Ragtime started as a way of playing any kind of music by “ragging” the melody, a rhythmic trick which originated with the African American plantation culture of the mid-1800s. The first exposure of African-Americans in the public domain was through black-face minstrel shows, a form of entertainment introduced by whites. A minstrel show was composed […]

Parting Words

Dr. Johnson, Walking into a class entitled, Surveying African American Music, I expected an extremely mundane music class with an extremely mundane professor. I expected a music class that would fail to appease my interests while satisfying my fine arts credit. I sit here, ending the semester, with a sadness! Your 2:00 class was something I […]

The Music Of Our Ancestors: Negro Spirituals

Where did Negro Spirituals Begin? A spiritual is a type of religious folksong that is most closely associated with the enslavement of African people in the American South. African American spirituals were primarily expressions of religious faith. Some may also have served as socio-political protests veiled as assimilation to white American culture. Elements Of Negro Spirituals […]

All That Jazz.

From the beat of ragtime syncopation and driving brass bands to soaring gospel choirs mixed with field hollers and the deep down growl of the blues, jazz’s many roots are celebrated almost everywhere in the United States. Where did Jazz Begin? Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United […]

Like School On Monday…

The word Classical has strong connotations, conjuring up the art and philosophy of Ancient Greece and Rome along with their ideals of balance, proportion and disciplined expression.  The composers of the early Classical period changed direction, writing music that was much simpler in texture. Just like in every other genre, Black people have been able […]

SAMBO, MAMMY, COON!: Ragtime and the Connection to Black Ridicule

What even is it? Ragtime erupted as a way of playing any kind of music by “ragging” the melody, a rhythmic trick which almost certainly originated with the African American plantation culture of the mid-1800s. Plantation players would rag an entire melody from beginning to end. Thes first raggers were amateurs. Nothing was recorded or […]

Monetizing off Melancholy: The Commodification of Blues Music

Throughout musical history, it has been evident that Black music has been commodified by white profiteers. Regardless of the genre, the music has been altered and modified then money has been made off of the result. The genre of Blues is a genre that comes from the struggle, toil, and hardship of African Americans.  The […]

Jubilee Quartets!

Jubilee Quartets started in the mid-1800’s as an outgrowth of the African American university singing movement. The early a cappella vocal groups were originally known as Jubilee Quartets because of the nature of the repertoire and characteristics of the performance. They most often consisted of men and contained heavy influences of both  African American and western practices […]

Did You Feed My Cow?: Ella Jenknins and Folk Music

Everyone can agree that Black people are the powerhouse and driving force of nearly all things music. Even genres, like Folk, that seem like they have few Black people within them have Urban roots and undertones.  One of the prime faces of Folk music is Ella Jenkins, who is dubbed “The First Lady of Children’s Music”.  “The […]

Kynedi Gray’s IME

Introduction. My name is Kynedi Gray and I am from Atlanta, Georgia by way of Washington, D.C. I’m a second-year Psychology major with a concentration in pre-medicine and I absolutely love to travel! As for mindset, I am completely immersed in music every day. You can always find me with headphones plugged into my ears […]