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African American Culture Essay

1209 words - 5 pages

African American Culture

Music

Spirituals
This is a religious song sung by the black people in the southern part of the US and are often influenced by African melodies. The spirituals are typical working songs and often content stories and persons from the Bible. Many of the slaves, in fact, thought of themselves as modern children of Israel who were looking for freedom. The songs first become well-known outside the southern states when the slaves were set free from slavery.

Blues
The blues is extremely various type of music, and it has many different musical expressions. The musicians often created an individual style of blues when they performed. It has also given a lot to ...view middle of the document...

The musician isn't just a performer, he is a composer too, and this is what makes every performance of jazz different.

Syncopation is another key word in jazz, the musicians break up the regular patterns; they make them uneven and mix the parts of the song in unexpected ways.

In the beginning the jazz was performed by black Americans who had little experience in playing western music. Later, as the popularity grew, the sound was influenced by musicians with other backgrounds, like classical or formal. The development of new instruments and different techniques has also done a great deal for the sound of jazz.

Rock and roll
Rock is one of the most popular music types, and it comes in many different shapes.

From its origin, in the 1950's, rock and roll was party music that appealed to the youth. It celebrated the young, and described all the ups and downs, joys and problem of this period.

Many parents dismissed rock as something inappropriate and a threat to society at this time. But by the 60's, rock and roll had earned much more respect, also from the parent generation. By the end of this decade the music had moved away from its root in the blues and country and the next decade rock music became more popular than ever and it influenced every bit of popular culture from films to fashion. But as the rock became more accepted it lost much of its rebelliousness which had originally given it its power with the youth.

The roots of the rock music can be found in the blues' lyric and guitars and in the spirit of traditional country music, also some parts of jazz and pop music can be heard in the rock sound.

Chuck Berry was the first great rock and roll artist. His feelings and youth problems are expressed in his lyrics and he has become a major influence on later rock performers, for ex. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Little Richard is another great influence in Rock and roll, especially his performance styles. His energetic and colorful stage performance was a model for performers who followed.

In rock and roll the racial differences in the US was erased. If featured black artists, as Chuck Berry, who were influenced by white musicians, and vice versa with Presley and Buddy Holly, who adopted styles based on rhythm and blues. With the rise of rock and roll, black artists appealed to both black and white audiences.

Rap
The most popular new music genre from the 80's and 90's was the rap music. It is generally spoken fast rather than sung and is performed with a rhythm rather...

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