African-American music
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African-American music is an umbrella term covering a diverse range of music and
musical genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in practice these terms are somet ...
s largely developed by
African Americans African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans Americans are the Citizenship of the United States, citizens and United States nationality law, nationals of the United States of A ...
. Their origins are in musical forms that arose out of the historical condition of
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for another person (a slaver), while treated as property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and co ...
that characterized the lives of African Americans prior to the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern U.S. state, states loyal to the Union (American Civil War), Union and south ...
. White enslavers sought to completely subjugate their slaves physically, mentally, and spiritually through brutality and demeaning acts. African-Americans used music to counter this dehumanization.
White Americans White Americans are Americans Americans are the Citizenship of the United States, citizens and United States nationality law, nationals of the United States of America.; ; ''Ricketts v. Attorney General''897 F.3d 491, 494 n.3 (3d Cir. 201 ...
considered African-Americans separate and unequal for centuries, going to extraordinary lengths to keep blacks oppressed. African-Americans created a distinctive music that sank its roots deeply into their experience. Following the Civil War, black Americans, through employment as musicians playing European music in military bands, developed a new style of music called
ragtime Ragtime – also spelled rag-time or rag time – is a musical style that enjoyed its peak popularity between 1895 and 1919. Its cardinal trait is its syncopation, syncopated or "ragged" rhythm. History Origins of ragtime The style has its ori ...
which gradually evolved into
jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, it has been recognize ...
. In developing this latter musical form, African Americans contributed knowledge of the sophisticated
polyrhythmic 350px, Polyrhythm: Triplets over duplets in all four beatsSlenczynska (1976). ''Music At Your Fingertips: Advice For The Artist And Amateur On Playing The Piano'', p. 43. . () Polyrhythm is the simultaneous use of two or more rhythm Rhy ...
structure of the dance and folk music of peoples across
western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...

western
and
sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically and ethnoculturally, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all list of sovereign states and dependent territories in Africa, Af ...

sub-Saharan Africa
. These musical forms had a wide-ranging influence on the development of music within the United States and around the world during the 20th century. The modern genres of
blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in Plantation-era songs, African-American work songs, and Spiritual (music), spirituals. Blues ...
and
ragtime Ragtime – also spelled rag-time or rag time – is a musical style that enjoyed its peak popularity between 1895 and 1919. Its cardinal trait is its syncopation, syncopated or "ragged" rhythm. History Origins of ragtime The style has its ori ...
were developed during the late 19th century by fusing
West African West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjac ...
vocalizations – which employed the natural harmonic series, and
blue note Blue Note Records is an American jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime. Sinc ...
s. The earliest jazz and blues recordings were made in the 1920s. African-American musicians developed related styles such as
rhythm and blues Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban Afri ...
in the 1940s. In the 1960s,
soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually gods, demigods, o ...

soul
performers had a major influence on white US and UK singers. In the mid-1960s, Black musicians developed
funk Funk is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It ...
and they were many of the leading figures in late 1960s and 1970s genre of
jazz-rock fusion Jazz fusion (also known as fusion and progressive jazz) is a music genre that developed in the late 1960s when musicians combined jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, Unite ...
. In the 1970s and 1980s, Black artists developed
hip-hop Hip hop or hip-hop is a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabili ...
, and in the 1980s introduced the
disco Disco is a music genre, genre of dance music and a subculture that emerged in the 1970s in music, 1970s from the United States' urban nightclub, nightlife scene. Its sound is typified by four-on-the-floor (music), four-on-the-floor beats, syncopa ...
-infused dance style known as
house music House is a genre of electronic dance music characterized by a repetitive Four on the floor (music), four-on-the-floor beat and a typical tempo of 120 to 130 beats per minute. It was created by Disc jockey, DJs and music producers from Chicago m ...
. Much of today's genres of music is heavily influenced by traditional African-American music.


Historic traits

As well as bringing harmonic and rhythmic features from western and sub-Saharan Africa to meet European musical instrumentation, it was the historical condition of
chattel slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property Property is a system of rights that gives ...
forced upon black Americans within American society that contributed the conditions which would define their music. Many of the characteristic musical forms that define African-American music have historical precedents. These earlier forms include:
field hollers The field holler or field call is mostly a historical type of vocal music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultura ...
, beat boxing,
work song A work song is a piece of music closely connected to a form of work, either sung while conducting a task (usually to coordinate timing) or a song linked to a task which might be a connected narrative, description, or protest song. Definitions and c ...
, spoken word,
rapping Rapping (also rhyming, spitting, emceeing or MCing) is a musical form of vocal delivery that incorporates "rhyme, rhythmic speech, and street vernacular", which is performed or chanted in a variety of ways, usually over a backing beat or musi ...
,
scatting In vocal jazzVocal jazz or jazz singing is an instrumental approach to jazz using the voice. Similar to a cappella A cappella (, also , ; ) music is group or solo performance without Musical instrument, instrumental accompaniment, or a piece i ...
,
call and response Call and response is a form of interaction between a speaker and an audience in which the speaker's statements ("calls") are punctuated by responses from the listeners. This form is also used in music, where it falls under the general category of A ...
, vocality (or special vocal effect: guttural effects, interpolated vocality,
falsetto ''Falsetto'' (, ; Italian language, Italian diminutive of , "false") is the vocal register occupying the frequency range just above the modal voice register and overlapping with it by approximately one octave. It is produced by the vibration of t ...

