African-Derived Music of the Americas
Verna B. Green

Abstract
The music and dance of the Americas today have African roots resulting from the shared history of the African slave-trade executed under European colonialism. The African, coming from cultures in which art was very functional, had the resilience to endure deprivation and the squalid conditions aboard slave-ships and on land in the Americas, and take the lead in shaping the music and dance of the Hemisphere. This article looks at the musical aesthetics such as rhythmic complexity, duality of songs, the presence of “blue notes?, the ever-present African drum and variety of percussion, melodic style and unique timbre brought to the Hemisphere from Africa during the 400-year period of the slave-trade and flowered into the numerous genres emanating from the Caribbean, Latin America (inclusive of South America), and North America today. It also looks at African performance traditions of improvisation, communal/ audience participation, performance with “soul?, and the dance connection.

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