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Used with permission of authors as cited on copyright.


The Connection between Culture and Music. An Academic Paper (PDF)

By Carol Johnson

From vocal utterances created within the body to the use of various external objects, music can be described as the state of being within oneself that is given audible expression through form of sound. Just as each individual is part of the human whole but with a unique entity with different core belief structures, cultures contain unique identities with different core belief systems. Thus, through exploration of contextual performance surroundings that accompany the music, the foundational aspects of culture can be revealed. Using Native American music as a primary example this article discussed how cultures use music as a fundamental, and central, connection between ceremony, ritual and belief systems.



Unique Vocal, Ornamental and Lyrical Characteristics of Colonial Music. An Academic Paper (PDF)

By Carol Johnson

Development of a unique musical identity is a process. Such processes do not take place overnight; they can be formed through various cultural, social, regionalization, and spiritual aspects of a people group. American music is a product of such a process. The initial process began with the migration of Pilgrims and Puritans coming to American with the Pilgrims’ ideas of escaping to a new land to begin a new, and the Puritans’ prospect of reforming old traditions. As these new Americans began to adapt to the different needs found in the New World, adaptations also occurred in their music. Specifically, American music began to develop its unique identity as displayed in the vocal, ornamental and lyrical characteristics of Colonial Music.



Louis Armstrong: Pushing Musical Boundaries. An Academic Paper (PDF)

By Carol Johnson

Great performers are known for forging past current musical boundaries while still keeping their audiences actively engaged. Such is the musical legacy of cornetist and vocalist, Louis B. Armstrong (1901 ­ 1971). Having begun his musical journey in the New Orleans style of Jazz, Armstrong took himself, and his international audiences, past the boundaries of collective improvisation style to the establishment of solo improvisation through his unique developments in improvisation, style, technique prowess and musical devices.



Minimalism: From Individualism to Social Platforms. An Academic Paper (PDF)

By Carol Johnson

As recorded in many aspects throughout history, art reflects an anticipated response of a cultural shift. Forerunners of cultural shifts, artists generally have a pioneering spirit that, for good or bad, exemplify the road to be taken by a culture in the forthcoming years or generations. The musical response of Minimalism and its composers foreshadowed, as well as provided a entry point, for many of the changes brought forth in American music during the late 1960s and 1970s. Beyond “merely a pop music for intellectuals,” as stated by music academician Keith Potter, the spirit behind Minimalism provides listeners, both present and future, with a foundation to explore the development of individualism, sonic independence, and platforms for social statements.



Funk and American Culture. An Academic Paper (PDF)

By Carol Johnson

As we look back at the history of American music, we can track how different music genres have blended old sounds with new ideas or technologies. Similarly, through the study of sociology, we can see how people groups have used music styles to blend with aspects of culture. Through discussion of the Funk genre, specifically two works by James Brown and how this music relates to urban American culture, we can better understand how American music today resonates with the sounds of yesterday. 


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