Tutt Library Research Guides
This guide will help you explore the vast field of African American Music.
Click on the tabs at the top of this guide to get help.
The Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd edition, describes African American Music:
A term applied to distinct configurations of sound organization linked historically and socially to people of African descent living within the United States. While scholarship has identified a shared body of conceptual approaches to sound among the numerous idioms of African American music, musicians have employed them across various functional divides in American culture such as written and oral, sacred and secular, art and popular. Although African American people have been the primary innovators among these idioms, due to mass mediation, the contiguous nature of culture sharing among American ethnic groups, an ever developing and sophisticated global market system, technological advances, and music’s ability to absorb the different meanings ascribed to it, people of all backgrounds have shaped, contributed to, and excelled in this fluid yet distinct body of music making. In addition, many historians of African American music have included the activities of blacks that participated as performers and composers in the Eurological concert tradition under this rubric.
~Guthrie P. Ramsey