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OnAfrican American Music

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Description

A Journey of Discovery

OnAfrican American Music’s insightful content illuminates the music and cultural connections of Black music from the 1600s to the present, embodied in its multiple genres, both secular and religious, such as plantation songs, folk spirituals, ragtime, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, freedom songs, hip-hop, and neo-soul, as it explores the historical depth and profound impact of this music in the United States and the world.

African American culture has shaped music in the USA. In turn, music in the USA has shaped African American music.

This work explores Black music traditions and cultural values reflected in its multiple genres, plus the unique contributions of many notable figures throughout its history.

  • Table of Contents
  • Unit Videos

Table Of Contents

Getting Started
Course Preamble
Meet the Contributors
Unit 1: African American Roots (1600-1770)
Unit 1 Introduction
Lesson 1: General Characteristics of African American Music
Introduction to Lesson 1
The Key Characteristics of West and Central African Music 1
The Key Characteristics of West and Central African Music 2
The Key Characteristics of West and Central African Music 3
The Key Characteristics of West and Central African Music 4
The Key Characteristics of West and Central African Music 5
African Religious and Ritualistic Practices and Music
African Religious and Ritualistic Practices and Music (Continued)
Conclusion
Lesson 2: General Characteristics of African American Music (Continued)
Introduction to Lesson 2
When We Remembered Zion
Retention and Transformation
Dispelling the Myths
The First Great Awakening
Resistance and Rebellion
Conclusion
Lesson 3: Music, Rhythm, and Dance
Introduction to Lesson 3
Introduction to Lesson 3 (Continued)
The Ring Shout in America
Musical Elements of the Ring Shout in America
Musical Elements of the Ring Shout in America (Continued)
Form and Structure Analysis
Shout/Shouter; Riffs, Moans, Grunts, and Other Vocables
Conclusion
Lesson 4: Plantation Songs 
Introduction to Lesson 4
African American Field Hollers and Work Songs
The African Roots of Field Hollers and Work Songs
The African Roots of Field Hollers and Work Songs (Continued)
Thematic and Musical Analysis of Field Hollers and Work Songs
Thematic and Musical Analysis of Field Hollers and Work Songs (Continued); The Evolution of the Hollers
Conclusion
Unit 1 Summary
Unit 1 Summary
Unit 2: American Revolution – Emancipation (1770-1870)
Unit 2 Introduction
Lesson 5: Folk Spirituals
Introduction to Lesson 5; African American Spiritual
Origins
The Invisible Church
The Invisible Church (Continued)
Performance Practice
Performance Practice (Continued)
Conclusion
Lesson 6: Source Materials
Introduction to Lesson 6
Spirituals: Definitive Form; Meaning of the Text
Spirituals: Double Entendre; Signifyin(g)
Spirituals: General Biblical Narratives
Spirituals: Coded Language to Plan Escape or Clandestine Meetings
Spirituals: Coded Language to Plan Escape or Clandestine Meetings (Continued)
Spirituals: Based on Biblical Characters
Spirituals: Based on Biblical Characters (Continued)
Spirituals: Personal Religious Testimony and Experience
Spirituals: Personal Religious Testimony and Experience (Continued)
 African Celebrations in the New World
Election Day Festivities
Pinkster Celebrations
Congo Square
Conclusion
Lesson 7: Precursor to Blues
Introduction to Lesson 7
Work Gang Singing Leader
Work Song Types in General: Dock Worker/Sea Shanty Songs
Work Song Types in General: Prison Work Songs
Work Song Types in General: Prison Work Songs (Continued)
Railroad Work Songs: History and Context; Gandy Dancers
Railroad Work Songs (Continued)
Trickster Song and Tales
Conclusion
Unit 2 Summary
Unit 2 Summary
Unit 3: Post-Slavery America (1865-1900)
Unit 3 Introduction
Lesson 8: Concertized Spirituals
Introduction to Lesson 8
Introduction to Lesson 8 (Continued)
Composition: Textual Rhyme Scheme
