|they have impacted
decisively upon the direction of several streams of world music.(2)
stage of Afro-American music might well refer to the Europeanization of
Afro-American genres. Spirituals arranged as art songs by Harry T.
Burleigh, and large concert works based upon Afro-American folk music,
such as Nathaniel Dett's Ordering
of Moses and William Grant Still's
Afro-American Symphony, would fall in this category. Germane to
this issue are the achievements of those Blacks who have chosen, or who
have been forced to follow, careers in European music. From the earliest
days of slavery, such performers have earned well-deserved praise
throughout the nation, and they continue to contribute to the musical
wealth of the world.
The record indicates that between 1750 and 1830, Afro-Americans were creating and performing music which conforms loosely with Dr. Ward's definition of "pidgin" language. The remainder of this lecture will be devoted to the examination of these music-field hollers, work songs, and game songs, outstanding examples of early Afro-American musical expressions which are clearly derived from West African genres. This choice is highly selective, and does not pretend to paint a complete picture of musical activity among Blacks during this period. As new slaves were brought to the Americas during the late eighteenth century, they brought with them fresh reminders of pure West African idioms. At the same time, many whites were teaching their slaves European dance and art music in order that they might entertain guests on social occasions. A glaring omission in this lecture is the absence of a discussion of ring shouts and spirituals. By the early decades of the 1800's, these genres were certainly on their way to full development. However, since they are closely related to the conversion of slaves to Christianity, an issue which was still under