The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Rap is music

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/20/2014 Category: Music
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 689 times Debate No: 52974
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




This debate will concern whether or not rap is music. First round will be for acceptance. BOP is shared.


Music uses various elements, in this round I will be focusing in melody, and how rap music does not use this.

Imagine a beautiful Beethoven Symphony; feel the violins playing long continuous phrases, and the way it blends with the surrounding instruments. The line that the violin is playing is called the melody; if you are able to whistle, hum or play it on a pitched instrument, it is a melody.

Now imagine a bongo drum concerto; you can't, they don't exist. Why? Because the bongo drums are unpitched percussion instruments; they are unable to sustain a melody. If someone were to play a basic rock beat on a drum kit, would you be able to whistle it back?

Now, think of a rap song. Try and hum, whistle or play what the rapper is rapping. You simply can't, because like a drum kit or a bongo drum, the rapper is only singing a couple of different pitches.

Rapping is like playing an untuned percussion instrument; rappers are unable to sustain a melody.

Without a melody, a piece of music simply isn't a piece of music. It's like making a banana cake without bananas; it would just be a cake that wouldn't hold together very well, the way Rap as a genre does.
Debate Round No. 1


Alright, first of all in my first statement I said the first round would be for acceptance, so if you could vacate one of your next two rounds to make up for that, it would be awesome, you having an extra round wouldn't really be fair.

Secondly, music CAN have melody, but melody is not required.

Merriam Webster Online Dictionary Defines Music as:
a : the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity
b : vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony

If you listen to any rap track, a beat is played in the background, a syllables are uttered in a rhythmic fashion. According to Merriam Webster, a track does not necessarily need music to be characterized as music. Rap indeed contains sounds uttered in succession and combination, and indeed contains unity and continuity. Rap is a rhythmic type of music rather than a melodic type, requiring a lyrical genius. Furthermore, all rap tracks contain a beat, normally interlaced with melodic elements as well as rhythmic, drum driven ones.

Do you not consider the drums and chanting of Native Americans music? What about all-percussion groups such as stomp? No melodies are required there, yet stomp even has its own musical. A musical in its name implies music. Therefore a lack of melody cannot be considered a lack of music (even though most rap does contain melodic elements)

Therefore, according to Merriam Webster's definition of the word music, rap cannot be excluded.


Yeah, sorry about the mistake. This round is vacated for me.
Debate Round No. 2


Haha well crap. I pretty much refuted the point you made in your opening statement in my last round, so there isn't a lot more to say.
I would just like to reinforce the fact that melody alone cannot constitute music. As I said earlier, there is a Stomp musical based solely off of percussion. A musical implies music, and therefore shows that rhythm can characterize music, which my Merriam Webster definition affirmed. Rap does have rhythm. Listen to this track by Eminem if you get the chance:

This track demonstrates the rhythm, rhyme sequence, some melody in the chorus, and technical skills needed to show that rap is music. It's also a really good song.

Therefore, by the same points I used above (it fits the dictionary definition without a flaw, and falls in line with societal standards of music), rap is music.


I'll admit, I never had a strong argument, so I'll go from a different perspective.

It's time to truly define what music is.

Firstly, where does music come from? Looking back throughout history, we can see that music has two basic origins, those being from nature and the Church

So what is music from nature? Another name for it is Prehistoric Music, and basically consists ofthe sounds made by animals. It is debatable how far exactly this dates back to, but it could be anywhere from 6,000 years ago to several hundred million years ago. So yes, basic Prehistoric Music didn't really have a melody, it was just sounds; random noises produced by nature. This is one form of real music.

And then there's the Church. This is a music sung/played to worship God. So it could be believed that another form of "real" music is anything made with the purpose of worshiping God.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by notcreative 2 years ago
The original argument presented was that rap is not a form of music. Your refute," look into the feelings of the true music legends, and the creators of music. I'm sure The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeplin, The Who, etc. would not conquer that rap is not real music. They would be entitled to believe that music needs melody and various instruments, which rap is evidently missing" cannot be asserted without properly analyzing the meaning behind this so-called "melody." According to, melody is defined as:

[mel-uh-dee] Show IPA

noun, plural mel"o"dies.
musical sounds in agreeable succession or arrangement.

the succession of single tones in musical compositions, as distinguished from harmony and rhythm.
the principal part in a harmonic composition; the air.
a rhythmical succession of single tones producing a distinct musical phrase or idea.
a poem suitable for singing.
intonation, as of a segment of connected speech.

Melody has now been broadened to anywhere from single tones to a simple segment of connected speech. Therefore, since rapping is a connected flow of lyrics, rap can be classified as melodic, and to your credit, a form of music, too.
Posted by Samkatz96 2 years ago
While music does allocate freedom of expression and releasing ones feelings, it is also mainly centered around beats, rhythms and melody. Rap music is missing the melody part.
Your argument features pathos when you try to understand the rappers' feelings. However, you must also look into the feelings of the true music legends, and the creators of music. I'm sure The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeplin, The Who, etc. would not conquer that rap is not real music. They would be entitled to believe that music needs melody and various instruments, which rap is evidently missing.
Posted by notcreative 2 years ago
"Try and hum, whistle or play what the rapper is rapping. You simply can't, because like a drum kit or a bongo drum, the rapper is only singing a couple of different pitches."

This statement is an ethos approach--who's to say that it's a universal truth that one cannot whistle to rap music. Quite frankly, this remark is true for this particular person, but it is not a fact.
Posted by notcreative 2 years ago
Music is an art that allocates freedom of expression; therefore, rap artists, who express themselves through their songs, are performing and writing music.
Posted by PeacefulChaos 2 years ago
I like how Pro mentioned stomp.

It really is a good musical.
Posted by PeacefulChaos 2 years ago
Alright then

Good luck to you in the debate. I agree with your position.
Posted by Phoenix61397 2 years ago
That's kinda what I was going for. It would be a lot more fun that way. Thanks for the help, though. It's appreciated.
Posted by PeacefulChaos 2 years ago
Perhaps you should define music before your opponent gets a chance, because this debate is probably going to end up being over how to define it.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by PeacefulChaos 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro provided definitions for music and, using them, reinforced why rap is a form of music. Con attempted to refute by differentiating between two different forms of music (natural and Church); however, he simply admitted that music doesn't necessarily need to have a melody. This discredited his earlier argument, and thus Pro won in convincing arguments. Pro also was the only person to provide sources, and he thus won the source points.