American's Music Taste
James Fenimore Cooper, an early American writer, once said, “The Americans are almost ignorant of the art of music.” If that was once true, you would never know it today. Most Americans — even those without a musical bone in their bodies — have a favorite style of music. Many people enjoy classical and folk music from around the world. But other popular music styles in America were “made in the U.S.A.”
The 1950s saw the development of an explosive new music style: rock ‘n’ roll. Performers like Elvis Presley and songs like Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” made rock music widely popular. This powerful music style addresses issues like love, sex, drugs, politics and death. Often it rebels against the accepted values of society. Rook concerts, featuring loud music and sometimes weird stage acts, have become a major part of American youth culture. Music videos on television have spread the message of rock to the far comers of the globe.
And the beat goes on. Pop music represents popular styles — like the music of Karen Carpenter — that have wide appeal. “Golden oldies” from the past bring back pleasant memories for many. Rapmusic, which burst onto the music scene in the 1970s, is actually more like a rhyming chant. Rappers give a strong — sometimes vulgar — message about life in the streets.
音乐的节奏继续延伸下去。通俗乐代表了受大众喜爱的音 乐风格,像卡朋特兄妹的音乐即吸引广大的群众。这些过去岁月中的遗留下来的“黄金老歌”，为许多人带来愉快的回忆。饶舌音乐在七零年代快速跃上音乐的舞台，它事实上很像是极 具节奏性的唱话。饶舌歌手传达出强烈、有时是低俗的街头生活信息。
Americans have always been a religious people, and music has long been a part of their religious experience, as well. From colonial days, hymns and praise songs have enhanced worship. Negro spirituals, such as “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” reflect hope in God in the midst of suffering. Today’s Christian styles fit all musical tastes — from country to jazz to pop to rock to rap.
美国人一向是相当宗教性的民族，而音乐长期以来也是他们宗教经验中的一部份。自殖民时期开始，诗歌和赞美诗都 提升了敬拜的层次。像“无人知道我的困难”这样的黑人灵歌，反映出苦难中对上帝的盼望。今天的基督教音乐包含了各式 的乐风——从乡村、到爵士、到通俗、到摇滚、再到饶舌歌。
In America, music is a shared experience. People grow up with piano lessons, chorus classes and marching band practices. They can talk about their tastes in music when there isn’t anything else to talk about. If James Fenimore Cooper were here today, he would surely have to change his tune.
在美国，音乐是一种大家共有的经验。人们在钢琴课、合 唱课程和参与游行乐队的演练经验中成长。当无话可谈的时候，他们就可以谈谈自己对音乐的喜好。如果今天柯柏还在世 的话，他就得改变他的论调了。