About UsOctober 31, 2005
IU professors' new book charts African American music's many rhythms
African American Music: An Introduction, edited by Mellonee V. Burnim and Portia K. Maultsby, is a collection of thirty essays by leading scholars which survey major African American musical genres, both sacred and secular, from slavery to the present. It is the most comprehensive study of African American music currently available, with sixteen essays on major genres of African American music, as well as lengthy sections on the music industry, gender, and music as resistance. The work brings together, in a single volume, treatments of African American music that have existed largely independent of each other. The research is based in large part on ethnographic fieldwork, which privileges the voices of the music-makers themselves, while interpreting their narratives through a richly textured mosaic of history and culture. The book is replete with references to seminal recordings and recording artists, musical transcriptions, photographs, and illustrations that bring the music to life as expressions of human beings. At the same time, it includes the kind of musical specificity that brings clarity to the structural, melodic, and rhythmic characteristics that both distinguish and unify the music of African Americans.
Burnim is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at Indiana University. Maultsby is Professor of Ethnomusicology at Indiana University and Director of the Archives of African American Music and Culture.
Read the official press release here.
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