Afro-American Culture Research Paper

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Afro-American Culture: From Slave Music to Jazz and Blues American music today is a wide range of genres. Most of the genres has its root in the music the slaves brought with them in the beginning of the seventeenth century. Genres like Jazz, blues, Gospel and Hip-Hop, which is well-known all over the world today, is mainly influenced by the African-American culture and music. Especially the work songs, or the “hollers”, that the slaves sung while working on the fields and the negro spirituals, which was spiritual songs with references to the bible. The also the ring- shouts made an impact on the music that later became the genres blues and jazz, but what elements of music did jazz and blues borrow from the slave-songs? And how did this influence…show more content…
The music in West- Africa was strongly linked to the everyday- life, dance and religious rituals. When the African slaves arrived America they had to adapt to a foreign and new culture. They had did not know the language and they lived under different circumstances depending on the colony they were brought to, plantation owner, work and time. A lot of the African culture got lost when they entered “ The New World” of America, that was mostly because they was denied by their owners to cultivate and practice their religion and culture. This was all depending on who the slaves were brought to, especially the question if the `black music` could survive or not. If the slaves were sold to British colonies, who was protestants, they was most likely strictly forbidden to practice their religious rituals. If the Africans were sold to a Latin Colony that was Roman Catholic, they might be free to express themselves, at least in a restrictive manner. In the South of America, the Africans met various of ethnic groups, and then one get the reason to believe that the slaves took up different features of folk songs in English and French. The Dominating religious music in the seventeenth and eighteenth century was the European folk hymns. The meeting that the slaves had with the ethnical groups, gradually made them develop new religious songs and work songs. These types of songs is mainly improvised, because they did not have any sheet music and written lyrics. Originally all the songs that the slaves performed was vocally and acapella , even if som of the plantation workers was rather good fiddle-player. If any of the slaves knew how to play an instrument they mainly had performances only for their masters. In my opinion, the slave songs is a result of the situation the slaves went through when they entered America. They were basically stripped of

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