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Our popular music in America came from either
Europe (mostly English pubs and Irish folksongs) or Africa (mostly West Africa as a result of the slave trade).
because to lump all of Africa together and discuss "African music" would be even tougher than trying to talk about "American music" and including all of North, Central, and South America in the discussion!! "mostly West Africa" West African drummers
African music has
affected our popular music. profoundly
Your textbook does a good job of categorizing these influences into
Be sure and review the explanations in your text (p. 42-45).
1. Blue Notes
"flattened" tones of the scale; particularly the 3rd and 7th scale degrees
2. Unique tone a rougher texture, both vocally and instrumentally 3. Motor Rhythm driving rhythms, steady beats 4. Syncopation displacing the regular accents in music 5. Swing feeling the basic feel of long - short - long - short, instead of equal note values 6. Improvisation making up the music as it is played (or sung)
Here is a good representation of the development of early jazz. Feel free to explore the links. Jazz Roots
Scott Joplin 1868-1917 The "King of Ragtime"
Scott Joplin composed music in a form similar to marches.
John Phillip Sousa's . Stars and Stripes Forever
Notice how each section is repeated and then there is a new section?
Now listen to Joplin's
- same deal! Maple Street Rag
The syncopated rhythms were referred to as “ragged time,” which was eventually shortened to - you guessed it - Ragtime.
Rags (shortened again) became very popular
He made a modest living as a composer during his lifetime.
The big awards came much later.
1973: An academy award for Best Film Score (Joplin's original music) in the movie
1976: A Pulitzer Prize for his opera
(the first opera ever Treemonisha composed by an African American)
The blues emerged in the 1890's from the South
[Keep an eye out for how many of our most popular genres come from the South!]
Robert Johnson was an important blues singer who influenced many who came after him.
Robert Johnson (1911-1938)
"Hellhound on My Trail"
The first recording by a black singer was made in 1920 by Mamie Smith singing "Crazy Blues."
Bessie Smith (not to be confused with Mamie Smith) became famous in the 1920's and was called
"The Empress of the Blues." Read about Bessie Smith on p. 53-54 of your textbook.
Bessie Smith (1894-1937)
Her song, "Down Hearted Blues" (1923) sold over a million copies.
Why was she important as a cultural icon in addition to her success as a singer?
The basic rhythm of the blues is called the
Check out this version of Big Joe Turner singing "
Doggin' the Blues"
is only a short step away from the blues played at a fast tempo. Rock 'n Roll
It is not difficult to trace the legacy of
to Robert Johnson to Muddy Waters and the rest is history! Chuck Berry
As a matter of fact, the blues were a huge influence on The Rolling Stones! They even took their name from a Muddy Waters song of the same name.
For some more info on The Blues, and some examples to help you with this week's assignment, follow this link:
Created and maintained by Vicky V. Johnson