falsetto
,
melisma" (''Methodist Hymn Book'', 1933, No. 204). Melisma ( Greek Language, Greek: , ''melisma'', song, air, melody; from , ''melos'', song, melody, plural: ''melismata'') is the singing of a single syllable A syllable is a unit of organization for a s ...
, vocal rhythmization),
improvisation Improvisation is the activity of making or doing something not planned beforehand, using whatever can be found. Improvisation in the performing arts is a very spontaneous performance without specific or scripted preparation. The skills of impro ...
,
blue note Blue Note Records is an American jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime. Sinc ...
s, polyrhythms (
syncopation Syncopation is a musical term meaning a variety of rhythms played together to make a piece of music, making part or all of a tune or piece of music off-beat. More simply, syncopation is "a disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rh ...
, concrescence, tension, improvisation, percussion,
swung note In music, the term ''swing'' has two main uses. Colloquially, it is used to describe the propulsive quality or "feel" of a rhythm Rhythm (from Greek , ''rhythmos'', "any regular recurring motion, symmetry"—) generally means a " movement m ...
), texture ( antiphony,
homophony In music, homophony (;, Greek: ὁμόφωνος, ''homóphōnos'', from ὁμός, ''homós'', "same" and φωνή, ''phōnē'', "sound, tone") is a texture in which a primary part is supported by one or more additional strands that flesh out ...
,
polyphony Polyphony is a type of musical texture consisting of two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody, as opposed to a musical texture with just one voice, monophony " is monophonic as long as it is performed without chord (music), chordal a ...
,
heterophony In music, heterophony is a type of texture (music), texture characterized by the simultaneous variation (music), variation of a single melody, melodic line. Such a texture can be regarded as a kind of complex monophony in which there is only one bas ...
) and
harmony In music, harmony is the process by which the composition of individual sounds, or superpositions of sounds, is analysed by hearing. Usually, this means simultaneously occurring frequencies, pitch (music), pitches (timbre, tones, note (music), ...
(vernacular
progression
progression
s; complex, multi-part harmony, as in
spirituals Spirituals (also known as Negro spirituals, Spiritual music, or African-American spirituals) is a genre of music that is "purely and solely the creation" of generations of African Americans, which merged African cultural heritage with the exper ...
,
Doo Wop Doo-wop (also spelled doowop and doo wop) is a genre of rhythm and blues music that originated among African-American youth in the 1940s, mainly in the large cities of the United States, including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, Newa ...
, and
barbershop music WPA poster, 1936 Barbershop vocal harmony , a barbershop quartet singing in four-part harmony at Walt Disney World The Walt Disney World Resort, also called Walt Disney World and Disney World, is an entertainment complex in Bay Lake, Fl ...
).


History


18th century

In the late 18th century folk
spirituals Spirituals (also known as Negro spirituals, Spiritual music, or African-American spirituals) is a genre of music that is "purely and solely the creation" of generations of African Americans, which merged African cultural heritage with the exper ...
originated among Southern enslaved people, following their conversion to Christianity. Conversion, however, did not result in enslaved people adopting the traditions associated with the practice of Christianity. Instead they reinterpreted them in a way that had meaning to them as Africans in America. They often sang the spirituals in groups as they worked the plantation fields. Folk spirituals, unlike much white gospel, were often spirited: enslaved people added dancing (later known as "
the shout ''The Shout'' is a 1978 British horror film directed by Jerzy Skolimowski. It was based on a short story by Robert Graves and adapted for the screen by Michael Austin. The film was the first to be produced by Jeremy Thomas under his Recorded Pic ...
") and other forms of bodily movements to the singing. They also changed the melodies and rhythms of
psalms The Book of Psalms ( or ; he, תְּהִלִּים, , lit. "praises"), commonly referred to simply as Psalms, the Psalter or "the Psalms", is the first book of the ("Writings"), the third section of the Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh ( ...

psalms
and
hymn A hymn is a type of song, usually religious and partially coincident with devotional song, specifically written for the purpose of adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification. Th ...

