R&B, Soul, Funk, Techno

Soul, Techno, Funk, and R&B are four genres of African American music created in the mid twentieth century that had an enormous impact on the music industry, future genres, and people all around the world. Soul music emerged in the late 1950’s from the African American community, with influences from gospel, R&B, and jazz. This […]

Evolution of Hip Hop

  Hip Hop emerged from influences of groups of people of African descent in New York City, in the early 1970s. This new form of music began a new aspect of black culture that is still evolving today. Hip Hop culture came out of the inner cities and appealed to all black people, including rapping/MC-ing, […]

Last Words…

Dr. Johnson, thank you for a great semester! Coming into this class, I only had my musical knowledge of having played an instrument and singing in an A Capella group in high school. I gained a mountain of knowledge on the countless categories of music influenced by African American culture and history. There is so […]

Earth, Wind, And Fire: FUNK

Funk music arose in the 1960’s as a mixture of jazz, R&B, and soul, and is described as, in one word, danceable. Funk music is characterized by its rhythmic electric and bass guitar, as well as prominent percussion. Soul and R&B lend their rhythmic concepts to Funk music in the form of polyrhythmic beat foundations, as […]

All That Jazz

Out of the groundbreaking genres of blues and ragtime came a madness to be reckoned with: Jazz.  ‘America’s Music’, Jazz emerged from New Orleans, Louisiana in the early 1900’s as an art form which spelled madness, but somehow made sense. By Jim Crow Law, Creole people living in New Orleans were suddenly ostracized thus, pushed […]

Black Americans in Classical Music

Though classical music is an old, western phenomenon, many black artists have contributed to the history of this genre. Classical music is mainly homophonic, or clear  melody above a subordinate chordal accompaniment.  Some of the most popular instruments used to play classical music are the flute, violin, and piano. Since the eighteenth century, black composers have […]


The style of ragtime emerged in the late nineteenth century as popular song and dance music. It is characterized by its syncopation, or ‘ragged’ rhythm, and regular accompaniment by the piano. Syncopation is a rhythm where more stress is placed on the weak notes than the strong notes. Ragtime was created by African American musicians […]

The Mother of Music as we Know it: Blues

With a new century came a new style of music which emerged from the deep south: the blues. The blues evolved in the late 1890s from earlier styles of African American music including negro spirituals, work songs, and field hollers, and originated in the Mississippi Delta area of the deep south. The style is said […]

Jubilee Quartets- A Pivotal Development

Jubilee Quartets were created in the mid to late nineteenth century and are a cappella ensembles of four to six voices that perform formal arrangements of spirituals in close four part harmonies. The style of music which was sung by jubilee quartets is derived from spirituals, with their voices creating the beat rhythm of the […]

Negro Spirituals- The Beginning

Negro spirituals created pathways for multiple genres of black music today. The themes of call and response, improvisation, group singing, distinct African beats, etc. are reflected in genres such as R&B and hip-hop. The history of the genre derives from the painful past of African American people, and it represented their coping mechanism to endure […]

Alexis Eichelberger’s IME

My name is Alexis Eichelberger. I’m a sophomore Spanish major from Columbia, Maryland. My mother plays the clarinet, and my father plays the cello, so starting at age eight, my brothers and I were told to choose an instrument. From then on, we took music lessons and played in our school bands. I began playing […]