Academic Master


Music: African American’s slaves

In what ways did the music of African American slaves provide more than just entertainment?

AmericAfrican and slaves proved as a source of entertainment, more than their music. Music held value in the hearts of the slaves, by comforting the burden of their laborious days. It proved as comfort in form of relieving them of their pain and making it easier for them to pass time. “Field hollers” was also employed by slaves for the use of transferring messages regarding their meetings at night, in the woods. From the perspective of the slaves, music became a beacon of hope, conveying emotions in their deep, rich vocals.

Many slaves were forbidden to make or play drums. Why?

The African American slaves were prohibited from making or playing drums since it signified a threat. This is due to the fact that drums were used in wars for boosting morale throughout history.

Where is the Mississippi Delta region located? Musically speaking, what makes this region so significant?

Mississippi Delta region is represented as a flat piece of land, covering the Northwestern portion in the Mississippi state, sharing a border towards the North with Tennessee, Memphis, and coming in between Yazoo Rivers and Mississippi. The term “raw, hard-driving” label of the Mississippi Delta blues is due to the conditions of the region and the prevailing conditions of African American slaves, at that time.

In what ways did the slavery system remain intact long after slavery itself had been abolished?

The concept of slavery continued even after the structure and system of slavery because of the laws by Jim Crow. These manipulations stated the concept of equality but segregation, presenting a clear concept of illicit schemes that resided in the practices of sharecropping. Sharecropping was a popular practice that was implemented on plantations that were owned by whites. Furthermore, the law saw to the system of preventing any progress for poor, uneducated black laborers, enforcing the practice of brutal labor conditions for the prisoners on the Southern side.

How and why did religion become so important in the African American community?

Christianity started to arise among the African American slaves as more and more slaves became acquainted with the knowledge of it. Religion also held another important concept for the slaves. It allowed them to meet and hold meetings without any supervision. The concept of worshipping as a group inspired the idea of community for them.

Why was blues music frowned upon by much of the Southern black religious community?

This was due to blues music being considered to be “Devil’s music.”

What made the cities of Memphis, Tennessee, and Chicago, Illinois, vital to the growth and development of blues music? For example, how did the sound of Chicago blues differ from that of rural Mississippi blues?

Cities of Chicago, Tennessee, Illinois, and Memphis became the main inspiration for the development and progress of Blues music. A huge number of Delta Black migration was witnessed around the time when new opportunities started to arise due to the migration in Chicago and Memphis. This move was inclusive of Delta Blues musicians because cities of Chicago and Memphis presented chances of innovation and improvement and lots of other opportunities.

Based on the information given in this chapter, define boogie-woogie.

Boogie-woogie is expressed as a style based on blues, utilizing primarily instruments such as the piano. It was occasionally referred to as “Barrel House.” The concept of Boogie-Woogie is based on the principle of being simple, pure and the ideal kind of party music. The beat in it is composed of a 12-bar rhythmic pattern. It focuses on the musician using the left hand to play it, whereas the right hand is used to employ the use of improvisational melodies.

Name three Chess blues artists.

Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, and Muddy Waters are among the three well-known Chess blues artists.

How did the Great Migration impact the direction of blues?

The blues migrated from the South towards up North and changed from the Delta blues into Chicago blues.

Chapter Two Review

  1. Name the three so-called “fathers” mentioned in this chapter:
    1. The “father of country music” – Jimmie Rodgers
    2. “father of bluegrass” – Bill Monroe
    3. “father of contemporary music” – Hank Williams
  2. What was the ethnic background of most Appalachian settlers in the eighteenth century? What kinds of music did they bring with them from the old country?

The Appalachian settlers belonging to the Appalachia region located in the Eastern United States, extending from the Southern Tier of New York all the way up to Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. The Appalachian settlers were originally Americans, who settled in the Appalachian region. The music that they brought with them consists of hymns, fiddle and African American blues.

What music industry terms eventually replaced “race” and “hillbilly”?

The term “race” was replaced by “Rhythm and Blues”, whereas the term “Hillbilly” was replaced by “country western.”

What did the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers have in common? How did they differ from one another?

Ralph Peer, was the one who discovered Jimmie Rodgers and Carter Family. Jimmie Rodgers wrote and sang songs based on outlaws, thieves, and gamblers, whereas the Carter Family was more into singing old folk traditional songs which were mostly focused on presenting familial values.

