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African-American Musical Development During the twentieth century, music in America has played a significant role in defining its culture and African-American musicians have made large contributions towards shaping American music.1 In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, however, African-American musicians produced primarily ragtime, jazz, spirituals and blues rather than classical compositions because of racial prejudice and stereotypical ideas of most white Americans.2 Most nineteenth century American composers of classical music looked to Europe for a model, Germany in particular. Since black Americans heritage was from Africa, whites believed African-American musicians would not be capable of composing classical works.

3 Since the times of slavery, African-Americans produced songs that reflected their outlook toward the hardships they had to face and these songs developed as times began to change. As they endured and made their way into equality, these songs began to stand out as a leading proponent in popular culture. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, American composers began to explore ways of creating a national music and often incorporated African-American spirituals and jazz rhythms in an attempt to define an “American music.”4 Even though the black musician continued to endure harsh discrimination there have been several music, african-american, songs, made, black, composers, century, african-americans, walker, twentieth, began, american, two, traditions, one, been, whites, because, white, way, hall, culture, classical, spirituals, people, make, first, america, western, time, style, musicians, musical, jazz, great

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