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The Power of Black Music: Interpreting its History from Africa to the United States

The Power of Black Music: Interpreting its History from Africa to the United States

This study of the development of African-American music and its influence in America shows how African myths and ritual - especially the ring-shout dances that were ubiquitous in West Africa - underlie the development of all black musical forms in the USA.

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ISBN 9780195082357
Barcode 9780195082357
Published 27 July 1995 by Oxford University Press (S3)
Format Hardback
Alternate Format(s) View All (1 other possible title(s) available)
Author(s) By Floyd, Samuel A.
Availability Indent title (internationally sourced), usually ships 4-6 weeks

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Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9780195082357
ISBN-10 0195082354
Stock Available
Status Indent title (internationally sourced), usually ships 4-6 weeks
Publisher Oxford University Press (S3)
Imprint Oxford University Press Inc
Publication Date 27 July 1995
Publication Country United States United States
Format Hardback
Author(s) By Floyd, Samuel A.
Category Folk Music
Blues music
Black studies
Number of Pages 328
Dimensions Width: 165mm
Height: 242mm
Spine: 29mm
Weight 661g
Interest Age General Audience
Reading Age General Audience
Library of Congress Afro-Americans, Music, History and criticism
NBS Text Music & Dance
ONIX Text Professional and scholarly
Dewey Code 781.6296073
Catalogue Code Not specified

Description of this Book

Floyd has written a path-breaking book on the development of African-American music and its influence in America. He shows how African myths and ritual - especially the ring-shout dances that were ubiquitous in West Africa - have underlain the development of all black music in America. It puts black music - and American music in general - into a new and exciting perspective.

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Awards, Reviews & Star Ratings

NZ Review Floyd...diligently traces the history of Black music in America (the jazz of New Orleans funeral parades, blues, bebop, 1960s concert hall composers, rock)--its African influences and evolution. --Emerge<br> Floyd's work shows an uncanny coordination of ear, heart, and intellect. The author brings his subject into the realm of ideas while manifesting a love for the music and respect for the people who have made it. His grasp of the continuity of ring-shout values, and of what it means to Signify musically, uncovers and explains the vital core of African-American music making more convincingly than any other account I have read. --Richard Crawford, Professor of Music, University of Michigan<br> The most scholarly and imaginative exploration yet of the origins and development of black music....An invaluable contribution. --Sterling Stuckey, Professor of History and Religious Studies, University of California, Riverside<br> African American music deserves but seldom gets as much attention from academics as from music critics. Floyd takes a rare scholarly approach to it and sets a standard for subsequent studies. The range of genres he discusses is comprehensive...and the connections he makes are particularly perceptive....Academics, critics, scholars, and fans alike stand to gain much from carefully reading this impressive work. --Booklist<br>
US Review A wide-ranging, jargon-laden discussion of African-American music. Floyd (director of the Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College, Chicago) combines history and theory, beginning with African-American music's roots and progressing chronologically from early spirituals through blues, jazz, R&B, gospel, Motown, pop, and concert-hall music. Dozens of figures, both well-known and obscure, are mentioned, along with key musical works that are analyzed with a blend of anthropological, musicological, and self-made terms. Floyd believes that Signifyin(g) - using metaphoric or indirect means as a mode of artistic expression - is the key clement of African-American musical style. He identifies Call-Response, the use of a structure based on theme (the call ) and counter-theme ( response ), as a basis for much African-American expression. He shows how, in this tradition, the performance itself is far more important than the piece performed. Some of Floyd's ideas are controversial, such as his essentialist assertion that there is an African racial memory among African-Americans that influences the kinds of music they produce - a notion that oversimplifies a complex process including cultural, musical, social, and individual innovations by which a musical style is shaped. Floyd also tends to lump together such varied performers as early bluesmen Blind Lemon Jefferson and Mississippi John Hurt, calling both Mississippi Moaners, although Jefferson was from Texas, Hurt sang in a relaxed, open-voiced style, and neither is a typical representative of the Mississippi blues school. Many of the practices Floyd ascribes solely to African-American musicians, such as improvising new words based on stock sets of lyrical themes, are found in folk cultures throughout the world. Finally, his personal predilection for black concert-hall music over traditional or popular forms distorts the work. Of limited interest to the general reader, though it will inspire discussion in the musicological community. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author's Bio

Samuel A. Floyd, Jr. is Director of the Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College, Chicago. He is also the editor of Black Music in the Harlem Rennaissance.

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