Samuel A. Floyd

in The Power of Black Music

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780195109757
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853243 | DOI:

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The African Americans' natural use of the cultural, physical, and musical assets resulted in the blue notes, elisions, and other melodic assets of African American singing. This chapter presents the manifestations of these elements in African American music. Some examples are Dance, Drum, and Song; the social and religious values of the ring; the “motor-memory” and cultural memory of transplanted Africans; the exigencies of slave life in a foreign land; and the necessity of conforming to the expectations of the dominant culture that created an African American ethos—a common consciousness, a cultural unity, that is reflected also in “our language,. . . our thought patterns, our laughter, our walk” and other aspects of African Americans' being.

Keywords: African American music; Dance; Drum; Song; motor memory

Chapter.  9911 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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