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How the Transatlantic Slave Trade has influenced Music

A research project outlining the influence of the transatlantic slave trade on the development of African-American music

Rose Osborne

on 30 October 2012

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Transcript of How the Transatlantic Slave Trade has influenced Music

A research project outlining a musical history of the transatlantic slave trade and it's effect on the development of American music - specifically Blues, Gospel and Jazz. How the Transatlantic Slave Trade has influenced Music What was the
Transatlantic Slave Trade? History The transatlantic African-American slave trade (often referred to as the African Holocaust or ‘Maafa’, a derivative of the Kiswahili word meaning ‘great disaster’) ran from early in the seventeenth century to the nineteenth century. During the transatlantic slave trade, slaves primarily from the central and western settings of Africa were sold to European slave traders and shipped to the New World, specifically colonies in North and South America, known as the Americas. The transatlantic slave trade in its simplest form can be described as a Triangular Trade, in which there was trading between three ports. Antão Gonçalves, who travelled to the coast of West Africa in 1441, was the first to transport African Slaves to Portugal, of which he purchased two already enslaved Africans. The first and most extensive ethnic group to participate in the slave trade were the Portuguese, although others including the Dutch, French and British were also prominent participants. Fernão do Pó was a Portuguese man to first explore and discover islands in the Gulf of Guinea, along the West African coast, which later became Nigeria. There he and subsequent explorers encountered varying African societies of different developmental stages – some living still in remote villages.

