The Creolization of American Culture
William Sidney Mount and the Roots of Blackface Minstrelsy
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Illinois Press
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T.sche creolization in the title of this book connotes a process of cultural exchange identif_iable in many aspects of antebellum life. In the early-nineteenth-century United States, this exchange was particularly rich and par-ticularly visible in the expressive arts; most specif_ically, in the sounding and bodily performance genres of participatory Anglo-African music-and-dance. ...
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T.sche origins of this research arise from a combination of intuition and conversation: my intuition, as an American musician and long-time practitioner of both Anglo-Celtic and African American vernacular styles, that these immigrant musical traditions might share complex and tightly intertwined social histories. The conversation, on the other hand, took place ...
1 Recovering the Creole Synthesis
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Body to body, culture is communicated, and the more one identifies with the other person, the more easily there is a transfer of knowledge. T.schis book.sc uses the artw.scork.scs, letters, sketchbooks, music collec-tion, ephemera, and biography of the vernacular painter William Sidney Mount (1807–18six.oldstyle8), and similar materials from some of his predecessors and ...
2 The Creole Synthesis in the New World
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T.schis chapter argues that the musical, cultural, and sociologi-cal resources for blackface’s creole synthesis were in place long before the founding of the Virginia Minstrels in 1843, the event conventionally identi-f_ied as the watershed “beginnings” of the minstrel show. Indeed, the roots of the creole synthesis predate the f_irst blackface solo performances of George ...
3 Long Island and the Lower East Side
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T.schis chapter narrow.scs our focus from the western Atlantic and Caribbean to examine the creolizing maritime cultures of two islands—Long Island and Manhattan—that directly shaped William Sidney Mount’s personal and musical world. It explores the ways in which inf_luences from those islands play out in the life of Mount himself, in that of his uncle and ...
4 Minstrelsy's Material Culture
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T.schis chapter concentrates on insights provided by examination of the paintings from Mount’s maturity into the material culture of instru-mental dance music in the “creole synthesis.” Principal evidence is drawn from four portraits of dance musicians that he painted in 1849 (Just in Tune), 1850 (Right and Left) and 185six.oldstyle (The Banjo Player and The Bone Player), works ...
5 Melody's Polyrhythmic Polysemic Possibilities
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Body knowledge . . . is not “conceptual” or “verbal,” it is not inhibited by contradictions but can recognize many meanings at once—its intelligence is polysemic. . . . It does not need to identify by name O.scf any musical parameter—texture, instrumentation, tempo, timbre, and other—rhythm is the most essential component to understanding dance ...
6 Akimbo Culture
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The . . . affective axis of the [African American dance] apparatus involves its celebration of the body as the site of pleasure—in its transformation of identity into style, in the centrality of rhythm and dance, and in its courting of sexuality and sexual practices. The musical practice itself is inserted into the apparatus at the site of the ...
Conclusion: The Creole Synthesis in American Culture
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T.sche goal of this book.sc has been to use primary sources—demograph-ics, tune repertoires, archival materials, and most especially iconography—as tools to construct a portrait of the multiethnic nineteenth-century world that gave birth to blackface minstrelsy; to recover the sounds of that world; and to understand how the sound and movement vocabularies of this synthesis ...
Appendix: Blackface Scholarship
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Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Music in American Life