How did radio help commercialize early country music?

Radio assisted in providing the Hillbilly music, free to its listeners.

What are the musical roots of bluegrass music? How does bluegrass differ from the music in which it is rooted?

The musical roots for bluegrass music link to jazz, blues, and hillbilly folk music. The bluegrass music genre embodies the performance essence of jazz and blues, focusing more on instruments. The bluegrass music performances demand the singer to exhibit excessive virtuosity, dexterity, and playing music at incredible tempos.

Who best embodied the image of the “singing cowboy”?

The heroic image of the “singing cowboy” is best embodied by Bob Wills, along with the troop of Texas Playboys.

How did honky-tonk differ from earlier strains of country music?

Honky-tonk presented a harder tone in comparison to country music. It is composed of electric guitars, and acoustic guitars, inherited most from blues, and noticeably louder.

Name three honky-tonk musicians.

Left Frizzle, Hank Williams, and Ernest Tubb

Draw a line from the recording artist on the left to the song associated with that artist on the right.

  • Bill Monroe – “Blue Moon of Kentucky”
  • Hank Williams – “Cold Cold Heart”
  • Merle Travis – “Dark as a Dungeon”
  • Jimmie Rodgers – “Blue Yodel”
  • Ernest Tubb – “Walking the Floor Over You”

Chapter Three Review

  1. What various styles blended together to form “jump blues”?

The various styles of music that blended together to form “jump blues” consist of gospel music, Chicago blues and Boogie-woogie.

  1. Although R&B, or rhythm blues, was a term used to describe black popular music in general, by the early 1950s the term was often used interchangeably with “jump blues.” Why?

It is due to the fact that the style of jump blues was gaining popularity among the urban youth in the black community. This style was progressing faster in the black community and became famous around the time “rhythm and blues” was able to replace “race.”

  1. What city gave birth to jazz?

The city of New Orleans.

  1. What decade in American history is known as The Jazz Age? Why?

The Jazz Age began in the 1920s and grew rapidly due to its widespread acceptance, musical sophistication, and popularity. Around this time, most Americans started distancing themselves from the traditional values and conservative social norms.

  1. What decade defines the Swing Era?

The years between 1935 and 1946 are best known and defined as the Swing Era.

  1. How are swing and jump blues related?

The genre of Jump Blues is described as an up-tempo blues style. It is preferably performed by small groups, presenting the instruments of saxophone and brass.

  1. How are black gospel music and jump blues related?

Jump blues is defined as an up-tempo style of music, played by small groups. Black Gospel music represents the spiritual bond and emotional attachment to music that reflects upon the days of slavery. Black Gospel presented itself as an influencing factor for the jump blues style later on.

  1. Who was the architect of the jump blues style?

Louis Jordon is known as the architect of the jump blues style.

  1. Draw a line from the recording artist on the left to the musical style associated with that artist on the right.
  • Louis Jordan —– Jump Blues
  • Duke Ellington —— Jazz
  • Mahalia Jackson —– Gospel
  1. What instrument did Louis Jordon play?

Jordan started out with Clarinet when he started learning music, along with a bit of piano professional afterward. However, Alto Saxophone became his main instrument.

Chapter Four Review

  1. How did the independent record industry aid in the growth of rhythm & blues during the postwar years? In what ways do independent labels differ from major labels?

The independent record industry is aided by presenting the services of recording, marketing and in distribution. The major record industry had been ignored for a while, so the independent record industry took on the job of assisting the widespread of rhythm & blues during the postwar years. The evident difference in comparison to major labels was that indie genre and its business was being conducted by musicians and singers carrying out their music career in basements, garages and tiny apartments. These musicians drove around the countryside to advertise and sell their records, forming deals with record stores on their own, presenting them with various offers, bribing the radio station jockey to promote and play their tracks.

  1. How did the rhythm & blues on Atlantic Record differ from the sound of other late 1940s and early 1950s era rhythm & blues?

The rhythm & blues from the Atlantic Record proved to be smarter and more clever as big band sound in comparison to the sounds for other late 1940s and around the start of 1950s era of rhythm and blues.

  1. What was distinctive about the records Ray Charles made for Atlantic Records in the 1950s?

The Records created by Ray Charles for Atlantic Records, around 1950s, exhibited a direct and clear link to the genre of Gospel music.

  1. Why did New Orleans rhythm & blues have such a distinct regional sound?

It was due to New Orleans rhythm & blues employing the use of similar backing musicians for each of their records.

