Black Music: A Synthesis Essay

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INTEREST music cannot be justified simply IN BLACK as an effort to pacify Afro-Americans or their supporters. If this music is noteworthy for economic or faddish reasons, the energy expended will ultimately be in vain. Black music is distinct from music in the Western tradition, and that difference becomes more obvious the closer its roots are to Africa. This is not to say, however, that the Black composer of symphonies and chamber music has abandoned his heritage entirely. Although many of the elements of Black culture have been absorbed into the mainstream of American life and have helped give it its unique identity, real understanding is gained by observing the extent to which Black music is distinct from that of Europe. Until the time of…show more content…
This author from Howard University is the outstanding specialist in this field-particularly with respect to the social relationships. Marsh was not the first to compile spirituals (the Allen anthology of 1867 is included in Black Cultural Leaders in Music, cited below), nor was he the only one to deal with the Fisk University chorus. Other early examples of the music are in Barton, including jubilees (the post-slavery expressions of joy). Ballanta was a native of Sierra Leone ~vhocaptured versions of the songs tenaciously retained in this coastal area. After Fisk, the major site for continuing the tradition was Hampton, particularly under the guidance of Dett, and this anthology had already undergone editions in 1874 , 189 1, and 1909 before Dett's rvork. The tradition at Fisk was continued and enriched by the efforts of Ll'ork, and his publication also provides important data on this history ofthe spiritual in the opening pages. Johnson was yet another major figure in Black music documentation. What might appear to be missing here is hommage to the work of Frederick Hall, Jester Hairston, Hall Johnson, and Harry Burleigh, but such lacunae are cared for in Lovell's
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