assignment one - Kroymann 1 Ethan Kroymann Assignment One...

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Kroymann 1 Ethan Kroymann – Assignment One – Music 189H During the first few weeks of class, we have been discussing the importance of the history of American music. After spending each class discussing religious music, more specifically, congregational song, it is easy to see the lasting benefits this music has had. Congregational song has helped develop music education, helped change the economic value of music, influenced current music, and helped shape African-American music. Before we can begin looking at the lasting impressions of congregational music, we have to determine what American music is. While we never came up with an exact answer in class, I feel that I have a pretty accurate answer. Because the United States is a melting pot of different ethnic backgrounds, there is no clear cut on who is American. To solve this, I concluded that an American is someone who calls America home. While many people may have moved to America in search of a better life, they still likely called the place where they moved from “home.” In my opinion, they would not be considered Americans. Once a person truly considers America his or her “home”, then he or she is an American. Therefore, American music is any sort of music created by an American regardless of the other influences on it due to the fact that the United States is such a diverse place to begin with. With that cleared up, now we can discuss the benefits of congregational music. First, congregational song gave Protestants an exciting and interactive way to worship. When Europeans first began arriving in America, the main religion was Puritanism or Protestantism. Unlike the Catholics of the time who only sang if they were in the choir, Protestants sang throughout the service no matter what. The pieces of music they sang usually consisted of Psalms from the Bible. These songs were then compiled and placed in a book called a Psalter. Consisting of numerous stanzas which were sang strophically, or to the same music,
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Kroymann 2 these hymns allowed everyone to join in and sing in unison with each other. Churches sang many of the same hymns until 1770 when the first true American composers, William Billings and Justin Morgan, began making new hymns. In turn, this caused an explosion of
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