Student Pages:

Fig. 2: Red students_2009-2010

The purpose of this project is to explore how African Americans, through music, have influenced what it means to be American. Students will research and identify evidence/artifacts that reflect the evolution of American culture as it intersects with African American history.

Specifically, students will investigate the relationship between musical structure (call & response, polyrhythm, syncopation & blues) and what it means to be American. Students will also investigate data from the US Census to document how one institution, i.e. the US government, has organized information on American identity.


  • How have elements of African-influenced musical structures influenced American music and culture?
  • How has African-American identity evolved through music over time?
  • How effectively does the US Census profile the socio-economic status of African Americans?


In spite of social and economic oppression that has accompanied the legacy of slavery, African Americans have continued to culturally flourish. Music, as one aspect of American culture, reflects the influence of African Americans through creative tensions between individualism and group consciousness.

Group Pages:

Fig. 1: Students' pages for musical genres

Taina, Pricilla, Christian
Marley, Olivia, Sierra, Keanu
Martha, Alysha, Joe, Callie
Longnu, Alex, Allen, Thea
Sophia, Dylan, Manna-Symone, Allison
Rhythm & Blues
Jesus, Natalee, Dayona, Gabe
Aja, Quinn, Sildia, Tyler
Marina, Austin, Iraida, Nathan
Orange ethnomusicology project


History of African American Music, by Portia K. Maultsby, Ph.D (via Carnegie Hall, New York City); 2009.
What is Hip-Hop? (from the University of Indiana)
The Blues (from Public Broadcasting Service)
  • Oba Koso_Song for Shango (4/4)_Yoruba_1996

  • Obatala Yeza_Song for Obatala (4/4)_Tito Puente_1957

  • Maple Leaf Rag_(syncopated piano)_Scott Joplin_1899

  • Kyrie Eleison_Kenyan folk melody of Latin Mass_Muungano National Choir, Kenya_1953

Front page:

May, 2009