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All three have clear cultural roots in african

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Unformatted text preview: ed, "Men of Color, to Arms!" Many African Americans, both freedmen and slaves, offered their services to the Union. President Lincoln was at first very reluctant to bring African Americans into the Union army for several reasons, not the least of which was his fear that by doing so he might anger the border states of Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri. These states still maintained slaves and Lincoln knew that if he alienated them, he might drive them into joining the 3 Crossroads: Music of American Cultures (Barkley) Kendall Hunt Publishers, 2013 Confederate side. But by November of 1862, with casualties rising, he did admit some blacks. On January 1, 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring freedom for all slaves in those states or portions of states still at war against the United States. In 1865, with the war ended and an amendment to the Constitution was passed that abolished slavery, the South entered a period known as the Reconstruction. In March of 1865, the Freedmen's Bureau was established to help the freed slaves and destitute whites through activities such as providing food and shelter. The Freedmen's Bureau also worked with other groups to establish schools to assist blacks. Fisk School was one of the first of these endeavors, established in 1866 in Nashville, Tennessee by the American Missionary Association and the Cincinnati Western Freedmen's Aid Commission. The school soon experienced financial difficulties, and so the school’s choir director, George L. White, decided to take the choir on tour to raise funds. The tour was dangerous and difficult, and although the choir sang European- based classical music at their concerts, in the evenings the singers would sing spirituals to comfort themselves. At the end of one concert, he spontaneously asked the choir to sing a spiritual for the audience. It was such a success, he started including spirituals at all the concerts and the tour ultimately was able to make the money needed to keep Fisk School open. Within this historical and social context, three African- based vocal traditions were maintained or developed: worksongs, hollers, and spirituals. These are the earliest examples of African- American music, representing the fusion of both African and European elements. All three have clear cultural roots in African traditions, including free rhythm, ornamented melody, call- and- response structure, and the tonal language which became the defining “blue” notes so common to African American music. They also reflect European influence in their use of increasingly metrical rhythm, major and minor harmonic language, homophonic texture, transmission through notation, and performance on the concert stage. All three developed out of the slaves’ experience in the United States. Furthermore, while work songs, hollers, and spirituals may have arisen as specific expressions of African American culture at an earlier time in American history, they have played a seminal role in influencing and shaping later African American musics and the musical traditions of America as a whole. Now that we have a better understanding of the historical and social context, let us now turn our attention to the music itself. 4 Crossroads: Music of American Cultures (Barkley) Kendall Hunt Publishers, 2013 Side Trip 6A: “African Americans” or “Blacks?” African Americans have been identified by a series of names, many assigned to them by whites. “Blacks” replaced the earlier appellations “Negro” and “colored” in the civil rights era of the 1960s as a term of pride and in conjunction with the Black Power...
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