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Old 01-21-2013, 11:02 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Most of the genres that popular music is based on, or most genres of American folk musics overwhelmingly have their roots in the South. Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Country, Bluegrass, ******-tonk, Ragtime, Cajun Zydeco, Rock'n'Roll, with large contributions to rock and hip hop and rock in recent years. Pretty much all the early genres of American music, and the music which formed and still forms the model for music which is popular all around the world originated in the American South. Even electronic music is largely based on blues/rock styles.

I know the historical origins of these genres, but I'm interested in the factors/causes of why popular music originated from the South. I could write an essay on it, but i'm no expert, but I'll offer a short hypothesis.

I've heard it said that Southerners are artistically inclined people and the South is rich with folk tales and traditions. It's one of the oldest regions of the US, and has a number of diverse influences. From Celtic, British, African, French, Spanish.etc.

One common denominator is the strong African American influence in the genres. African slaves brought a strong sense of rhythm to music, as well as the chants that later became familiar as the work chants or songs of slaves in the fields, which fused with the strong lyrical traditions of Scots-Irish and Celtic folk music, as well as western classical musical tradition which especially influenced pianos composers such as Scott Joplin.

I think the particular social mileau: the poverty and social disadvantage suffered by both black slaves, indentured workers and poor whites who toiled trying to make a living in Appalachian or the lowlands, as well as the French Acadian tradition, created the long tradition of 'singing away one's sorrows.' Blues, country and zydeco all performed this function.

Another factor is religion. Although the North was probably equally if not more religious in the early days, it was the South, largely because of the dynamism of both African American and Celtic spirituality, which hosted the most celebratory revivals and church services, with a lot of singing, dancing.etc. It was all a bit irreverent for the sober Yankee. Spiritual themes inspired great music, whether it was in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Delta or the coast of Georgia.

By the time the war had ended the South had established itself as the major incubator and disseminator of popular music. Much of it had spread to the northern cities, the blues and electric blues to Chicago, jazz to Philly and New York, but the South was still the musical heartland of American music. It was only natural that Rock'n'Roll was dominated by Southern artists: Fats Domino from New Orleans, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Buddy Holly etc.

Over time, as music became more commercialised, places like California and New York became the hot-spots for music, although places like Nashville, New Orleans, Memphis, Austin.etc have never really lost their musical soul and continue to be home to vibrant scenes. In the 90s and 00s Atlanta and Washington DC became major hubs for black music as well.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:29 PM
 
14,111 posts, read 22,744,391 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Most of the genres that popular music is based on, or most genres of American folk musics overwhelmingly have their roots in the South. Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Country, Bluegrass, ******-tonk, Ragtime, Cajun Zydeco, Rock'n'Roll, with large contributions to rock and hip hop and rock in recent years. Pretty much all the early genres of American music, and the music which formed and still forms the model for music which is popular all around the world originated in the American South. Even electronic music is largely based on blues/rock styles.

I know the historical origins of these genres, but I'm interested in the factors/causes of why popular music originated from the South. I could write an essay on it, but i'm no expert, but I'll offer a short hypothesis.

I've heard it said that Southerners are artistically inclined people and the South is rich with folk tales and traditions. It's one of the oldest regions of the US, and has a number of diverse influences. From Celtic, British, African, French, Spanish.etc.

One common denominator is the strong African American influence in the genres. African slaves brought a strong sense of rhythm to music, as well as the chants that later became familiar as the work chants or songs of slaves in the fields, which fused with the strong lyrical traditions of Scots-Irish and Celtic folk music, as well as western classical musical tradition which especially influenced pianos composers such as Scott Joplin.

I think the particular social mileau: the poverty and social disadvantage suffered by both black slaves, indentured workers and poor whites who toiled trying to make a living in Appalachian or the lowlands, as well as the French Acadian tradition, created the long tradition of 'singing away one's sorrows.' Blues, country and zydeco all performed this function.

Another factor is religion. Although the North was probably equally if not more religious in the early days, it was the South, largely because of the dynamism of both African American and Celtic spirituality, which hosted the most celebratory revivals and church services, with a lot of singing, dancing.etc. It was all a bit irreverent for the sober Yankee. Spiritual themes inspired great music, whether it was in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Delta or the coast of Georgia.

By the time the war had ended the South had established itself as the major incubator and disseminator of popular music. Much of it had spread to the northern cities, the blues and electric blues to Chicago, jazz to Philly and New York, but the South was still the musical heartland of American music. It was only natural that Rock'n'Roll was dominated by Southern artists: Fats Domino from New Orleans, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Buddy Holly etc.

