Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B and RnB, is a genre of popular African-American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular.
The term has subsequently had a number of shifts in meaning. In the early 1950s, the term rhythm and blues was frequently applied to blues records. Starting in the mid-1950s, after this style of music contributed to the development of rock and roll, the term "R&B" became used to refer to music styles that developed from and incorporated electric blues, as well as gospel and soul music. By the 1970s, rhythm and blues was used as a blanket term for soul and funk. In the 1980s, a newer style of R&B developed, becoming known as "Contemporary R&B".
African-American music is an umbrella term covering a diverse range of musics and musical genres largely developed by and for African-Americans. Jazz, blues, gospel, soul, rock and roll, and hip hop constitute the principal modern genres of African-American music. Their origins are in musical forms that arose out of the historical condition of slavery that characterized the lives of black Americans prior to the American Civil War. The modern genres were developed during the late 19th century by fusing European musical styles (characterized by diatonic harmony within the framework of equal temperament) with those of African origin which employed the natural harmonic series. The only exception was hip hop, which was formed in the late 20th century from earlier forms of African-American music such as jazz and blues.
Following the Civil War, black Americans, through employment as musicians playing European music in military bands, developed new musical styles such as ragtime and what would become known as jazz. In developing this latter musical form, African Americans contributed knowledge of the sophisticated polyrhythmic structure of the dance and folk music of peoples across western and sub-Saharan Africa. Together, these musical forms had a wide-ranging and profound influence over the development of music within the United States and around the world during the 20th century.
In general, American music may refer to music of the Americas or music of the United States.
Specifically, American Music can refer to: