African American involvement in the nation's music making has influenced every genre of American music, helping to create a sound now recognized as distinctly American. Reflecting both the hardships and triumphs black Americans have experienced in the United Statestheir music has also served to shape the national identity, profoundly influencing the lives of all Americans. Some were able to bring musical instruments with them or build new ones in this country. The "banja" or "banshaw," now known as the banjo, was one of the African instruments that continued to be built and played in America.
Reflecting both the hardships and triumphs black Americans have experienced in the United Statestheir music has also served to shape the national identity, profoundly influencing the lives of all Americans.
Some were able to bring musical instruments with them or build new ones in this country. The "banja" or "banshaw," now known as the banjo, was one of the African instruments that continued to be built and played in America.
Africans in America also fashioned numerous types of drums and percussion instruments from whatever materials they could gather.
Slaveholders, however, eventually discovered that African slaves were using drums to communicate among themselves and by the s, drums had been banned on many plantations.
African American slaves on southern plantations cultivated their own musical styles, which later evolved into gospel, blues, and what is now known as bluegrass and country music.
Slave fiddlers often provided dance music for the southern white gentry, and the sound we recognize today as country fiddling is partially the product of the slave fiddler.
Most slaves were not allowed to own instruments or could not afford to purchase them. However, using makeshift instruments and their own bodies, they created unique musical ensembles. One of the most pervasive holdovers from African music was an emphasis on rhythm and the use of complex polyrhythms still found in African music.
Over time, many distinct practices and traditions of African music were either forgotten or blended with other musical traditions. Nevertheless, African music continued to flow into the New World as a result of the slave trade, which continued illegally well into the nineteenth century despite its official abolition in Neither black versions of white hymns nor transformations of songs from Africa, spirituals were a distinctly African American response to American conditions.
They expressed the longing of slaves for spiritual and bodily freedom, for safety from harm and evil, and for relief from the hardships of slavery.
Many of the songs offered coded messages. The spirituals also served as critiques of slavery, using biblical metaphors to protest the enslavement of black people.
Such protest can be found in the lyrics of "Go Down, Moses ": Until they brought these songs to national and international attention, Negro spirituals were widely considered crude and embarrassing holdovers from slavery.
The success of the Fisk Jubilee Singers spawned a number of similar black jubilee singing groups and contributed a sense of pride to many newly emancipated blacks.
In the early part of the s, as a result of the work of black composers, the performance of Negro spirituals became a tradition among black singers, particularly singers of classical music.
Composers like Harry T. BurleighMargaret Bondsand Hall Johnson set the spirituals to piano accompaniment as a means of preserving and perpetuating the beauty of this traditional black music.
But ragtime was not new in Documents reveal that it was being played as early as the s.
Black musicians spoke of "ragging a tune" when describing the use of syncopated rhythms, whether in classical compositions, popular songs, or genteel dance tunes.
While black musicians could rag tunes on any instrument, the music we call ragtime developed when the piano replaced the violin as the favorite instrument for dance accompaniment.
The standard ragtime piece consists of several different musical ideas, or strains, held together by a main opening theme. The strains, which are often sixteen bars in length, are highly syncopated and alternate with the main theme throughout the piece.
The standard left-hand technique of piano rag evolved from the martial rhythms of marching bands, and later, during the early s, it became the basis for the jazz piano style called "stride. Ragtime also evolved out of two other musical styles: Black-face minstrelsy, a popular entertainment throughout most of the nineteenth century, was at first performed only by whites, though blacks eventually formed their own minstrel troupes.
The great blues singer Gertrude "Ma" Rainey began her career in a black minstrel troupe known as the Rabbit Foot Minstrels, where she was later joined by Bessie Smith An early form of popular American music, coon songs were written by both black and white composers.Free Essay: African American Music Culture Jakiella James “African-American gospel music is a major influence in nearly all genres of modern popular music.
- African American religious music is the foundation of all contemporary forms of so called “black music.” African American religious music has been a fundamental part of the black experience in this country. This common staple of the African American experience can be traced back to the cruel system of slavery.
Free Essay: Yasmin Gonzalez Mrs. Herrera Junior English 1 March History of African American Music “In less than a minute, the death wail went up out of. This is a very prominent question when looking at the history of African American music.
African American music has been called "() the musical Lingua Franca of the world [because] everyone listens to African American music and relates to it." /5(14). The History of African American Music ADAPTED FROM ESSAYS BY LORI BROOKS, BEREA COLLEGE, AND CYNTHIA YOUNG Source for information on The History of African American Music: African-American Years: Chronologies of American History and Experience dictionary.
The history of African American music has been characterized by a mixture among various forms of music. Country blues, urban blues, New Orleans Jazz, Bebop, big-band jazz, and rhythm and blues, have all influenced each other profoundly.
These influences flowed back and forth among the various forms.