"The Cultural Diffusion of African Music in Modern day Mainstream American Culture"

Essay by dartagnangibbsHigh School, 10th gradeA+, January 2005

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In the 1600's, when slave-traders began to bring slaves and goods to the new colonies in America, they never knew they would be bringing along a culture rich in music and rituality. Many people thought that Africans were too simple minded to be able to have such things like culture, language or even sophisticated buildings. They looked over that all and plundered their knowledge, wealth and more importantly, their music. African Music had several different uses. Africans used music as means of worship, easing the pain of work, communication and entertainment. Then, when the slave trade commenced, diffusion took African culture all over the world. For instance, the worship music diffused into Gospel, the music easing the pain of work diffused into the blues, the music used for communication diffused into drums and songs used to pass information during wartime, and entertainment music diffused into other music forms today such as Rap, Jazz, and even Rock-and-Roll.

Gospel music, though primarily performed in churches, specifically Baptist churches, is a mainstream form of music that is heavily influenced by African culture. The word Gospel means "Good News" and correlates with The Holy Bible's Gospels in the New Testament. Gospel Music can be called "black music" by some however; gospel music is really various kinds of religious music such as traditional hymns, Contemporary Christian diffused together with African music. Gospel has been said to have started by a man named Thomas Dorsey. His music was filled with shouts of praise at random times and deeply emotional lyrics and songs. The music initially was normally a cappella, or without accompaniment, but as Gospel developed, the piano or an organ was used with a soloist, quartet and in recent times a mixed choir. In the '30s and '40s, a mass migration of African-American people spread...