hymn
s, such as speeding up the tempo, adding repeated refrains and choruses, and replaced texts with new ones that often combined English and African words and phrases. Originally being passed down orally, folk spirituals have been central in the lives of African Americans for more than three centuries, serving religious, cultural, social, political, and historical functions. Folk spirituals were spontaneously created and performed in a repetitive, improvised style. The most common song structures are the
call-and-response Call and response is a form of interaction between a speaker and an audience in which the speaker's statements ("calls") are punctuated by responses from the listeners. This form is also used in music, where it falls under the general category of ...
("Blow, Gabriel") and repetitive choruses ("He Rose from the Dead"). The call-and-response is an alternating exchange between the soloist and the other singers. The soloist usually improvises a line to which the other singers respond, repeating the same phrase. Song interpretation incorporates the interjections of moans, cries, hollers etc... and changing vocal timbres. Singing is also accompanied by hand clapping and foot-stomping.


19th century

The influence of African Americans on mainstream American music began in the 19th century, with the advent of
blackface Blackface is a form of theatrical makeup used predominantly by non-black performers to portray a caricature of a black person. In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), ...
minstrelsy. The
banjo The banjo is a stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity to form a resonator. The membrane is typically circular, and usually made of plastic, or occasionally animal skin. Early forms of the instrument were fashion ...

banjo
, of African origin, became a popular instrument, and its African-derived rhythms were incorporated into popular songs by
Stephen Foster Stephen Collins Foster (July 4, 1826January 13, 1864), known also as "the father of American music", was an American songwriter known primarily for his parlor and minstrel music. He wrote more than 200 songs, including " Oh! Susanna", " Hard Ti ...

Stephen Foster
and other songwriters. In the 1830s, the
Second Great Awakening The Second Great Awakening was a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of ...
led to a rise in Christian revivals and
pietism Pietism (), also known as Pietistic Lutheranism, is a movement within Lutheranism Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a moveme ...
, especially among African Americans. Drawing on traditional
work song A work song is a piece of music closely connected to a form of work, either sung while conducting a task (usually to coordinate timing) or a song linked to a task which might be a connected narrative, description, or protest song. Definitions and c ...
s, enslaved African Americans originated and began performing a wide variety of
Spirituals Spirituals (also known as Negro spirituals, Spiritual music, or African-American spirituals) is a genre of music that is "purely and solely the creation" of generations of African Americans, which merged African cultural heritage with the exper ...
and other
Christian music Christian music is music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which en ...
. Some of these songs were coded messages of subversion against enslavers, or that signaled escape. During the period after the Civil War, the spread of African-American music continued. The Fisk University Jubilee Singers toured first in 1871. Artists including
Jack Delaney Jack Delaney (March 19, 1900 – November 27, 1948) was a world light heavyweight boxing champion and contender for the heavyweight crown. One of the most popular fighters of the 1920s, the French Canadian was born Ovila Chapdelaine in Saint-Fra ...
helped revolutionize post-war African-American music in the central-east of the United States. In the following years, professional "jubilee" troops formed and toured. The first black musical-comedy troupe, Hyers Sisters Comic Opera Co., was organized in 1876. In the last half of the 19th century, U.S. barbershops often served as community centers, where most men would gather. Barbershop music, Barbershop quartets originated with African-American men socializing in barbershops; they would harmonize while waiting their turn, vocalizing in spirituals, folk songs and popular songs. This generated a new style, consisting of unaccompanied, four-part, close-harmony singing. Later, white minstrel singers adopted the style, and in the early days of the recording industry their performances were recorded and sold. By the end of the 19th century, African-American music was an integral part of mainstream American culture.


Early 20th century (1900s–1930s)

In early 20th-century American musical theater, the first musicals written and produced by African Americans debuted on Broadway in 1898 with a musical by Bob Cole (composer), Bob Cole and Billy Johnson. In 1901, the first recording of black musicians was of Bert Williams and George Walker (vaudeville), George Walker, featuring music from Broadway musicals. Theodore Drury helped black artists develop in the opera field. He founded the Drury Opera Company in 1900 and, although he used a white orchestra, he featured black singers in leading roles and choruses. Although this company was only active from 1900 to 1908, black singers' opportunities with Drury marked the first black participation in opera companies. Also significant is Scott Joplin's opera ''Treemonisha'', which is unique as a ragtime-folk opera; it was first performed in 1911. The early part of the 20th century saw a rise in popularity of African-American
blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in Plantation-era songs, African-American work songs, and Spiritual (music), spirituals. Blues ...
and
jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, it has been recognize ...
. African-American music at this time was classed as "race music". This term gained momentum due to Ralph Peer, musical director at Okeh Records, who put records made by "foreign" groups under that label. At the time "race" was a term commonly used by African-American press to speak of the community as a whole with an empowering point of view, as a person of "race" was one involved in fighting for equal rights. Also, developments in the fields of visual arts and the Harlem Renaissance led to developments in music. Ragtime performers such as Scott Joplin became popular and some were associated with the Harlem Renaissance and early civil rights activists. In addition, white and Latino performers of African-American music were visible, rooted in the history of cross-cultural communication between the United States' races. African-American music was often adapted for white audiences, who would not have as readily accepted black performers, leading to genres like swing music, a pop-based outgrowth of jazz. In addition, African Americans were becoming part of classical music by the turn of the 20th century. While originally excluded from major symphony orchestras, black musicians could study in music conservatories that had been founded in the 1860s, such as the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin School of Music, National Conservatory of Music of America, National Conservatory of Music, and the New England Conservatory. Black people also formed their own symphony orchestras at the turn of the 20th century in major cities such as Chicago, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. Various black orchestras began to perform regularly in the late 1890s and the early 20th century. In 1906, the first incorporated black orchestra was established in Philadelphia. In the early 1910s, all-black music schools, such as the Colored Music Settlement School, Music School Settlement for Colored and the Martin-Smith School of Music, were founded in New York. The Music School Settlement for Colored became a sponsor of the Clef Club orchestra in New York. The Clef Club Symphony Orchestra attracted both black and white audiences to concerts at Carnegie Hall from 1912 to 1915. Conducted by James Reese Europe and William H. Tyers, the orchestra included banjos, mandolins, and baritone horns. Concerts featured music written by black composers, notably Harry Burleigh, Harry T. Burleigh and Will Marion Cook. Other annual black concert series include the William Hackney's "All-Colored Composers" concerts in Chicago and the Atlanta Colored Music Festivals. The return of the black musical to Broadway occurred in 1921 with ''Noble Sissle, Sissle'' and Eubie Blake's ''Shuffle Along''. In 1927, a concert survey of black music was performed at Carnegie Hall including jazz, spirituals and the symphonic music of W. C. Handy's Orchestra and the Jubilee Singers. The first major film musical with a black cast was King Vidor's ''Hallelujah! (film), Hallelujah'' of 1929. African-American performers were featured in the musical ''Show Boat'' (which had a part written for Paul Robeson and a chorus of Jubilee Singers), and especially all-black operas such as ''Porgy and Bess'' and Virgil Thomson's ''Four Saints in Three Acts'' of 1934. The first symphony by a black composer to be performed by a major orchestra was William Grant Still's ''Symphony No. 1 "Afro-American", Afro-American Symphony'' (1930) by the New York Philharmonic. Florence Beatrice Price's Symphony in E minor was performed in 1933 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 1934, William L. Dawson (composer), William Dawson's ''Negro Folk Symphony'' was performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra. African Americans were the pioneers of jazz music, through masters such as Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, and Duke Ellington.


Mid-20th century (1940s–1960s)

