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Crossing the bar lines : : locating 20th and 21st century strategies of musical resistance

  • Author(s): Williams, James Gordon
  • et al.

From the 1990s on critical musicologists have used signifyin(g) theory to create a more inclusive, critical discursive that reflects African American ideas and experiences in relation to race, gender, and sexuality as manifested in their musical practices. Because I found this theoretical paradigm incomplete, I explore Afro- pessimism social theory as a way to help explain why African-American musicians use unconventional strategies of music making to forge non-monolithic musical identities that resist hegemonic theories and practices of music. Through data analysis of music compositions, instrumental improvisations, and musician interviews, I analyze how African-American musicians express their racial imaginaries in relation to space, time, center, and periphery. Particularly vibrant data examples were found in the improvisations and compositions of pianists Andrew Hill and Stanley Cowell, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, and the music videos of T-Pain

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