Music Of Australia
Aussie Beats To The World

The music of Australia has played a major role in the development of our nation.

Australians have a great love of music. From our earliest years as a convict nation through to today, when many of our sons and daughters perform on the world stage.

Prior to European settlement the Australian Aborigines developed a range of unique musical instruments including the didgeridoo and clapsticks which were used in their traditional ceremonies.

These instruments and their distinctive sounds are today incorporated with traditional musical instruments in a fusion of contemporary mainstream styles and performed by Australian indigenous artists such as Gurrumul Yunupingu and Yothu Yindi.

Australian traditional, bush, folk and country music

Some of the earliest music of Australia in our convict nation told of the hardships experienced by the first settlers and had its roots in Celtic folk music. Songs such as 'Bound for Botany Bay' described the period in the late 18th and 19th centuries when British convicts were deported to the various Australian penal colonies.

It's about life on the convict ships while other early songs tell of the hardships and isolation endured in the harsh new land.

Those early songs were heavily influenced by successive waves of migrants from diverse backgrounds, beginning with the British, Irish, Scottish and Welsh convicts.

As we grew into nationhood many other styles from around the world were represented in the music of Australia.

'Waltzing Matilda' is Australia's most widely known bush ballad. A country folk song, it's often referred to as "the unofficial national anthem of Australia". The original lyrics were written in 1895 by poet Banjo Paterson and it was first published as sheet music in 1903.

Australian country grew out of those initial folk songs and was based around themes of Australian folklore including bush ranging, loneliness and isolation, endurance, drought, floods, droving and shearing.

The New Zealand born singer Tex Morton, is generally regarded as the 'father of the Australian Bush Ballad' and recorded his first song 'The Happy Yodeller' in about 1936.

He pioneered the original country style music of Australia that had an enormous influence on aspiring young artists like Slim Dusty and Buddy Williams.

The biggest selling 78 rpm record of all time, and Australia's first international number one hit was the 'Pub With No Beer', recorded and released by Slim Dusty in 1957.

Country music of Australia became popular again in the eighties and nineties with such recordings as John Williamson's classic 'Hey True Blue', with other artists like James Blundell and Lee Kernaghan attracting record-breaking concert audiences.

Today Keith Urban continues the grand tradition of Country Music of Australia with his standing as one of the top recording and performing artists on the world stage.

Australian Popular and Rock Music.

Australian pop and rock music had its origins in the 1950s and 1960s with artists like Johnny O'Keefe, Col Joy, Little Pattie and The Delltones.

Although those early performers styled themselves on American and English musicians before long Australia began to develop its own individual style of rock and pop.

Groups such as The Seekers, Men At Work, INXS and AC/DC all became international stars while individual artists such as Olivia Newton John, Jimmy Barnes and John Farnham also performed to international audiences.

In more recent years, alternative pop music of Australia produced under independent music labels has become popular with artists including George, Kisschasy and Missy Higgins releasing songs and ballads, while Rogue Traders, and Butterfingers have introduced digital, rap and punk sounds.

The line of where rock music ends and other styles begin is merging. Bands like Regurgitator use heavy guitar and electronic music to create their own unique sound and Yothu Yindi use traditional Aboriginal music as the basis for their songs.

Australian Classical Music

Classical music of Australia is based on traditional forms, such as a sonata or symphony, and often follows strict stylistic and rhythmic rules which distinguishes it from simpler or more popular music.

Australian classical music is represented by ensembles like the Australian String Quartet, state and community orchestras, such as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Ku-Ring-Gai Philharmonic Orchestra; choirs of all sorts based at schools, universities and community centres such as the Australian Girls Choir, the QANTAS Choir and the Sydney Philharmonic Choir; and operatic groups such as Opera Australia and Pinchgut Opera.

The extent of classical musical performance is illustrated by the fact that every year around 2,500 concerts of classical music are presented Australia-wide by Musica Viva and that each State and Territory capital has a symphony orchestra.

Australia's classical musicians and teachers are world standard, Including violinist and viola player Barbara Jane Gilby and Elizabeth Wallfisch, an orchestra director as well as soloist, and chamber musician.

Australian pianist Duncan Gifford is established as a major artist with international successes in many of the world's most prestigious piano competitions. The Sydney Morning Herald described Duncan as 'a virtuosic and musically eloquent soloist'. Duncan has performed in recital and as soloist with many orchestras throughout Europe, Russia, Japan and Australasia.

Australian military bands perform classical and popular music at ceremonies, parades, church services, mess dinners and concerts.

Since the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788, when military music accompanied the reading of the Governor's Commission, military music of Australia has had a defining role in Australian life.

Australian Jazz Music

Jazz music of Australia is of course based on the Afro-American tradition which is said to have originated in New Orleans, USA around 1917.

Australian jazz musicians, like Don Burrows and James Morrison continue to attract significant music sales and audience support while artists like alto saxophonists Berne McGann, pianist Mike Nock and saxophonist Dale Barlow are all achievers on the world stage.

Australian musicians today perform right across the range of genres, or styles and have achieved international recognition with their unique Australian approach.

As time goes on our artists and performers will persist in developing that unique approach and continue to achieve recognition by the world audience for the music of Australia.

More About The Music Artists of Australia

Slim Dusty is an Australian country music legend, probably one of the best known Australian singers of all time and the first singer to have his voice beamed to earth from space.

Keith Urban is considered an Australian country music singer but he was in fact born in New Zealand on 26th October 1967.

Johnny O'Keefe is recognised as the pioneer & undisputed King of Australian Rock 'n' Roll music and in a career that spanned 20 years he released over 50 singles, 50 EP's and 100 albums.

Olivia Newton-John is an Australian Grammy Award winning recording artist, film and television star, originally born in Cambridge, England in 1948.

The Seekers are one of Australia's best known and most popular and enduring singing groups with their popularity in the '60's actually being high enough to rival The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

The Bee Gees arrived on the pop music scene in 1965 with their first record 'Wine and Women', which although just a minor hit gave them the chance to showcase their talent and won them appearances on radio and TV programmes.

John Farnham first rose to prominence on the Australian pop music charts with his 1968 song, 'Sadie The Cleaning Lady'; he was know as Johnny Farnham back then and he went on to become a true Aussie Icon.

AC/DC are Aussie Rock Legends sometimes referred to as 'Acker Dacker'. They were formed in 1973 and released their first single in 1974.

INXS began their musical journey together during the school years of its founding members, they went on to release their first single in 1980 and later that year their self-titled debut album.

Guy Sebastian was the winner of the very first Australian Idol and has become one of the most successful Australian artists in recent times.

Gotye, winner (with Kimbra) of the 2013 Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group performance and Best Alternative Music Album.

Delta Goodrem is an extremely talented tall willowy beautiful blonde Australian and an international star; she really does have it all!

Jessica Mauboy is an R&B singer, songwriter and actress, she is often referred to as Darwin's favourite daughter and there is no doubt that she has become one of Australia's all-time favourites too.

5 Seconds of Summer is a new Australian band that formed in Sydney in 2011 and started their journey to stardom on YouTube.

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