The origins of rock and roll have been fiercely debated by commentators and historians of music. There is general agreement that it arose in the Southern United States – a region that would produce most of the major early rock and roll acts – through the meeting of various influences that embodied a merging of the African musical tradition with European instrumentation. The migration of many former slaves and their descendants to major urban centers such as St. Louis, Memphis, New York City, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, and Buffalo (See: Second Great Migration (African American)) meant that black and white residents were living in close proximity in larger numbers than ever before, and as a result heard each other’s music and even began to emulate each other’s fashions. Radio stations that made white and black forms of music available to both groups, the development and spread of the gramophone record, and African-American musical styles such as jazz and swing which were taken up by white musicians, aided this process of “cultural collision”.

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