Influences of African-American and Anglo-American Music on Each Other


Influencesof African-American and Anglo-American Music on Each Other

Influencesof African-American and Anglo-American Music on Each Other

Musicwas a key in the transformation of culture in the 19th and 20thcentury it was a vital connection between African American and thewhites. Both the groups had distinct music forms but they influencedeach other in the way they were sung and instruments used. Thismusical influences led to the emergence of different music genre,hybridization. The development of blues, country and jazz musicresulted from this cultural interaction. Though this time was marredby racism and segregation of the African American, this did not stopthe development of folk music. This essay studies the influences ofAfrican American and Anglo American on each other’s music.Secondly, it studies the hybridization of the folk music and finallythe state of the USA in 19th and 20th about racism.

Relationshipbetween white and blacks

Agreat number of people lived and worshiped in temporary tents forseveral days became the norm. In the 19th century, it had spreadacross all of the Middle Atlantic States into the Deep South. Unlikemost aspects of contemporary America life, camp meetings were notentirely segregated. Groups up to 3,000 people gathered to sing andhear preaching, with blacks and whites keeping separate quarters onthe grounds. Whether standing or seated, blacks attended campmeetings, sometimes participating as preachers. Such modestintegration resulted in mutual influences and the emergence ofspiritual songs that found favor among both black and white singers.

Accountssuggest that Blacks often sang louder than the whites and that blacksoften stayed up singing long after their counterparts had retired forthe night. These late-night gatherings provided black singers a forumfor experimentation not previously available to them. Away from thewatching eyes of their Anglo counterparts, black began to shift theirsinging away from the camp meeting hymns. Lining out a psalm providedan easy way for white and black churchgoers to learn the song’stexts. The leader would lead a melody am the crowd would join. Thispractice proved to be one of the few early direct links between Angloand African music and was a common practice among blacks singing worksongs.

AfricanAmericans were allowed to attend weekly religious services and couldoccasionally participate at a white church by standing in a separatesection in the back of the church. Hand clapping and foot stampingthat provided the rhythm, absent from Anglo-American music.Contemporary accounts also list call and response, groupparticipation, and improvised texts as the other notablecharacteristics of both spiritual. The song soloing combines physicalmovement with song. The West African religious ceremonies remain oneof the closest and clearest connections between black American andAfrican folk culture

Occasionallyblacks were encouraged to develop their musical skills on pianos,violins, as well as on a variety of brass instruments. Slave ownersoften fostered musical interests because blacks sometimes providedmusical entertainment. African musical practices, particularlydrumming, were almost always discouraged


Industrializationand urbanization have increased contact with other cultural groups,which cause even greater hybridization. These terms refer tocross-pollination between two or more different cultures, resultingin a unique hybrid that contains elements from both whites and theblacks. The music was improvised by adding lines from biblical versesand prayers to the well-known Watts hymns, which became solidified bythe frequent addition of choruses and refrains. The tunes, too,veered from the acceptable European melodies toward the banjo andfiddle dance tunes favored in folk music.

Thesenew songs contained enough familiar elements to gain swift andwidespread acceptance as a new genre, spiritual songs. By the dawn ofthe 20thcentury a new wellspring, the gospel song began spreading andaffecting each of these genres. Around the turn of the century, justas racism reemerged and blues, ragtime, and jazz began emerging, ayounger generation of African Americans started composing simple‘gospel’ songs of praise.The music itself, however, must haveseemed wildly tame by comparison with their background. The whitereligious music, usually Dutch Reformed, Congregational, Methodist,or other related sects, lacked the fervor and rhythmic punch of the(increasingly distant) West African music.

Eventhe most modern gospel has clear links with the past, most oftenthrough the vocal styles that still emphasize the moans, growls, andother tricks that have been heard in black churches for decades. Theolder spirituals are still sometimes performed, but even moderngospel uses older songs. Pentecostal churches retain theirconservative values their updating is more superficial: electricinstruments, microphones and so on of all black folk music, thereligious traditions continue to be the most vital and lively

Thebeginning of the 20th century saw the creation of ragtime, blues,jazz and other influential forms of vernacular music that alsoreflect their southern heritagess. Some of the instruments, mostnotably the fifes and drums or quills, are often homemade partlyreflecting the harsh economic conditions under which many blackslived in the US.


All-blackrural dances almost always included a fiddle or banjo, sometimesaugmented by a rhythmic instrument (often bones or a washboard).Rhythms, often polyrhythm’s, and the use of various percussioninstruments are certainly one of the most fundamental contribution byblacks to American music. It could be as simply performed as ‘pattingJuba’ – patting hands together, on thighs or the chest, theantecedent of the hambone games found among black children today. Thereasons why blues developed was due to racism that added more miseryand hard times to the black community, with the number of launchingsincreasing and the per capita income for blacks stagnating orfalling. Due to these factors blacks lived in segregated societyenduring attacks.

Justas in the Anglo-American tradition ballads associated with blackAmerican culture. By the early 20th century, ballads had becomeintegrated into the repertoire of African American rural songsters,such as Lead Belly. The African American ballad tradition isdistinguished from its Anglo-American neighbor by a lack of narrativecoherence and linear narrative, its subjectivity, and a tendency toglorify event.

Asa result of hybridization jazz, hillbilly gospel, blues, souls, folkrocks developed

Racismin 19th and 20th Century

Thisperiod was characterized by segregation of races, as whileworshipping they could not mix with the whites not even in the campmeeting. Record were distributed according to race black music wascirculated under catalog” race” while the white music was labeledcountry music (Lornell, 2012). In the Minstrel shows, black were notfeatured until the 1940s this segregation depicts a hard time to theAfrican American race.


AfricanAmerican and Anglo American have greatly influenced each other as faras music is concerned. From worshiping together to camp meetingwhich were segregated, these two group proofed inseparable in themusic cultural exchange. Their interaction led to the development ofjazz, country, hillbilly, gospel and blues music. Despite theseinteraction and development of music the black society was stillsegregated.


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