Grade 7 General Music: Full year course- meets every other dayWhen successfully completed, students will receive the .5 music credit that is mandated by the New York State Education Department for grades 7/8.Any student that is NOT in a performing group must complete this by the end of 7th grade, as general music is no longer offered as an elective in grade 8.Overview:A Study of American and Popular musicStudents in grade 7 will study various styles and time periods of American music. Often, our studies will include historical connections.2nd semester will include creating music on various instruments that may include keyboards, ukuleles, and tubano drums.See below for a reading about spirituals and the blues.The Blues: roots of American popular musicThe blues has deep roots in American history, particularly African-American history. The origins of the first blues can be traced to Southern plantations and the Mississippi Delta region in the 19th Century. Its creators were slaves, ex-slaves and the descendants of slaves, such as the African-American sharecroppers who sang as they toiled in the cotton and vegetable fields.While blues lyrics often deal with personal adversity, the music itself goes far beyond self-pity. The blues is also about overcoming hard luck, saying what you feel, ridding yourself of frustration, letting your hair down, and simply having fun. From unbridled joy to deep sadness, some believe that no other form of music communicates more genuine emotion.The blues grew up from New Orleans and north along the Mississippi.Thanks to the advent of recording technology, and the foresight of several folk-music researchers, the blues were first recorded in the early 1900s. Some of the greats:Robert Johnson (1911- 1938?) Hazlehusrst, MississippiSon House (1902-1988) Lyon, MississippiCharlie Patton (1887? [or as late as 1891]- 1934) Sunflower County MississippiCharlie was given the title by many Blues Historians of "Father of the Delta Blues".Once the Delta blues made their way up the Mississippi to urban areas, the music evolved into electrified Chicago Blues. The music created and played by these musicians, such as B.B. King, came to be labeled rhythm and blues.
Early slave culture- the spiritualEven before blues, music of the African American slaves in the south was expressive and heartfelt, often mixing the Christian beliefs of the protestant slave owners with the call/ response and vocalizing that the slaves remembered from Africa. The songs were sung to pass the time in the hot southern sun, while the slaves toiled away in the cotton fields.The African American spirituals told stories from the old testament of the Bible, comparing the plight of the African Americans to those of the Israelites in Egypt, who were led to freedom out of slavery by Moses. In addition to telling stories from the bible, spirituals had secret messages 'hidden' within the lyric content. Some of the most famous include "Follow the Drinkin' Gourd", "Wade in the Water", and "Swing Low Sweet Chariot".Click below to listen to a version of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" sung by the group The Fisk Jubilee Singers.
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