Cakewalk

Published: 2021-09-28 16:05:03
essay essay

Category: music, Dance, Jazz

Type of paper: Essay

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The nineteenth century was brought by a great emergence of music that would change history. In the late 1980’s a change in rhythm evolved in playing piano music. Ragtime piano was introduced as a new popular way to play the piano fast and shallow. The measures were used to sixteen beats just like European counterparts although the music was said to be the “afro-American” version of the polka. In this thought the stereotype is drawn as “ragtime” being associated with African American people.
Based on the beats in the music which produced a sousa style march, ragtime became the melody used to perform the cakewalk dance. In this article the description of the cake walk is “an Afro-American dance initially based on an elegant, stylized parody of southern white courtly manners”, the dance is stereotyped as being made for one group of people, and that being African Americans. The first African American composer to produce ragtime music was Tom Turpin which also brought along singers to become the voice of this musical form of ragtime.
Following the sensation of this music, the cakewalk was always performed which then opened doors for other types of dances and songs later known as jazz. The article “Cake Walk, Shimmy, and the Charleston” the descriptions emphasis how dances performed by African American women brought unity among white and black audiences. Dancers were referred to as “Babylon girls” who expressed a positive way in which African American women were being recognized for their gender and race. They expressed themselves in these musical forms to show black freedom and feel a part of popular music.



The stereotype made in this article was based upon the sexuality presented in the cakewalk dance by African American women. Many described them as to be “sexually frank and opinionated, to be figures of independence. ” In reality the African American women were just a generation removed from slavery in which they had to deal with stereotypes from both from white people about their sexuality and black people about black repression for respectability. Dancing just allowed them to celebrate their freedom and express themselves freely.
This era of dancing and music in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s helped bring European styled music mixed with African American rhythm to beginning the jazz era to come. The picture on the sheet music doesn’t show any negative criticism. In the imagery women and men are dressed very nicely with tall top hats and long dresses. Perhaps the women are dressed more conservative than normal women that dress in shorter dresses. The men show very wide and large lips probably indicating an African American race.

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