African American Music History

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Music played a major part in African American history because it expressed emotions and feelings from the white oppressor through words. Africans spoke tales or poems during slavery to symbolize the power of the common people over unjust rulers and using them to “portray the ability of slaves to outsmart and ridicule their masters” (pg. 61). During the Antebellum period between 1820-1861, African Americans in Philadelphia wrote music and performed it in the orchestra. One of the best female singers of the period was Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield. She was born a slave but known as the “Black Swan, Taylor gained renown for her vocal range” (pg. 148). Music progressed through the late 19th and early 20th century in the form of ragtime, jazz, and …show more content…
Scott Joplin, the genius of Ragtime, is best known in the music history and “in 1899 he composed his best-known tune “Maple Leaf Rag”, named after a social club” (pg. 335). Jazz and blues were huge at the end of the 1800’s and the beginning of the 1900’s. The music was composed of instruments, hymns, and the experience of black people. “Jazz and blues represented the experiences of African Americans and the creativity of the musicians who developed and performed the music” (pg.336). The Jazz Age was full of music and Harlem was the place to be if you wanted to enjoy songs, dancing, and performances. Swing music gained popularity in the 1930’s and “helped boost the careers of black and white bandleaders, but it also led to a creative slump that disheartened many younger black musicians” (pg. 425).
Eventually bebop would become the music of the war decade and create or lead to more transformation of music including Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop or rap became widely known towards the end of the 20th century, speaking in rhyme, musicians sing about life stories, unlawful treatment of African Americans and violence. The rap group “Niggaz wit Attitude” in the 1980’s was a huge success and thus the creation of gangsta rap was evolved. By 2000, “hip-hop had become a global cultural force and the source of astonishing profits for men such as Simmons and Combs-and for white-owned business and music companies” (pg.

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