Over time, as music became more commercialised, places like California and New York became the hot-spots for music, although places like Nashville, New Orleans, Memphis, Austin.etc have never really lost their musical soul and continue to be home to vibrant scenes. In the 90s and 00s Atlanta and Washington DC became major hubs for black music as well.
Makes alot of sense, and puts things in perspective.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:35 PM
 
Location: The Magnolia City
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I think you've answered your own question, Trimac. Southern blacks have a very rich culture.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:21 PM
 
Location: Atlanta & NYC
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You're the only person I know who can overthink on the oddest things and then answer his own question and then still not realize that he answered his own question. Good read though.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:39 PM
 
7,383 posts, read 13,221,969 times
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OP, one thing I would suggest you check out is the Music Family Tree. There are many different kinds but its always fascinating how everything links up-- even globally. I personally like the ones that points out singers (and how those singers inspired others, who then go on to create a new branch of different kind of music).



Quote:
Originally Posted by ja1myn View Post
You're the only person I know who can overthink on the oddest things and then answer his own question and then still not realize that he answered his own question. Good read though.
I think he's just looking for someone else to say something else that would give him more of an epiphany.
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:42 AM
 
14,111 posts, read 22,744,391 times
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Interesting nearly 2yr old thread:

Is the South the most important region for the development of American music?
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Old 01-24-2013, 09:54 AM
 
22,769 posts, read 26,198,481 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Most of the genres that popular music is based on, or most genres of American folk musics overwhelmingly have their roots in the South. Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Country, Bluegrass, ******-tonk, Ragtime, Cajun Zydeco, Rock'n'Roll, with large contributions to rock and hip hop and rock in recent years. Pretty much all the early genres of American music, and the music which formed and still forms the model for music which is popular all around the world originated in the American South. Even electronic music is largely based on blues/rock styles.

I know the historical origins of these genres, but I'm interested in the factors/causes of why popular music originated from the South. I could write an essay on it, but i'm no expert, but I'll offer a short hypothesis.

I've heard it said that Southerners are artistically inclined people and the South is rich with folk tales and traditions. It's one of the oldest regions of the US, and has a number of diverse influences. From Celtic, British, African, French, Spanish.etc.

One common denominator is the strong African American influence in the genres. African slaves brought a strong sense of rhythm to music, as well as the chants that later became familiar as the work chants or songs of slaves in the fields, which fused with the strong lyrical traditions of Scots-Irish and Celtic folk music, as well as western classical musical tradition which especially influenced pianos composers such as Scott Joplin.

I think the particular social mileau: the poverty and social disadvantage suffered by both black slaves, indentured workers and poor whites who toiled trying to make a living in Appalachian or the lowlands, as well as the French Acadian tradition, created the long tradition of 'singing away one's sorrows.' Blues, country and zydeco all performed this function.

Another factor is religion. Although the North was probably equally if not more religious in the early days, it was the South, largely because of the dynamism of both African American and Celtic spirituality, which hosted the most celebratory revivals and church services, with a lot of singing, dancing.etc. It was all a bit irreverent for the sober Yankee. Spiritual themes inspired great music, whether it was in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Delta or the coast of Georgia.

By the time the war had ended the South had established itself as the major incubator and disseminator of popular music. Much of it had spread to the northern cities, the blues and electric blues to Chicago, jazz to Philly and New York, but the South was still the musical heartland of American music. It was only natural that Rock'n'Roll was dominated by Southern artists: Fats Domino from New Orleans, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Buddy Holly etc.

Over time, as music became more commercialised, places like California and New York became the hot-spots for music, although places like Nashville, New Orleans, Memphis, Austin.etc have never really lost their musical soul and continue to be home to vibrant scenes. In the 90s and 00s Atlanta and Washington DC became major hubs for black music as well.

IMO, it's because there's no other place where europeans and africans were living side-by-side for so long.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:04 AM
 
9,967 posts, read 14,605,870 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Most of the genres that popular music is based on, or most genres of American folk musics overwhelmingly have their roots in the South. Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Country, Bluegrass, ******-tonk, Ragtime, Cajun Zydeco, Rock'n'Roll, with large contributions to rock and hip hop and rock in recent years. Pretty much all the early genres of American music, and the music which formed and still forms the model for music which is popular all around the world originated in the American South. Even electronic music is largely based on blues/rock styles.

