Sources for U.S. Music History Presentation
October 25, 2012 9:41 PM   Subscribe

Sources discussing American musical history in relatively simple, chronological terms?

I am doing a short (10 minute) presentation to non-Americans about American music history.

Right now I am planning on covering the major "original" genres (blues, country, jazz, folk, gospel/spiritual) and how they led into current popular genres (rock, hip-hop).

I am looking for sources that explain the development and confluence of these genres and their chronological order in a clear way. I also would like to find some graphics depicting the chronology. Wikipedia has been helpful but I find it lacking in the historical aspects. I am especially interested in how African slaves in the U.S. developed music.

If you have any sources (would have to be from internet) , ideas, or happened to have studied music history, etc, I will be very grateful!
posted by bearette to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: forgot to add: I am also looking for good music samples!
posted by bearette at 9:48 PM on October 25, 2012

For graphics - I really liked the simplicity this animated diagram, but it only tracks dance related genres (and on a global scale).
posted by p3t3 at 10:10 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I recommend John Jeremiah Sullivan's essay Unknown Bards for early blues history. (sorry, a pdf of the magazine scan is what I found online).

but really what you should do is start going through flapjax at midnite's posting history here on Metafilter.
posted by mannequito at 10:24 PM on October 25, 2012

It all starts with the field holler.
posted by rhizome at 10:31 PM on October 25, 2012

Jeffrey Lewis' History of Punk Rock is really fun for tying American folk to early rock/punk and its evolution.
posted by erst at 11:46 PM on October 25, 2012

This might be a little long and involved for your needs, but the Ken Burns documentary Jazz is an amazingly clear yet thorough chronology of, well, jazz. It was available to stream on Netflix last time I checked. Early episodes are especially useful for what you're looking for, because they explain exactly what jazz is and how it evolved from other American forms. They also deal with issues that continually pop up in American music, like white musicians co-opting the work of black musicians and making it palatable for middle class white consumers.
posted by Sara C. at 6:56 AM on October 26, 2012

Speaking of documentaries, the first episode or two of of Rock And Roll the PBS series was awesome and covers a lot of early influences of R&R. Combine that with Jazz and you've got the gist of it!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:42 AM on October 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

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