Reggae

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Reggae Music

Reggae is a music genre created in Jamaica in the late 1960's.

Eeggae describes a particular music style that originated following the development of ska and rocksteady. Reggae is based on a rhythmic style characterized by accents on the off-beat, known as the skank. Reggae is normally slower than ska but faster than rocksteady. Reggae usually accents the second and fourth beat in each bar, with the rhythm guitar either emphasizing the third beat or holding the chord on the second beat until the fourth is played. This "third beat", fast tempo and the use of complex bass lines differentiates reggae from rocksteady, although later styles incorporated these innovations separately.


Etymology of Reggae

The 1967 edition of the Dictionary of Jamaican English lists reggae as "a recently estab. sp. for rege", as in rege-rege, a word that can mean either "rags, ragged clothing" or "a quarrel, a row".[1]

Reggae as a musical term first appeared in print with the 1968 rocksteady hit "Do the Reggay" by The Maytals, but it was already being used in Kingston, Jamaica as the name of a slower dance and style of rocksteady.[2]

Toots Hibbert, the lead singer of the Maytals said: "There's a word we used to use in Jamaica called 'streggae'. If a girl is walking and the guys look at her and say 'Man, she's streggae' it means she don't dress well, she look raggedy. The girls would say that about the men too. "[3]

Bob Marley is said to have claimed that the word reggae came from a Spanish term for "the king's music".[4] The liner notes of To the King, a compilation of Christian gospel reggae, suggest that the word reggae was derived from the Latin regi meaning "to the king."


Footnotes

  1. Dictionary of Jamaican English
  2. History of Jamaican Music 1953–1973
  3. interview in The Independent Jun 4, 2004; cf. many similar statements by Hibbert in recent years. In earlier interviews, Hibbert used to claim the derivation was from English 'regular', in reference to the beat.
  4. Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley, Timothy White, p. 16


References