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THESIS: To suppress their intentions and motives of seeking acceptance and approval blacks
sought to compete with the whites within the unpleasant environment, which led to
Harlem Renaissance’s moves to write, publish, and perform poetry; this resulted to
Harlem Renaissance’s immerse impact in developments of today’s music.
Ancient music concentrated on the style, motives and environment and Ethnicity and politics were key messages in Harlem Renaissance’s poetry and music, which is still the key issue in today’s Music
"Harlem Renaissance’s Impact on Today’s Music"
The beginning of the Word War I was the opening of industrialization in the US. This beginning of the war was also marking the end of the slave trade between the US and Europe. With the slave trade coming to an end, and the flourishing of industries in the US labor was needed and the considered people who were to provide it happened to be blacks. With the realization, of industrialization came migration; blacks migrated to Harlem in New York state where they could elevate their social standards by providing labor. Harlem happened to be one of the concentrated towns in the world hosting blacks. Later after this movement and other subsequent migrations from the south towards New York, the blacks realized that the issue of racism was influencing them negatively in various ways. They could not attend the same institutions as the whites they could not be considered or understood properly due to their culture and their way of living was considered primitive.
This discrimination led to the blacks forming a movement they named Harlem Renaissance. The aim of this movement was to merge artists in doing artistic work of literature and other related activities. More likely, the movement favored poetry than most of the other works of art. This realization was figured that it would bring equality to a certain level. The equality sought was for blacks not to be discriminated by the whites. It also showed that blacks were getting more sophisticated, and besides the reasons their white counterparts speculated they sought to work alongside the whites, and compete fairly with them. The whites on the other hand, had the feeling and speculated that blacks were poachers, and they were after the hard-earned revenue the whites had.
For the common person and any other being, it is uncommon to find a party that just wants to be friendly without agenda. The agenda of the blacks towards seeking the whites’ approval and acceptance was to get as more privileges as the whites. However, they hid this from the whites, a fact that did not auger well with the whites. Blacks established poetry and Poetry was just written poetry initially until it went from being just poetry to being a message to the whites. This message was through performance and alliance of rhythm with code. To suppress their intentions and motives of seeking acceptance and approval blacks sought to compete with the whites within the unpleasant environment, which led to the Harlem Renaissance’s move to write, publish, and perform poetry; this resulted to immerse influence of Harlem Renaissance’s immerse impact in developments of today’s music.
Development of Performance Poetry
The 20th century was the mother of pain and inventories. Pain was realized by the plight of blacks and the rule of the whites. It was also through the fact that both World War I and II had all to do with development of the 20th century. The century mothered industrialization, modern types and genres of music, fashion and refurbishing of the automobile sector. With this in mind, it is the duty of a scholar and any other interested party to research the origin of today’s performance arts like, performance poetry, standup comedy, musical competitions and exhibitionism in the art world.
Performance poetry being the backbone of music, it can be deduced that today’s music and poetry was inspired by the Harlem Renaissance. Poetry is the art of composing a message by incorporating rhythm and weight into stanzas. Music on the hand is the art of putting poetry into motion through musical codes. The Harlem renaissance artists performed poetry in clubs at Harlem in New York. The performances were mostly aimed and communicating messages to fellow compatriots but specifically urging the whites to abandon their cruel ways. These messages were aimed at giving the insight of the situation to the whites. Persistence bears fruits, and that is what the performance poetry was taking the blacks.
A poet would compose a poem, write it down, rehearse it and then perform it to an audience. The audience initially would comprise of fellow blacks, and artists but it drew more attention with time. This attention brought whites to the performance theatres and interaction of the whites and the blacks took shape. With most blacks to be poor and unable to print their works of art, the help of some key white elements was needed. Once sought, the blacks got the motivation they needed and went on their trade hard hearted. Soon performance poetry was owned by the blacks while whites were mostly their fans.
The culture of writing poetry, and performance was borrowed by the whites and currently: Be it in the form of poems or music, performance poetry has captured the attention of many. Inspired by how artists would organize themselves from the initial stages of preparation, composition, and writing, rehearsing, and performing; today artists do the same, but very few can trace the routine back to Harlem Renaissance artists.
Transition of Poetry to Music
As discussed earlier, music is the propagation of poetry through rhythm and code. The code is the musical beats that are pick up the tone of the consistent propagation vocals. Harlem Renaissance was the pioneer of using the piano in providing the necessary beat to progressive vocals. Today, many musicians blend vocals with beats while other uses only one to give the musical effect.
