The evolution of American music is remarkable. Imagine the primitive music: there were no audiences, no instruction, no platforms or performance halls. The ensembles included drums which played a major role, there were no written lyrics in order to perfectly recite them but improvisations, memories and knowledge and involved alteration of the songs to suit its purpose or occasion and everyone participated in it. Later it evolved to more sophisticated and internationally moving songs witnessed in this century.
The evolution of American music can be traced a variety of genres including Afro-beat developed from or molded by the African American culture. The contemporary blues and ragtime genres were produced by the blending European musical styles and with those of African origin. These style originated from Germany France and Western and the Sub-Saharan parts of Africa.
Over a long period of time since their early stages of slavery the African-Americans expressed themselves by creating and developing specific forms of music presenting their culture and experiences. They did this using their absolute unique sounds to speak out their past cultures and the setting of slavery. Thus the African-American music has been outstanding, effective and carrying unique soulful energy. There is evidence of the music affecting and developing the music industry in America just like their European-American counter parts.
Rhythm and blues popularly R&B, is a term that describes most American genres like electronic blues, soul, funk, disco and pop. The term got metamorphosed into new meaning but originally was used in 1940s to refer to a genre developing out of jazz. The ensembles of the early R&B included vocalist, electric guitar, saxophone and a full rhythm section of piano, bass and drums.
We find out that with the key historical fact that throughout history from 18th century to the 21st century has been undeniably great changes in the music industry depending of circumstances in the society. The various genres soul, jazz, gospel, spirituals, blues, rhythm and blues, hip-hop, rap, even rock and roll are indeed a result of their aptitude, creativity and approval of the music industry in the society. The prolific talent in the industry factored the development of soul, jazz, gospel, spirituals, blues, rhythm and blues, hip-hop, rap, even rock and roll. African-American music gets its establishment from spirituals. The features common to most American music include call and response, blue notes, rhythm, texture and harmony.
From the spiritual songs at the early stages and development of other genres like the Rhythm and blues popularly R&B and all other modern genres there is a great record of African American involvement. The factors surrounding the development of the music industry among the African Americans were majorly their past and the current setting of religion and slavery. They merged their past skills with what they received from the whites. For instance the merging of their African heritage and the Judeo-Christian ethic.
The European American and African American could not initially associate but in the 19th century both began to impact the American music in a significant level than before. The Great awakening in 1830 led to the rise of Christian fundamentalism among the Africans Americans, they started performing Christian spiritual songs copying the rhythms from their work songs. Many of the these songs were carried hidden messages that they were championing for rights and condemning slavery, this became more popular and revolution of these songs was seen after the war.
Due to migration factors in the mid 18th century, the urban lifestyles of most musicians who sang blues impacted the country blues to be more sophisticated. They performed the blues with drums, electric guitar and bass, along with harmonica and piano.
The first blue records were made in February 1920 by Mamie Smith. Mamie is a representative of the excellent women in the music industry. She helped to fill the gap between the southern styles that came with the immigrants and the already established northern styles. She recorded “Crazy Blues,” and the song sold 75,000 copies just in the first month of its production. The song got popularity reaching black and white audiences alike. She did the record on the Okeh label and after success of the records Okeh established its “race records” or “race music” division.
The popular genre for American music at mid 18th century was “rock and roll”. Artist blended rock and a country fusion. The assimilation of the European and African styles became fruitful Presley, a very influential figure who was able to bring a cross-cultural influence in the music industry. In 1959, Berry Gordy founded Motown records, the first record that featured African and American artists which eventually became both innovative and commercially successful.
The exotic music from the Europe and Africa and different parts of the world have developed music in America that has had great influence to other parts of the world. It seems as though America incubated a primitive music and gave the world a seasoned one. Although we cannot today identify easily a single style and genre from one culture in America. They were instrumental in the metamorphosis that has happened over centuries transforming the industry from its simple state to a complex state. From the primitive stage of simple instruments to more sophisticate level that has been appreciated throughout the world not only in America.