''Billboard (magazine), Billboard'' started making a separate list of hit records for African-American music in October 1942 with the "Harlem Hit Parade", which was changed in 1945 to "Race Records", and then in 1949 to "Rhythm and Blues Records". By the 1940s, cover versions of African-American songs were commonplace, and frequently topped the charts, while the original musicians found success among their African-American audience, but not in the mainstream. In 1955, Thurman Ruth (promoter), Thurman Ruth persuaded a gospel group to sing in a secular setting, the Apollo Theater, with such success that he subsequently arranged gospel caravans that traveled around the country, playing the same venues that
rhythm and blues Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban Afri ...
singers had popularized. Meanwhile, jazz performers began to push jazz away from swing music, swing, danceable popular music, towards more intricate arrangements, improvisation, and technically challenging forms, culminating in the bebop of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, the cool sounds and modal jazz of Miles Davis, and the free jazz of Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane. African-American musicians in the 1940s and 1950s were developing rhythm and blues into a genre called rock and roll, which featured a strong backbeat and whose prominent exponents included Louis Jordan and Wynonie Harris. However, it was with white musicians such as Bill Haley (musician), Bill Haley and Elvis Presley, playing a guitar-based fusion of black rock and roll with country music called rockabilly, that rock and roll music became commercially successful. Rock music thereafter became more associated with white people, though some black performers such as Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley had commercial success. In 2017, National Public Radio wrote about the career of Sister Rosetta Tharpe and concluded with these comments: Tharpe "was a gospel singer at heart who became a celebrity by forging a new path musically ... Through her unforgettable voice and gospel swing crossover style, Tharpe influenced a generation of musicians including Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry and countless others ... She was, and is, an unmatched artist." As the 1940s came to a close, other African-Americans endeavored to concertize as professionally trained classical musicians in an effort to transcend racial and nationalistic barriers in the post World War II era. Included in this group was Henry Lewis (musician), Henry Lewis, who emerged in 1948 as the first African-American instrumentalist in a leading American symphony orchestra, an early "musical ambassador" in support of cultural diplomacy in Europe and the first African-American conductor of a major American symphonic ensemble in 1968. The term "rock and roll" had a strong sexual connotation in jump blues and R&B, but when DJ Alan Freed referred to rock and roll on mainstream radio in the mid 50s, "the sexual component had been dialled down enough that it simply became an acceptable term for dancing". R&B was a strong influence on Rock and roll according to many sources, including a 1985 Wall Street Journal article titled, "Rock! It's Still Rhythm and Blues". In fact, the author stated that the "two terms were used interchangeably", until about 1957. Fats Domino was not convinced that there was any new genre. In 1957, he said: "What they call rock 'n' roll now is rhythm and blues. I’ve been playing it for 15 years in New Orleans". According to ''Rolling Stone (magazine), Rolling Stone'', "this is a valid statement ... all Fifties rockers, black and white, country born and city bred, were fundamentally influenced by R&B, the black popular music of the late Forties and early Fifties". Elvis Presley's recognition of the importance of artists such as Fats Domino was significant, according to a 2017 article: the "championing of black musicians as part of a narrative that saw many positives in growing young white interest in African American-based musical styles". At a press event in 1969, Presley introduced Fats Domino, and said, "that’s the real King of Rock ‘n’ Roll" ... a huge influence on me when I started out". By the mid 1950s, many R&B songs were getting "covered" by white artists and the recordings got more airplay on the mainstream radio stations. For example, "Presley quickly covered "Tutti Frutti" ...So did Pat Boone", according to New Yorker (magazine). "In 1956, seventy-six per cent of top R. & B. songs also made the pop chart; in 1957, eighty-seven per cent made the pop chart; in 1958, it was ninety-four per cent. The marginal market had become the main market, and the majors had got into the act." The 1950s also saw increased popularity of hard
blues Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in Plantation-era songs, African-American work songs, and Spiritual (music), spirituals. Blues ...
in the style from the earliest part of the century, both in the United States and United Kingdom. The 1950s also saw doo-wop style become popular. Doo-wop had been developed through vocal harmony, vocal group harmony with the musical qualities of different vocal parts, nonsense syllables, little or no instrumentation, and simple lyrics. It usually involved ensemble single artists appearing with a backing vocals, backing group. Solo billing was given to lead singers who were more prominent in the musical arrangement. A secularized form of American gospel music called
soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually gods, demigods, o ...

soul
also developed in the mid 1950s, with pioneers like Ray Charles, Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke leading the wave. Soul and R&B became a major influence on surf music, surf, as well as the chart-topping girl groups including The Angels (American group), The Angels and The Shangri-Las, only some of whom were white. In 1959, Hank Ballard releases a song for the new dance style "The Twist" which became the new dance crave from the early 60's into the 70's. In 1959, Berry Gordy founded Motown Records, the first record label to primarily feature African-American artists aimed at achieving crossover success. The label developed an innovative—and commercially successful—style of soul music with distinctive pop elements. Its early roster included The Miracles, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Supremes, and others. Black divas such as Aretha Franklin became '60s crossover stars. In the UK, British blues became a gradually mainstream phenomenon, returning to the U.S. in the form of the British Invasion, a group of bands led by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones who performed blues and R&B-inspired pop, with both traditional and modernized aspects. WGIV in Charlotte, North Carolina was amongst a few radio stations dedicated to African-American music that started during this period. The British Invasion knocked many black artists off the US pop charts, although some, among them Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin and a number of Motown artists, continued to do well. Soul music, however, remained popular among black people through highly evolved forms such as
funk Funk is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It ...
, developed out of the innovations of James Brown (musician), James Brown. In 1961, a young boy named Stevland Hardaway Morris recorded his first record under Motown's Tamla record at the age of 11 as Stevie Wonder and that was the start of his great career. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act outlawed major forms of discrimination towards African Americans and women. As tensions started to die down, more African American musicians crossed over into mainstream taste. Some artists who successfully crossed over were Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and Ella Fitzgerald in the pop and jazz worlds, and Leontyne Price and Kathleen Battle in the realm of the classical music. By the end of the decade, Black people were part of the psychedelia and early heavy metal music, heavy metal trends, particularly by way of the ubiquitous Beatles' influence and the electric guitar innovations of Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix was among the first guitarists to use audio feedback, fuzz, and other effects pedals such as the wah wah pedal to create a unique guitar solo sound. Psychedelic soul, a mix of psychedelic rock and soul began to flourish with the 1960s culture. Even more popular among Black people, and with more crossover appeal, was album-oriented soul in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which revolutionized African-American music. The genre's intelligent and introspective lyrics, often with a socially aware tone, were created by artists such as Marvin Gaye in ''What's Going On (Marvin Gaye album), What's Going On'', and Stevie Wonder in ''Songs in the Key of Life''.


