What Is Funk?

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    Via: Wikipedia.com

    Funk is a music genre that originated in the mid-late 1960s
    when African American musicians blended soul music, jazz and R&B into a
    rhythmic, danceable new form of music. Funk de-emphasizes melody and harmony
    and brings a strong rhythmic groove of electric bass and drums to the
    foreground. Funk songs are often based on an extended vamp on a single chord,
    distinguishing it from R&B and soul songs centered on chord progressions.

    Like much African-inspired music, funk typically consists of
    a complex groove with rhythm instruments such as electric guitar, electric
    bass, Hammond organ, and drums playing interlocking rhythms. Funk bands
    sometimes have a horn section of several saxophones, trumpets, and in some
    cases, a trombone, which plays rhythmic “hits”.

    Many of the most famous bands in the genre also played disco
    and soul extensively. Funk music was a major influence on the development of
    disco music and afrobeat, and funk samples have been used extensively in genres
    including hip hop, house music and drum and bass. It is also the main influence
    of go-go, a subgenre associated with funk.

    The music was slow, sexy, loose, riff-oriented and
    danceable. Funky typically described these qualities rather than a distinct
    genre. In early jam sessions, musicians would encourage one another to
    “get down” by telling one another, “Now, put some stank on
    it!”. It is possible that the word funk was derived from a blend of the
    Kikongo term lu-Fuki (preserved by the African American community) and the
    English term stank and stinky. At least as early as 1907, jazz songs carried
    titles such as “Funky Butt”, a piece by Buddy Bolden.[5] As late as
    the 1950s and early 1960s, when “funk” and “funky” were
    used increasingly in the context of Soul music, the terms still were considered
    indelicate and inappropriate for use in polite company. According to one

    source, New Orleans-born drummer Earl Palmer “was the first to use the
    word ‘funky’ to explain to other musicians that their music should be made more
    syncopated and danceable.”

    James Brown was one of the first to bring funk to the
    forefront. He developed his own style of using the downbeat, with heavy

    emphasis on the first beat of every measure to etch his distinctive sound,
    rather than the backbeat that typified African American music.

    Then there was Sly and the Family Stone and the Isley Brothers

    Then George Clinton had his rock- funk with his bands with
    his bands Parliament and, later, Funkadelic. Together, they produced a new kind
    of funk sound heavily influenced by jazz and psychedelic rock. The two groups
    had members in common and often are referred to collectively as

    The 1970s were the era of highest mainstream visibility for
    funk music. In addition to Parliament Funkadelic, artists like Sly and the
    Family Stone, Rufus & Chaka Khan, the Isley Brothers, Ohio Players,
    Labelle, Confunkshun, Kool & The Gang, The Bar-Kays, Commodores, Roy Ayers,
    among others, were successful in getting radio play.

    Disco music owed a great deal to funk. Many early disco
    songs and performers came directly from funk-oriented backgrounds. Some disco
    music hits, such as all of Barry White’s hits, “Kung Fu Fighting” by
    Biddu and Carl Douglas, Donna Summer’s “Love To Love You Baby”, Diana
    Ross’s “Love Hangover”, KC & The Sunshine Band’s “I’m Your
    Boogie Man”, “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan (also known as The
    Queen of Funk Soul), and Chic’s “Le Freak” conspicuously include riffs
    and rhythms derived from funk. In 1976, Rose Royce scored a #1 hit with a
    purely dance-funk record, “Car Wash”. Even with the arrival of Disco,
    funk became increasingly popular well the early 80s.

    Rick James was
    the first funk musician of the 1980s to assume the funk mantle dominated by
    P-Funk in the 1970s.

    Then you had
    Prince with his “Minneapolis sound”, hybrid mixture of funk, R&B,
    rock, pop & New Wave.

    Which led to the
    Time and groups like Cameo, Zapp, The
    Gap Band, The Bar-Kays, and The Dazz Band who all found their biggest hits in
    the early 1980s.

    Funk has also been incorporated into modern Urban Pop &
    R&B music by many female singers such as Beyoncé Knowles with her 2003 hit
    “Crazy In Love” (which samples The Chi-Lites’ “Are You My
    Woman”), Jennifer Lopez in 2005 with Get Right (which samples Maceo
    Parker’s “Soul Power ’74” horn sound), and also Amerie with her song
    1 Thing (The Meters’ “Oh, Calcutta!”).

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