Effects of African-American Literature Music on America American Culture Research Paper

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Music is one of the most important elements among the African-American culture, through songs culture's history was revealed, pass information about events and activities to be done, evaluate and criticize a group effort or tell of some emotional apex. Music also played a significant role in comforting and healing. Africans in America used music in different situations such as; in their labor, sadness, happy moments, communication and resistance against oppression.

George, Games, etl. (2006) said that African-American music has great melodic lines and rhythm that has remained famous and influential. The African-American music comprised of sounds of gospels and revival of spirituals that accompanied the civil rights movement (Radano, Ronald, etl 2003). Jazz which was later named "American classical music" was the beacon of the height of birth of African-American music, it was not only music of generation but also music that motivated the generation, it supported them in their struggle, soothe their pain, enabled them challenge the status quo and became a way through which African-Americans could express opinions, displays critiques and position.

The unique African style of singing with emotion, power and rhythm was revealed through the field hollers, work songs, spirituals, gospels and blues. "Funk" a rich resource for the succeeding style of music was invented by soul, rhythm and blues artists. This paper highlight on the music called funk and its influence on the American culture. Engagement of students will be of paramount importance, whereby they get to listen and discuss various artists to evaluate their effect on the music direction.


During 19 thcentury, jazz was making its passage and laying foundation as the music of the future with participants such as Buck Clayton and Sidney Bichet. While jazz was at the forefront, another style of African-American music existed which was referred to as rhythm and blues its artists, Big Joe Turner and HudieLed better laid the basis for what it came to be known as "rock and roll." Some of the artists that played under rock and roll title also performed soul and R&B example James Brown and Betty Everett (Radano, Ronald, etl 2003).

Funk evolved from R&B but grew more earthly and rhythmic. Its beat emphasis is a distinguishing feature, the tone of voice of the 1 and 3 counts of 4, the guitar and horns are rhythmic and percussive instruments.

As stated by George, Games, etl. (2006), Funk is a musical style progressed by African-American artists like James brown and sly and the Family Stone. Funk has various music characteristics which include; dynamic syncopated rhythms driven by sixteenth divisions of beat, crisp and active rhythm guitar playing, horn sections employing jazz-based instruments for percussive effects. Funk influence is seen in modern hip-hop in the form of tester from funk tune or through the employment of funk song structures. Funk emphasized everything from lacking sophistication to the politically significant, serving as one of the most famous and direct musical affirmations of African-American culture.

Funk different from soul music has complexity rhythms that is designed to stimulate or incite the audience to dance, funk rhythms are presented in small, repeated ideas that through the repetition becomes danceable. Funk songs utilize simplified structures that are built around the tune of a song.

George Clinton being the inventor of funk did not only play funk but he also came up with philosophy that was made known through his playing and expression of opinions. He honored the sources from which funk drew, the blues and jazz. He was also well grounded in jazz.

Though the era of funk was short its impact and influence was significant and it is still evident in many of today's leading artists. It enhances a cross-generational and multicultural appeal. Since funk was casually considered by many as an ordinary spin-off of soul music it faded in the minds of record companies. Channels of communication such as television and radio businesses often use funk fragments as background music.

Today fans look at seventies as pinnacle where dance music was played by live performers using real drums, horns blown by people and where vocalists fascinate audience with their time tested soul inflectors. Radano, Ronald, etl (2003)observed that funk is deeply implanted in African origin and development of universe, he pointed out that people are created in agreement with rhythm of nature and that free expression is paramount to spiritual and mental health and when African philosophy is looked into, the African roots of rhythm, spiritual oneness and aspect of body the result is that funkiness is an ancient and worthy aspect of life. Funk in its modern sense is react to and rejection of the traditional western worlds in run for formality, presence, and self-expression.

The greatest characteristic of funk is its dance tempo, followed by complex interplay of rhythms between the horn section, the bass guitar, the key board and drums. Existing counterpoint between horn selection and rhythm selection could be experienced or counterpoint occurring between the bass guitars. Fred Wesley, a trombonist and band leader with James Brown, was one of the skilled arranger and innovators of funk (George, Games, etl. 2006).Wesley pointed out that so long as one have a syncopated bassline, a strong heavy back beat from drummer, a counter-line from the guitar, or the keyboard, and someone singing on top of that mostly in gospel style then one have funk.

Playing funk was a matter of spiritually sensing the music, it is a matter of knowing and speaking the language of life style with all its rhythms and variations, rhythm being the core of funk, its art of bringing it life depends on the applicability of the performer. To feature James Brown he used simple and innovative device. Most of African music was built around the accents coming beats two and four. James Brown demonstrated that it was applicable to use an entire band as drum kit, which eventually led to the use of rhythm that make use of two or more different rhythms.

Radano, Ronald, etl (2003) suggested that Star records had artists such as Otis Redding, Booker and Family Stone in their funk music they dealt with the social issues of the time which include; racial discrimination and injustice. They invented a unique style and appearance of funk stage. Their costumes were eye-catching; they appeared in robes, outlandish wigs, tights and vests.

Insistence is possessed by funk which is an important thing which aid in expressing realism and spike with pride washed over the Africans American community (George, Games, etl. 2006). The artist were bold and courageous, and created new rhythm and arrangements, they were not shy about reasserting their African roots and supporting the African-American artists so that to be able to enjoy the opportunity of self-expression. The price that came as a result of boldness, that is power of music and will of independence made musicians attain persevering attitude.

The influence of funk spread into the newly developed Africa it also provided much of early discos musical foundation and both category associated with the African-American masses where in many situations funk music was used to make disco record. The instruments that had been for funk bands fell out of favor in the 1980s as horn parts were played by synthesizers meaning that difficulty was reduced. Commercial aims was one of the factors that led to funk fair amount of mechanization which meant, fewer musicians to pay even though it required purchasing new equipment. Drum machines became typical fixtures, and the unique "slap bass" technique began to disappear from new songs and performances.

Despite the entire downfalls funk did not die, it is still alive and grows in many named and unnamed artists that love the rhythm and polyrhythm. Funk still spearhead the musical consciousness, particularly via the lens hip-hop, which turns to funk for samples of inspiration, because both has the same goal which is to make people dance, also the quality of the recordings makes the new products sound.

From the students engagement in listening and discussion, the observation and conclusion drawn was that most of them choose Hip-hop, what fascinated their choice is the rhythm that is sampled from funk music. Artists are influenced by the funk era as young members of the audience. Other artists were influenced through listening to an old song, film or radio and television programmes, others through their household or neighborhood who played this music.

According to Radano, Ronald, etl (2003), rhythm as one of the aspects of music impressed the students most. Rhythm is the main component of Hip-hop and rap, here the words comes in cleverly crafted waves which are punctuated by syncopated spaces of silence played against pulsing melody created by spoken volume. When the Hip hop artists sample the music and rhythm of funk era, they come under the direct influence and therefore cannot avoid using these devices while constructing their composition. Students learn through the study of humanities and social sciences that there is a logical…

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