African American Music Timeline

By KDietz
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    Music in slavery

  • Field Hollers

    Field Hollers
    African American slaves sing feild hollers while they are working. Usually one person will say a line, then everyone will respond to it with the following line. These are called Call and Response songs. The tempo of the song often depended on the speed of the work being done. Slaves would sing about the hardships which they had endured, or, if they were African-born, what they missed from home. This was a way for slaves to bond over common hardships.
  • The Seond Great Awakening

    Music became a way of bonding for African American churches. The Second Great Awakening introduced gospel music. Gospel music was a way of lamenting about the trials of slavery through relating to stories of bondage and slavery in the Old Testament.
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    Spirituals were a gospel style of music started by African Americans, after conversion to christianity. After the service at church, there would be singing and dancing. The main difference between spirituals and gospel music, is that spirituals are folk songs and often the credit of writing goes to a community, instead of one author. These songs often relate to bondage in the bible.
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    Ragtime is a genre of music most known for it's sycopated rhythm. It was originally created as dance music in the south, and set the stage for jazz and other genres to break through. African Americans, such as Ernest Logan and Scott Joplin. Joplin has even been reffered to as "The King of Ragtime."
  • A Trip to CoonTown

    A Trip to CoonTown
    The first musical written, directed, and performed by African Americans. By Robert Cole. This musical, however successful still showed the intense racism, even through its name. "Coon" is a racist term for a black person.
  • Louis Armstrong is born.

    Louis Armstrong is born.
    Louis Armstrong is one of the most influential African American jazz musicians. He is known for the swinging style in which he played his trumpet, and for helping turn jazz music into a surviving musical form.
  • Birth of Dizzy Gillespie

    Birth of Dizzy Gillespie
    Dizzy Gillespie is born. He was a very influential and famous African American Jazz Music Performer.
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    Boogie Woogie

    Boogie woogie, like ragtime is a form of dance-music. While the actual origins are hard to pin down, the title "boogie woogie" is thought to possibly be derived from African words.. One example of this is the Bantu term Mbuki Mvuki. Mbuki means "to take off in flight" and Mvuki means "to dance wildly.
  • Bebop Jazz Music

    Dizzy Gillespie, experimenting with other jazz musicians, introduces the "bebop" style of jazz. Tempos were faster, harmonies and melodies were more complex, and bands changed from larger sized to smaller sized. This was one of the genres of music that contributed to the furthering of African American musical successes by helping lead to rock and roll.
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    Rhythm and Blues

    Rhythm and Blues is another type of music that influenced jazz greatly. It was a genre that was dominated, and possibly even exclusively created by African Americans. Most of the songs, regardless of the tempo, were sung in a lamenting, soulfull style, that expressed the hardships of the times for black americans. We can still see the influence today in many other music styles, including contemporary R&B.
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    Rock and Roll is formed.

    While rock and roll has had participants of many different races, African Americans played a very large part, due to their contribution into Rhythm and Blues and Jazz, which were two of the music gentres which contributed to Rock and Roll. Among these African American musicians were Louis Jordan, who was especially influential in the swing genre, and Wynonie Harris, who influenced artist such as Elvis.
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    Funk Music

    Funk music is a blend of soul, jazz and R&B. It includes horns, rhythmic beats and electric guitar or keyboard. It is a dance-style music and it's influences are recognized in hip hop music today.
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    Hip Hop Music

    Influenced by funk and disco, Hip Hop currently still exists as the musical style that is dominated by black/African American musicians. While much of the music is created specifically with dance beats, much of it also speaks of hardships faced by African Americans in current society.