Composition: Textual Rhyme Scheme (Continued)
Music of the Spirituals 1
Music of the Spirituals 2
Music of the Spirituals 3
The Dissemination of the African American Spiritual in America and Europe: Social and Cultural Relevance
The Dissemination of the African American Spiritual in America and Europe: University Singing Movement 1
The Dissemination of the African American Spiritual in America and Europe: University Singing Movement 2
The Dissemination of the African American Spiritual in America and Europe: University Singing Movement 3
The Dissemination of the African American Spiritual in America and Europe: Brief Timeline of the History of the Fisk Jubilee singers
The Dissemination of the African American Spiritual in America and Europe: University Singing Movement 4
The Dissemination of the African American Spiritual in America and Europe: University Singing Movement 5
The Dissemination of the African American Spiritual in America and Europe: Jubilee Hall
The Dissemination of the African American Spiritual in America and Europe: Jubilee Hall (Continued)
Spirituals: Solo Arrangements
Three Musical Performers Who Trailblazed the Path of Singing Concertized Spirituals to an Integrated Audience
Lyrics to Concertized Spiritual “Lit’l Boy” and German Lied “Du Bist Die Ruh”
Male Quartets and Quintets
Conclusion
Lesson 9: Blues
Introduction to Lesson 9
Introduction to Lesson 9 (Continued)
Geographic and Historical Landscape in the Development of the Blues
Geographic and Historical Landscape in the Development of the Blues (Continued)
Timeline of Important Events Related to Black Codes and Jim Crow
Think About It: Jim Crow
Early Forms That Influenced the Blues 1
Early Forms That Influenced the Blues 2
Think About It: Where, When, Roots, and Social Influences of the Blues
Early Forms That Influenced the Blues 3
European and African Elements 1
European and African Elements 2
European and African Elements 3
Listening Activity: “St. Louis Blues”
Listening Guide: Bessie Smith “St. Louis Blues”
Think About It: Summary of the Elements of the African American and American European Culture that are Part of a Blues Composition
Stylistic Categories
Delta Blues
Musical Characteristics Associated with Country Blues 
Memphis Blues
Listening Activity: “Viola Lee Blues”
Piedmont Blues
Classic Blues 1
Classic Blues 2
Classic Blues 3
Listening Guide: Bessie Smith “Lost Your Head Blues”
Classic Blues 4
Urban Blues
Conclusion
Lesson 10: Ragtime and Brass Bands
Introduction to Lesson 10
Precursors of Ragtime 1
Precursors of Ragtime 2
Precursors of Ragtime 3
Precursors of Ragtime 4; Think About It: Minstrelsy
Terminology and Meanings
Terminology and Meanings (Continued)
Ragtime 1
Ragtime 2
Ragtime 3
Listening Activity: Scott Joplin “Maple Leaf Rag”
Listening Guide: Performed by Joshua Rifkin “Maple Leaf Rag”
Listening Activity: James Scott “Frog’s Legs Rag” and Joseph Lamb “Ragtime Nightingale”
Ragtime 4
Ragtime 5
Ragtime 6
Ragtime 7
Ragtime 8
Contribution and Significance
Syncopated Brass Bands 1
Syncopated Brass Bands 2
Syncopated Brass Bands 3
Syncopated Brass Bands 4
Conclusion
Lesson 11: African American Contributions to Classical Traditions
Introduction to Lesson 11
African American Composers 
African American Composers (Continued)
Think About It: Conversations with African American Composers
The Old Guard (1760-1862): Before Emancipation
The Old Guard (1760-1862): Before Emancipation (Continued)
Band Music in Philadelphia: Francis (Frank) Johnson
Listening Guide: Chestnut Brass and Friends “New Bird Waltz”
Band Music in Philadelphia: Other Composers
Guitar Music in Ohio: Justin Miner Holland
Piano Music in Georgia: Thomas Green Wiggins Bethune
Vocal Music from a Nightingale: Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield
The Old Guard (1863-1900): Post-Emancipation
Spiritual Art Songs: Harry Thacker Burleigh
Spiritual Art Songs: Harry Thacker Burleigh (Continued)
Listening Guide: Harry Burleigh, Performed by Marion Anderson “Deep River”
Burleigh’s Influence: Antonin Dvořak
William Grant Still
