music

998 Words4 Pages
The manifestation of roots music from African immigrants developed into American musical genres such as spirituals, blues, and gospel music. As the centuries progressed, spirituals and work songs extended to comprise distinctive song genres, particularly the blues of southern blacks. Work songs and spirituals from African Americans are regarded as a window into their cultural life, their songs interconnect the optimisms, burdens, and beliefs of slavery. Music was imbedded into life, songs were hummed on front porches, chanted in churches, and caroled in the fields. Melodies were passed down from parent to child and through connotations they mirrored the changing times. Many African immigrants came to the United States from West Africa, they arrived by force and were seldom permitted freedom of expression, and as a result, songs were used to voice their subjugation and desire for autonomy. As stated in class, in 1619 the first African immigrants arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, the expansion of the plantation system in the southern colonies required cheap labor, but the work was taxing. Countless slave owner’s repressed African culture (this included foreign language and dancing), they wanted to foster a docile attitude and thwart potential revolts. African slaves had a natural affinity for musical expression, the traditional and cultural roots of West Africa were assimilated into the musical styles of African immigrants in America, the music of West Africa provided social solidity and many songs were sung with merriment and unified daily life. A precedent to the spirituals were works songs devised on the cotton, tobacco, and rice plantations of the rural South and field hollers, which are partly grievances, but also... ... middle of paper ... ...n mistreatment and their willpower to persist, likewise it can be a form of cries and hollers, which were the initial work songs. Therefore, work songs were a precursor to the blues for they voice African American obstruction and cynicism. The notion that African American slaves interpreted songs as spiritual and powerful art is supported by the evolvement of music. Musical genres resonated with African stories, myths, and hardships, which is part of the blues music allure. Likewise, predecessors such as spirituals and work songs conveyed an intense association to religious belief, often delivered by the euphoric, passionate outbursts. Even with the simplest of instruments, African musicians played a variety of styles that encapsulated grief and optimism, perhaps more enticingly than any other genre of indigenous music that America had yet experienced.

More about music

Open Document