Music of the African Diaspora in the United States: Topics

Course Number

IMPORTANT NOTE: do not register for this course if your first semester at Berklee was 2023 fall or later. 

This course explores the evolution of contemporary American music from the perspective of its African musical roots to various incarnations in the United States, evolving primarily from the interaction of African and European cultures. Important trends will be covered, including the incorporation of African aesthetics into a succession of new and evolving styles, the role of African cultural values in the development of American culture and music, the blues, the evolution of African-American ensemble styles, the development of collective improvisation, African contrapuntal, harmonic and polyrhythmic principles, and syncretic processes influencing the development of American music. Music and traditions from pre-15th century Africa through the development of the roots of contemporary music in the 19th and 20th century, to the present day will be explore. This course will explore specific topics relating to the Music of the African Diaspora in the United States in a chronological order.


LENG-111 and 5th semester or later standing; students who started in fall 2023 or later should not register for this course
Required Of
Electable By
All B.M. and P.D. students
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring, Summer
Courses may not be offered at the listed locations or taught by the listed faculty for every semester. Consult to find course information for a specific semester.