Florence Price and Robert Nathaniel Dett
The New Artists on the Block: 1900–2021
Conclusion
Unit 3 Summary
Unit 3 Summary
Unit 4: Early 20th Century (1900-1930s)
Unit 4 Introduction
Lesson 12: Early Gospel
Introduction to Lesson 12
Introduction to Lesson 12 (Continued)
Lined and Long-Metered Hymns
The Azusa Street Revival
 Black Hymnody
Black Hymnody (Continued)
The Birth of Gospel Music 1
The Birth of Gospel Music 2
The Birth of Gospel Music 3
The Birth of Gospel Music 4
Mahalia Jackson
Mahalia Jackson (Continued)
Conclusion
Lesson 13: 40 Acres and the Blues
Introduction to Lesson 13
The Birth of the Blues
Classic Blues 1
Classic Blues 2
Classic Blues 3
Prison Blues
The Depression Years 1
The Depression Years 2
The Depression Years 3
The Depression Years 4
Crime as a Theme in the Blues and Beyond
Conclusion
Lesson 14: New Orleans Jazz
Introduction to Lesson 14
Introduction to Lesson 14 (Continued)
Historical and Cultural Convergences 1
Historical and Cultural Convergences 2
Historical and Cultural Convergences 3
The Big Noise
Convergence of Ragtime and the Blues 1
Convergence of Ragtime and the Blues 2
Convergence of Ragtime and the Blues 3
Skills and Roles in Early Jazz Bands
Skills and Roles in Early Jazz Bands (Continued)
The Spread of Jazz
The Art of Collective Improvisation to the Art of the Improvising Soloist 1
The Art of Collective Improvisation to the Art of the Improvising Soloist 2
The Art of Collective Improvisation to the Art of the Improvising Soloist 3
Scat Singing
Conclusion
Lesson 15: Big Bands
Introduction to Lesson 15
The Big Band Sound
Swing
Swing (Continued)
The “Ellington Effect”
The “Ellington Effect” (Continued)
Bubber Miley and “Tricky Sam” Nanton
Fletcher Henderson
Count Basie 
Riff-Based Compositions and Head Arrangements
Rhythm Section
Billie Holiday
Mary Lou Williams
Ella Fitzgerald
Conclusion
Unit 4 Summary 
New Lesson
Unit 5: WWII – Civil Rights Movement (1940s-1960s)
Unit 5 Introduction
Lesson 16: Freedom Songs
Introduction to Lesson 16
Civil Rights
African American Music in the Civil Rights Movement 1
African American Music in the Civil Rights Movement 2
African American Music in the Civil Rights Movement 3
Spirituals, Hymns, and Anthems 1
 Spirituals, Hymns, and Anthems 2: Listening Guide: Pete Seeger “We Shall Overcome”
Spirituals, Hymns, and Anthems 3
Spirituals, Hymns, and Anthems 4: Listening Guide: Mahalia Jackson “We Shall Overcome”
Spirituals, Hymns, and Anthems 5
Protest Songs
Protest Songs (Continued)
Conclusion
Lesson 17: Golden Age of Gospel
Introduction to Lesson 17
Introduction to Lesson 17 (Continued)
Timeline of the Golden Age of Gospel (1940s)
General Characteristics and Performance Practices of Gospel during Its Golden Age
Performers of Gospel Music and Their Techniques: Solo 1
Performers of Gospel Music and Their Techniques: Solo 2
Performers of Gospel Music and Their Techniques: Solo 3
Performers of Gospel Music and Their Techniques: Solo 4
Performers of Gospel Music and Their Techniques: Quartets
Performers of Gospel Music and Their Techniques: Quartets (Continued)
Performers of Gospel Music and Their Techniques: Listening Guide: Swan Silvertones “My Rock”
Performers of Gospel Music and Their Techniques: Vocal Groups 1
Performers of Gospel Music and Their Techniques: Listening Guide: Alex Bradford and the Bradford Singers “It’s a Highway to Heaven” 
Performers of Gospel Music and Their Techniques: Vocal Groups 2
Performers of Gospel Music and Their Techniques: Vocal Groups 3
Performers of Gospel Music and Their Techniques: Choirs 1
Performers of Gospel Music and Their Techniques: Choirs 2
Performers of Gospel Music and Their Techniques: Choirs 3
Conclusion
Lesson 18: Black Music and the Media
Introduction to Lesson 18: Race Labels
Introduction to Lesson 18: Race Labels (Continued)
Radio Broadcasting and Its Effect on the Diversity of Music 1
Radio Broadcasting and Its Effect on the Diversity of Music 2
Radio Broadcasting and Its Effect on the Diversity of Music 3
The ASCAP Ban
The ASCAP Ban (Continued)
World War II 
Black Appeal Radio Stations
Race Music 1