In the town of Benin, which borderlines Nigeria, a Dutchman exploring in 1602 relayed in writing the prosperity of the developing city, stating “The town seemeth to be very great; when you enter into it, you go into a great broad street, not paved, which seems to be seven or eight times broader than the Warmoes street in Amsterdam… the houses in this town stand in good order, one close and even with the other, as the houses in Holland stand.” The Old World This area includes Africa, Asia, Europe and surrounding Islands. The New World This area includes the Americas, certain Atlantic and Pacific oceanic islands closest to the Americas, and sometimes Australasia. African Diaspora, Image reference MILLERENC2 as shown on www.slaveryimages.org, compiled by Paul Finkelman and Joseph Miller, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library. Economy With both Europeans and the Africans striving for economic success in order for their countries to flourish, the slave trade rapidly developed into what could be called a partial destruction of humanity, where an estimated twelve million slaves were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean and sold to European slave buyers. In the Bight of Benin (the ‘Slave Coast’) alone, two-three million slaves were sold and transported to the Americas from the main port. Although the slavery initiated from European raids of the coastal areas of Africa to capture and force slavery upon some Africans, the slaves were later provided themselves by African communities and kingdoms, including those held captive as prisoners and those already enslaved. Despite slavery within Africa being less detrimental to the economy of the country, the slaves could be treated at either extremity – as part of the family, or used as human sacrifices in ritualised slaughtering. Living conditions for the slaves in the New World were far beyond favourable – unlike slavery within Africa, the children of the slaves of the New World were enslaved at birth, and marriage was not permitted for the slaves. Slavery in the New World resulted in racism, labelling the Africans as ‘negros’ or ‘black people’. All these slaves were property of their owners and therefore not subject to ritualised sacrifices. They were used instead for the greater benefit of the slave masters and the rising European economy. Introduction to the culture and music of the slaves During the transatlantic slave trade, certain aspects of European culture were forced upon the Africans (including Christianity), while the slaves would strive to maintain at least some of their own cultural beliefs and practices, leading to the development of the ultimately unique ‘African-American culture’ or ‘black culture’. Music, arts, literature and many other cultural forms have been influenced and continue to be impacted upon today by the wide diversity and dynamism of the African-American culture, which could not have been achieved without the contributions of the African slaves throughout the history of the transatlantic slave trade. Without the music formed during the transatlantic slave trade, the development of many popular and influential styles of music in American history – with this research focusing specifically on the three main styles of blues, gospel and jazz- would not be as we know it today. By the time it was 1860 in New Orleans (a principle port and the largest city in the state of Lousiana, often considered as the birthplace of jazz) over forty percent of the population were foreigners. The widespread ethnicities and historical backgrounds of the different cultures of the slaves were very influential to the development of slave music during this period. Elements, features and styles of music were taken from the different backgrounds of the slaves and incorporated into their forms of music. Reasoning behind the music Saint Augustine of Hippo once said “He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.” I find this quote to be very meaningful and representative of the amazing culture which sprouted from the workers in the slave trade – although the African workers were legally enslaved, through holding onto their beliefs and values they experienced an inner freedom of mind, allowing their creativity to be free flowing and develop many influential musical styles to be expressive of the emotions that they were physically restrained from expressing by the slave masters. In order to improve and benefit the European economy, crops and goods were exported from the New World to European mainland – a much more profitable method of food supply than growing the crops in Europe. A great deal of labour was required to maintain this fast growing economy, and the enslaved Africans would work under back-breaking conditions in the Americas to meet this requirement. Slaves worked primarily as cotton pickers in cotton fields, corn shuckers in corn plantations, boat rowers, and gandy dancers (railroad crew workers who maintained the railroad tracks, before the availability of modern machinery). Other forms of slavery such as the planting and harvesting of sugar cane and tobacco was also existent. Groups of slaves began to sing ‘work songs’, which served as a distraction from the physical pain and as a release of emotional stress. Work Songs The general purposes of the work songs would have been:
-For the slaves to withstand hardship by means of expressing emotional anger and frustration through music.
-To comfort and remind the slaves of home, by incorporating elements of traditional music from their cultural heritage into their songs.
-To express their religious beliefs and values, showing their faith in the Lord through music. This need to express their faith in the heavens above led to the creation of the Negro Spirituals, which later played a great role in the development of Gospel and Blues music.
-To increase worth ethic, keeping the African slaves working in rhythm and raising moral. This was encouraged by most captors, as they also knew the whereabouts of the slaves if the slaves were singing.
-As a way for the slaves to communicate between themselves, for the plantation owners would forbid them to talk while they were working. Gandy Dancers The railroad problem, published by A. C. McClurg & co., 1917 - 265 pages, photo from page 66 Corn Shuckers Husking Corn, U.S. South, 1861, Image reference HW0009, as shown on www.slaveryimages.org and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library. Note: fiddle player in upper right. Cotton Pickers Picking Cotton, Mississippi, 1881, Image reference Glazier, as shown on www.slaveryimages.org, compiled by Willard W. Glazier and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library The Influence of the slaves' different backgrounds and cultures on their music What essentially influenced the development of the music in the transatlantic slave trade, leading to genres such as Jazz, Blues, Gospel, and the extension of American music from there on, was the fusion of two very different cultures – the European and the African ethnicities. Slaves were imported to the Americas from a variety of different cultures based primarily in Western Central Africa. Major Slaving Regions of West Africa, Image reference ELTIS2 as shown on www.slaveryimages.org, compiled by William and Mary Quarterly, and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library. This map shows the major areas of Africa where slaves were taken from during the transatlantic slave trade.
As you can see, West Central Africa was the primary source of African slaves during the trade, with the other significant areas being the Bight of Biafra, Bight of Benin, the Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, Senegambia, and South East Africa. The African cultures, beliefs and musical traditions that developed in these different areas played a tremendous role in the music of the slave trade, as the European and African cultures combined. African Rhythms African Instrumentation The African slaves were forbidden to use instruments such as the ‘Talking Drum’ (an hour glass-shaped drum whose pitch could imitate the tones of a human voice) to prevent the slaves from communicating secret messages to each other (although they later managed this through the Spirituals).

