A Brief History of African Music Through the Colonial Period

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A Brief History of African Music through The Colonial Period

Music before the 20th century was very different when compared to the music of the 21st Century. There were distinctive occasions for each type of African music. West African music, the African Diaspora, and the music of the Colonies each had different musical instruments.
West African music was the music of the African people before the Europeans captured and sold them into slavery in the Americas. It was unique in the manner in which it was played as well as the reasons why it was played. West African music was documented around the 1600's when explorers wrote journals about what they had found while traveling.
Every West African village had its own professional
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They were technically slaves but they weren't directly called slaves.
Black slaves were being taken away from their families and were not permitted to bring material objects with them. In the Colonies, Africans weren't allowed to read, write, or learn anything except for what their master taught them. Some Africans learned to play a musical instrument by watching other white male musicians. Some became relatively famous. They had memories and their culture of music to keep their minds off of their enslavement. Their music in Africa was reflected in the new songs they sang as a release from the physical and mental cruelty of their new slavery.
During the Colonial Era slaves were allowed to attend church Sundays. This brought congregational singing into their lives. Black men and women had there own special pews and they would chant one or two lines at a time ending on a definite pitch and then the congregation would follow singing with the same line. This was called "lining out" which still lingers on in black churches today. They learned to sing psalms by hearing them and then ach time they were sung, the tune would change a little. Singing schools eventually started appearing so people could receive "correct singing". Organs were brought into churches. During the 1730's a more upbeat singing pattern came to the churches called Hymnody. They were religious poems rather then psalms which

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