  1. Describe how radio changed beginning in the late 1940s?

Around the late end of 1940s, most of the radio stations switch from simply being multimedia serving the American homes’, to becoming the front promotors of records.

  1. How did radio disc jockeys stay competitive in the late 1940s and 1950s?

They radio disc jockeys presented a competitive edge by displaying their imagery, a unique persona when on-air and employing the use of different presentation styles.

  1. Why did rhythm & blues gain a reputation for promoting juvenile delinquency?

Rhythm & Blues gained a reputation for promoting juvenile delinquency because of obvious prejudice based on racial basis.

  1. Aside from rhythm & blues’ reputation for promoting juvenile delinquency, what are some reasons white pop radio stations did not promote the music in its original form?

The white pop radio stations were hesitant in presenting and promoting the music in its true form due to a few of the rhythm & blues songs owning material directly linking to themes being sexual in nature. The radio stations wanted to avail and exploit the commercial potential but were careful not to bring about the controversy for their listeners.

  1. Describe how rock and roll, in its first incarnation, was really just another name for rhythm & blues.

Based on the ruling passed by the Judge, Alan Freed needed to change the title of his rhythm & blues-themed radio show called Moondog. The was later renamed to “Alan Freed’s Rock and Roll Party.” After some time, the tracks that he played on-air were addressed as “rock and roll.” This brought around a name change for rhythm & blues to be known as rock and roll.

  1. In what city did Alan Freed first make a name for himself in radio?

Alan Freed made a name for himself in radio while in New York City.

Chapter Five Review

  1. Briefly give three specific examples of social conservatism in 1950s America.

After the end of World War II in 1950, the U.S economy progressed rather steadily allowing for growth in the suburban development programs, creating opportunities for the suburban lifestyle to evolve. However, within this suburban progress, there was a general unsettling fear, called the “red scare”, directly linked to the fear of losing the American way of life, at the hands of the communist. This caused upheaval for American thinking. Anything related to a change aimed towards status quo was suspected of being part of a larger scheme, linked with Communism. 1950s America permeated sexual conservatism, allowing for the rise of a new subculture to emerge in the youth at that time. This new change was referred to as American Teenager, granting the youth to bring about their unique presentation of music, fashion, and slang.

  1. Name two reasons rock and roll were perceived as threatening by certain members of the establishment during the 1950s.

The two major reasons behind the threat that rock and roll exhibited around the 1950s was linked with the genre presenting musical taste to be “vulgar”, and “animalistic” in nature and presenting the sense of hurting the white man, and bringing his children to a level of being Negro.

  1. Name three important recording artists who were discovered by Sam Phillips.

Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, and Elvis Presley.

  1. What 1951 song, recorded in Sam Phillips’ Memphis studio, has been called the “first rock and roll record?” Why?

Rocket 88 was labeled as the first among the rock and roll records. It was simply because of the uniquely different, extremely amplified, and disoriented tone played on the guitar.

Which of the 1950s rock and roll stars discussed in this chapter might be called rock’s first great lyricist? What musical instrument is he associated with?

Jerry lee Lewis is rock’s first greatest lyricist to be known. He was best known for his association with the piano.

  1. During Elvis Presley’s Sun years, Sam Phillips had little choice but to market the singer as a country-western artist. Why?

It was because Elvis displayed a different attribute towards singing and his vocals were utterly different to that of the countryside singing criteria. Another dominating reason is Elvis being a southerner white male as well.

  1. Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard were two 1950s rock and roll stars known for, among other things, their outrageousness on stage.

    What instrument did they both play?

Both of them played the piano.

  1. Draw a line from the recording artist on the left to the song associated with that artist on the right.
  • Little Richard – “Tutti Frutti”
  • Chuck Berry – “Maybelline”
  • Jerry Lee Lewis – “Great Balls of Fire”
  • Carl Perkins – “Blue Suede Shoes”
  • Ike Turner – “Rocket 88”
  1. What was distinctive about Bo Diddley’s guitar technique?

He approached and played the guitar, in a fashion similar to that of playing drums. Playing out hypnotizing rhythmic beats with his right hand and kept on one chord for most of the song.

  1. What country-rooted style of music might be considered rock and roll’s first sub-genre?

Rockabilly can be related to and considered rock and roll’s first sub-genre, a country-rooted style of music.



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