The unthinkable is only unthinkable until it happens. Then, like the sack of Rome, it can seem historically inevitable. Same was the case with President elect Donald Trump and his Oath ceremony. As the inauguration started, I could hear youngsters, especially Afro- Americans singing and rapping in their own special ‘Black Music’.
Black music is a term encompassing music produced or inspired by black people, including Sub-Saharan African music traditions and African popular music as well as the music genres of the African Diaspora, including Afro-Caribbean music and African American music.
From the music born in the cotton fields of the South to performances under the bright lights of Broadway, African Americans have influenced American culture in profound ways. In fact, American music is more integrated currently than ever before and showcases different music from around the world.
Historically, black music was brought by slaves to the Americas and later adapted to European styles. Later, African American music would incorporate highly syncopated music and the features of ragtime. These features set the stage for more music to be created, and in time many of the characteristics of black music were embedded into other musical genres. The music was not only influenced by the musical structure of black music, but by the performing styles of musicians. To adopt many of the African-American features, many musicians of the time had to re-invent or improvise the old with something new. These components lead up to the merging of different styles with African-American music.
For many people, jazz is pleasant and enjoyable. One of the reasons it is because there are so many different sounds that come together to form this music. In the Big Band era of the 1930's, jazz, or swing, had become popular and incorporated the African elements of syncopation and riffs. Riffs, rhythms, and syncopations are just a few characteristics of African American influence on virtually all music, and jazz music in particular took this influence to a different level. What changed was that previously, in the early nineteenth century, ragtime was essentially syncopated music but was more in accordance with marching and piano music. Jazz is highly improvisational, which give way to more sounds and changes in rhythm, melody, and texture.
The 1960's and 1970's music had a different feel to it. Various social, political, and technological movements helped advance music. Rock was not just white music, but black were widely responsible for developing rock music, although met with some oppositions. African Americans influenced a degree of rock music during the 1960's and 1970's, and here is where you can see how singing and performing styles were adopted by the musicians. For example, Elvis Presley was known for having a black feel to his music and performance. He was very popular but was criticized for his true contributions to rock 'n' roll. Many of the songs during that time were cover songs of black musicians, who because of little mainstream acceptance, did not receive the credit they deserved.
Although music certainly is about different origins, sounds, and functionalities, it is interesting to see that one style of music has served universally to change the whole landscape of music. Since Africans had to develop their own ways of communicating and celebrating since the beginning of time, these people possibly held the key to a fruitful point of departure for all of music today.
Currently, a world where the biggest election around the globe has gone dark and when the greatest nation has turned its back on countries, where racism has crossed all heights, music especially black music is still on its way to continue this pattern of borrowing and influencing music to form something new that is by people all around the world.