Race Music 2 “Hound Dog”
Race Music 3
Conclusion
Lesson 19: Rhythm and Blues
Introduction to Lesson 19; General Characteristics
Styles: Club Blues and Jazz
Styles: Club Blues and Jazz (Continued)
Styles: Club Blues and Jazz: Listening Guide: Nat King Cole “Sweet Lorraine”
Styles: Jump Blues (aka Boogie-Woogie) 1
Styles: Jump Blues (aka Boogie-Woogie) 2
Styles: Jump Blues (aka Boogie-Woogie) 3
Styles: Jump Blues (aka Boogie-Woogie) 4
Styles: Bar Band Blues (aka Chicago/Electric Blues) 1
Styles: Bar Band Blues (aka Chicago/Electric Blues) 2
Styles: Bar Band Blues (aka Chicago/Electric Blues) 3
Styles: Urban Blues 
Styles: Doo-Wop 1
Styles: Doo-Wop 2
Styles: Doo-Wop 3
The Influence of Rhythm and Blues on Rock and Roll 1
The Influence of Rhythm and Blues on Rock and Roll 2
The Influence of Rhythm and Blues on Rock and Roll 3
Conclusion
Lesson 20: Soul Music
Introduction to Lesson 20
The Church, Civil Rights, and Soul
Pioneering Performers and General Characteristics
Pioneering Performers and General Characteristics (Continued)
Memphis/Southern Soul 1
Memphis/Southern Soul 2: Song Comparison: “It Must Be Jesus” and “I Got a Woman”
Memphis/Southern Soul 3
Memphis/Southern Soul 4
Detroit/Motown Soul 1
Detroit/Motown Soul 2
Detroit/Motown Soul 3
Detroit/Motown Soul 4
Beyond Memphis and Motown: Alabama Soul
Beyond Memphis and Motown: Alabama Soul (Continued) 
Beyond Memphis and Motown: New Orleans Soul
Beyond Memphis and Motown: Chicago Soul
Beyond Memphis and Motown: Chicago Soul (Continued)
Beyond Memphis and Motown: New York City Soul
Conclusion
Lesson 21: Jazz (Post WWII)
Introduction to Lesson 21
Bebop (Bop) 1
Bebop (Bop) 2
Bebop (Bop) 3
Bebop (Bop) 4
Bebop (Bop) 5
Bebop (Bop) 6: Listening Guide: Dizzy Gillespie “Shaw Nuff”
Bebop (Bop) 7
Bebop (Bop) 8
Bebop (Bop) 9
Cool Jazz 1
Cool Jazz 2
Cool Jazz 3
Cool Jazz 4
Hard Bop
Hard Bop (Continued)
Soul Jazz
Free Jazz
Free Jazz (Continued)
Conclusion
Unit 5 Summary
Unit 5 Summary
Unit 6: Post-Civil Rights to the New Millennium (1970s-2000)
Unit 6 Introduction
Lesson 22: Contemporary Gospel
Introduction to Lesson 22
Important Events in Contemporary Gospel
Edwin Hawkins
Listening Guide: Performed by The Edwin Hawkins Singers (1969) “Oh Happy Day”
James Cleveland
James Cleveland (Continued)
General Characteristics
History and Key Performers of Urban Contemporary Gospel: The Late 1960s to 1970s 1
History and Key Performers of Urban Contemporary Gospel: The Late 1960s to 1970s 2
History and Key Performers of Urban Contemporary Gospel: The Late 1960s to 1970s 3
History and Key Performers of Urban Contemporary Gospel: The 1980s and 1990s
History and Key Performers of Urban Contemporary Gospel: The 1980s and 1990s (Continued)
Popular Gospel Performers in the 1980s and 1990s 1
Popular Gospel Performers in the 1980s and 1990s 2
Popular Gospel Performers in the 1980s and 1990s 3
Twenty-First Century 1
Twenty-First Century 2
Twenty-First Century 3
Conclusion
Lesson 23: Dance Styles
Introduction to Lesson 23
Introduction to Lesson 23 (Continued)
Funk 1
Funk 2
Stylistic Similarities between Funk Music and Other Genres
Funk 3
Funk 4
Funk 5
Funk 6
Funk 7
Go-Go 1
Go-Go 2
Go-Go 3
Go-Go: From Funk to Hip-Hop
Disco 1
Discotheque Culture and the Role of the DJ 1
Discotheque Culture and the Role of the DJ 2
Discotheque Culture and the Role of the DJ 3
The New York Record Pool
Development of the Disco Sound
Development of the Disco Sound (Continued)
From Local Scenes to Mainstream Saturation
From Local Scenes to Mainstream Saturation (Continued)
Backlash
Conclusion
Lesson 24: Hip Hop
Introduction to Lesson 24
Introduction to Lesson 24 (Continued)
Origins of Hip-Hop Culture
Breakdancing and Graffiti
DJing and MCing and Rapping
The Holy Trinity of Hip-Hop Culture
The Holy Trinity of Hip-Hop Culture (Continued)
Mainstream Attention 1
Mainstream Attention 2
Mainstream Attention 3
Rap 1
Rap 2
Rap 3
The Musical Context of Rap in America
The Geopolitical Factors Crucial in Fostering Rap’s Early Development
Commercial Success
Listening Guide by The Sugarhill Gang “Rapper’s Delight” (1979)
Commercial Success (Continued)
