This site provides excellent organizational resources for the analysis of the development of African American music. It is authored by Portia K. Maultsby, who has also published a very useful book, African American Music: An Introduction edited by Mellonee V. Burnim and Portia K. Maultsby and published by Routledge in 2006.
The book is plainly built upon the research of an entire field in these three or four decades since scholars have been systematically attempting to find words to describe the African American oral tradition. In this case, the focus is on music largely to the exclusion of spoken forms of oral tradition. But on its own turf, it comes the closest to providing what I, myself, was trying to construct for my own use in the Blues People Curriculum.
Doing this course again at the Ph.D. level or at the graduate level, I would use this book as the starting point for the literature and the images that make up the Blues Tradition. Also in a more advanced context, I would emphasize music more because music is so dominant and has such great explanatory power in African American culture.
On both the website and in the book there is a chart which provides a genealogy of African American music composed of three major categories--African American sacred traditions, African American secular traditions and African American Secular Traditions Instrumental.
The book contains chapters on the various relevant fields by the appropriate experts, among them Bernice Johnson Reagon, Dena J. Epstein, David Evans, Thomas I. Riis, Lawrence Levine and Mark Anthony Neal.
Afro American Music Site at Carnegie Hall
Labels: Bernice Johnson Reagon
I am a writer and a professor of English at the City College of New York, and the CUNY Graduate Center. My books include Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman (1979), Invisibility Blues (1990), Black Popular Culture (1992), and Dark Designs and Visual Culture (2005). I write cultural criticism frequently and am currently working on a project on creativity and feminism among the women in my family, some of which is posted on the Soul Pictures blog.