1970s

The 1970s was a great decade for Black bands playing melodic music. Album-oriented soul continued its popularity, while musicians such as Smokey Robinson helped turn it into Quiet Storm music. Funk evolved into two strands, one a pop-soul-jazz-bass fusion pioneered by Sly & the Family Stone, and the other a more psychedelic fusion epitomized by George Clinton (funk musician), George Clinton and his P-Funk ensemble. The sound of Disco evolved from black musicians creating Soul music with an up-tempo melody. Isaac Hayes, Barry White, Donna Summer and among others help popularized
disco Disco is a music genre, genre of dance music and a subculture that emerged in the 1970s in music, 1970s from the United States' urban nightclub, nightlife scene. Its sound is typified by four-on-the-floor (music), four-on-the-floor beats, syncopa ...
music. However, this music was integrated into popular music achieving mainstream success. Black musicians achieved some mainstream success, though some African-American artists including The Jackson 5, Roberta Flack, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, The O'Jays, Gladys Knight & the Pips found crossover audiences. White listeners preferred country rock, singer-songwriters, Arena rock, stadium rock, soft rock, glam rock, and, in some subcultures, heavy metal music, heavy metal and punk rock. During the 1970s, The Dozens, an urban African-American tradition of using playful rhyming Appeal to ridicule, ridicule, developed into street jive in the early '70s, which in turn inspired a new form of music by the late 1970s: hip-hop. Spoken-word artists such as The Last Poets, Gil Scott-Heron and Melvin Van Peebles are also cited as the major innovators in early hip-hop. Beginning at block party, block parties in The Bronx, hip-hop music arose as one facet of a large subculture with rebellious and progressive elements. DJs spun records, most typically funk, while Master of Ceremonies, MCs introduced tracks to the dancing audience. Over time, DJs, particularly Jamaican immigrant DJ Kool Herc for instance, began isolating and repeating the percussion breaks, producing a constant, eminently danceable beat, which they or MCs began rapping over, through rhymes and eventually sustained lyrics. Hip Hop would become a multicultural movement in young black America, led by artists such as Kurtis Blow and Run-DMC.


1980s

In the 1980s, Michael Jackson had record-breaking success with his albums ''Off the Wall'', ''Bad (album), Bad'', and ''Thriller (Michael Jackson album), Thriller'' – the latter remaining the List of best-selling albums, best-selling album of all time – transforming popular music and uniting races, ages and genders, and would eventually lead to successful crossover black solo artists, including Prince (musician), Prince, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, and Janet Jackson. Pop and dance-soul of this era inspired new jack swing by the end of the decade. Hip-hop spread across the country and diversified. Techno, Dance, Miami bass, post-disco, Chicago house, Los Angeles hardcore hip hop, hardcore and Washington, D.C. Go-go developed during this period, with only Miami bass achieving mainstream success. But, before long, Miami bass was relegated primarily to the Southeastern US, while Chicago house had made strong headways on college campuses and dance arenas (i.e. the warehouse sound, the rave). The DC go-go sound of Miami bass was essentially a regional sound that did not garner much mass appeal. Chicago house sound had expanded into the Detroit music environment and mutated into more electronic and industrial sounds creating Detroit techno, acid, Oldschool jungle, jungle. Mating these experimental, usually DJ-oriented, sounds with the prevalence of the multi-ethnic New York City disco sound from the 1970s and 1980s created a brand of music that was most appreciated in the huge discothèques that are located in cities like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Boston, etc. Eventually, European audiences embraced this kind of electronic dance music with more enthusiasm than their North American counterparts. These variable sounds let the listeners prioritize their exposure to new music and rhythms while enjoying a gigantic dancing experience. In the later half of the decade, from about 1986, rap took off into the mainstream with Run-D.M.C.'s ''Raising Hell (album), Raising Hell'', and the Beastie Boys' ''Licensed to Ill'', the latter becoming the first rap album to enter No.1 Spot on the ''Billboard 200'' and helping break down the doors for white performers to do rap. Both of these groups mixed rap and rock together, which appealed to rock and rap audiences. Hip-hop took off from its roots and the golden age hip hop flourished, with artists such as Eric B. & Rakim, Public Enemy (group), Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Big Daddy Kane, and Salt-N-Pepa. Hip Hop became popular in America until the late 1990s, when it went worldwide. The golden age scene would die out by the early 1990s as gangsta rap and g-funk took over, with west-coast artists Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Warren G and Ice Cube, east-coast artists Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan, and Mobb Deep, and the sounds of urban black male bravado, compassion, and social awareness best represented by the rapper Tupac Shakur. While heavy metal music was almost exclusively created by white performers in the 1970s and 1980s, there were a few exceptions. In 1988, all-black heavy metal band Living Colour achieved mainstream success with their début album ''Vivid (Living Colour album), Vivid'', peaking at No. 6 on the ''Billboard 200'', thanks to their Top 20 single "Cult of Personality (song), Cult of Personality". The band's music contained lyrics that attack what they perceived as the Eurocentrism and racism of America. A decade later, more black artists like Lenny Kravitz, Body Count (band), Body Count, Ben Harper, and countless others would start playing rock again.


