African American Music Research Paper

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African American Identity is Expressed through Music By: ????? Coleman Professor ##### Submitted June 8, 2008 African American music, which is also called black music, is an umbrella term given to a range of music. This music, which emerged from the culture of African Americans, has always brought about a large ethnic minority of the population of the United States. Since times are changing it seems that people don’t put the same flare in music like they use to. Today most African American music is about money, cars, or sex. There seems to be no substance to make people want to listen to that kind of music. I think that the true feel of African American music and the root of it have been lost through the decades…show more content…
They met in camp meetings and sang without any hymnbook. Spontaneous songs were songs that were composed on the spot. As Negro spirituals are Christian songs, most of them have to do with what the Bible says and teaches. These songs show how to live with the Spirit of God. These songs were meant for hope to let slaves know that God is watching over them even though the times fell hard on them. Back then African Americans used to sing outside of churches. During and after slavery, slaves and workers who were working in the fields or anywhere else outdoors, were allowed to sing work songs. Usually work songs were sang when they had to coordinate their efforts for doing strenuous activities such as moving a heavy load of things or lifting trees or whatever their master requires of them. Even prisoners used to sing chain gang songs when they worked on the road or on some construction project. These songs uplifted African Americans and gave them an outlook of hope. Sometimes even slave drivers allowed slaves to sing quiet songs, as long as they were not directly against the slaveholders. Those songs could be sung either by only one soloist or by several slaves. They were used for expressing personal feeling and for cheering one another on. So, even at work, slaves could sing what were called “secret messages”. This was the purpose of Negro spirituals, which were sung at church, in meetings, at work and at home. The meaning of these songs was most often covert. Therefore, only Christian slaves understood them, and even when ordinary words were used, they reflected personal relationship between the slave singer and God. The codes of the first Negro spirituals are often related with an escape to a free country. For example, a “home” is a safe place where everyone can live free. So, a “home” can mean Heaven, but it covertly means a sweet and free country or
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