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The music of the United States reflects the country's pluri-ethnic population through a diverse array of styles.It is a mixture of music influenced by West African, Irish, Scottish and mainland European cultures among others.
The development of an African American musical identity, out of disparate sources from Africa and Europe, has been a constant theme in the music history of the United States.
Little documentation exists of colonial-era African American music, when styles, songs, and instruments from across West Africa commingled with European styles and instruments in the melting pot of slavery.
There are also strong African roots in the music tradition of the original white settlers, such as country and bluegrass.
The United States has also seen documented folk music and recorded popular music produced in the ethnic styles of the Ukrainian, Irish, Scottish, Polish, Hispanic, and Jewish communities, among others.
Most male-dominated genres of popular music include female performers as well, often in a niche appealing primarily to women; these include gangsta rap and heavy metal.
The United States is often said to be a cultural melting pot, taking in influences from across the world and creating distinctively new methods of cultural expression.
By the mid-19th century, a distinctly African American folk tradition was well-known and widespread, and African American musical techniques, instruments, and images became a part of mainstream American music through spirituals, minstrel shows, and slave songs.
African American musical styles became an integral part of American popular music through blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, and then rock and roll, soul, and hip hop; all of these styles were consumed by Americans of all races, but were created in African American styles and idioms before eventually becoming common in performance and consumption across racial lines.
Music intertwines with aspects of American social and cultural identity, including through social class, race and ethnicity, geography, religion, language, gender, and sexuality.
The relationship between music and race is perhaps the most potent determiner of musical meaning in the United States.