1990s, 2000s, and 2010s

Contemporary R&B, as in the post-disco version of soul music, remained popular throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Male vocal groups in the style of soul groups such as The Temptations and The O'Jays were particularly popular, including New Edition, Boyz II Men, Jodeci, Dru Hill, Blackstreet, and Jagged Edge (American group), Jagged Edge. Girl groups, including TLC (music), TLC, Destiny's Child, SWV and En Vogue, were also highly successful. Singer-songwriters such as R. Kelly, Mariah Carey, Montell Jordan, D'Angelo, Aaliyah and Raphael Saadiq of Tony! Toni! Toné! were also significantly popular during the 1990s, and artists including Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, and BLACKstreet popularized a fusion blend known as hip-hop soul. The neo soul movement of the 1990s looked back on more classical soul influences and was popularized in the late 1990s/early 2000s by such artists as D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, Maxwell (musician), Maxwell, Lauryn Hill, India.Arie, Alicia Keys, Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Bilal (American singer), Bilal and Musiq Soulchild. According to one music writer, D'Angelo's critically acclaimed album ''Voodoo (D'Angelo album), Voodoo'' (2000) "represents African American music at a crossroads ... To simply call [it] neo-classical soul ... would be [to] ignore the elements of vaudeville jazz, Memphis soul, Memphis horns, Ragtime, ragtime blues, funk and bass grooves, not to mention hip-hop, that slip out of every pore of these haunted songs." Blue-eyed soul is an influence of African-American music performed by white artists, including Michael McDonald (singer), Michael McDonald, Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse, Robin Thicke, Michael Bolton, Jon B., Lisa Stansfield, Teena Marie, Justin Timberlake, Joss Stone, George Michael, and Anastacia. By the first decade of the 21st century, R&B had shifted towards an emphasis on solo artists with pop appeal, with Usher Raymond, Usher, Rihanna, and Beyoncé being the most prominent examples. Furthermore, the music was accompanied by aesthetically creative and unique music videos. Examples of these types of music videos include but are not limited to: Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love", Rihanna's "Pon de Replay", and Usher's "Caught Up". These music videos helped R&B become more profitable and more popular than it had been in the 1990s. The line between hip-hop and R&B and pop was significantly blurred by producers such as Timbaland and Lil Jon and artists such as Missy Elliott, T-Pain, Nelly, Akon and OutKast. "Urban music" and "urban radio" are largely race-neutral today, terms that are synonymous with hip hop and R&B and the associated hip-hop culture that originated in New York City. The term also reflects the fact that they are popular in urban areas, both within black population centers and among the general population (especially younger audiences). The hip-hop movement has become increasingly mainstream as the music industry has taken control of it. Essentially, "from the moment 'Rapper's Delight' went platinum, hiphop the folk culture became hiphop the American entertainment-industry sideshow." In June 2009, Michael Jackson died unexpectedly from a cardiac arrest, triggering a global outpouring of grief. Within a year of his death, his estate had generated $1.4 billion in revenues. A documentary film consisting of rehearsal footage for Jackson's scheduled ''This Is It'' tour, entitled ''Michael Jackson's This Is It'', was released on October 28, 2009, and became the highest-grossing concert film in history. In 2013, no African-American musician had a ''Billboard'' Hot 100 number one. This was the first time there was no number one in a year by an African American in the chart's 55-year history. Plans for a Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of African-American music to be built in Newark, New Jersey, and an R&B museum/hall of fame have been discussed. White girls such as Cher Lloyd used African American Vernacular English in their music. In the late 2010s, trap music became extremely popular and spread from Atlanta to African countries such Ghana, South Africa and Cameroon. Drake (rapper), Drake who is half African American and considers himself black broke the Beatles record for having seven simultaneous singles on Billboards Top 10. Other famous African Americans in Hip-Hop in the 2000s and the 2010s are Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z. Drill music which was popularized by Chicago rapper Chief Keef in the 2010s was criticized for increasing the African American crime rate in Chicago. Other famous African American drill artists are Lil Durk, Lil Reese, Lil Bibby, Polo G and G Herbo. Trey Songz, Jeremih and Chris Brown are popular African American R&B singers of the 2000s and the 2010s. Another popular genre performed by African Americans is gangsta rap. African American gangsta rappers include YG (rapper), YG, Jay Rock and The Game (rapper), The Game. Mumble rap was introduced by speakers of African American Vernacular English. White rappers like Post Malone and Iggy Azalea have been accused of appropriating African American music. Recently, Latin trap and Mexican chicano rap has been influenced by African American music. In 2019, black country rapper Lil Nas X achieved chart success with his single "Old Town Road" featuring Billy Ray Cyrus although African Americans have been performing country music for years and influenced the genre. He became the first openly gay black artist to win a country music award at the CMA Awards. In 2015, Jay-Z launched TIDAL, a music streaming service. Rappers such as Kendrick Lamar used hip hop as a political platform for African Americans.


