Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bar music- A species that never fades

Guest Post:
Call it bar music, call it pub music, club music, karaoke or whatever, the fact is that this sort of music has been around in human society forever. It’s really “social” music, derived from singalongs, dances and other cultural get-togethers since the Stone Age. In London bars, New York bars, Sydney bars or anywhere else on Earth, music is part of the social scene.

A short history of bar music

Bar music in its modern form first really started during the 19th century in America, transplanted to some extent from Europe and Ireland. Music was played in bordellos, bars, and soon became an accepted part of the social scene. Jazz expanded the range of the music to clubs during Prohibition, and this social version became the standard for the post-war generations.

This early live music in bars and clubs translated soon enough into recorded music like juke boxes, followed by DJs and dancing in the 1950s. By the 1960s, bar music was the standard, and the explosion of pop music around the world made music an indispensable part of any bar, club, restaurant and even diners.

Disco and live rock turned the music into the main attractions for bars and clubs. The entertainment became a business venture in its own right, and many bar and club owners weren’t slow to realize that the music was driving a lot of business their way.

The bars repaid the favor to musicians, too. Many of the world’s biggest bands got their start in pubs and clubs. Even the Beatles and Rolling Stones got started in The Cavern and the Richmond clubs. Blues clubs helped top class musicians like Eric Clapton and John Mayall get started. Music and bars had a sort of symbiosis, which persists to this day in various forms.

Modern bars and modern music

The music has changed, the bars have changed. In the past, if anyone had even suggested that patrons get up and sing in karaoke style, nobody would have believed it. Pop music is still “hook music”, though, catchy and fun, and that’s the main driver. Music is no longer a spectator sport, and anyone prepared to try their luck in a local music night or karaoke bar is welcome to try.

The culture has also changed, arguably much for the better. In the mid 60s, specialist music bars started up, with country/rockabilly, jazz, soul and rock bars as the basic formats. This was originally because the bar owners had their own preferences, but it turned out to be a very good idea, attracting patrons and a lot more business, particularly for live music.

Wherever you go, music will be there waiting in the bars and clubs.

Bar music is flexible, adaptable, and a lot of fun, whether it’s just pop, or the most exotic type of new music. Bars have become the places to listen to music and have a good night out. This is the real “world music”, and it’s everywhere.

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