How Music has Changed over Time and its Societal Impact

Exclusively available on PapersOwl
Updated: Apr 30, 2024
Cite this
Date added
Pages:  3
Order Original Essay

How it works

Music has transformed over the years in its lyrics, tone, and beliefs. When you think about how certain types of music were created and what events or ideas came to mind of the artist when they produced it, you tend to learn a little bit more about the history of music. During the years 1945-1959, there were a handful of developments, contributions, and cultures that were affected by music.

Major Developments in Music: 1945-1959

Some of the main developments that occurred during this time frame were the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and Post War music.

Need a custom essay on the same topic?
Give us your paper requirements, choose a writer and we’ll deliver the highest-quality essay!
Order now

During the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s, music played a massive role in what people sang about. Whether it was gospel, protest songs about racism, or violence, the lyrics in the music were about what was happening around the world and how it affected people.

During the longest war in American history, Vietnam War, people also sang songs that reflected the war and wanted peace. The war was when the USA tried to stop communist North Vietnam from taking over South Vietnam, many soldiers from America were deployed, and 60,000 also died in order to help South Vietnam from the totalitarian government (Mintz, 2018). “The war, in turn, helped make the music louder and more intense” (Mintz, 2018). There were songs about anti-war as well as pro-war sometimes that were able to relate to most of the soldiers or families of such that were sent away.

The post-war country came about and was also most famous for being able to relate to heartbreak and tragedy. The sound of the “ music featured a tense, nasal vocal style associated with the earlier ballad tradition, accompanied by twangy guitars and fiddles, and lyrics centered on stories of loneliness and broken love relationships” (Libguides, 2020).

Significant Musical Contributions

There were a lot of contributions from music during this period that affected society, but the two that spoke out to me were the protesting with soul music and the plane crash that Buddy Holly was on. During the 1950s, African Americans during the civil rights movement started speaking their truth and what they were going through by using music as one of their gateways. With the music that they produced, they began making music with the roots of gospel music, blues, and jazz. While the protesting of the civil rights movement was a big turning point, Buddy Holly was also another major influence in rock and roll music. From being native to Texas, he was able to combine his Western style with rhythm and blues. His influential style helped bridge the racial gap in American music by drawing inspiration from African American musicians. He was able to change music, and by his fatal plane crash, the day he died is now known as “The Day the Music Died.”

Cultural Impact of Music Genres

Some of the cultures that were affected by music during this time were Rhythm and Blues, Rock and Roll, and Country music. While Rhythm and Blues were typically popularized as “black” music, some African Americans were able to receive the popularity of the music, while others were forgotten or denied access to the audience through segregation (Pearson, 2020). “A lot of people believe that during the fifties, many of the white artists stole music from African-Americans and capitalized on it for their own benefit in a way that the original artists could not” (Pearson, 2020). While others believe that artists such as Buddy Holly help bridge the gap between blacks and white and further the civil rights movement (Pearson, 2020)

One of the most influential cultural parts of music during the 1950s was Rock and Roll. By the mid-1950, Elvis Presley became one of the upcoming musicians that related to teenagers during this period. Parents were upset by the lyrics used, and the kids then started by rebelling against the social norm and expectations (Music in the 1950s). The scene of rock and roll was because of the new and exciting style that was fast-paced and rhythmic. Parents “disliked the sexuality of the lyrics and of the performers, they disliked the fact that the music came directly from African Americans regardless of if it was a white performer who recorded the song, and they disliked the rebellious nature that the music was accused of inspiring” (Vaillancourt, 2011).
While rhythm and blues, as well as rock and roll, paved the way for future music, “country music clung to the past with old standards remaining popular and a multitude of covers topping the charts” (Pearson, 2020). “Both Johnny Cash and Hank Williams defined the country and western style of music during the decade” (Pearson, 2020). With music centered around life, sorrow, and relationships, Cash was able to relate to a wide audience. As well as Hank Williams was able to help “popularize the Honky Tonk style of country music, characterized by the piano and ragtime sound combined with country and rockabilly harmonies (Pearson, 2020)”.

Concluding Thoughts

Throughout this decade of many different events that happened in history, these years were made of inspiration that helped influence everything that we listen to on the radio today.


  1. Guralnick, P. (1994). Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley. Little, Brown and Company.
  2. Cohen, R. D. (2016). Songs of Protest, War, and Peace: A Bibliography and Discography.
  3. Malone, B. C. (2002). Country Music, U.S.A. University of Texas Press.
  4. Escott, C. (2004). Hank Williams: The Biography. Little, Brown and Company.
  5. Hamilton, A., & Pearson, L. (Eds.), (2020). The Aesthetics of Imperfection in Music and the Arts: Spontaneity, Flaws and the Unfinished.


The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay
Hire a verified expert to write you a 100% Plagiarism-Free paper

Cite this page

How Music Has Changed Over Time and Its Societal Impact. (2023, Jun 18). Retrieved from