However, instruments such as the early African-American banjo, which later developed into the modern banjo, were created by some slaves. These instruments closely resembled the African Akonting, which was a three-stringed gourd-bodied lute used for African folk music of the Jola people. The Jola people were an African ethnic group who occupied Senegal, the Gambia (both of which combined to make the federation of Senegambia) and Guinea-Bissau. As noted above, Senegambia was one of the main trading ports in the transatlantic slave trade, so many of the slaves were able to carry their knowledge and musical traditions surrounding the akonting (and other African lutes) through to the Americas, resulting in the development of the American banjo. Akontings Two of the strings are long ‘melody strings’, whereas the third is shorter and is a ‘drone string’ – this produces an effect where a note is sounded continuously throughout the piece. As a predecessor to the modern 5-string American banjo, the drone string is of a similar character to the short 5th ‘thumb string’ of the 5-string banjo, which, unlike the akonting, has four long melody strings. http://www.oldtimeherald.org/akonting/lo.html

This Old-Time Herald Web section on the African Akonting and The Origins of the Banjo has recordings of the Jola ethnic group (click to follow the link, then click on ‘Sound’ and then the recording you wish to hear), using the Akonting instrument. The banjo has developed into an instrument that is used in a variety of music all around the world, primarily country, folk and Irish traditional music. It was also used in early jazz – here is a recording of Maurice Boylers’ rendition of ‘The World is Waiting for the Sunrise’ where the similarity in tone and musical styles between the banjo and the akonting can be heard. American Banjo Map of Modern West Africa. Retrieved from http://mapsof.net/map/west-africa-regions-map African rhythms were an important aspect of the development of music during the transatlantic slave trade. Music in Western Africa is very polyrhythmic and upbeat – this contrasts to the soulful, melancholy feel of Blues music (which was influenced by the work songs in the slave trade), but this contrasting aspect of the music was due to the miserable working conditions that the slaves were placed under and their suffering. In any case, many aspects of traditional African cultures were incorporated into the music of the slave trade, with African rhythms being one of them.

While European Classical music achieved complexity in the harmonies of their music, African music developed very complex patterns in the rhythm of the music. Polyrhythms, specifically Cross-Rhythms are prevalent in the musical traditions of Sub-Saharan Africa (the part of the African continent which lies south of the Saharan Desert). Ethnic groups such as the Yoruba people (mostly found in Nigeria) and the Akan people (mostly found in Ghana) were able to carry these traditional rhythms through to the music of the slave trade. “polyrhythm, also called Cross-rhythm, the simultaneous combination of contrasting rhythms in a musical composition.” –Encyclopaedia Brittanica This is an example of a notated cross-rhythm where the bongos and congas are playing contrasting rhythms in the same metre. These African cross-rhythms which featured in the hand/feet drumming rhythmical patterns of music in the transatlantic slave trade were later a huge influence on the development of American music, particularly Jazz music. ‘Afro Blue’ by Mongo Santamaria was the first jazz standard to use the African 3:2 cross rhythm (one of the simplest forms of cross-rhythm). 'Afro Blue' -Mongo Santamaria and Dizzy Gillepsie Here is the notated cross rhythm of the Afro-Blue bass line: The slashed noteheads indicate the main beats in the bar, making the cross-rhythm of the bass line more obvious. The bass line is playing 6 cross-beats over the four main beats in the 12-8 measure bar, resulting in a 6:4 rhythm, which can be simplified to a 3:2 rhythm (half the bar length), also known as a hemiola. Ring Shouts Ring shouts were a type of worshipping group dance of West-African origin, performed by slaves in the Carribean and the Southern United States. The slaves moved anticlockwise in a circle and ‘shouted’ (or sung) in response to the shouts of the ring leader. These ring shouts originated in West Africa, and it has been suggested that they originated from Tawaf, an Islamic ritual where the Muslims move around a sacred site (Kaaba) seven times in an anticlockwise direction. Many of the musical aspects of African-American music that developed since the slave trade are present in the ring shouts, including call-and-response, blues notes, hollers and some rhythms. Here is a recording of the Ring Shout ‘Good Lord (Run Old Jeremiah) - by Austin Coleman, Joe Washington Brown & Group, Alan Lomax field recording 1934. What important role has the slave trade played in the development of Blues, Gospel and Jazz music? After the end of the American Civil War (1861-1865) were the slaves fought for and were granted freedom, various forms of African-American music started to develop, with origins from the music created throughout the transatlantic slave trade.

