Cultural Codes: Makings of a Black Music Philosophy (African American Cultural Theory and Heritage)

Cultural Codes: Makings of a Black Music Philosophy (African American Cultural Theory and Heritage)

William C. Banfield

Language: English

Pages: 177


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

<span><span style="padding:0pt 0pt 0pt 0pt;"><span>No art can survive without an understanding of, and dedication to, the values envisioned by its creators. No culture over time has existed without a belief system to sustain its survival. Black music is no different. In </span><span style="font-style:italic;">Cultural Codes: Makings of a Black Music Philosophy</span><span>, William C. Banfield engages the reader in a conversation about the aesthetics and meanings that inform this critical component of our social consciousness.

By providing a focused examination of the historical development of Black music artistry, Banfield formulates a useable philosophy tied to how such music is made, shaped, and functions. In so doing, he explores Black music culture from three angles: history, education, and the creative work of the musicians who have moved the art forward. In addition to tracing Black music from its African roots to its various contemporary expressions, including jazz, soul, R&B, funk, and hip hop, Banfield profiles some of the most important musicians over the last century: W.C. Handy, Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Mary Lou Williams, John Coltrane, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Wonder, among others. </span><span style="font-style:italic;">Cultural Codes</span><span> provides an educational and philosophical framework for students and scholars interested in the traditions, the development, the innovators, and the relevance of Black music.</span></span>

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people attain clarity. Certainly, now is needed an artistic thinking, being, and action which pulls together artists, educators, and community leaders of this generation, including those old enough to “know.” Today’s prevailing early millennium commercial Black aesthetic seems to be a prescription delivered not by artists but by Hollywood culture for cash and commerce. It is based on and defined by popular market forces and not artistic expression. No art approach that is based solely on

I often think, what would happen if all the singing and playing just stopped? How would we interpret the silences of the sounds we were so accustomed to having? If we have come to appreciate music as a spiritual force and language that is able to inspire, empower, and direct ideas and feelings, then it follows that creativity is a unique kind of gifting that, once imparted, has many possibilities. One theological analysis/lens through which we can see this is the transfer of West African

music follows the trends of society, but music pacifies society as well. There became, with the post-WWII capitalistic surge, the need for “cultural diversions.” During this time, popular culture became firmly cemented as part of the American entertainment industry. Music-making simply became a part of the social matrix. The jazz art had become the “most sophisticated” or refined of the forms within the Black arts continuum. There are several reasons for this. Because it is instrumental music,

(Santana). A final stage from about the late 1970s until his death was his emergence and belief in adopting the stylistic and aesthetic resources of popular culture, including pop, urban contemporary, and finally hip hop. His new young model for artistic excellence? Prince. From Davis’s emergence in New York’s bebop rage in 1944 until his death in 1991, his creative career spanned nearly fifty years. For many, he represents the emergence of jazz as a cultural style. This refers to the way that

jump-rope games on urban sidewalks. In one sense, rapping in the Black community is nothing new. But rap music is a unique form that grew from a Jamaican DJ tradition. In 1971, an enterprising and gifted recent Jamaican immigrant named Kool Herc, and nicknamed Hercules because of his really loud sound system, began spinning records for parties, and he did something that had not been done before. Kool Herc’s innovations were twofold. First, instead of using the disco tunes that were current, he

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