riffs. Sometimes the point at which one riff changes to another becomes the highlight of a song. The soul dance music of its day, the basic idea of funk was to create as intense a groove as possible.

One of the most distinctive features of funk music is the role played by bass guitar. Before soul music, bass was rarely prominent in popular music. Players like the legendary Motown bassist James Jamerson brought bass to the forefront, and funk built on that foundation, with melodic basslines often being the centerpiece of songs. Notable funk bassists include Bootsy Collins and Larry Graham of Sly & the Family Stone. Graham is often credited with inventing the percussive "slap bass technique," which was further developed by later bassists and became a distictive element of funk.

Since funk is strongly rhythm-oriented, many funk songs contain no solos. Those that do often feature skillfully improvised horn solos. Some of the best known and most skillful soloists have jazz backgrounds.

In funk bands, guitarists typically play in a percussive style. "Dead" notes often are used in riffs to strengthen percussive elements. When playing with a horn section, guitarists usually play no solos; but if a band's style is closer to a "funk rock" approach, then a guitarist may play solos with a distorted sound.

9 comments:

Skipping Heart said...

I would hate to imagine a world without some good lovin' FUNK!!!

moon said...

One nation under a groove
Gettin' down just for the funk of it
One nation and we're on the move
Nothin' can stop us now.

Do you promise to funk, the whole funk, nothin' but the funk?

Funkadelic

Skipping Heart said...

Feet don't fail me now
Here's a chance to dance
Our way out of our constrictions
Gonna be groovin' up and down
Hang up alley way
The groove our only guide

We shall all be moved
Feet don't fail me now
Givin' you more of what you're funkin' for
Feet don't fail me now

Skipping Heart said...

Moon, do you remember this one?

Pledge a groovallegiance to the funk
The United Funk of Funkadelica
Uh, dey funk, well dey funk, today funk
Of da United Funk of Funkadelica

moon said...

It's rare that I get stumped on music trivia, but that one doesn't ring a bell. OK...I give up...who is it??!!

Skipping Heart said...

(Funkadelics)Groovallegiance - G Clinton, W Morrison, B Worrell

moon said...

I should have known...sounds like something Mr. Funkadelic (George Clinton) would write!
did you know that in his "pre-funk" days, he had a doo-wop group called "the parliaments"? no braided hair, space suits or multicolored feathers back then, just lots of processed hair!

Skipping Heart said...

I had no idea about George Clinton in his 'pre-funk' days. I will have to do some research on that! Thank you for your insight.

Skipping Heart said...

this is funny, i was searching google.com and found a mugshot of Dr. Funkenstein check it out.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/mugshots/gclintonmug1.html