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Columbia College Chicago


Definition of Style

Familiar around the globe primarily because of the hypnotic music of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, reggae is a Jamaican popular music that developed in the late 1960s in the wake of its predecessors: ska, mento, and rock steady. Picking up broadcasts of Fats Domino and others emanating from coastal cities such as New Orleans, musicians in Jamaica combined the rhythm and blues they heard on the airwaves with Caribbean rhythms, creating the distinctive accent pattern of ska. Reflecting the uptempo nature of the classic R&B artists, ska was a high-energy dance music, but it gave way in the mid-1960s to a slower, more deliberate form known as rock steady. Reggae, as we know it today, emerged when these musicians fell under the influence of the longer songs and open-ended instrumental improvisation.

Musical Example