African American Music Essay

1478 Words 6 Pages
African American Music came about during the time of slavery in America. Africans from many different ethnicities and nationalities built their religious and secular rituals, festivals, and social gatherings on the foundation of song, dances, and rhythms they invented to cope with the New World realities. During the slavery era, enslaved African American became the musicians of choice for white and black celebrations because they were recognized as the best “musicians” around. Enslaved Africans also left their cultural markings on other aspects of American culture. African American involvement in the nation's music making has influenced every single genre of American music, helping to create a sound now recognized as American. Reflecting the …show more content…
These different genres include Ragtime, The Blues, Jazz, Country, Gospel, Classical, Hip-hop and Rap. The first nationally popular form of music in America was Ragtime 1899. People found documents that revealed ragtime was not new in 1899 because it was played as early as the 1870s. Black musicians could “rag tunes” on any instrument they picked up. Ragtime also evolved out of two other musical styles: the "coon song" and the "cakewalk." Coon song is a racist term for acts that were supposed to be humorous imitations of black slaves for white people. Cakewalk was a ring dance performed by blacks before and after slavery. African-American composers such as Will Marion Cook and the musical team of Bob Cole and Billy Johnson popularized this style of music and brought it to the Broadway and off-Broadway stages in the late 1800s. 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 1900s, it became the basis for the jazz piano style called “stride.” Although the rags we hear today are played at very fast tempos, the traditional ragtime performances were more stately and unrushed

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