Electro (a.k.a Electro/Electronic Funk)
Rap: 1980s
Rap: 1980s (Continued)
Disseminating Factors that Contributed to Hip-Hop’s Popularity
Gangsta Rap
Gangsta Rap (Continued)
New Jack Swing and Other Hybrids
Hip-Hop: 1990s 1
Hip-Hop: 1990s 2
Hip-Hop: 1990s 3
Hip-Hop: 1990s 4
Hip-Hop in Film
Conclusion
Lesson 25: Urban Contemporary
Introduction to Lesson 25
Rhythm and Blues
Rhythm and Blues (Continued)
Hot Soul: 1970s
Popular Soul Songs from the 1970s and Music Style(s) That Influenced Them
Hot Soul: 1970s (Continued)
Hot Black: 1980s
Popular Songs That Appeared on the Hot Black Chart in the 1980s
Hot R & B: 1990s
Popular Songs That Appeared on the Hot R & B Chart in the 1990s
Hot R & B: 1990s (Continued)
Neo-Soul 1
Neo-Soul 2
Listening Guide: Jill Scott “One is the Magic #”
Neo Soul 3
A Chronological List of Neo-Soul Artists through 2002
Conclusion
Lesson 26: Jazz (Post Civil Rights Act)
Introduction to Lesson 26
Jazz Rock 1
Jazz Rock 2
Jazz Rock 3
Jazz Rock 4
Listening Guide: John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra “Birds of Fire” (1973) 
Jazz-Rock 5
Jazz-Rock 6
Jazz-Rock 7
Well-Known Jazz Fusion Performers and Their Song’s Tendency Towards Soul-Jazz, Jazz-Funk, or Both
Fusion
Smooth Jazz
Smooth Jazz (Continued)
Jazz Repertory
Conclusion
Unit 6 Summary
Unit 6 Summary
Unit 7: New Millennium to Present (2001-Present)
Unit 7 Introduction
Lesson 27: Sacred Traditions of the New Millennium
Introduction to Lesson 27
Thomas A. Dorsey and “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”
Thomas A. Dorsey and “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” (Continued)
Edwin Hawkins and “Oh, Happy Day”
Edwin Hawkins and “Oh, Happy Day” (Continued)
Kirk Franklin and “Stomp”
The Globalization of Gospel Music 1
The Globalization of Gospel Music 2
Global Gospel Artists
The Globalization of Gospel Music 3
Black Musical Influences on Christian Rap 1
Kurtis Blow 1
Kurtis Blow 2
Kurtis Blow 3
Conclusion
Lesson 28: Out of the Past
Introduction to Lesson 28
Components of Hip-Hop Culture
A Cultural Evolution
A Cultural Evolution (Continued)
The Musical Elements of Hip-Hop
Composition of Contemporary R & B Music
Computer Technology
Hip-Hop in the Twenty-First Century
Other Hip-Hop Trends and Figures 1
Other Hip-Hop Trends and Figures 2
Other Hip-Hop Trends and Figures 3
Neo-Soul
Neo-Soul (Continued)
Out of the Past
Globalization
Conclusion
Unit 7 Summary
Unit 7 Summary

One of the most powerful forces in the contemporary global music scene, and therefore deserving of much broader study, is African American music.

Expand your awareness, appreciation, and knowledge of the glory and variety of African American music and the far reaching contributions of its most salient exponents.

Dr. Steven M. Allen
Composer, conductor and ethnomusicologist, his extensive body of work shares new perspectives of the Spiritual and other socio-cultural influences and performance practices derived from the African Diaspora
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Dr. Stan Breckenridge
Distinguished Chair Fulbright Scholar alum, recipient of Poland’s Amicus Poloniae, and visiting professor in Poland. He performs his compositions worldwide and has authored three university-level textbooks.
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Dr. Audley C. Chambers
Associate Professor of Historical Musicology at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, and recipient of the Teacher Excellence Award. He is a pioneer in OU’s instructional technology.
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Bloomsbury
Additional content courtesy of Bloomsbury Academic Division, 2013/2014 Academic, Educational & Professional Publisher of the Year.
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OnAfrican American Music reveals with clarity, objectivity, scholarship, and inspired prose the vitality of African American music, the contributions of its leading figures, and the profound impact it has had and continues to have in the lives of countless people in the United States and beyond.