Many of us have our favorite music style, our favorite band and/or artist; I know I do. But, have you ever thought about where that music originated? Have you ever considered where music first began? Being a musician, I have thought this while performing and listening to music. Thanks to UT Martin professor, Dr. Julie Hill, I’ve learned some insight on where the music that seems to control our generation came from.
You probably won't believe me when I tell you, but the music that we listen to had its origins back in West Africa, otherwise known as "the mother-world" of music. Ancient Ghana and Mali, those places, is where the music that you're listening to right now came from. The music from ancient Ghana and Mali used drums, dancing, and singing. It was how they spent their extra time, and how they celebrated. Their style of music was a huge part in their lives. At their core was their music.
Now how did this music reach us from across the Atlantic and the Pacific? That's probably the easiest question to answer. As cultures thrived, so did the slave trade. As slaves were traded to America and Europe and South America, music expanded, and music changed and adapted. All over the world, from country to country, the same instruments had different names for the different culture they were surrounded by. Music became faster, parts were removed and parts were added. Over time, this music that began in the ancient empire of Ghana evolved into now what is know as pop, rap, jazz, country, and a whole lot more!
Now that you know a little bit about the history of music, next time you put your earphones in to tune out the world, think about where this music you're listening to originated from, and how they impacted the music today. And most importantly, how the music we create today impacts the music of tomorrow.