African American contribution to American music and culture

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,431
Caribbean
there is no definitive proof
A perfect statement by itself. Evidence is not the same as proof. Lucy may be evidence, but she is not proof.

If I may, I'd like to return to the opening post and elaborate for a moment about the contribution of AA's to both American culture and civilization in the area of music, and outright innovation. After Les Paul "invented" the electric guitar, light-gauge steel replace gut strings, and the guitar microphones (pickups) got better at sustaining notes - black "blues" guitarists invented a musical vocabulary previously unheard. Sure, every promising 14-year-old student can play this stuff forward and backward now, but they have to for anyone to think they are any good.

Someone once asked when I was a boy, if I know how to play the blues. I said, yes, you use only the "cool" notes.
(And I type this, as I listen to a Chopin collection).

And what Freddie King and Albert King were to Les Paul's invention, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane were to Adolph Sax's invention. It all proves something every piano player knows: to really make music you need the white keys and black keys working together.
(And speaking of Redbone, I recommend Leon doing Fats Waller's Ain't Misbehavin').
 
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MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,163
Kansas
If I may, I'd like to return to the opening post and elaborate for a moment about the contribution of AA's to both American culture and civilization in the area of music, and outright innovation. After Les Paul "invented" the electric guitar, light-gauge steel replace gut strings, and the guitar microphones (pickups) got better at sustaining notes - black "blues" guitarists invented a musical vocabulary previously unheard. Sure, every promising 14-year-old student can play this stuff forward and backward now, but they have to for anyone to think they are any good.
Blues has always been about 'feel'

I know when I used to play it was a lot less about playing and a lot more about feeling the music. Really hard to quantify.

It is like the best description of Jazz (another African American innovation) I have ever heard. Jazz is the feel of cool cotton sheets on a hot summers night.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,431
Caribbean
Blues has always been about 'feel'
It's "impressionism."

I cut myself short before, but since you covered some of my tune. lol I was going to say that the blues pioneers of steel string were not so much playing the guitar as expressing themselves through it. (And earlier jazz players also, but not with all that bending). In a way, the long sustained feedback note that starts Foxy Lady is as if Hendrix, using next generation gear, is playing the amplifier as much as the guitar.

This is in contrast to classical era guitar. Beethoven said the guitar is like a miniature orchestra. And Paganini and later Sor (called the Beethoven of guitar) wrote and played pieces that were pure classical sonatas FITTED to a guitar. You could play the exact same notes on a piano - but you can't play these 1950s guitar string-bending innovations on a piano.

IMO, you could probably go back to Scott Joplin and find that virtually every innovation in popular music thereafter is the brainchild of black musicians. Even as "late" as 1987, Michael Jackson was still making hits based on the 12-bar blues (The Way You Make Me Feel).

Unfortunately, this innovation has culminated with (c)rap - which is only marginally music, imo.
 

MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,163
Kansas
IMO, you could probably go back to Scott Joplin and find that virtually every innovation in popular music thereafter is the brainchild of black musicians. Even as "late" as 1987, Michael Jackson was still making hits based on the 12-bar blues (The Way You Make Me Feel).
Joplin's contribution to the structure of rhythm can never be over stated. However in terms of blending and experimenting with fusing styles I think Gershwin might have him beat.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
4,431
Caribbean
Joplin's contribution to the structure of rhythm can never be over stated. However in terms of blending and experimenting with fusing styles I think Gershwin might have him beat.
Maybe, but whose styles was he blending when he orchestrated the blues?
 

Davidius

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
5,005
Pillium
Ok maybe. The first humans are from Africa. The facts are people appose this theory!
The “out of Africa “ theory is the current academic consensus opinion.
Only a very small number of people oppose it, often with scientifically dubious data.
It’s no good saying “get woke to the truth people” when most people already agree with you! ( at least on that one point, the rest of your statements are unsourced, unproven, agenda driven nonsense).

Btw, Lucy was discovered in Ethiopia, not America as you claim.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,563
Netherlands
It's "impressionism."

I cut myself short before, but since you covered some of my tune. lol I was going to say that the blues pioneers of steel string were not so much playing the guitar as expressing themselves through it. (And earlier jazz players also, but not with all that bending). In a way, the long sustained feedback note that starts Foxy Lady is as if Hendrix, using next generation gear, is playing the amplifier as much as the guitar.

This is in contrast to classical era guitar. Beethoven said the guitar is like a miniature orchestra. And Paganini and later Sor (called the Beethoven of guitar) wrote and played pieces that were pure classical sonatas FITTED to a guitar. You could play the exact same notes on a piano - but you can't play these 1950s guitar string-bending innovations on a piano.

IMO, you could probably go back to Scott Joplin and find that virtually every innovation in popular music thereafter is the brainchild of black musicians. Even as "late" as 1987, Michael Jackson was still making hits based on the 12-bar blues (The Way You Make Me Feel).

Unfortunately, this innovation has culminated with (c)rap - which is only marginally music, imo.
Not sure what to call a musical innovation and what not to call one. But I suspect there is no real way to blame Afro-Americans for punk;)
 
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Mar 2016
164
US
Let me be clear about something. You're here on this forum to discuss HISTORY not push an identity agenda or do race politics. If that's what you've come here to do, then you're on the wrong forum.
That was not my point. I didn't mean to insult you. My point was #1 black Americans are not African and we deserve identity just like other people. My other point was black people are not just musicians and athletes we have been many things that are not acknowledged. I apologize I wasn't trying to be political.

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Nov 2016
1,263
Germany
My other point was black people are not just musicians and athletes we have been many things that are not acknowledged.

I already gave hints on that:
As for the latter, there are, for example, two African American inventors who have made some important contributions
An important African-American artist was the graffiti painter Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988):
Another successful Afro American artist is the Nigeria born female painter Njideka Akunyili Crosby (Los Angeles):

See also: