Classical Music

Origin of Genre

Due to Emancipation black people had more opportunities to get professional training and have more exposure for Black composers. So they went to American universities where they received conservatory music training and learned to write other musical forms. With these larger scales of music like opera, symphonic essays, concerto etc, they grew to use this as opportunities to share their musical talents overseas and in the states. Classical music was not made by black people but they did begin to learn the “serious” kind of music and grown an appreciation for it while adding their own flare to classical music.

Characteristics/ Social Implications

Classical music is mostly instrumental and the family of instruments used is woodwinds, percussion, strings, and brass. All of these instruments come together to make concerto, sonata, cantata, and opera. Opera utilized vocals so many African American composers used opera to tell stories along with the instruments when they added a more folklorist approach to classical music. At first Black composers were not welcomed into the world of classical music especially after Emancipation and the music was fairly segregated. During and after the Harlem Renaissance was the start of Black people really getting into their prime with Classical music. The black community was not into classical as much as white people at the time so the commodification of their music was usually amongst whites who would blend their music tastes together. Black composers were used in commercial promotion due to their interesting style and execution of classical music. “Tremonisha” by Scott Joplin was one of the first Black operas to be performed on stage.

Important Performer

Scott Joplin

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William S Grant

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Ulysses Kay

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In conclusion, all though African American were not the birth of classical music, they still were apart of many contributions to the genre. Black composers added their own flare on the already existing genre which made it ten times better. Classical music has had a major effect on future genres of music because it influences artists to think outside the box and add their own twists.

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