Thank You for a Great Semester- Erin’s Final Words

After registering for Survey of African American Music, I was under the impression that this would be a lecture-based class where we would have read about each genre, and have a corresponding assignment. To my surprise, this class was nothing like that. Before diving into the semester I was unsure if I would enjoy this […]

African American Music: 1965-1990

African-American music covers a diverse range of music genres created by African-Americans. The earliest forms of African American music were imported with the slaves themselves. As slavery settled into the entrenched“peculiar institution” in the South, slaves used music to ease the drudgery of their lives, and sometimes to send messages. Music as an outlet for African […]

The Evolution of Hip Hop Music- Erin Alford

      Hip Hop Music music originated in the early 1970s and continues to evolve to the present day. Hip-hop is a creative expression, sensibility, and aesthetic that first emerged in largely African American, Afro-Caribbean, and Latino communities in the Bronx. By the early 1970s, Hip Hop music had spread to other areas of […]

Earth Wind and Fire Live: Greek Theater ’04 By: Erin Alford

Earth Wind and Fire is an American band that has spanned the genres of many musical styles. They were one of the most popular American bands in the 1970s. In Chicago, Illinois in 1970, Earth Wind and Fire was founded by Maurice White. The band has received 20 Grammy nominations, been inducted into the Rock […]

Musical Theater: Minstrel Shows

The Minstrel Show was an American form of entertainment developed in the early 19th century. The full-length theatrical entertainment featured performers in blackface who performed based on parodies and stereotypes of African American life and customs. Minstrel shows emerged from pre-industrial European traditions of masking and carnival. In the United States, they began in the […]

What is Funk Music? By: Erin Alford

Funk is a music genre that originated in the mid-1960s when African American musicians created a new form of music through a mixture of soul, jazz, and blues music. The genre began to grow with James Brown’s development of a signature groove that emphasized rhythms. Funk music usually provoked the audience to dance. It is […]

Negro Spirituals- Erin Alford

A negro spiritual is a form of religious music created by African Americans during slavery in the 1800’s. Spirituals were the earliest form of religious music developed among African Americans. Often mistaken as a combination of European hymns, Spirituals were not hymns. The defining structure of a spiritual was call and response. Call and response is a […]

Lets “Jazz” things Up!

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African American communities in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jazz developed its roots in ragtime and blues and was widely regarded as the pinnacle of African American music in the twentieth century, distinguished by the originality of its improvisation. The musical hallmarks or jazz are improvisation, syncopation, swing […]

Classical Music: A product of Emancipation

While blacks continue to play an integral role in popular music styles, hurdles remain in classical music. Emancipation brought increased opportunities for professional training and exposure for black composers. The early twentieth century witnessed the emergence of several prominent conservatory-trained composers who taught at traditional Black colleges and universities. A small group of Black composers […]

Blues Music- Erin Alford

By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the term “blues” began to be applied to a new type of song emerging from Black communities in the southern United States. Blues as a genre is characterized by its lyrics, bass lines, and instrumentation. Blues music occurred in conjunction with significant new developments […]

Ragtime – Erin Alford

Ragtime music came into existence way before music had a name.  It is a performance style that accompanies popular song, dance, and instrumental music. It is a musical style that enjoyed its peak popularity between 1896 and 1920.  Ragtime was uniformly defined as having African American musical roots. Historically, ragtime was observed as song, dance, and […]

Jubilee Quartets- Erin Alford

A quartet is a musical composition or ensemble of four voices or instruments. Quartets originated in the mid 1800s, as an outgrowth of the African American university singing movement. They were originally known as jubilee quartets because of the nature of their repertoire and characteristics of their performance style. The quartet expresses cultural values and aesthetics […]

Spirituals- By: Erin Alford and Deja Cabiness

A spiritual is a form of religious music of African Americans during slavery. Spirituals were the earliest form of religious music developed among African Americans. Often mistaken as a combination of European hymns, Spirituals were not hymns. The defining structure of a spiritual was call and response. Call and response is a song structure in […]

Folk Music

Secular Folk Music originated well before the early seventeenth century.  Music was a part of the everyday life of the people of Africa. It was less of a performance and more of a group activity where everyone was able to participate. Music styles and characteristics recognized in folk music such as call and response and […]

Erin Alford’s IME

Hi, my name is Erin Alford. I am a sophomore, political science major from Atlanta, Georgia. Following my grandmother and mother, I am the third generation in my family to attend Spelman College. My mindset for the Spring 2018 semester is to continue to excel academically. Given that a few months from now I will […]