In all forms of Jazz, Blues and Gospel music, improvisation plays a key role. This is due to the improvisation of the slaves with their music whilst working, for they had no notated music. As a result, all of their music was improvised, with some passed on from ear to ear. The influence of the transatlantic slave trade on music extends much further than Blues, Gospel and Jazz music; however, these three are generally considered to be the main three genres that were influenced from it. Many other genres and subgenres of music have since developed from these – to name a few:
- Rhythm and blues: influenced by Jazz, Blues and Gospel
- Soul: influenced by Gospel, R&B and Doo-wop
-Rock and roll: Various influences including Blues and Gospel
-Swing: Influenced by Jazz, Ragtime and Classical
- Hip-hop
-Samba: This Latin-American music and some other form of South-American music have been influenced by the transatlantic slave trade, displaying both Brazilian roots and some aspects of West African music. Without the music created through the fusion of cultures in the slave trade, we would not have the musical roots that have influenced popular music such as that of Michael Jackson, the ‘King of Pop’. Michael Jackson - They Don't Care About Us Blues Gospel Jazz B.B. King W.C. Handy "Even though the blues describes people without a home, without love, money, status and identity, these people were not without hope. There was melancholy, but not without merriment; frustration, but not without expectations; despair, but not without determination; suffering, but not without endurance."

– Arnold Shaw (from ‘The World of Soul’, 1970) Despite being granted freedom from slavery, black people in America were far from being treated as equals to the white races. Many of them suffered financially, were uneducated and were raised with poor living conditions. This, along with emotional stress and relationship difficulties, led to the widespread feeling of depression in the African-American population being termed as the ‘blues’ which was expressed in the form of music. The origins of blues music can be traced back to the slave’s work songs, field chants and hollers, and with certain elements influenced by the African-American folk songs.

Blues music has since developed into many different subgenres, generally based on the area that the music originated from. e.g Boogie-Woogie, Chicago Blues, Delta Blues, Piedmont Blues, New Orleans Blues, St Louis Blues. Introduction to the Blues Twelve-Bar Blues “Blues is easy to play, but hard to feel”
– Jimi Hendrix This is the simplest form of the twelve-bar blues, which is the basic chord progression in blues music, although there are many variants, including the use of dominant 7th chords and sixteen-bar chord progressions.

Only three chords are needed for the simplest chord progression of the twelve bar blues: the tonic (I), the subdominant (IV) and the dominant (V). These chord progressions and harmonising are an extension on the original field shouts, hollers and work songs of the slaves, whose originally unaccompanied music developed into solo blues songs that express vast amounts of grief. The twelve bar blues is used in the introduction of What’d I’d Say – Ray Charles (1959) Work Songs Work songs were an important aspect of the development of the blues. Within the work songs, various musical elements and features were developed which later found their way into the Blues genre. One of these was the Call and Response patterns in African slave music. Call and Response These were responsive songs, where the head slave would sing one line or verse and the other slaves would respond with a phrase that answers the first. During the slave trade, the slaves would often use call and response as a form of communication, so the chorus’ words would be a different response to the lead caller’s. In fear of the slaves forming a rebellion against the slave masters, they were prevented from talking with each other, communicating solely through music. It was common to disperse the wide range of ethnicities of slaves into different areas so no common language amongst the working slaves was prevalent as they could not communicate through their native languages. ‘Go Down Old Hannah’ – recorded in 1951 by Toshi and Peeter Seeger, John Lomax Jr, Chester Bower and Fred Hellerman. Original appearance on album ‘Negro Prison Camp Worksongs’, Folkways 1956. Here is an example of call-and-response used in a prison song ‘Go Down Old Hannah’ sung by the workers in a Texas Prison camp. One man is singing a line and the chorus of African-American slave prisoners respond. This continues throughout the song. blue = call, purple = response

