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"The Cultural Diffusion Of African Music In Modern Day Mainstream American Culture"

1506 words - 6 pages

In the 1600's, when slave-traders began to bring slaves and goods to the new colonies in America, they never knew they would be bringing along a culture rich in music and rituality. Many people thought that Africans were too simple minded to be able to have such things like culture, language or even sophisticated buildings. They looked over that all and plundered their knowledge, wealth and more importantly, their music. African Music had several different uses. Africans used music as means of worship, easing the pain of work, communication and entertainment. Then, when the slave trade commenced, diffusion took African culture all over the world. For instance, the worship music diffused into Gospel, the music easing the pain of work diffused into the blues, the music used for communication diffused into drums and songs used to pass information during wartime, and entertainment music diffused into other music forms today such as Rap, Jazz, and even Rock-and-Roll.Gospel music, though primarily performed in churches, specifically Baptist churches, is a mainstream form of music that is heavily influenced by African culture. The word Gospel means "Good News" and correlates with The Holy Bible's Gospels in the New Testament. Gospel Music can be called "black music" by some however; gospel music is really various kinds of religious music such as traditional hymns, Contemporary Christian diffused together with African music. Gospel has been said to have started by a man named Thomas Dorsey. His music was filled with shouts of praise at random times and deeply emotional lyrics and songs. The music initially was normally a cappella, or without accompaniment, but as Gospel developed, the piano or an organ was used with a soloist, quartet and in recent times a mixed choir. In the '30s and '40s, a mass migration of African-American people spread Gospel music to the North, bringing along with it a new way of singing, something new to the different singing voices of Whites. In Gospel music, singers normally have loud, booming voices, much like the ones in classical opera. A loud voice is needed in Gospel because the accompaniment can often get very loud as well. Today, popular singers sing using their throat and inadvertently straining it and causing it to weaken and lose a good sound. However, over the years, Gospel singers have learned to sing with their diaphragm, a muscle that helps you breathe. When you breathe like this, you voice has supreme support and the singer is capable of hitting very high or very low notes while being very loud. This is very similar to the technique used by traditional, classical opera singers. During the 1960's and 1970's amassed followers, specifically rap artists who had "found God" and soon they began to rap about Christian ideas and God.The Blues is a genre of music that slaves developed to ease the pain of the strenuous work of plantation life. The term "The Blues" is referring to melancholy and saddened atmosphere in the...

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