The Music of Black Americans: A History (Third Edition)

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A new edition of the classic text on African American music.
Beginning with the arrival of the first Africans in the English colonies, Eileen Southern weaves a fascinating narrative of intense musical activity. As singers, players, and composers, black American musicians are fully chronicled in this landmark book. Now in the third edition, the author has brought the entire text up to date and has added a wealth of new material covering the latest developments in gospel, blues, jazz, classical, crossover, Broadway, and rap as they relate to African American music. Over 50 photographs

Product Details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 3 edition (January 17, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393971414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393971415
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds

Customer Reviews

"the definitive authority on Black American Music"

16 people found this helpful.
 on June 21, 1999
I have used this text in teaching African and African-American music, since the first edition. It is by far the most “definitive” book on the subject.Dr. Southern’s insistence upon “historical dates and periods” to accompany the development and proliferation of African derived music, keeps the music connected to the economic,political, and social “conditions” that brought it about. I agree with Samuel Floyd, her work is a “quiet revolution.”

An invaluable reference work —

9 people found this helpful.
 on January 22, 2001
By kellytwo
Have you ever heard about The National Negro Opera Company? Founded by Mary Cardwell Dawson, the company made its debut in Pittsburgh in 1941. This is but one of the fascinating things you can discover in this marvelous book. If you have an interest in music of whatever variety, your library is incomplete without this book.

Great source on the subject!

5 people found this helpful.
 on July 29, 2003
By Octavia Holland
I am using this book for my masters thesis and I must say that I am very pleased. Ms. Southern did an excellent job researching the subject and the book is put together well. There is so much information involved!!! She starts from the VERY beginning and smoothly takes you through the ride of African-American music. Each section is very thorough. This text is perfect for anyone who is researching the subject or just wants to gain knowledge on this rich music. A+++


 on July 12, 2013
By Murry E. Bothwell
I have taken piano lessons for years and recently obtained an African American teacher. She is introducing me to African American classical artists that has never been mentioned to me before. Wow what an eye opener! Another area where my African American history is not taught. I only wish there was a CD accompanying the text.

Great book, great service

 on September 23, 2012
By Richard Greig
This book is an interesting academic read. It’s not too academic where it’s bothersome or too slow. It’s well written in that it’s both scholarly and enjoyable to read. This book is important for the jazz musician to understand the pre jazz African roots that influenced what would become jazz.

Wow!! Good book!

 on May 26, 2016
By Amazon Customer
I had no idea about the rich culture of Black Americas. I am so grateful for Black American’s contributions to society! I highly recommend this book because it will expand your knowledge.

Black Music History

 on May 17, 2013
By Eugene C. Kenourgios
This a book for people interested in Black American music, as it gives it gives a broad overview of the different genres of black music and the people who wrote and performed it.


 on December 24, 2014
By rmcelder
The book is a wealth of excellent information and is an a treasured tool to be used in educating others on the subject of African American music.

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