“Why don’t you go down old Hannah”
“Well Well Well”
“Don’t you rise no more”
“Don’t you rise no more” This pattern used in slave music is the basis of many blues works and has been developed in a variety of different ways. The Call-and-response can be vocal, instrumental, or a combination of both - the communication either between two instrumentalists, two vocalists or an instrument and a voice. Responses are not always necessarily a direct copy of the caller’s statement (as they are in ‘Minnie the Moocher’ - see "Jazz"). The pattern of call-and-response later developed in instruments as well as vocal lines, which was used frequently in blues and jazz music that arose after the American Civil War. In Muddy Water’s blues standard ‘Mannish Boy’, call-and-response is used between his vocal calls and the riff of the harmonica & rhythm section. This pattern is repeated throughout the piece. Without the slave trade initiating the call-and-response patterns, many of the greatest blues standards, including Mannish Boy, would not be as engaging as they are. Field Hollers Field hollers/shouts and Spirituals (see Gospel Music) were examples of vocal music originating in the African slaves which used the pattern of call-and-response. Field holler
- “a cry employing falsetto, portamento, and sudden changes of pitch, used in African-American work songs, later integrated into the techniques of the blues” - Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition (2009) Portamento is the gradual slide from one note to another while falsetto is a voice (usually of a male) which is able to sound at an unnaturally high pitch. Although both of these techniques (falsetto and portamento) were used in areas of European Classical music, which developed independently of African-American music, they were also evident in the field hollers of the slaves, allowing them a large amount of expression of the grief and tough work they had to endure. Field songs were sung solo, although some of the cries or shouts could be passed on or responded to by other men. Blues music is often melismatic, where a group of notes is sung to only one syllable of a text. These too have been used in the history of European Classical music (originating from Gregorian chants) but were also used by slaves singing in the fields and later in the development of the Blues, as a way of expressing sadness and melancholy. Melisma How the Distribution of Slaves Influenced Blues' Lyrics Nearly all of the greatest blues musicians were raised in the South of the Americas. Their birthplaces and the influence of the slave music from those areas can be seen from a map of the areas of occupied by African-American slaves prior to the end of the American Civil War. Songs were often written about places
e.g St Louis Blues, Sweet Home Chicago, Going to Move to Alabama. Some of the most influential Blues musicians were:
•Muddy Waters, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker and Charlie Patton, to name a few, were from the state of Mississippi. •William Christopher Handy from Alabama.
•Blind Willie McTell from Georgia. At the initial arrival of the African slaves into the Americas, they brought nothing except their cultural beliefs and musical backgrounds. Different tribes and ethnic groups were separated, isolating many of the slaves culturally. As a result of the dispersion of cultures, the white slave owners were successful with their efforts to convert the black (and Indian) slaves to Christianity, where they were all able to find a common ground to place their faith and hope in. “The Great Awakening” was the term for the religious movement that swept through the Americas, starting in the 1730s. During this period, the black slaves converted to the religion of their oppressors – Christianity. By adopting these beliefs and values, they were able to create powerful songs with a positive outlook on life, out of the harsh working conditions that were forced upon them. The earliest African Baptist Church formed was established in 1777 in Savannah, Georgia. Introduction to Gospel music Many of the slaves were able to identify with the messages conveyed by Christianity, giving them belief that their good morale would be rewarded at some stage in, or after, their lifetime. Religion and music granted freedom of the mind and emotional expression, leaving physical freedom from slavery as their sole desire. Various texts from the Bible gave accounts of people gaining freedom, and were sung about in spirituals as they gave hope to the slaves.

Moses' story is an example of a person in the Bible who the slaves were able to identify with - In exodus 7:16 of the Old Testament, the words are "And the Lord spoke unto Moses, go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me". In this case, the Israelites, who like the slaves have been oppressed, are given the commandment by Moses to be freed. Stories like these gave the slaves hope and faith in their God, resulting in spirituals such as "Go Down Moses". Inspiration Spirituals
"I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving."
-- Psalm 69:30 Negro Spirituals (sometimes called ‘sorrow songs’) were created once the Africans were exposed to and often without choice, forced into Christianity. They developed significant religious beliefs which were able to be expressed in the spirituals. Spirituals are ballads which could be described as a ‘cry’, and later were developed into a more sophisticated form of music called Gospel music. They were the leading influence of gospel music and the blues. Slaves turned to religion as a way to cope with the hardship of slavery, expressing this through the musical spirituals. As a result, spirituals occurred (only in the United States) as a combination of the traditional African music/religion with Christian Hymns of the Europeans. Spirituals evolved out of work songs as the slaves progressively became more religious. Like other work songs, spirituals addressed the situations of hardship that the slaves had to endure, through the use of place names or areas such as rivers, mountains, etc to symbolise different aspects of their life. However, these were in a more biblical context than the other work songs. An example of this is the river motive that was frequently used in spirituals, to symbolise and represent death. E.g. ‘Deep River’ sheet music for a 1917 arrangement of ‘Deep River’ The lyrics for ‘Deep River’ are as follows:

“Deep River,

My home is over Jordan.

