Music 's Influence On America

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Intro Music

Music’s Influence on America in the Last Century This class is my first opportunity at exploring music through a broad and historical lens. Certainly I’ve learned plenty of information about how music is composed and what elements go into creating the music we have today. However, my favorite part of the class was learning about the history of American music and how it influenced culture. One could argue that culture affected music first, or vice versa. In my opinion, there are cases where both scenarios played out. In this paper, I will combine my thoughts with many of the details that we learned in class to show that sometimes music impacted culture first, and other times culture impacted music.
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A few researchers portray the advancement of blues music in the early 1900s as a move from group performance to individualized performance. They contend that the advancement of the blues is related with the relatively recently gained freedom of the oppressed African Americans. Blues has developed from the unaccompanied vocal music and oral customs of slaves imported from West Africa and rural blacks into a wide range of styles. As one can see, blues was a product of both the African American culture combined with the newfound freedom that blacks found in America. Here, culture influenced music first. But, blues did have an impact on culture as we will examine.
The African impact on New Orleans music can follow its underlying foundations back to Congo Square in New Orleans in 1835, when slaves would gather there to play music and dance on Sundays. African music was played there while people dances. Alongside European melodic structures that were prominent in the city, including the metal band, the social blend laid the foundation for the New Orleans music forms, such as Jazz, to come. Does this mean that culture or music influenced the birth of jazz? Well, certainly, both did. The culture of the African people directly influenced Jazz. Music is a part of culture, and part of the African culture was the blues. The blues directly influenced the jazz music of New Orleans in the 1920’s. So, one could say that culture impacted music
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