How African American Music Started & Where It Came From Essay

The Temptations is one of the major African American bands that have had a considerable impact on the development of African American music. At the same time, the evolution of the band mirrored the progress of African American music with the steady transition from the Motown and soul music to disco and adult contemporary music, as a precursor of R&B music. In this regard, the historical development of African American music revealed the considerable progress and change in musical styles giving rise to several key directions in African American music, which originated from the authentic African music. In this regard, The Temptations have managed to absorb traditional trends of African American music, modify them and adopt to new trends in the contemporary music development that allowed them to remain mainstream for several consecutive decades and made them one of the major bands in African American music.

The history of African American music originates from the traditional music of different African tribes. African population forcefully removed to the US as the slave force maintained some elements of their traditional music and created the authentic African American music that gave rise to the further development of African American music. In this regard, Cornel West distinguishes three major directions in the development of African American music, including Ragtime, Rural Blues and Folk Spiritual (West, 478). These three directions contributed to the emergence of different styles, which progressed within the framework of each direction, preserved its distinct features and added new trends influenced by the overall progress of music and changes in the culture and traditions of African Americans as well as the American culture at large. As a result, African American music have evolved and emerged as the unique music, which had diverse musical styles. African American musicians developed their music finding inspiration in the traditional African American music. Each musician attempted to adopt the traditional African American music and bring in something new. At the same time, there were several key figures, who contributed to the considerable progress of the African American music and changed it in the course of time, such as Louis Armstrong, as one of the major musicians in the history of the African American music.

In this regard, it is also worth mentioning The Temptations, which was a renowned African American band that emerged on the wave of Motown sound in the 1960s. In fact, the development of The Temptations was accompanied by a considerable impact of Motown sound, which was probably the strongest trend in the development of African American music (Posner 139). Motown sound was very influential and, at first, The Temptations imitated Motown sound and experimented by adding their own vision of music and Motown sound (Posner 152). As the band brought in new elements and interpretations into their music, they have managed to create the authentic, original style of The Temptations, although they have preserved elements of the traditional African American music.

As The Temptations progressed, they have managed to develop the new style in their performance and their music became quite different from the original style of Motown music. In fact, the late 1960s and the 1970s brought the wide use of soul music in The Temptations’ performance (Graff 131). To put it more precisely, the band shifted toward psychedelic and cinematic soul, which contributed to the growing popularity of the band. In fact, The Temptations became the major band contributing the development of African American soul music. In the 1970s, The Temptations became not the mere band that imitated others, like Motown sound, but, instead, the band became the leading musical band that experimented and tried new elements in their music that contributed to the development of new styles, to the extent, that The Temptations have become mainstream.

Remarkably, further development of The Temptations brought further changes and development of new musical styles. In this regard, the late 1970 – 1980s brought the shift toward disco music, which became extremely popular and the band contributed to the development of the disco music (Graff 134). However, the bank kept progressing and experimenting to the extent that the band steadily shifted toward funk music. Eventually, the band continued the change and shifted toward adult contemporary, which was closely associated with R&B music, which became mainstream in the 1990s and present days. In such a way, The Temptations still remained the mainstream band that contributed to the change of African American music. In fact, it is such bands as The Temptations contributed to the overall progress and evolution of African American music.

Thus, African American music was and still remains unique, authentic music that originated from music created by early African Americans, who were brought to the US as slaves. In the course of time, African American evolved and enriched African American and American music at large. In this regard, The Temptations became one of the main bands of the second half of the 20th century, which contributed to the fast progress of African American music and its change.

 

Works Cited:

Graff, Gary. The Temptations: Otis tells the group’s tale. Detroit Free Press. 1988.

Posner, Gerald. Motown: Music, Money, Sex, and Power. New York: Random House, 2002.

West, Cornel. The Timeline of African American Music.

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 1, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 1, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 1, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 1, 2020]