Deep River, Lord.

I want to cross over into campground.

Deep River.

My home is over Jordan.

Deep River, Lord,

I want to cross over into campground

Oh, don't you want to go,

To the Gospel feast;

That Promised Land,

Where all is peace?

Oh, deep River, Lord,

I want to cross over into campground.” In this spiritual, the Deep River Jordan symbolises death, and the slaves dreamt about the freedom they would attain on the day that they cross this river. As you can see, a lot of importance is in the harmony of the piano part – this even has more dynamic detail (crescendos and decrescendos) than the voice’s melody line. Spiritual Symbolism What are Spirituals? Secret Communication Another use of spirituals was to often communicate secret messages or escape routes between the slaves, in the Underground Railroad. The information encoded into these spirituals through the lyrics, call-and-responses and rhythms of the dancing could reveal secret messages to the slaves, while the slave plantation owners and other outsiders considered the music to be solely spiritually based. The Underground Railroad e.g. ‘The Gospel Train’ – sung by The Golden Gate Quartet This quartet recording is sung in a four part harmony, a style that arose from European Church music that was incorporated into the spirituals of the African-American slaves to produce this Gospel music. Strong harmonic lines in gospel music are also a development from the music of the transatlantic slave trade, as the choruses of slaves would sing along with other slaves’ improvised music in response to them. The collaboration of each of the working slaves polyphonic response in their work songs eventually developed into strong harmony in Gospel music. Many spirituals were written about the Underground Railroad (a vast network of people who aided the escape of slaves through specific escape routes and safe houses), although only a small percentage of slaves ever managed to escape and free themselves from bondage. The ‘Gospel Train’ mentioned in some of the spirituals was used as a reference to the Underground Railroad. The Negro in Virginia, 1940, from The Library of Virginia Musical Characteristics of Gospel Music In slave plantation areas, where the congregation of black slaves was forbidden, ‘underground churches’ by the slaves where they had secret religious meetings outside their working hours. These meetings were where the foundation of Gospel music was formed – spirituals. The Africans fused their ethnic beliefs with their newly discovered Christian beliefs, producing their own interpretation of Christian hymns into the more soulful spirituals. Amazing Grace (Christian Hymn) Amazing Grace is a Christian Hymn published in 1779 by John Newton, and is musically typical of European Church music. This has been developed into more energetic forms with greater uses of melismas etc, by Gospel singers/choirs. Amazing Grace - Harlem Gospel Choir This modern Gospel version of Amazing Grace is an example of the music that arose from the combination of European church music and the transatlantic slave-trade spirituals - powerful music which sends out a strong message of gratefulness to the Lord for being a part of this world. The following characteristics and musical styles can apply to gospel music:

-Religious text
-Dominant vocals; the use of choirs
– choruses and soloists
-A strong sense of harmony, often more important than the melodic line
-Repetition, from the call-and-response of the choir leader and the congregation
-Improvisation in both music and dancing
-Refrain (melody or phrase that is repeated after each verse of a song) The repetition found in Gospel music can be traced back to the call and response used in the spirituals of the slaves, where the congregation would respond to a leader’s call. For the religious aspect of the music, this repetition was used to enable any workers (or churchgoers) to easily participate in the worshiping of the lord, and grasp a strong hold on the overwhelming ‘feel’ of the music. The feeling of spirituality and appreciating all the good that God is able to give to man is one of the most important aspects of Gospel music. A common term used in the African-American Gospel music for this is termed ‘Get Happy’.

