The Classics

Classical music may be the one and only genre of music that was not created by African-American people, but Blacks have managed to still be an important part of the genre. This genre began in Europe during the start of the 18th century. Some of the most critically acclaimed music came from this genre during the 17 and 1800’s from famous composers such as Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. Classical music is characterized by a clear timbre, soft melodic tunes, and traditionally involved the use of a harp. Later the primary instrument used in classical music became the piano. Classical music is associated with the educated musician and has the reputation of requiring talent an technique for someone to compose or perform. To keep the reputation of the genre, it was restricted to rich white men for a very long time. Due to the socio economic associations with classical music, this genre stayed within upper class whites for a significant period of time. Once Blacks began writing and performing classical music, we added in elements from our traditional genres to reinvent classical music. Once Blacks became a part of the genre their influence was extremely significant. People like William Grant Sill composed symphonies that have been performed by dozens of orchestras. Scott Joplin, who was originally a famous ragtime composer even went on to write an opera, Tremonitia. However, it goes without saying that many Black classical composers were not given the fame, recognition, or financial compensation for their work due to the social position of Blacks through out all of history. More over I feel Black classical composers of have had the greatest influence on what is modern classical music.

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