African american music and acculturation - Essay Example

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African american music and acculturation

Despite the fact that West African music differed from one region to the other, all cultures within this region shared sufficient features that enabled them to constitute a heritage that was identifiable as African when they were trans-located to the New World (Jackson 25). From the accounts given by early traders and explorers, it has been deduced that music was a lifestyle of these West Africans. It was used to enhance rituals, worship, provide recreation, and as a means of communication. These cultures shared a characteristic feature in integrating music with dramatic elements and dance. When they were enslaved and stripped of their community and families, their rich stories, customs, traditions, and music remained with them and were passed the new generation. On arrival in the new world, they were designated as heathens and the clergymen of the time were compelled to convert the Africans to Christianity. This religious conversion acted as the first instance in which the Africans were exposed to European music with the singing of hymns and psalms (Jackson 25). They often gathered, on Sundays, to make music, sing, and dance. The first all the black worship churches were established in the 18th century with Reverend Allen Richard realizing the importance that music held for the people, publishing a hymnal for use by the Africans. These black churches provided the people with opportunities earlier denied to them, for instance the experimentation with religious music from set pieces to formal anthems and lowly spirituals (Jackson 27). ...Show more

Summary

It is a common occurrence when cultures intermingle. This process is particularly apparent in the development of African American music, in which African sounds and social values mixed with those of Euro America and Caribbean cultures. Musical acculturation is mostly enabled by colonial or political domination along with the social unrest that follows…
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African american music and acculturation essay example
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