Due to the lack of instruments available for the slaves, their spirituals were purely vocally based, until the early stages of development in gospel music brought about the introduction of harmonically accompanying instruments such as piano, organ, drums and bass or (even more recently) electric guitar. The Gospel Style Mahalia Jackson Conclusion by Rose Osborne Introduction to Jazz Although the definition of jazz music is highly debated upon and almost impossible to narrow down precisely, it is clear that almost every form of American popular music today has been influenced at some stage by Jazz music. Jazz music, in turn, was influenced by the music developed during the transatlantic slave trade.

The term ‘jazz’ is a very broad term for a musical style that originated from the African-American culture in the early twentieth century. Jazz music was first developed in the Southern United States from the merging of European and African musical traditions that was brought about by the music of the transatlantic slave trade. New Orleans, in the state of Louisiana, is considered as the birthplace of jazz music. Two of the most important aspects of jazz music are generally considered to be improvisation and syncopation (which later became definable as ‘swing rhythm’). Some of the most highly influential jazz musicians of the twentieth century are considered to be Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker. Jazz developed into a variety of different subgenres, with New Orleans/Dixieland Jazz being the oldest form. The first jazz recording ever released was ‘Livery Stable Blues’ by the Original Dixieland Jazz (originally ‘Jass’) Band. Genres that have developed since then include Big Band Jazz, Bebop, Cool Jazz, Traditional Jazz, Latin Jazz, Free Jazz, Modern Jazz and many more. Genres/Musicians Retrieved from http://jazzatelier.wordpress.com Jazz Genres Tree Improvisation Syncopation/ Swing Rhythm This is an African-based rhythm brought about by the African-American rhythms used in the slave trade, which later developed into jazz. Habanera Rhythm There is speculation surrounding the exact origin of jazz syncopation, but there is supporting evidence that it was influenced somewhat by the Afro-Cuban ‘Habanera rhythm’. This genre of dance music, which was sung to, consists of a tresillo rhythm and a backbeat (an accent on the off-beat). It originated from African rhythms, where there is a clear correlation between the duple-time tresillo rhythm and syncopated polyrhythms. The influence of the Afro-Cuban rhythm on jazz music and other forms of music is commonly referred to as the ‘Spanish Tinge’, although it is not referring to any musical influences from Spain. Habanera = tresillo + backbeat Calypso Rhythm The Calypso rhythm formed from the arrival of the African slaves in the Carribean during the slave trade has also been influential in the development of popular music. Calypso originated in the Islands of Trinidad and Tobago in the Southern Carribena. This is the general calypso rhythm: ‘Rum and Coca Cola’ is a popular calypso song which became a major hit for The Andrew Sisters in 1945, which uses a clave rhythm (Afro-Cuban rhythm) called the Bo Diddley Beat. These clave rhythms originated from the bell patterns of the African musical traditions, which use iron bells. The Andrews Sisters - Rum and Coca Cola Swing Rhythms Swing music became a huge component in the development of jazz, with its roots being in the music of West Africa. As a result of introducing the European duple-time metre and single rhythms to the West African triple-time and complex polyrhythms, the swing rhythm was born. Although swing rhythm can be notated in jazz music, it is usually written as an instruction, or just assumed.

If the music is to be swung, this is how it should be performed: image retrieved from http://www.ellington-music.co.uk/graphics/WebFig1.gif In The Mood ‘In The Mood’ is a swing jazz standard released in 1939 by Glen Miller, during the Swing Era (1935-1945). There are many different styles and forms of jazz improvisation. While musicians generally aim to ‘target’ the tones of a chord, improvisations that are formless and atonal have also emerged in jazz music. Various scales and modes can be used, including the use of pentatonic scales. Despite all of the different ways to tackle improvisation, there is essentially one string which draws it all together: it is music made in the moment. The linkage of improvisation back to the transatlantic slave trade is evident – the slaves’ music was also formed in the moment. Improvisation gives jazz (and other forms of African-American music) the true quality and raw emotions that are only experienced while listening to these genres of music. “Jazz music is the power of now. There is no script. It's conversation. The emotion is given to you by musicians as they make split-second decisions to fulfill what they feel the moment requires.”
— Wynton Marsalis Tenor sax jazz improvisation Ian Boyter’s improvisation over a chord pattern ii-V-I. Call & Response Call and response is also a common feature of jazz music.

e.g. Cab Calloway’s jazz song “Minnie the Moocher” where the audience responds to the lead singer’s lines.

