One of the most popular practices was ragging irish

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Unformatted text preview: been slaves. Thus using their African musical inheritance as the primary source, African Americans developed a rich new musical tradition with a variety of styles, including blues, spirituals, and folksong. These styles are all vocal music, but African Americans also developed traditions in instrumental music. Ragging the Rhythm Even prior to the Civil War, slaves had played instrumental music on either homemade instruments or on purchased instruments. Probably the earliest instruments to be played were variations of the guitar and the banjo, a descendent of a popular African instrument. There are 18th century reports of groups of blacks playing various combinations of violin, fife, banjo, and percussion. One of the most popular practices was “ragging” Irish and Scottish folk dances and folk songs. In this technique, African Americans would achieve a version of the polyrhythmic complexity of West African musical traditions by overlaying the basic rhythm and/or melodies of European songs and dances with a simultaneous, syncopated cross- rhythm emphasizing off- beats. This was accomplished by two or more musicians, or by a single musician playing a separate pattern with different finger and thumb combinations. “Ragtime” had thus been around for years, but it became most popular after the Civil War, spreading rapidly with the urban migration as thousands of Blacks fled the repressive post- war rural South looking for better lives in the cities up North. This new freedom also gave them access to different instruments, especially the piano, and soon the piano emerged as the instrument favored for ragging. African American rag pianists played at parties and sometimes for dancing, and achieved their “rag time” effect by the combination of a syncopated right- hand melodic line juxtaposed over a very rhythmically straightforward left- hand bass. Scott Joplin is the best known and most accomplished of the ragtime composers. The “Birth of Jazz” in New Orleans: 1865- 1917 New Orleans was founded about 1718 as a colony of France. In 1762, it was ceded to Spain. In 1800, it was ceded back again to France. Then in 1803, the French sold the Louisiana Territories (of which the city New Orleans was a part) to the United States. Hence in less than...
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This document was uploaded on 02/16/2014.

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