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African American Vernacular Traditions: Integrated

African American Vernacular Traditions: Integrated Into Modern Culture African American vernacular traditions have been around for many centuries and still cease to exist in their culture. The vernacular traditions of the African Americans started when slaves were existent in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. It is believed that the slaves spoke a mix of Creole and partial English, in which they had to create in order to communicate between them discreetly. The vernacular traditions originated from the way the slaves lived their lives and their creativity.

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The relationship between the slaves and their masters, were very weak because the master’s believed that the slaves were inferior to them. It is believed that African American slaves have better lungs than whites; therefore, giving them the advantage in singing over the whites. It is indicated that early landmark anthologies of black literature included black songs and stories, which originated from the earlier vernacular forms. Early vernacular traditions of the African American literature influence the modern day African American literature.

African Americans started practicing spirituals and gospels since the earliest days of slavery. In the early 19th century, slaves would sing these religious songs, while working, playing, resting, and during their gatherings. The songs were the only way the slaves could create a positive and optimistic attitude towards their lives. The insecurity that the slaves had from their slave owners were then forgotten because of the songs that they sung. These songs made them believe that they were the children of God and took their attention away from the hardworking labor that they withheld every day.

The spirituals gave the slaves hope and the security of Fong 1 knowing that they would go to a peaceful place after death, known as Heaven. These spirituals and gospels have evolved into songs practiced weekly after many years. The songs evolved sporadically, and encouraged the creation of many more songs. Choirs and orchestras at different churches preached these songs during their weekly services and the people sing along. All these songs are to praise Jesus, the individual that is known to be the savior of the people.

The early spirituals still are sung today and people still think of these songs, as hope to live the better lives. The early vernacular traditions didn’t only consist of religious, spiritual, and sacred practices, but there were secular forms of acts that existed in their lives. The early African Americans composed many superb narrative rhymes that really influenced the culture today. They could also be known as poets, and these writers created a foundation for the modern day artists.

The different stories and tales that these passages were describing, had a strong impact on the blues, which is a part of the secular songs. Rap, a modern day form of rhyming music, has been influence greatly by the earlier secular songs and stories that the African Americans practiced. These songs started out as humor for the African Americans, and then sporadically evolved into sex, violence, and drugs over the past century. The children’s games song also has special meaning to them when they are used.

The little messages that are implanted in these songs really try to impact a message to the listener. The different songs also portrayed the ongoing violence and abuse that is present in the American society. The hardworking slaves also had a series of songs that they sang, in order to express their hardships and perseverance in the work that they did. The songs gave the workers something to do while they were working hard and made the time go by a little faster. This was their testimony to the hardships they were put through by their owners and proof that they were slaves.

The songs made the slaves believe Fong 2 also gave them the security of freedom because they did what they wanted and sang the songs that they wanted to sing. This was a way the slaves could protest and feel like they were more than just slaves. The different secular songs and rhythms really influenced the African American tradition, in that they are still practiced today. The African Americans had a really good imagination for music. The structural devices and vocal techniques that they used in their music excel from an average composer.

The work songs and spirituals that they performed led to a new kind of music, known as the blues. The blues were not affiliated with the heavenly grace, but instead provided a good rhythm of words and instruments for the audience to enjoy. The lyrics of the songs complained mostly about complaints and troubles that the people encountered. A common characteristic of the blues were that there is always improvising and different sorts of sounds that were played to supplement the song. These blues really have affected the different styles of hip hop and jazz today, creating a foundation for the two.

Jazz is a type of music that originated from a series of elements: ragtime, marching band music, opera, and other European classic music. In the early 20th century, jazz started becoming popular in the United States. Jazz was primarily a music that was influenced by the African Americans in their different musical techniques during slavery. Jazz is thought of as the instrumentalist singing the blues through their horns and boxes. These songs are a celebration to the people’s experiences and a positive vibe from memorable times that the slaves had when they were working.

It is the rejuvenation for the people to still believe that there will be success in the future. Jazz is an African American endurance for the good and bad times during the upcoming century. All these different jazz songs originated from the vernacular traditions of the African Fong 3 Americans and their beginning hardships throughout slavery. African American sermons and prayers are very distinctive as opposed to the sermon of a regular American. They believe that the sermon comes straight from God because the theme comes straight from the bible.

The African American preachers are like storytellers, actors, and singers when preaching the word. The sermons all relate to slavery as well and they strive for freedom. The audience really does get involved in these sermons as well as they become part of the sermon and support the messages that the preachers are trying to get out. The preacher is involved in call-response patterns and recall patterns, which give them that extra technique to help the audience learn that message. The African American sermon is not only preaching, but a sociopolitical exposition and analysis.

The African Americans also have a distinctive structure of prayer, as compared to the Americans. Their style derives from Europe and Africa and follows the call-response patterns, with a lot of improvisations. When the African Americans moved continents, they brought their culture with them. Their songs, dances, and styles of worship were all passed on to their new home; however, folktales and stories were brought with them as well. The early African American vernacular traditions have really influenced the modern day African American culture, and American culture.

The spirituals and gospels are still constructed today with the same characteristics, while the blues and secular rhymes have influenced the creation of jazz and rap. Rap is very popular in our culture today and it was derived from the early African Americans during slavery. The folktales are also very common in modern day storytelling, with the ability to travel through continents to get a point through. During the years of slavery, the African Americans set a foundation for the future centuries and the traditions have evolved to being used every day. Fong 4

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