Lead: Hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-hi
Audience: Hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-hi
Lead: Ho-de-ho-de-ho-de-ho
Audience: Ho-de-ho-de-ho-de-ho
Lead: He-de-he-de-he-de-he
Audience: He-de-he-de-he-de-he
Lead: Hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-ho
Audience: Hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-ho In this video of Cab Calloway performing ‘Minnie the Moocher’ in ‘The Blues Brothers’ film, there is a clear call and response relationship is shown between Calloway and the audience. Melisma Melismas (see Blues) are also often used by vocalists in Jazz music. Here is a collection of melismas (where one syllable is stretched over a run of notes) in music of the famous Jazz singer Sarah Vaughan. In conclusion, the effect that the transatlantic slave trade has had on the development of music is undoubtedly the greatest the influence on African-American music today, and various other genres which have developed. Without the suffering, pain and cultural heritages of the African slaves during the transatlantic slave trade, Blues, Jazz, Gospel and a wide range of other musical forms would not be as we known them today.

Through the fusion of the African musical culture with the European musical traditions, the slaves were able to create soul-touching music which impacted the entire development of music in America, and subsequently around the world. Whether it be rhythmical patterns, different tonalities, vocal techniques, call-and-response, or instrumentation, the African-American music formed during the slave trade undoubtedly had a tremendous effect, and continues to do so, on the development of music today. I leave you with a very famous (and a personal favourite) song, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye. This is a R&B/Soul song written for the Motown record company, both genres of which were highly influenced by the African-American music of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Ain't No Mountain High Enough Bibliography/Acknowledgments Tonality One of the largest contributing factors to what gives certain music a “Blues” feel, are the melodic scales upon which it is based. The blues scale, unlike western major/minor tonality, contains what are called “blues notes” – flattened 3rd, flattened 5th (or sharpened 4th) and flattened 7th of a major scale. The African slaves in the transatlantic slave trade brought with them from Africa the use of the pentatonic scale, which largely contributed along with Western harmony, to the development of the blues scale. The relationship between the African pentatonic scale and the blues scale can be seen here: from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blues_and_pentatonic_scales..jpg Books Websites Documentaries/DVDs 'Gandy Dancers' by Barry Dornfeld, Maggie Holtzberg-Call, 1994
'The Land Where Blues Began' by John M. Bishop, Alan Lomax, Worth W. Long, 1979
'Afro-American Work Songs in a Texas Prison' by Bruce Jackson, Peter Seeger, Toshi Seeger, Daniel Seeger, 1966 Slave Songs of the United States, William Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware, and Lucy McKim Garrison, New York, A. Simpson & Co, 1867.
The Black Diaspora: Five Centuries of the Black Experience Outside Africa, Ronald Segal, 1996.
Black music of two worlds : African, Caribbean, Latin, and African-American traditions, John Storm Roberts, 1998.
The music of black Americans : a history, Eileen Southern, 1997.
Delta blues : the life and times of the Mississippi Masters who revolutionized American music, Ted Gioia, 2008. 'Gospel Music Timeline' accessed on http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/gmha/controller/timeline.htm on 10/09/12
'Unit Three: Studying Africa through the Humanities' accessed on http://exploringafrica.matrix.msu.edu/students/curriculum/m13/activity4.php 13/09/12
'New Orleans: The Birthplace of Jazz [Part III]' accessed on http://www.carnaval.com/no/ on 14/09/12
'African Holocaust' accessed on http://www.africanholocaust.net/html_ah/holocaustspecial.htm on 14/09/12
'How the slave trade affected music: an introduction' accessed on http://www.soundjunction.org on 20/09/12
'Slaves: their work and music in North America' accessed on http://www.soundjunction.org/slavestheirworkandmusicinnorthamerica.aspa?NodeID=291 on 20/09/12
'History of the Blues' accessed on http://www.acesandeighths.com/blues.html on 22/09/12
'African American Railroad Workers: Gandy Dancers ' accessed on http://usslave.blogspot.co.nz/2012/04/railroad-gandy-dancers.html on 22/09/12
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