The piano was once believed to the property of the rich and sophisticated whites. Today everyone wants and feels sophisticated, but due to preferences and diversity of commitment, people and musicians take that feeling on other aspects of life. With poetry being blended by beats that could only be provided by the piano, blacks took the initiative to purchase pianos. This led to the discovery that poems were better recited with beats and rhythm on. The idea of poetry being just poetry was long forgotten when beats and progression of vocals were blended into the recitations. Traditional music came to a bitter end by this discovery. Some of the factors that made this happen were the fact that blacks and specifically Harlem Renaissance had talented poets, the whites provided market for poetry, and competition for modern music market had kicked off.
Birth of Genres of Music
The whites bought poems from the blacks and used mimicry in trying to push the blacks out of their business. In retaliation, the black’s aggressions lead to the discovery of Jazz and Blues genres. Later modification of the elements that made these genres gave way to other music genres and subgenres. With music taking shape within a short period, the music industry developed in most parts of the US. It is not as American did not know about music before then, but Blues and Jazz were big shots. Just like today, there are artists who can write poetry while there are those can perform the written poetry either by reciting or by music; the thriving of the Harlem Renaissance influence took shape when different artists discovered there areas of expertise. Some would write and sell to others who would transform the written poetry to music. Therefore, for the survival of one player in the industry, it took combined efforts of that artist and another who shared a similar interest.
Just like Marcus Garvey of Ethiopia, Harlem Renaissance had a goal of proving to the world that blacks were capable of all what the whites could and even more. Playing the piano was considered the activities of the white person. Playing the piano to make music was the inventory of the black person. The birth of Jazz music was an entire doing of the Harlem Renaissance but combined effort of what was already there with what was brought to the table. What was already there was the knowledge of playing the piano and mostly it was learned from the white Americans. Brought to the table by the African Americans under the movement Harlem Renaissance was the art of merging progressive poetry with musical codes to provide rhythm and flow.
The stringed chord and the guitar are all known instruments that are used in the Jazz music. The good thing about the piano is because the keyboard can be customized to bring out the desired rhythm. The Harlem Renaissance used the piano in the production and performance of jazz music. The same thing can be witnessed in today’s jazz bands. Not that musician cannot play the other instruments, but the discovery that the piano allows the musician much space to concentrate on rhythm and relaxation of the body. Therefore, there is no straining when singing.
Blues is the other genre that the Harlem Renaissance brought forth. The composition of this music genre is made of heavy bass and soft vocals: Vocals provided by a vocalist from a rehearsed poetry and heavy rhythmical bass played by a pianist. Today, although there are too many cases of malpractice in the music industry, the basics do not seem to fade away. Individuals and bands play Blues all over the world. In what more many people would like to debate on is the fact much other music genres borrowed and stole some aspects from Blues.
We all know when and where reggae music came from and how its composition came to be considered a music genre. The same applies to Rock and Metal together with all subgenres under them. How can we account for the similar aspects in different musical genres? Starting the Reggae subgenre, Dub Reggae, we would find that aspect of using heavy bass is borrowed from blues. Dub Reggae is a subgenre of the Reggae music that was developed after the 1940s. This subgenre came to the light of the Reggae music after the World War II. This is because there were many interactions between the Caribbean armies and the US armies. Therefore, they borrowed, rather than stole, the elements of playing the heavy bass alongside a slight twist to the Reggae side. To date, Dub Reggae strengthens the grounds that the overall Reggae genre is losing.
Towards the late 1950s, Doom Metal, which comprised Death Doom and Funeral Doom spawned. The influence of Harlem Renaissance had crossed to the Norwegian territories. Applying the heavy bass to soft and deep vocals, they made the Doom metal. Other elements of the Doom metal are the Use of spoken word in the form of scantly developed poetry and sound effects to bring out the effect of fear. Today, less of subgenres to the music we love would be less, if Harlem Renaissance did not further the idea of the Blues. Blues is not just the identity of the music but also the composition of related subgenres. Rhythm and Blues, mostly referred to as RnB, is a subgenre of Blues that tend to apply the basics of Blues.
Impacts of Harlem Renaissance to Today’s Music
Music from poetry and poetry from experience, with the three combined the aim of the Harlem Renaissance was to change the world or rather their world. It was a way of expressing what the blacks were experiencing in their daily lives while dealing closely with the whites. By poetry and music, Renaissance was able to put these experiences into words and communicate the message to the people in the form of poems or music. Today’s music has totally blended that aspect; when pressing issues like, intolerant government or unfavorable political climates arise: People raise their voices through music to communicate what the weak would not raise.
Since the Beat Era, of American institutional racism to the Eras that followed that, music has had the effect in communicating to the audiences. These audiences are generic and to those the message may not be indented to, the music may just seem pure entertainment. To those the message of the music is intended to; heeding to the requests may not be the immediate choice they would make, but the message get home.
