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The Art of Hip-Hop

A Short Discussion of Hip-Hop, Art, and their Entanglement

A photograph of a woman paying music with a purple hue.

DJ at America Now at the National Museum of American History. Photo by Brightest Young Things.

Shanti Boyle is an intern with SAAM’s Office of External Affairs and Digital Strategies.

America Now is an annual one-day festival that celebrates art and history. This year’s theme, a Celebration of Music, will certainly require harmony between the hosts of the festival: National Museum of American History, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and National Portrait Gallery. On June 22nd, guests can spend the day exploring hip-hop’s effect on American life at the National Museum of American History and conclude the evening at the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum with a free concert.

In this Celebration of Music, hip-hop headlines. A topical and fitting genre to showcase, the festival almost follows a chronology, allowing participants to learn about hip-hop’s national impact and ending with a concert that exemplifies its current state.

John Mehegan, Jazz Improvisation (1959-65)

Jazz Improvisation is a series of 4 books edited by pianist, composer, lecturer, and critic John Mehegan between 1959 and 1965. Today considered classic of jazz instructional books, the four volumes feature anthologies of scores from jazz standards and forewords by renowned Jazz musicians and present a very simple yet stunning graphic design.

Vol. 1: Tonal and rhythmic principles (1959)

Movies at SAAM: The Art of the Score

Elizabeth Olds‘ Harlem Musicians

Think of your favorite scary movie. Got it? Okay, now imagine watching that movie without the sound. Do you think it would have been as scary? Probably not. Movie scores are a vital part to bringing a film to life. Whether it’s a song, an extended musical note, or a full-orchestra composition, film scores offer the movie more texture, feeling, and direction. Just image a movie like Jaws or Lord of the Rings. What would those movies be without their iconic blasting trumpets and orchestra accompaniments?

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