By Kyra D. Gaunt
2007 Alan Merriam Prize offered through the Society for Ethnomusicology
2007 PEN/Beyond Margins e-book Award Finalist
When we expect of African American well known song, our first inspiration may not be of double-dutch: ladies bouncing among twirling ropes, conserving time to the tick-tat less than their ft. yet this publication argues that the video games black ladies play —handclapping songs, cheers, and double-dutch bounce rope—both replicate and encourage the foundations of black well known musicmaking.
The video games Black ladies Play illustrates how black musical kinds are included into the earliest video games African American ladies learn—how, in impression, those video games include the DNA of black track. Drawing on interviews, recordings of handclapping video games and cheers, and her personal remark and thoughts of gameplaying, Kyra D. Gaunt argues that black ladies' video games are attached to lengthy traditions of African and African American musicmaking, and they train important musical and social classes which are carried into maturity. during this occasion of playground poetry and formative years choreography, she uncovers the unusually wealthy contributions of women’ play to black well known culture.
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Extra resources for The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop
The phenomenon of sensing tuned pitches in speech, melody, or percussion reﬂects what African musicologist Meki Nzewi calls a melorhythmic approach (Nzewi 1991): one hears melody in rhythms, and rhythm in melodies. This is analogous to the percussive approach to linear expression that Olly Wilson outlines in his article about heterogeneous sound ideals in African American music (Wilson 1992), and is, at least in part, what makes the sounds sound musical and the music of the game sound black. The patterns mirror conventions found in popular styles of black music and, broadly speaking, American popular music.
It is essential that scholars interested in reﬂecting the social sensibilities of African American musical practice attend to the Slide | 35 body and the musical, social, and cultural role it plays in making music meaningful in practice. Could these games be the “DNA,” or part of the “genetic material,” that shapes black musical style and behaviors, asked a performance theorist reading an earlier version of this manuscript? While the idea of girls’ games as the cultural DNA of black musical style or aesthetics is provocative, I am no longer willing to evoke anything akin to an evolutionary model of culture and civilization relative to black identity.
Lu-cy had a ba-by (clap clap) She named it Tiny Tim (clap clap) She put him in the bath-tub (clap clap) To see if he could swim (clap clap) . . I vividly remember playing “Miss Lucy” at the bus stop on my way to elementary school: the linguistic play of double entendres and elisions created when certain syllables and words are just about to mean something sexual or scatological and then they suddenly shift into some benign reference that made “Miss Lucy” (the game and the ideas of a woman) fun and sexy to play with.
The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop by Kyra D. Gaunt