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Music Seventeenth

Roles of Music in Culture during the Seventeenth through the Nineteenth Centuries

Jackclyn Dougherty Roles of Music in  Culture during the Seventeenth through the Nineteenth Centuries
Jacklyn Dougherty

One of the primary roles of music between the 17th and 19th centuries was to express the language of culture and pass down cultural values. This implies that music told a story or expressed the emotions and ideas shared by a society (Kondrat, 2014). For example, music was integral during ceremonies and was believed to help invoke spirits or communicate with the ancestors. Ceremonies such as initiation, marriages, and funerals brought the African communities together, and music was one way to pass down cultural values, traditions, and ideals from one generation to the other, which in turn kept their cultural heritage alive.

In the 1830s, music was primarily used for evangelism and community building, especially during the Christian revivals. Christian missionaries incorporated African musical styles and rhythms into the hymns, while the Africans coded some of these songs with messages to subvert against oppression and slavery (Dressman, 2017). Therefore, music was largely used to create a sense of community and belonging. It was an effective tool for cultural adaptation, paving the way for Christianity.

In brief, music efficiently informed the cultural transformation and Christianity among the African communities throughout the identified period. It served as a means for entertainment, passing down traditions, and protesting against oppression.


Dressman, M. (2017, March 24). A Cultural Crescendo: the Black Origins of American Music.

Kondrat, M. (2014). Does Culture Affect Music or Does Music Affect Culture?

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