While people are trying to overcome the inconveniences of racism and anti-Semitism, other issues are presenting themselves. Some of the issues crucial and requiring the attention of all stakeholders includes; human trafficking, Child Pornography and escalation of International terrorism. Going by example by the Harlem Renaissance, all issues are being communicated across to the responsible parties through music.
The choice of the genre to use in communicating a message happens to a matter depending on the depth of the issue. The kind of music that one would use to mobilize a certain group of people to take responsibility against the victim of the HIV/AIDS pandemic would not differ from that which would be aimed at a corrupt congressional representative. Since art is applicable in all ways to bring difference or similarity to life aspects, music is art and can do exactly that. As long as music does not bear trademark protection to styles used, we cannot say that Harlem Renaissance owned and protected their style of playing, communicating and blending styles to pass messages or entertain audiences. Bottom line is that they brought the ultimate change to the world by eliminating the traditional music and replacing it with modern music.
Influence of Harlem Renaissance to the White Americans
Hip Hop is known to be the music for African Americans. This music genre is profoundly African due to the nature and extremes it goes. All musical instruments can be used to produce Hip Hop. However, due to the nature of changing times, people need to earn more by participating less. This has led to the fact that, besides Hip Hop, anyone can do any type of music whether he or she can sing or not.
The simplicity is brought by the fact that the state of technology. Technology mixed with knowledge and inspiration would push anyone to do whatever he or she wanted. Assuming this was a theory, let us take it from the perspective of the White American. African Americans mimicked the use of piano and made Jazz and Blues and complete success together with their prowess in writing. How about using what African Americans had together with what we have to balance the equation?
In trying to answer the question of balancing the equation, one should put to consideration that where two parties try to impress a third party but trying to outshine each other, that’s called competition. Conscious that African Americans were and still are good at writing poetry and turning to good music; white Americans use the technology they can readily afford to maneuver their way through the threat. Nowadays, what was considered a revolutionary discovery in the entertainment industry, brought to the light of the world by Harlem Renaissance, has inspired both creativity and trickery. They, the White Americans, would buy written poems (lyrics) from the African Americans and use their technology to do a better job than their African American counterparts can. On the other end of the equation are the African Americans, they would hire or buy the technologies necessary for producing good music from the White Americans; then write poems for their own use better than that what their White American counterparts had. Although farfetched, the balancing of the equation originated from the Harlem Renaissance movement moves and tactics to merge with the whites.
Music, Food of Thought
Sex is the property of being either a man or a woman while race is the aspect of being either white/black or otherwise, disagreement is the issue that breaks down the grounds as to where each party stands. To express discomfort or comfort, African Americans composed poems and music that attacked the actions of the White Americans. When RnB singers Chris Brown and Rihanna had social issues, each composed a set of song that would express how they felt about each other. When Jamaican artists, Bounty Killer and Vybz Kartel, had issues to do with what side they belonged to and their activities in the respective side, they composed music attacking each other on a number of aspects. It seems that the original pace and method of expressing discomfort that Harlem Renaissance musicians set lives to date. Instead of expressing discomfort by committing crime, musicians these days, embrace the freedom of expression to settle wrangles amongst themselves and mobilize the public in taking positive initiatives.
The reality of the situation is not the fact that we can associate the start of everything with the conclusion of another. However, the fact is; going by history, some life changes and initiatives accompany us all the time. By the time an aspect starts to take the better ourselves, we have the obligation to track down beginning of the developments. What we see today is not all round new, but certain remarkable elements are either borrowed or stolen from an older generation. Confronting, mobilizing, demonstrating, inciting and grouping of people according to a certain criteria of interest has been was first done through modern music by Harlem Renaissance’s musicians and poet wrights. It has then been reflected in the tendencies of current musicians. Besides, music is all about communication of messages to certain audiences or providing just entertainment.
What today’s generation of writers doesn’t know is that Beyonce relies on Neyo and other lyrics’ writers to get the quality of lyrics she needs; that the West Coast and the East Coast rappers don’t auger well with each other because of differences in manpower, skill and exposure. All this are the reasons why the whites relied on the blacks for lyrics writing but still they could not be merged together due to cultural, social and financial differences.
In conclusion, the impact of Harlem Renaissance’s ancient music and musicians to the modern music is immensely concentrated on style, motive, environment and event-shaping forces. Alliance when it came to music in the pre-World War II was kept to certain minimal levels and the same is witnessed today. Ethnic, political and/or pandemic issues are some of the highly prioritized issues that music was used to communicate during Harlem Renaissance’s artistic period. The same things happen today while the scope is even magnified further to include different genres of music borrowing elements of rhythm form one to another. Today’s music is the product of ancient music.