VIC HOBSON Discussion around the racial origins of US music has a long history. In 1893, Richard Wallaschek claimed African erican songs were "mere imitations of European compositions which Negroes have picked up and served up again with slight variations."1 George Pullen Jackson held a similar view, arguing "Negro Spirituals" were "`interpretations' of the White Spirituals."2 When ragtime was published in the late 1890s, it was composed, performed, and enjoyed by ericans of all races.3 More than a century later, the extent to which ragtime owes its heritage to African erican musical practice is still contested.4 The blues first appeared in published sheet music in the early twentieth century.5 Despite the significance of the blues in popular music, the origin (or origins) of the blues remains unknown. Although it is widely believed that the blues began ong African ericans, many of its earliest composers and performers were white.6 The racial origins of jazz are also contested. The first to record jazz were the white Original Dixieland Jazz Band, and they claimed to be its creators.7 Generally, writers accept that the syncopated rhythms of ragtime and jazz are of African origin.8 There is also consensus that African ericans introduced
American Music – University of Illinois Press
Published: Mar 14, 2013
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