I know the historical origins of these genres, but I'm interested in the factors/causes of why popular music originated from the South. I could write an essay on it, but i'm no expert, but I'll offer a short hypothesis.

I've heard it said that Southerners are artistically inclined people and the South is rich with folk tales and traditions. It's one of the oldest regions of the US, and has a number of diverse influences. From Celtic, British, African, French, Spanish.etc.

One common denominator is the strong African American influence in the genres. African slaves brought a strong sense of rhythm to music, as well as the chants that later became familiar as the work chants or songs of slaves in the fields, which fused with the strong lyrical traditions of Scots-Irish and Celtic folk music, as well as western classical musical tradition which especially influenced pianos composers such as Scott Joplin.

I think the particular social mileau: the poverty and social disadvantage suffered by both black slaves, indentured workers and poor whites who toiled trying to make a living in Appalachian or the lowlands, as well as the French Acadian tradition, created the long tradition of 'singing away one's sorrows.' Blues, country and zydeco all performed this function.

Another factor is religion. Although the North was probably equally if not more religious in the early days, it was the South, largely because of the dynamism of both African American and Celtic spirituality, which hosted the most celebratory revivals and church services, with a lot of singing, dancing.etc. It was all a bit irreverent for the sober Yankee. Spiritual themes inspired great music, whether it was in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Delta or the coast of Georgia.

By the time the war had ended the South had established itself as the major incubator and disseminator of popular music. Much of it had spread to the northern cities, the blues and electric blues to Chicago, jazz to Philly and New York, but the South was still the musical heartland of American music. It was only natural that Rock'n'Roll was dominated by Southern artists: Fats Domino from New Orleans, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Buddy Holly etc.

Over time, as music became more commercialised, places like California and New York became the hot-spots for music, although places like Nashville, New Orleans, Memphis, Austin.etc have never really lost their musical soul and continue to be home to vibrant scenes. In the 90s and 00s Atlanta and Washington DC became major hubs for black music as well.
Good post, though you really did answer your own question. It's mainly the mix of cultures. Especially in New Orleans where you had the largest mix of free educated blacks(often Creoles) and black slaves and their descendants. That's how you got the mix of classically trained musicians familiar with European styles and the African rhythms and call and response tradition that resulted in the birth of jazz in music. The South has so much African culture ranging from food to music though and many people don't even realize the extent of it. The banjo has it's roots in Africa and now days we associate it with the Scotch-Irish descendants playing Appalachian folk music and bluegrass.

Also, why was honkytonk blanked out in your OP? Or were you writing something else.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:09 AM
 
14,111 posts, read 22,744,391 times
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Originally Posted by Deezus View Post
Good post, though you really did answer your own question. It's mainly the mix of cultures. Especially in New Orleans where you had the largest mix of free educated blacks(often Creoles) and black slaves and their descendants. That's how you got the mix of classically trained musicians familiar with European styles and the African rhythms and call and response tradition that resulted in the birth of jazz in music. The South has so much African culture ranging from food to music though and many people don't even realize the extent of it. The banjo has it's roots in Africa and now days we associate it with the Scotch-Irish descendants playing Appalachian folk music and bluegrass.

Also, why was honkytonk blanked out in your OP? Or were you writing something else.
Indeed, the South is very much connected to Africa. And its amaizing how something with its roots deep in Africa such as the Banjo, can influence and be mainly associated a completely diffirent culure(Scott-Irish).
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:56 AM
 
9,967 posts, read 14,605,870 times
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Originally Posted by polo89 View Post
Indeed, the South is very much connected to Africa. And its amaizing how something with its roots deep in Africa such as the Banjo, can influence and be mainly associated a completely diffirent culure(Scott-Irish).
Yes and while these days country music is basically just modern pop music with a country twinge for rural/suburban America, at one point country and western music had all kinds of multi-cultural influences. It took a lot of influence from the Southern blues and gospel music of the blacks along with banjos and slide guitars, Scotch-Irish folk traditional melodies, Swiss yodeling, Mexican ranchera music influences in Texas, and the Hawaiian steel guitar(which a commonality between much country music and Hawaiian music than people often forget about).

Jazz itself isn't just a mix of European brass band instrumentation and African influences and Southern black traditions--there is also what Jelly Roll Morton called "the Spanish Tinge" which is influenced by the music of Cuba--which itself was a mix of Spanish music and African music--and ironically Spanish music itself was influenced by the music of the Moors which was influenced by both the Arab music traditions of North Africa and the Middle East and the music and rhythms of West Africa. So you can find these sort of cross-cultural influences everywhere.
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