As the 20th Century began, many modern musicians predicted that a new system of tones arranged in mathematical rows would replace the Western system of scales, keys, and chord in use since Bach. That revolution fizzled, however, because at the same time two great rivers of music from Africa and Europe mingled and then married electricity in America, giving birth to the lively pop music beloved around the world today. In these eloquent essays, Michael Lydon shows how 20th century musicians and listeners, while still using Bach's harmony, learned to love the free-form fun of "getting in the groove," composing, improvising, dancing to and singing along with blues, jazz, R&B, and hip-hop, played on electric guitars, keyboards, microphones, and synthesizers. Today, as we move deeper into the 21st century, the beat goes on!
MICHAEL LYDON, a writer and musician, lives in New York City with his wife, composer Ellen Mandel. Author of Rock Folk, Ray Charles: Man and Music, and Writing and Life, and other books, Lydon has also written for the Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, and Rolling Stone. A Yale graduate, Lydon is a member of ASCAP and on the faculty of Fordham University.