The History of American Music (in 1,000 words or less)

Music is undeniably one of those universal expressions that transcends barriers of ethnicity, politics, and religion that separates people and divides communities.

Blues, jazz, bluegrass, country, and even traditional African drumming techniques all are part of a densely intertwined roots system of culture and tradition that not only celebrate where we came from, but where we are going as a society. All of these musical forms have strong roots coming from the different cultures that immigrated to America in search of a better life.

The obvious exception to this generalization is found in the case of the musical contributions from African nations. Despite the tragedy and suffering of the slavery system that brought people to the new world against their wills, stripping people of their culture and traditions, the slaves utilized their voices in place of the drums left behind. The call and response techniques gave rise to songs sung in the fields to ease the suffering of labor, then worked their way into the music of the church to soothe the soul during trying times. As these African traditions permeated the consciousness of the black communities of America, they in turn became the foundations of the blues, jazz, soul, country and eventually rock -n- roll exported to the rest of the world as quintessentially American.

Bob Marley - 2010

Other major contributions to American music comes from many of the European immigrants with their traditional musical forms that evolved into the bluegrass and country that also inspired early rock -n- roll. Western European immigrants escaping poverty and seeking religious freedom landed in the Appalachians and passed down a musical heritage that still persists proudly today. Many of the classic European musical forms were carried over the ocean to the new world, where they flourished, evolved, even mutated as they cross pollinated with exposure to other music that the people creating these new forms may not have ever experienced if they still lived back in the old world.

Even today, as these far reaching musical lineages continue to inspire us to


About analogmutant

art, music, food, movies, citizen journalism, activism, and whatever else i am into at the moment...
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One Response to The History of American Music (in 1,000 words or less)

  1. Pingback: Lou Shields and the high science of low fidelity | Analog Mutant: Grand Rapids MI

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