African-American music styles


Christian

*Gospel music ** Spiritual (music), Negro Spirituals ** Traditional black gospel, Traditional Black gospel ** Urban contemporary gospel


Secular

*Jazz ** Ragtime ** Swing (music), Swing ** Bebop *Blues ** Boogie woogie ** Delta Blues *Country music * Rock and roll * Zydeco * Funk **Go-go ** New jack swing * Rhythm and blues ** Contemporary R&B *** Quiet storm * Soul music ** Neo soul * Hip hop music, Hip hop **Southern hip hop * Barbershop music *Disco *House music *Jug band, Jug band music *Skiffle


Economic impact

Record stores played a vital role in African-American communities for many decades. In the 1960s and 1970s, between 500 and 1,000 black-owned record stores operated in the American South, and probably twice as many in the United States as a whole. African-American entrepreneurs embraced record stores as key vehicles for economic empowerment and critical public spaces for black consumers at a time that many black-owned businesses were closing amid desegregation.Joshua Clark Davis
"For the Records: How African American Consumers and Music Retailers Created Commercial Public Space in the 1960s and 1970s South,"
''Southern Cultures'', Winter 2011.
In addition, countless African Americans have earned livings as musical performers, club owners, radio deejays, concert promoters, and record label owners.


See also

* African-American dance * African American musical theater * Groove (music), Groove * Afro-Caribbean music * Banjo * Beach music * Blackface * Cultural appropriation * Gandy dancer * Juke joint * List of musical genres of the African diaspora * Music of the African diaspora * National Museum of African American Music * Music of Africa * Romani music


References


Sources

* Eileen Southern, Southern, Eileen (1997). ''The Music of Black Americans: A History''. W. W. Norton & Company; 3rd edition. * Stewart, Earl L. (1998). ''African American Music: An Introduction''. . * Cobb, Charles E., Jr.
"Traveling the Blues Highway"
''National Geographic Magazine'', April 1999, v. 195, n.4 * Dixon, RMW & Godrich, J (1981), ''Blues and Gospel Records'': 1902–1943, Storyville, London. * Hamilton, Marybeth: ''In Search of the Blues''. * Leadbitter, M. & Slaven, N. (1968), ''Blues Records 1943–1966'', Oak Publications, London. * William R. Ferris, Ferris, William; ''Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues'', University of North Carolina Press (2009). (with CD and DVD) * Ferris, William; Glenn Hinson, ''The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 14: Folklife'', University of North Carolina Press (2009). (Cover :photo of James Son Thomas) * Ferris, William; ''Blues From The Delta'', Da Capo Press; revised edition (1988). * Ted Gioia, Gioia, Ted; ''Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music'', W. W. Norton & Company (2009). * Sheldon Harris (music historian), Harris, Sheldon; ''Blues Who's Who'', Da Capo Press, 1979. * Nicholson, Robert; ''Mississippi Blues Today!'' Da Capo Press (1999). * Robert Palmer (writer), Palmer, Robert; ''Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta'', Penguin reprint (1982) ; * Fred Ramsey, Ramsey Jr, Frederic; ''Been Here And Gone'', 1st edition (1960), Rutgers University Press; London Cassell (UK) and New Brunswick, NJ. 2nd printing (1969), Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ: University Of Georgia Press, 2000. * Wilson, Charles Reagan, William R. Ferris, William Ferris, Ann J. Adadie, ''Encyclopedia of Southern Culture'' (1656 pp.), University of North Carolina Press; 2nd Edition (1989). .


Further reading

* Joshua Clark Davis
"For the Records: How African American Consumers and Music Retailers Created Commercial Public Space in the 1960s and 1970s South,"
''Southern Cultures'', Winter 2011 *Work, John W., ''compiler'' (1940), ''American Negro Songs and Spirituals: a Comprehensive Collection of 230 Folk Songs, Religious and Secular, with a Foreword''. Bonanza Books, New York. ''N.B''.: Consists most notably of an analytical study of this repertory, on p. 1–46, an anthology of such music (words with the notated music, harmonized), on pp. 47–250, and a bibliog., on p. 252–256.


External links


Shall We Gather at the River
a collection of African-American sacred music, made available for public use by the State Archives of Florida
20 historical milestones
in African-American music *
Everything you need to Know About Rap Music
in African-American music
History of African music
{{Authority control African-American music, African-American musicians African-American culture American styles of music Ethnic music in the United States