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African American film sound: scoring blackness

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

  • Ruth Doughty
The term ‘black music’ has long been a cause for contention. What do we mean by music being ‘black’, or more specifically in the case of this chapter, African American? The music industry has typically marketed products via the categorization of specific genres: for example, jazz, blues, soul, funk and rap. These generic types are often classified as ‘black music’. Philip Tagg vehemently debates the suitability of such an essentializing label, as he correctly argues that aesthetic practice is not linked to biology: 'Very rarely is any musical evidence given for the specific skin colour or continental origin of the music being talked about [namely black music in this instance] and when evidence is presented, it usually seems pretty fl imsy to me from a musicological view point.' While Tagg’s position is admirable and sensitive to multi-cultural society, he fails to address that ‘black music’ is systematically deployed by the film industry to gain swift entrance into the African American condition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSound and music in film and visual media
EditorsG. Harper, J. Eisentraut, Ruth Doughty
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherContinuum International Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780826458247
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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