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Music and American Culture - Essay Example

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Music and American Culture

As percussion instruments evolved later to accompany music, there was also the emergence of individual percussionist.
With time, other new kind of instruments emerged which instruments further enabled the playing of virtuoso. At a given point in time, regular individuals began to create songs meant for their own consumption. These songs were called folk songs and they were not about God or heroes, but rather about sorrows and joys of life. The invention of polyphony greatly reduced the importance of rhythm, and later come to be perceived as plebian and primitive element of music. Conversely, rhythm was heavily relied upon by the folk music, both for purposes for singing and dancing. Consequently, the element of rhythm became the distinguishing factor between folk and classical music. This state of affairs remained as it was when both folk and classical music arrived in America.
Europeans in the Americans melting pot were obliged to admit that there were several different types of folk music for the first time. Even though the racial instinct of music in America was intended to separate the Anglo-Saxons from the rest, it was just a matter of time before these boundaries were shattered. Surprisingly, the existence of African music was the most traumatic confrontation for the Europeans. Even though African music was long discarded as an animal kingdom oddity, that is to say a sound that is similar to that of an animal, the African music was able to coexist with the European music for close to two centuries before penetrating into the white society in America. Several elements of African music during the 19th century began to infiltrate into the folk music of white American society. It is worth noting that during this century, the phenomenon of Afro fusion only took place in America an there was no Afro contamination so to speak in the European society that took place not until much later. Once more, a principle distinguishing factor was rhythm. Even though rhythm was not an inventory of black Africans, the polyrhythm’s of black Africans was certainly wide and different to accommodate rhythm from European folk music linear rhythm. Initially, the impact of black African music was barely felt, however, little was it known that this music was going to become the main element driving innovation. It is worth noting that the European folk music in the early 19th century had barely been changed, however dramatic changes were on the verge of taking place with the heavy presence of black African music (Nelson 1988). Music in the United States is one of the aspects that reflect the cultural diversity of the country through the various arrays of musical styles. In the United State, there are a number of internationally renowned genres of music which includes: rhythm and blues, hip hop, rock and roll, country, jazz, pop, barbershop, and techno. As a matter of fact, America has one of the largest music industries in the world not to mention the vast audience that music capture across the world. The earliest inhabitants of the United States were the Native Americans. Even though these natives had their own kind of music the arrival of large numbers of immigrants brought new instruments and music styles in America. Notably, the emergence of African slaves brought novel traditions of music contributing greatly to the ...Show more

Summary

While it might not be stated with certainty the exact period during which music originally developed, it is quite obvious that the purpose of developing such an art probably thousands of years ago was to synchronize and coordinate collective human movement, for instance farming or hunting. …
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Music and American Culture essay example
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